As we reach the ‘third age’, many of us aspire to use all this prospective free time (ha!) to re-energize our hobbies and perhaps get a better grasp on some of the new technologies that face us. Photography very much falls into this scenario, with modern digital cameras and smartphones offering a much simpler route to high quality images than was possible in days of yore – whilst also setting their own challenges. Hence it is no surprise that U3As generally include a group whose aim is to encourage those who wish to improve their photography skills. From “How do I…?” to exploring the world beyond ‘intelligent auto’, there is likely to be someone within the group that can provide the answer.
We will almost certainly all have used cameras throughout our lives – and will have boxes and albums of photos and negatives to prove it. More recently, we will probably all have moved to the digital alternative and come to realize the whole new world that it brings. Being able to take a photo and see it straight away – and take it again if necessary – is now taken for granted. But there is so much more that the digital age has brought to the photographic options we have. Not only can we see the image when we take it on our camera, smartphone or tablet, we can re-take it to our heart’s desire until we get it right (if time permits), save it to a computer, show it on TV, wifi it anywhere in the world, make prints or create our own photobooks and personalized products. Wow!
The Ramsey and District U3A Digital Photography Group’s monthly meetings allow us to enjoy our cameras and develop our photographic interests and knowledge in a practical way, regardless of the type of camera, from point-and-shoot compacts to interchangeable lens cameras. As well as learning how to capitalize on our camera’s capabilities and take advantage of their continuous evolution, we encourage artistic and compositional development that takes photography beyond ‘happy snaps’. We also explore the downloading, editing and publishing possibilities for our masterpieces, which definitely expands our technology skills and increases our ‘street cred’ with the grandchildren! Hence our monthly meetings alternate between discussion sessions and practical photo shoots at nearby locations. As proof of our pudding we have put on displays at our U3A’s main meetings and events, participated in the U3A region’s Photography Study Days and we provide the covers for ‘Aspire’, the Ramsey and District U3A quarterly magazine.
Photography is subjective, with images appealing to individuals in very different ways. With this in mind, we haven’t gone down the ‘camera club regular competition’ route, preferring instead to view and comment on each other’s efforts, usually on a themed basis, examples being reflections, flora, close-up and motion. However, there is no doubt that we have learned from each other and will continue to do so – in a very convivial way! (Our photoshoots invariably involve food and drink!)
The group is currently fully subscribed, but if you would like to join the waiting list to become part of this friendly group of budding paparazzi, please contact the group leader. On a more casual note, if any member of Ramsey & District U3A has a question about anything to do with photography that you think we may be able to help with, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.
|January 4th||Lens choice||Select covers for next 3 Aspires (this year’s theme: eclectic)|
|February 1st||Anglesey Abbey|
|March 1st||Smartphone photography|
|April 5th||Lady’s Wood|
|May 3rd||Johnson’s farm|
|June 7th||Gooderston Water Gardens|
|July 5th||Wicken Fen|
|September 6th||Fineshade Wood|
|October 4nd||Foxton Locks|
|November 1st||Composition||Select next Aspire covers|
|December 6th||‘Reflections’ Annual Project Review||Followed by Xmas Lunch|