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Camera clubs spanning Strand bring pastime into bigger picture

This photo by Trevor McDonald is called “Cool Rider,” which won first place in a division for a “panning technique” photo competition within the Coastal Carolina Camera Club, which meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday monthly at Shallotte Presbyterian Church, 5070 Main St., Shallotte, N.C. Details at 910-287-6311 or www.coastalcarolinacameraclub.org.
This photo by Trevor McDonald is called “Cool Rider,” which won first place in a division for a “panning technique” photo competition within the Coastal Carolina Camera Club, which meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday monthly at Shallotte Presbyterian Church, 5070 Main St., Shallotte, N.C. Details at 910-287-6311 or www.coastalcarolinacameraclub.org. Courtesy photo

Picture this: More ways to connect with hobbyists who love photography and find ways to appreciate this world of art without boundaries.

Across the Grand Strand, five camera clubs meet monthly, and in all corners, so anyone’s who wanted to venture more deeply in this pastime has a horizon of choices in view.

Two – the Myrtle Beach Camera Club and Palmetto Camera Club of South Carolina – gather at HTC’s building in Carolina Forest, the Coastal Carolina Camera Club meets at Shallotte Presbyterian Church, and two convene in libraries – Socastee Camera Club, at Horry County Memorial Library’s Socastee branch, and Tidelands Photography Club, at Georgetown County Library’s Waccamaw Neck branch.

Clubs also welcome guest speakers to share insight on a particular facet of photography. On April 13, Jamie Konarski Davidson, an award-winning outdoor and nature photographer, discussed with the Coastal Carolina Camera Club her perspectives on equipment, techniques and her approach to “macro photography.”

The newest group among the bunch, the Socastee Camera Club, formed in February. For its third session, April 1, Kip Beach of Middle Child Photography, based in the Burgess community, went over the basics about “manual” shooting, that is, not relying on the auto-focus function. He asked who takes advantage of manual tools, and about half the individuals raised their hands, leading into his crash course on setting your own aperture, shutter speed, and the ISO (International Standards Organization), or film speed.

That in turn, Beach said, lets the photographer take more creative control, deal with “tricky” lighting situations, and get consistent photo exposures. The “auto focus,” he said, “thinks it knows what you want,” another reason to consult the camera’s use manual for acquaintance with these enhancing features.

Picking a center focal point for a photo, such as a person’s eyes, Beach said, the aperture, or light allowed to enter the camera’s lens, marks the first step to take, before making other adjustments. Beach said the lower the aperture, the lower in focus the rest of the background will be, but a higher aperture will bring the depth of field more in focus with the subject.

A similar variable applies to shutter speed and ISO, Beach said. A higher, or faster, shutter, or exposure time, lets the photographer freeze a split second, such as a boy jumping on the sand, whereas a slower shutter helps convey a subject’s motion, for instance, a waterfall. He advised going below 200 speed and encountering effects of “motion blur.” For ISO, the lower the film speed, the darker the image shows up, and the higher the speed, the brighter the outcome, which also could get more “grainy” if the level’s elevated too much.

See things with a ‘different eye’

Beach said knowing what all three of these functions – aperture, shutter speed, and ISO – do can help someone find his or her own style, such as with nature and seeing things “with a different eye ... and in a different way.” For example, in setting the aperture for a scene of flowers, he recommended considering the natural frame that trees might provide in the bigger picture.

In this meeting, Beach also covered some details on choosing the right lens, deciding on whether to use a flash, and post-production – while explaining his only needs for such programs as Adobe Photoshop, might arise for skin adjustments, in a wedding or family portrait. The club members also had him view a sampling of photo enlargements shot and brought in by members for a show and tell, and concluded their group photo subject for May: houses.

Joy Sikora, who helped start the Socastee club, stressed the value overall of focusing on key steps to shape and take digital photos correctly.

“I don’t want to spend hours in front of a Photoshop program trying to make what I took look like I thought it should,” she said, outside of the group meeting, “I want to learn how to use the camera to its best advantage. If I do that, very little time in Photoshop is the result.”

Her interest in photography spurred from taking an art appreciation class, Sikora said, to notice “what artists saw that I didn’t see.” Taking pictures “never goes out of date,” she said, explaining how the progression of a person’s career, raising a family, and other commitments in life can crowd out chances to delve into the “art” of this pastime, but retirement can provide catch-up time.

Sikora said photography can resemble fishing, because “you throw out a line, sit there, look around and wait.” Such a reward came through in “a lucky shot” moment she caught of a great egret splashing in water, with droplets aflutter from the bird’s bill, in a print shown at the group meeting.

“It’s sort of being part of the life you’re photographing,” she said. “That’s the fun.”

Irene Dowdy, the recording secretary and treasurer for the Coastal Carolina Camera Club, said the group “strives to bring different aspects of photography to our members,” even inviting them to take part in its frequent print competitions.

“The only limitation, like most art,” Dowdy said, “is your own imagination.”

Contact Steve Palisin at 843-444-1764.

Check out monthly camera club meetings

Membership dues, if applicable, vary by group:

▪ Coastal Carolina Camera Club – 7 p.m. on second Thursday monthly at Shallotte Presbyterian Church, 5070 Main St., Shallotte, N.C. 910-287-6311 or www.coastalcarolinacameraclub.org.

▪ Myrtle Beach Camera Club – 7 p.m. on third Tuesday monthly at HTC, 3990 River Oaks Drive, Carolina Forest. www.mbcameraclub.org, or email dagato@sccoast.net.

▪ Palmetto Camera Club of South Carolina – 7 p.m. mostly on a later Monday every month – June 19, July 24, Aug. 28, Sept. 25, Oct. 30, Nov. 27, and Dec. 18 – and one Tuesday, May 30 – at HTC, 3990 River Oaks Drive, Carolina Forest. 843-331-3115, or email cheriereidusa@yahoo.com.

▪ Socastee Camera Club – 10 a.m. on first Saturday monthly at Horry County Memorial Library Socastee branch, 141 707-Connector Road, off S.C. 707 west of S.C. 544. 843-602-0450.

▪ Tidelands Photography Club – 9-11:30 a.m. on first Monday monthly at Georgetown County Library Waccamaw Neck branch, 41 St. Paul Place, Litchfield Beach, off Willbrook Boulevard. 843-385-0099 or www.tidelandsphotographyclub.com.

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