Camera club focuses on fun, honing craft Shutterbugs explore their field

September 03, 1993|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

Jim Crist of Westminster likes to shoot -- people, animals, nature, still lifes, flowers, buildings.

His weapon is a 35mm camera.

As president for the past 10 years of the Carroll County Camera Club, which now has 38 members, Mr. Crist has led the organization in its explorations.

Club members hear guest speakers on techniques and subjects of photography, maintain a library of photographic information and equipment, take field trips, have an annual gallery show and attend photography conferences.

"Our motto is, 'Photography can be fun,' and that's what we like to try to do," Mr. Crist said. "We do things to try to keep the enthusiasm up.

"The meetings are almost like a social event. We keep the business to a minimum, then the members talk about their slides, photographs, videos, their camera or a problem they may be having."

The club, which has operated for at least 20 years, meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of the month at Gateway West in Room 18, Building 125 (Because of Labor Day, the club will not meet Monday). New members are always welcome. Dues are $12 a year.

The first meeting of the month usually is a workshop where members bring their cameras and take photographs of a still life or other subjects. The second meeting may feature a guest speaker who discusses a specific type of photography, a slide show or a presentation on a new technique.

In August, the club elects officers. For the coming year, Mr. Crist will serve as president, news editor for the monthly newsletter and co-treasurer with Sara Richards. Charles Heater will be vice president.

The club doesn't keep to itself.

"We put on slide shows for nursing homes, churches, other organizations," Mr. Crist said. "It's really nice to put on these programs and for the memories it brings back to the people who see them."

The club also has a one-week show in January at Cranberry Mall. Members submit photographs in 10 categories for competition. A panel of judges scores each photo on a point system, and awards are given in each category. The 1994 public display will be Jan. 3-9.

"The mall is putting out a 1994 wall calendar and they want to feature Carroll County, and they're giving us first crack at submitting photos for it," Mr. Crist said.

The club is part of the Photographic Society of America, so members can draw on programs offered by the national organization to improve their own techniques.

Club members also learn from a three-day annual conference put on by the the New England Camera Club Council in July, an event three club members attended this year.

Another club activity is a photographic scavenger hunt.

"We write down different things to take a photo of, and the members draw them out of a hat and then have to go out and get their photo interpretation of that item," Mr. Crist said.

He and another club member, Troy Ringley, also teach photography for the Carroll County Public Schools Alternative Programs. Mr. Crist teaches "Practical 35mm Photography," and Ringley, who likes to experiment with unusual techniques such as stereo photography, teaches "Creative Photography."

A club member for 13 years, Mr. Ringley said he focuses on nature and outdoor photography, although he also takes wedding portraits on the side. He has taught darkroom technique, people and nature photography for Alternative Programs.

"I show them how to put some thought into the image, how to use special effects, trick photography and how to use the different gadgets to improve their photography, Mr. Ringley said."

"Photography is addictive, but it's fun," Mr. Crist said. "I think why people like it is the beauty of the picture, and the more you get involved, the more you realize your picture falls short and you're striving for the perfect picture. It's obsessive."

The club's next meeting is Sept. 20.

0 For information, call Mr. Crist at 848-4391.

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