Walking in the door for the first time

I have always been good at taking photos (or at least I think so as do friends and family) but only ever used the camera on my phone. Then for Christmas just gone I asked Father Christmas if I promised to be a good girl could I maybe get a camera and so I got my very first DSLR camera.

At the end of January I enrolled on to a six week beginners photography course at Ely College where I had a great teacher Laura Galbraith. I thoroughly enjoyed my course and have not stopped clicking away with my camera ever since. On one of our course nights we went with Laura and sat in on a club night at Ely Photographic Club where they were having guest speakers in to show and talk about their work. It was very interesting and everyone we met that night made all of us beginners feel very welcome. I knew then that I would be joining the club at the end of my course.

The beginners course finished at the end of March and for one reason or another I was not able to make it to a club night until Wednesday the 24th of April. That night I walked in the door on my own which can sometimes be a bit daunting as a lot of people have these preconceived ideas that clubs can be quite clicky and this makes it hard for people to take that initial step of joining.

Well, I can assure anyone who might be thinking of joining Ely Photographic Club that with us (listen to me – I have only been two nights and already I am part of the “us”) this is most certainly not the case. On the 24th of April there was a PDI Panel Competition being held and although I myself did not have any images entered oh my goodness as a person relatively new to this photography malarky I found it so so interesting just listening to the judge give her feedback on all the individual images as well as the panels as a whole.

I came away that night with four pages of notes and I was buzzing with ideas I myself wanted to try having seen the club members photographs.

On Wednesday night (the 8th of May) I then went along to the Members Choice evening. This is where all members are welcome to and in fact encouraged to (whether they be longstanding members or people like me who have literally just walked in the door) to enter their images. We had three different categories – PDI, Colour Print  and Mono Print. I submitted an image for all three categories.

Each member then got a voting card and we got to vote for our three favourite PDI images, our three favourite Colour Print images and our three favourite Mono Print images. We just wondered around the room enjoying a cup of tea or coffee looking at all the images being displayed and chatting to each other as we did this.

Votes were cast and counted and the winners were announced. I know people always say “it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part” (when really they don’t believe a word of it as it’s coming out of their mouths ) I however really do mean it when I say that this is how I felt about Wednesday night. I left home telling my son that I was just happy to have images I felt to be good enough to even enter into the competition – I never thought for one minute I’d be telling him the following morning that I actually won anything.

So on Wednesday night I sat there and the results of the PDI category were called out first. The 3rd place winner was announced, then the 2nd place winner and then the title of the winner was called out and when Kevin said the winning title is “A Time for Reflection” my first thought was “oh that’s funny someone else entered a photo and gave it the same title as I gave mine”. It never dawned on me for one second that the image Kevin was referring to WAS mine. I was so absolutely delighted. There was no doubt in the mind of a single person sat in that room as to how over the moon I was and how happy.

My first EVER photography competition that I entered and not only did I get a placing (which in itself would have been amazing) but to actually win it well I just cannot convey to people how it has made me feel. I will be the big 40 over the bank holiday weekend at the end of this month and this is now up there with one of my best achievements to have reached before the big day. On Wednesday night I was given a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates to take home and at the AGM meeting next week I will be awarded with a trophy. Can you believe it? I can’t.

On Wednesday night as we all chatted to each other I met a lady who I got on particularly well with. She and I swapped phone numbers and we are arranging a day out together to take photos and learn from each other.

As a club we organise hands on workshop trips out to suit club members, we have guest speakers in to talk through many different and varied topics, we have the competitions which as I have just proven are not just for the longstanding members all members get equal opportunity to take part.

The club are very open to new ideas from members (new and old). I am hoping to join the club’s committee next week at the AGM this is how welcomed I have been made to feel.
We have a Facebook page which will be getting lots of updates after next week.

For more information please go to www.elyphotographicclub.co.uk

From Helena Mueller of Ely Photographic Club

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