Do You Enjoy Being an Amateur Photographer?
I enjoy photography but I will always be an amateur. I’ve tried other camera clubs, but I find most of them pretty competitive and competition is not my goal. By contrast with other clubs, I find the Urban Wildlife Photo Club to be a low-key, supportive and friendly group that has helped me improve my photographic skills in a number of ways without feeling any form of pressure.
Every meeting opens with a presentation on some aspect of photography by a really skilled (often professional) photographer. Many of the presenters offer workshops that provide a combination of fieldwork and coaching. Over the years I’ve participated in a number of such workshops and have always enjoyed and benefited from them.
The presentations often entail information about photo sites worth visiting – sites that I might not otherwise have known about. Many such sites are local or relatively local. The club also organizes occasional group outings to sites that provide the opportunity for great photographs. Sometimes these are local such as trips to the Wildlife Sanctuary and sometimes they involve travel like our trip to Monument Valley.
Following the opening presentation, each meeting involves a friendly critique of images submitted by members. Sometimes the presenter provides that critique, sometimes an experienced member of the club provides the critique, but either way, everyone gets supportive suggestions on things the maker of an image might have done to strengthen the image as well as recognition of the positive aspects of the image. Over the years these informal tutorials have helped me envision the image I want to capture before I ever lift the camera to my eye. I’m thereby able to avoid a lot of shots that simply wouldn’t be worth keeping.
Club members use a variety of camera equipment and can provide information about why they like certain equipment more than alternatives. For example, I was looking for a gimble head and was given great advice by a more experienced member of the club.
Virtually everything about the club is voluntary – except for nominal dues to cover basic expenses like meeting room rent. The members are welcoming, friendly and informal. We all share a bond of enjoying photography without pressure or uncomfortable criticism.
If all of this sounds good to you, give us a trial run.
Al Lindeman, member for 13 years.