From the novice shutterbug to the professional, the backyard pic-snapper to the world-traveling visual artist, this group welcomes all.
The Olympic Peaks Camera Club brings together photographers of all levels to its twice-a-month meetings in Sequim, where beginners and advanced shooters alike glean skills and more from guest speakers and each other.
“If you’re a beginner or intermediate or advanced … you learn from other photographers.,” says club president Rebecca Hanson.
“There are a range of people in the club — those who don’t know what ISO is (and) other who could write the book,” says club member Ken Kennedy.
“Everybody’s willing to share … no trade secrets,” he adds.
“Being with general enthusiasts, you learn a lot,” Hanson says.
For most of the year the club meets monthly on second and fourth Thursdays — November and December are exceptions, when they meet just the second Thursday — at Dungeness Community Church, 45 Eberle Lane.
With about 80 members in the group, each meeting sees about 30 to 60 members and guests show up, Hanson says, as many members are out on photo trips.
She says the key benefits of joining the group are sharing in vast and varying knowledge of members as they discuss everything from equipment (cameras, tripods, studio light) to editing software, to the nuts and bolts of photography skills and knowledge, from themes of composition to the best times of day to shoot and camera settings.
Olympic Peaks frequently hosts featured speakers who present on a range of photographic topics. Some are local, Hanson and Kennedy say, but often they are renowned artists from out of the area.
This month’s speaker, presenting on Sept. 26, is Gary Tarleton, who will share his experience of 20-plus years as a professional freelance photographer shooting historical government buildings as well as for national and international corporations. He’ll discuss new technologies and architectural photography.
The photography in the club isn’t limited to digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras, she says, as some members are shooting on high-end film while others shoot with their cell phones.
“Everybody brings something to the club,” Hanson says. “Even after four years (with the club), I’m still blown away by the photos our members take.”
Critiques, awards exhibits
Five times a year the club holds competitions, divided into two groups: Beginner and advanced. Both digital and print images are included. In those competitions, the club bases scores on one general submission and another based on the club’s subject theme, such as “reflection,” to further challenge competitors.
Olympic Peaks also works with the Northwest Council of Camera Clubs and Photographic Society of America, and helps judge competitions for other clubs.
In competitions and regular meetings club members will offer helpful critiques, Hanson says, asking “Why did you want to get out of this picture?” And, “Did you achieve it?”
“It’s nice to win (but) it’s also nice to learn,” Hanson says. She adds that club members don’t have to compete.
For more than half-dozen consecutive years an Olympic Peaks club member has served as superintendent of the Clallam County Fair’s photography competition. This year that competition added a division for photographers with disabilities.
“We love doing it for the community,” Hanson says.
The club also has the occasional exhibit, such as “From the Forest,” showing currently the Sequim Museum & Arts, 544 N. Sequim Ave.
The museum is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and the exhibit shows through this Saturday, Sept. 28, with a “Meet the Photographer” event set for 1:30-4 p.m. on Saturday.
Olympic Peaks members also get together for field trips on an informal basis. A recent field trip saw them atop Hurricane Ridge, getting above the light pollution of towns to capture images of the Milky Way.
Some people on the ridge at the same time joined in on the photo shoot and wound up coming to the next club meeting, Kennedy says.
Kennedy, a photographer since high school, shot various sports assignments and events such as dog agility trials in San Diego and Seattle. He retired to the Olympic Peninsula about two years ago.
Kennedy now often finds his images on trails and mountainsides, from Mount Rainier to Olympic National Park.
“This place is so beautiful,” he says. “I enjoy doing a lot of landscapes and astro-photography.”
“I like this (club); it’s getting me out and about. It’s easy to not do anything.”
Hanson, a former freelance photographer and Olympic Peaks club member for about four years, says she primarily enjoys events and motorcycle photography.
“I really enjoy people in the club,” she says. “They’re really friendly, really willing to give advice.”
Olympic Peaks membership dues are $35 for individuals or $50 for couples/families, but Kennedy noted, “You can try before you buy.”
For more information, see olympicpeaks.org.