DANBURY, Conn. — Members of the Candlewood Camera Club in Danbury have been taking pictures for nearly 70 years.
President Mark Howarth of Danbury said the club provides a great outlet for area photographers. "It's a great opportunity for people to connect and share in something they are passionate about," he said.
And one topic that members like to debate is what makes a good photo. While everyone has different personal tastes, there are certain criteria that matter when the members hold competition meetings, said Howarth.
First, he said, it's the subject matter. "It's about what's in the image and does it fit the category of what the competition is on," he said.
Another factor in determining a good photograph are the technical aspects. This includes proper exposure, focus and depth of field, he said.
Competition meetings are a key element of the club, Howarth said. "People enter competitions because the competitions are a way to get their art seen," he said.
Independent judges from other camera clubs score the prints. They also provide comments to explain what they like about an image and make suggestions on how it could be improved.
According to Vice President Cindy Garnett of Danbury, competitions are a way for photographers to have their images critiqued anonymously but in a very non-judgmental, constructive way.
Garnett offered one easy tip for improving a photo. "If you think you have a good picture, get closer," she said. "People are afraid to get close to the subject matter. The closer you get, the better impact you have."
She also said to keep it simple. "When you take out all the distracting elements, your subject comes out."
In the four years she has been in the club, Garnett said she has learned a great deal. "I learned the importance of patience, editing your work and getting yourself in the right spot."
Club Secretary Laure Shaw of Ridgefield recommended that photographers carry their camera with them at all times. "You never know when something bizarre will happen," she said.
"My husband and I were in an Italian restaurant having dinner in Stamford and it was Halloween," she said, telling of her own interesting experience." We were listening to the radio, and we found out Bill Clinton was at a convention in Norwalk. ...
"We zipped over and get in there and there he is. I got to shake his hand. I was there the whole time, snapping away," she said.
The club, which was founded in 1948, meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Meetings are held at the Banquet Hall at Hatters Park at 7 E. Hayestown Road, Danbury.
Competition meetings are held on the second Tuesdays of the month. Categories include open color, photojournalism, nature and black and white.
Program meetings, which are held on the fourth Tuesday, can include speakers such as club members, local professionals and photographers. Other times, there is a shooting night when members bring in their cameras to shoot models, still life items or other subjects.
The next meeting of the Candlewood Camera Club is Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. so members can socialize.
Anyone with any level of photography skill is welcome to join. The club currently is about 50 members strong. A single membership costs $45, a family membership is $75.
The camera club season runs from the end of August through the end of June. Anyone is invited to attend a meeting for free.