Meeting in person has been virtually impossible but at least one Vernon social club has thrived through COVID-19.
The Vernon Photography Club has found a way to continue to meet while still working within the health guidelines; allowing club members to enjoy the full range of activities, and most of them without leaving home.
“The club has adapted to the limitations of COVID and has moved our meetings online using the Zoom software; the club is active and growing,” said club educational organizer David Guscott.
“Education and learning new photographic skills are a major component of the club. We have a reputation as a club with a strong emphasis on helping to raise the photographic skills of all its members and club members have a wide variety of experience levels from absolute beginners to advanced amateurs to professionals.”
The club has maintained all of its activities of education, outings, and image evaluation/suggestions throughout the COVID experience.
For the coming year, the club will continue to use the Zoom platform, however, they are changing the approach to the monthly education meetings this year.
“While we normally hear presentations mainly from Vernon area photographers, this year we will reach further away for some of our speakers,” said Guscott. “Taking full advantage of the Zoom platform allows the club to get many out of town and province speakers. Some are from other parts of BC and North America and there will even be an expert photographer/speaker who will join us from Europe.”
Outings have always been an important aspect of the club but with COVID they also provide a much-needed social interaction among members.
“Photographic outings have become a significant unifying element to the Vernon Photography Club since the appearance of the current pandemic,” said outings organizer Glennis O’Neill.
“Monthly outings are being planned for the 2020-2021 club year. While many locations are closed to us, we are finding others that will meet our needs and provide us with some fantastic shots. We want to continue encouraging the photographic growth of our members and to get people out and staying healthy. By doing this our club will remain strong.”
While respecting COVID-distancing guidelines, some of the outings that the club has gone on after the pandemic hit include a visit to Revelstoke to photograph the wildflowers and the many waterfalls in the area, an outing to the Aberdeen Columns above Lavington, a night outing to the Shuswap River to photograph the Milky Way, a bike ride/photo tour around Wood Lake, a trip to Salmon Arm bird sanctuary and wharf.
The Vernon Photography Club meets online twice a month. The second Thursday of each month is an image evaluation night where members send in images on set subjects as well as an open category. Experienced evaluators gently critique the members’ images by offering encouragement and when appropriate, suggestions on how the image might be made stronger. The Zoom platform is perfectly suited for this.
The fourth Thursday of each month is an education evening where experienced speakers are brought in to give a presentation on a particular topic or theme. There is normally at least one outing per month. The club also has an active and friendly members-only Facebook page for sharing images and general photo-related discussion.
“Being Zoom-focused this year also provides an opportunity for folks to join and participate from anywhere, and with all of the activities, said club president Garrett Brisdon. “The $45 annual membership fee provides a lot of value.
“We are a very friendly and sociable club and welcome anyone with an interest in photography or in learning photography, there is something for everyone, from beginners in photography to photographers with top quality technical and artistic accomplishment, including professionally published images and winning national photographic competitions.”
The club entry won the gold medal in the prestigious North Shore Photographic Challenge in 2018 and took second place in 2020. Many individual members have also done very well in competition.
To join, visit https://www.vernoncameraclub.com for more info or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the club’s Facebook page, Vernon Photography Club.