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Camera club member talks about the importance of honing your skills

I will be the first to admit I was sort of in the dark (see what I did there?) when it came to camera clubs. In fact, I was so ignorant I didn’t know this resource was in Carbon County.

I became aware of the club simply by accident and it was definitely one of the best accidents I have ever had - serendipity.

My first two meetings I thought ... I don’t belong in this club. These members are far more talented than I am and I only have a point & shoot camera. This is not the place for me. Then something short of amazing happened.

The meeting I intended to be my last became the one that had me handing over my dues to be a full-fledged member before I knew what I was doing. I was a camera club member.

Here’s the moment it happened: Our assignment was to bring a photo we were proud to show and put it on the table for others to ooh and ahh over. I was so nervous. I set my photo down and quickly walked away.

I didn’t have all the clever answers about settings and lighting and shutter speeds. If anyone asked me any questions about my photo, I wouldn’t have the answers. I didn’t understand this strange new language.

Suddenly, our president, Connie Reinhart’s voice rang out ... “Whose photo is this?” as she held it over her head. OMG ... she was holding my photo up for the entire room to see. My heart thudded. “OK people ... who took this photo?” she asked again. Was I in trouble? Was I going to be called out for NOT being a photographer? I raised my hand and said “Mine.” I was so scared. She beamed at me. I mean beamed ... her huge smile. “This is amazing ... look at the lighting ... look at those eyes!” she raved.

Suddenly, tears sprang to my eyes and I hurriedly blinked them back. I stammered and stuttered sounding like anything but a photographer. “I just made him look at me ...” was my answer. Other photographers liked my photo. Wait, could I be a photographer?

So, if you are intimidated about joining a club, don’t be because I found out that I had the support of the entire club. Here’s what you will discover when you visit or better yet, join our club:

Camera club members are like-minded individuals who have been there. Members of a camera club are amazing supporters. They have made the same mistakes you have, they have just the answers you are looking for and they are super encouraging. They’ve made the mistakes you’re currently making and they can encourage you to push onward.

Not only do the members support you but they encourage you to try new things and learn new things.

We offer workshops, seminars and speakers to learn new things. Our meetings are open to the public to come in and check us out on any given meeting night to see what we are learning. You don’t have to be a member to visit.

We try to plan a few adventures called Photo-walks. These walks get us out to new places and are a great deal of fun! Every walk is different and something new is learned about the area we are visiting, about our cameras and about each other. And, we try to find places of interest to plan to visit that other members may not know about.

There are days I don’t know why I pick up my camera. Everyone gets in a slump from time to time so being around other photographers inspires us to do new things and get out of our comfort zones. Who knows … maybe you will be the one to inspire someone else.

Hey did I mention exposure? (See what I did there?) The Palmerton Camera Clubs expose you to real life experiences such as model shoots, experience experimenting with light and filters and other directions that you may want to pursue but have not had the experience. It also opens up doors to meeting members that you may want to work under to learn more about your craft!

It’s a great way to meet new friends and have a lot of fun at the same time! Not to mention that there are chances to find out about new products and techniques.

I walked in the club meeting scared and unsure in 2010 and since then I have grown as a photographer in ways I never knew I could. I have won awards, I have held offices and formed new ideas on our committee, I have done things I would never have gotten the chance to do if it wasn’t for the club.

Our meetings are open to everyone, come check us out, talk to us and become a member, you won’t be sorry.

Palmerton Camera Club meetings are typically the fourth Thursday September through June at 7:30 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Palmerton.

For more information, visit https://palmertoncameraclub.com.

Learn how to take your images to the next level by setting up your staged shots.
Photo-walks and workshops help photographers hone their skills and learn from each other like this bee photo. JEANNIE CARL/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS