Retirement took a bit of getting used for Ann Westling, who has found her post-career bliss as a volunteer and member of The Nevada County Camera Club. After taking a photography class from area professional David Wong in hopes of learning how to properly use a newly purchased digital camera, Wong introduced her to the club.
“He said I might gain some insight and additional information on how to take better photos so I started going to meetings and I was immediately enthralled with the friendliness of the people and how open they were to sharing information on how to improve my photography,” said Westling. She soon found herself an active member and volunteer.
A piece of her work is among some 40 photographs on display now through April 16 in the Granucci Gallery at the Center for the Arts located at 314 W. Main Street in Grass Valley. The Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and when live events are taking place. Admission to the exhibit is free.
The opening night reception took place last Friday and was well attended according to Westling. “It was a wonderful turnout. It wouldn’t surprise me if we had over 100 people that visited the show (throughout the evening). It was so much fun.” Westling added that the Granucci Gallery has a beautiful display and reception area.
The Nevada County Camera Club
The Nevada County Camera Club was formed sometime in the late 1970s with a small membership of about 30 participants throughout the 1980s. More recently the club’s membership has fluctuated from 100-150 participants who meet monthly to hear from speakers and receive critiques of their photographs. The more she learned the more she became fascinated with the process, Westling said, “It’s just one of those things that gets in your blood, and you want to learn more, and more, and practice and try this and experiment. The Camera Club provides so many different opportunities to help you learn.” She added tools and techniques are shared at each meeting along with ideas from members on how one might improve a particular shot.
The Center of the Arts display celebrates Photography Month, which actually takes place in April. Club members submitted photos on a variety of themes with uniform framing as the only requirement. “It makes for a visually appealing, flowing, presentation,” Westling said. “Because of that concept, there is a unity and flow to the exhibit, and we are all pleased. It’s very professionally done.”
Giving credit to Ellen Davis, who coordinated the display, Westling added, “It’s a beautifully laid out exhibit. She did a wonderful job with her vision. Camera Club members were invited to submit what they felt was their best photo, so we have a lot of variety – there’s color, there’s black and white, there’s the gritty, there’s the gorgeous, portraits, landscapes, abstracts — so lots of variety in the photography.”
Westling invites anyone who likes photography, who would like to see a wide variety of different shots and what members of the Nevada County Camera Club can do, to take the time to visit the exhibit.
Another Nevada County Camera Club exhibition will open in April. “Gold Country on Camera – A Photo Challenge” will be on display at the Courtyard Suites in Grass Valley in April also to celebrate Photography Month. This exhibit includes photographs of western Nevada County that were taken during one week in February. “The purpose of this annual photo challenge is to encourage club members to expand the creativity in their photography, post processing and presentation of their artwork,” stated Kathy Triolo in a submitted press release. Courtyard Suites is located at 210 N Auburn Street in Grass Valley. The exhibition is opened during their business hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. from April 2 through April 30. An opening reception will be held Saturday, April 2, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The purpose of the exhibitions is to not only promote the Nevada County Camera Club but to also give members an opportunity to know what it feels like to have their work on public display, many for the first time.
“First, we love photography and photographs and are excited to share our best photos with the community. We wanted to show the diversity in the art of photography as well as highlight the skills and abilities of club members,” Westling said. “In addition, we hope to highlight the importance of photography in our lives as well as the arts and creative culture of Nevada County. And lastly, we wanted to give club members the opportunity to exhibit their work. To decide on a photo, have it printed and framed and see it exhibited is a learning process. For many of us, this is the first time we have been able to participate in such a formal exhibit. We hope the community will enjoy the effort.”
Westling said the club is a safe place to meet others with a common interest. She said she has to commend club members for their interest in helping all levels of photographers improve. “It’s truly phenomenal how gracious, kind, and generous the photographers are to share how they caught that shot, how they use Photoshop to improve it or not, how they decided they didn’t want to use Photoshop, etc. It’s very interesting and anyone who has an interest in photography, I would highly recommend the Nevada County Camera Club.”
All levels of experience are welcome. Meetings are held on the fourth Monday evening of each month and consist of speakers and then a critique of member photos to provide constructive suggestions as to how participants can improve their photographs. Meetings are currently on Zoom, but club members hope to be getting back to face-to-face later this spring. Dues are $35 per year. Prospective members are encouraged to attend a meeting (at no cost) to see if it is something they wish to pursue.
The club also hosts several field trips throughout the year. Westling said they have four planned for the month of April. For more information on the photo walks, contact Kathy Triolo by emailing [email protected]. For more information on Photography Month and the Nevada County Camera Club, visit http://www.nccameraclub.com.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at [email protected]