Last year changed everything—even photography.

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on January 27, 2021 with No Comments

Steven Bensing of the Lake County Parks Photography Club captured this Christmas scene at the Deep River Park gazebo.

Since it’s invention in the 1830s. photography has always been changing quickly. What started as an incredibly complicated process, by just the late 1800s, became more accessible to the average person through Kodak and the rise of snapshot photography. The art continued to grow—flash photography, color photos, Polaroids, and now the digital age of photography and photo editing.

The same remained true in 2020, especially so for the Lake County Parks Photo Club. This group of photo-enthusiasts really thought outsidethe box to keep meeting throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nancy deCourcey of the Lake County Parks Photography Club shot this candle as part of an outdoor scene.

Before the pandemic changed everything, the club met once a month at the visitor center at Deep River County Park in addition to gathering for a couple photoshoots throughout the year. The small park building was not a realistic meeting choice once the pandemic hit, and while the April and May meetings were cancelled, the club did not want to call it quits or move online. Where to instead? Outside. The club members started meeting monthly outside at the picnic shelters at Deep River County Park.

Not only was the move outside a change of the physical space, but it also forced some changes to the way meetings were run. Rather than use a projector to share and display images, photos now had to be printed in advance to share with the group. Meeting times were now dictated by when the sun would set. And when the weather changed and meeting outdoors became too cold, a new location had to be found once again.

This time, the club moved indoors to the banquet hall at Turkey Creek Golf Course. Another Lake County Park facility, this space had room for up to 20, allowing the photo club plenty of space to spread out and maintain distance.

While unexpected, the changes were remarkably refreshing. As everyone spent more time indoors due to the pandemic, this monthly gathering outside at the park was a happy respite. The new location often inspired some meetings to end with an impromptu photoshoot. While meeting outdoors may not be required in 2021 and beyond, it was enjoyable enough that the club plans to continue to host the occasional meeting outside. Stepping away from the projector and viewing physical copies of printed photos really allowed members to see and appreciate one another’s works. While convenient, the projector was liable to distort a photos color or quality.

Discussion is, and will continue to be, a cornerstone feature of Lake County Parks’ Photo Club. It’s great to gather with like-minded people, to learn new techniques, and receive constructive criticism on your craft. However, the club participated in more outdoor photoshoots in 2020 than ever before. Christmas parties were replaced with a Christmas photoshoot of Deep River’s holiday decorations. And gathering to actually shoot together was helpful in a way much different than the typical evening discussion.

As photography continues to change with the times, photo clubs provide a unique opportunity for photographers new and old to work through these shifts together with one another. The Lake County Parks Club was started in 1994 by park staff and has seen many changes in the photography world. In the first 25 years of the club there were advances in cameras, the introduction of new editing programs, and huge changes to even in the printing process itself. As we move forward into the next 25 years, this club’s changes due to the pandemic will be looked at as just another shift to the ever-changing world that is photography.

The Lake County Parks Photography Club provides a forum for people of all skill levels with an interest in photography to share their photos, ideas, and techniques. The club is free to join and is always accepting new members. The club meets the second Wednesday of every month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the new location, Turkey Creek Golf Course, 6400 Harrison St., Merrillville.

Each month brings a different discussion topic and members are encouraged to bring in photos to share with the group. Photos can be printed or on a flash drive. Members also meet for group photo shoots at locations such as Deep River County Park, Dunes National Park and Hobart lakefront and will coordinate photo exhibits throughout Lake County. Those dates/locations are to be announced. For additional information about the club or upcoming photo shoots, visit lakecountyparks.com or call 219-947-1958.

 

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Steven Bensing of the Lake County Parks Photography Club captured this Christmas scene at the Deep River Park gazebo.

 

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Nancy deCourcey of the Lake County Parks Photography Club shot this candle as part of an outdoor scene.

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