Edmonds Photography Club starting to click

Noncompetitive group has monthly meet-ups around town
By Marie Haaland | Aug 10, 2017
Photo by: Marie Haaland Debbie Heyer, left, Diana Scheel and Dave Gallagher take photos of a husky at the Off Leash Area Edmonds dog park.

The Edmonds Photography Club describes itself as a fun, noncompetitive club for people of all ages, skill levels and camera types.

But you might just find yourself taking better pictures, anyway.

Professional photographer Diana Scheel started the club last year after leading a photography class at the second annual Creative Age Festival of Edmonds at the Senior Center. She said she saw a need.

“Most of the other photography clubs in Puget Sound are so competitive, and the people in my class in the Creative Age Festival, they’re mostly beginners and they’re intimidated by really good photographers,” Scheel said.

“This group, everyone wants to participate, everyone has a good time. They don’t feel bad posting a photograph that isn’t perfect because they know they’re going to get support.”

The club has a wide variety of ages and skill levels. Some members have point-and-shoot cameras, while others have professional-level ones equipped with several lenses.

“It’s just about having fun, getting out and meeting people who enjoy the same thing you do,” said Scheel, a former Edmonds resident who now lives in Mill Creek. “And we all learn from each other.”

The Edmonds Photography club has monthly meetings at various locations in Edmonds. Anyone is welcome to join – regardless of where they live – but the meet-ups are in Edmonds because the club is based there.

Scheel comes up with the meet-up locations and tries to give club members different topics to shoot each time.

A recent meet-up took place Aug. 3 at the Off-Leash Area Edmonds dog park south of Marina Beach. Club members were able to photograph the sunset, ocean and the many dogs. Ten to 15 people usually attend the meet-ups, Scheel said.

In addition to starting the club and teaching at the Creative Age Festival, Scheel runs Cat in the Moon Photography and has a booth at the Everett Farmer’s Market. It's where she met Dave Gallagher, who lives in Everett and has been a member of the club for several months.

“She had a booth there and saw my camera strap,” Gallagher said. “She invited me in, and I’ve been showing up.”

While he’s only been taking photography seriously since around January, Gallagher said he enjoys many aspects the club has the offer.

“It’s local, you meet people and learn,” he said.

The group has about 40 members, but Scheel is hoping that this number will continue to grow as the club becomes more well-known.

The August meet-up was Anaquita Rose’s first outing with the club. She has been involved with photography since 1997, after falling in love with the photographs she was capturing during a trip to Japan. Rose heard about the club through another member, and was intrigued by having such a variety of skill levels.

“There’s some experienced photographers, like super-experienced professionals, and then the amateurs, and I’m like, ‘Hey, everyone learns from each other, great.’ That’s pretty cool,” she said.

For Scheel, this is one of the focuses of the club; she wants everyone to feel included, no matter how much photography experience they have.

“If you want to be competitive, you can definitely do that somewhere else,” she said. “I just wanted something fun.”

The club is also active on Facebook, where Scheel suggests a weekly photo challenge for club members. The topics for past creative challenges include motion blur and repeating patterns. In the Facebook group, members post their photographs as well as discuss photography news and events in the area.

Even with the weekly challenges, there is no critiquing of work. The club is designed to be a fun environment for everyone to learn more about photography.

Another member of the club, Debbie Heyer, said that she has been doing photography forever, but met Diana and joined the club a few weeks ago.

“For me personally, photography can be very isolating,” Heyer said. “None of my longtime friends are photographers, so the friends that I have I’ve met through classes and whatnot, but for whatever reason, everyone kind of drifted apart, and I’m just missing that connection.”

She lives in Renton, but plans to keep coming to the meet-ups.

“Everyone seems really friendly, and I like that. I like the no-competition aspect,” she said. “I just want to be around people who are like-minded a couple times a month.”

The club can be found on Facebook under the name Edmonds Photography Club; information about monthly meet-ups and the weekly challenges can be found in the Facebook group.

 

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