Barbara Wilder and Bob Garner
As our speaker for the Photography Club’s general meeting in July, Bob Garner led us along his path beginning as an amateur picture taker, to where he is now, a competent and thoughtful photographer. What was unusual in his presentation was that he didn’t mind showing some of his early work, which to our more critical eyes had much room for improvement. As he said, he wanted to show his growth as a photographer over the years.
Bob has been taking pictures for the last 40 years, thirty-eight of which have been strictly point and shoot (set the camera on full auto, point at the subject, and push the button). Since moving to SaddleBrooke and joining the photo club environment, he now uses a full-frame camera with interchangeable lenses, has learned to shoot in the raw format which provides better picture detail, and then post processes his images. But most importantly, he has engaged with experienced photographer mentors who have brought him from a beginner, to what he claims is an intermediate photographer.
In the late ’70s Bob was working in Japan where he bought his first SLR camera (Canon A-1 film camera) and started taking pictures. Caring for and storing a multitude of Kodachrome slides became very tiresome, plus having the inconvenience of setting up a projector and screen any time he wanted to show his work.
Then came digital photography and after spending weeks digitizing 3,000 slides, he was ready to enter the digital world, including the use of more modern camera equipment and post processing software.
Bob’s interests to date have been mainly in landscape and travel photography. However, he has started to branch out into wildlife photography (birds, wild horses) as well as night photography (stars, Milky Way) and macro or close-up photography. His post processing to date has been mainly with Lightroom, but he has recently branched into Photoshop for more advanced work. He said that it seems there are always new tools and equipment which one can use to help improve their photo techniques.
Bob said that one very broad area where he needs improvement is in photo composition. It is one thing to point a camera and take a picture, but it is quite another thing to compose a picture which tells the viewer a story. You must choose your subject (moving or stationary), foreground and background, lighting, depth of field, color or black and white and a myriad of other considerations.
This can separate a great picture from simply a good one. Bob just likes photography and has found a wealth of photographic knowledge and support in SaddleBrooke. He stresses that with enough interest and help from the photography community anyone can improve their photographic skills.
He is also a very valuable member of our club since he has taken on the responsibility of being the Treasurer. Bob comes to most of the “Open Studio” mornings to aid as a mentor and help answer photography questions. We meet in the Agate Room in the Arts Complex at MountainView in SaddleBrooke TWO from 9:00 a.m.-noon on Wednesday and Friday every week.