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Area camera club captures life
0109 Camera club 3
Student Cassidy Collins talks with fellow photographer Donna Popour about flash techniques during a People Into Cameras Club meeting Thursday evening. Popour, a professional photographer, teaches the free class the first Thursday of every month. - photo by Photo by Seraine Page

Photography takes patience — that’s what members of the People Into Cameras Club will tell you.
Once a month for the past year and a half, a small group of amateur and professional photographers has been gathering to analyze and discuss shooting techniques, equipment and subject matter. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the Islands Real Estate Office on Highway 84.
“It’s challenged me to do things new,” club member Michael Valentine said. “Patience and creativity [are what photographers need]. What you see isn’t what you have to end up with.”
As an amateur photographer who started out shooting sports 20 years ago, Valentine has traditional darkroom and digital imaging experience. He said he relies on editing programs like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 to perfect his images. During the group’s most recent class, Valentine’s fellow photo enthusiasts flipped through an album of his edited shots and read the captions, which listed the camera settings used for each entry.
Valentine has only been to three meetings but plans to return because he said he enjoys the company of other photographers and learning new techniques.
“I think the ability to manipulate [is my favorite],” he said. “I enjoy it and the intrigue for me today is the creativity.”
The club’s founder and teacher, Donna Popour, has been shooting professionally for the past five years and owns a photography business. Popour teaches the class for free and also schedules photo outings, which allow members to socialize and practice their techniques outside the classroom.
“You don’t have to be a professional by any means,” she said of joining. “We’re very informal. I haven’t taught photography before, but I’ve taken some classes and did an online class for two years. The main reason for doing this is it helps me learn as well.”
Popour shoots weddings and high school senior portraits through her business, but when she goes on outings, she said, it is a free-for-all. She gathers inspiration from glossy magazines and other photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, the famed American portrait photographer.
“I like to go around and explore different things,” she said. “I guess I would have to say, landscape type photography [is my favorite]. Where I live, we have really pretty sunrises.”
During class, Popour said, she goes over the basics, such as how to get comfortable with a camera and new ways to look at things. Concepts covered include lighting, flash bracketing, composition and picking subjects and whatever other topics club photographers are interested in learning.
Cassidy Collins, who has been involved with the group for about a year, said he picked up photography in middle school while working in a darkroom. He said he favors shooting digitally because the results are immediate and rolls of film aren’t wasted trying to capture one perfect shot.
“I like to do digital,” he said. “Now you can see it in the field.”
During the past year, Collins said club meetings have helped him become a stronger photographer and he has learned more about certain camera techniques, such as framing.
The hobby photographer said he doesn’t have a problem waiting hours on end to get the perfect shot.
“I’ve always had a lot of patience,” said Collins, who has waited up to four hours to get the right snapshot of a sunrise.
Valentine, who demonstrated basic light adjustments on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 during Thursday’s meeting, said he is looking forward to another field trip, which he has found to be very beneficial. Although sports photography is his favorite, Valentine said he tries to shoot a variety of subjects when he is out.
“I don’t go anywhere without my camera. It’s always in the car,” he said. “And me, I’m self-taught.”
Popour said she has seen a variety of cameras used by club members, but mostly, her students use Canons and Nikons. Popour prefers an Olympus. Size, cost and fancy gadgets aren’t what make the photographs, she said; it is more about how a photographer approaches an assignment and whether they know their camera well.
“It’s funny how they are all different but have many of the same features,” she said. “I always say it’s not the violin, but the violinist.” 
The group’s next photography outing is Feb. 5. They will meet at 9:30 a.m. at Holton’s Restaurant in Midway. Anyone interested in joining the club can e-mail Donna Popour at or call 610-4139.

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