President’s Message, September 2021 

Welcome to the new camera club year!  As with every organization, we have been through a very unusual and challenging period.  Our last in person meeting was 18 months ago and you know, it’s difficult for a club like ours to flourish at a time when we cannot get together in a real meeting, when we cannot exchange off the cuff ideas or have impromptu discussions amongst ourselves.  New members cannot actually meet anyone in the club and it has been very difficult to recruit them in that scenario.

Our club has been active, however.  We have held the full schedule of competitions and programs - albeit all of them on Zoom and we have even had the opportunity for our members to participate in an intensive compositing class taught by Charlie Ginsburgh.

Still, it’s not been the same and I’m really hoping that we will be able to get back together again, in person, by January of next year.  Our program for the year has been designed with that goal in mind and there are a lot of exciting programs aimed at bringing us all together again - more about that later.

We have lost a few members over the last year, Richard Jennings and Bill Watson for example have moved away.  They will all be missed.  So our membership is down a little - I believe we’re now at 64 members - and the Board has decided to increase recruitment activities.  I invite you to look at the display cases in Cribari which show not only some wonderful winning images, but also a great recruitment poster designed by Gordon Jalkemo.  I’m sure you’ve also read the informative articles in the Villager about our activities - thanks to Pam Pierson for this and for the forthcoming articles over the months ahead.  I’d also ask that all the continuing members visit with their friends and neighbors in the Villages,  talk to them about the camera club and encourage them to participate in a meeting to see what they think of it..

Of all the clubs at the Villages, the Camera Club is unique.  Why?  Because these days everyone is a photographer!  We all carry smart phones with us and their cameras are amazingly capable.  It is certainly true that images taken by smartphones can and do win competitions at all levels.  So given this, the Board has made the conscious decision to refine our mission and to re-focus our attention on the needs of all who take pictures.  We want to offer programs and experiences that will enable ALL OF US to improve as photographers.  This applies whether you simply use an iphone to take pictures of your grandchildren - but you want to take better pictures OR whether you are a master photographer who wants to improve their work.  That’s the great beauty of photography - there’s always room for improvement, there are always new things to learn and much of it doesn’t have anything to do with the equipment you use.

So what do we have lined up for the year?  Let me start by thanking the program committee -- Ernie Murata, Mary Miller, Donna Ostheimer, Richard James, Kathy Baechle and Linda Koski who have been working over the summer to line up our events for the coming year - they have done a great job!

We start on October 25th at 7pm with a Zoom program entitled “Landscape Photography - How we mess it up and how to fix it”  This will be presented by Mark Grzan, a teacher at Gavilan College and a good friend of our club.  Mark is a very entertaining and informative teacher.  He has given lots of talks to our club over the years and has taught composition and post processing classes to several members of our club.  We are hoping also to persuade him to lead some photoshoots for us this year - once we finally get past Covid.

Our second program is on November 15th at 7pm - again via Zoom.  The title is “Secrets of Travel Photography” and it will be given by David Coleman.  David is a renowned photographer based in the Bay Area who leads photography trips to Mexico and holds popular webinars on many aspects of photography.  He is a consummate visual storyteller and he will show us how to create stories with our travel pictures rather than just take tourist snapshots.

There is no program in December because of the holidays, but we resume on January 17th at 7pm with a presentation called “Smart Phoneography - getting Creative”  The details of this one are being finalized but as the title suggests, it will be all about using your smartphone in new and creative ways.

In February the program is at 7pm on Feb 21st.  It will be “in person” and it will be FUN!!  My wife and I will be leading a workshop on “LightPainting”.  It will be in a big indoor space, we’ll turn out the lights and we’ll show you how to capture beautiful colored patterns by simply taking long exposures of moving lights.  You can use any sort of camera for this - even a smart phone, and no prior knowledge or experience is required.  Folks will be on hand to help you with camera or phone settings.  You’ll need a tripod - but we’ll have several on hand for you to borrow.

On March 21st at 7pm we’ll have another Zoom presentation.  It will be on “Photographing California” and presented by Alyce Bender.  Alyce describes herself as “An outgoing, outdoorsy adventuress who specializes in solo adventures much of the time”  She is a wonderful nature photographer, a Tamron Pro Ambassador and has exhibited her work at galleries all over the world.  Just take a look at her website ( ) to see her breathtaking images.

In April our program is at 7pm on April 25th.  The subject is “Macro Photography”  and it is presented by our very own Richard James, very gifted Master Photographer and member of the San Jose Arts Commission.  We have all admired the beautiful detailed macro shots that Richard puts into competition and he will tell us how he does it!

There will be a final program in May - but negotiations are still ongoing!!

Peter Nicholls,
President, Villages Camera Club 

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