SaddleBrooke Photography Club Photographer of the Year

Barb Wilder and Bill Grinonneau

Our speaker for the October general meeting used an unusual format. Another member, Dee English, interviewed him and asked questions about his photographic journey and which style of photography he preferred. This question and answer format took place while a slide show of his images appeared on the screen.

Bill attended the University of Toledo and is the recipient of both a B.S. and M.S. in chemistry. His interest in photography started while working in Toledo, Ohio at a packaging company. There was an in-house photo studio there to do publicity for the company products. He got to know the official photographer who encouraged him to try taking pictures and gave him tips and shared knowledge of the craft. Later Bill took on jobs for the Toledo School of Nursing and the Notre Dame Academy, which caused him to learn how to develop his own film. His first camera was a Nikon film camera delivered by a Greyhound bus, which was an exciting day in his life.

When digital cameras were available, it was not a hard transition, much cheaper than film and with more immediate results. But, he said, “Using film makes you think before taking your shot. Maybe digital makes you a little lazy about stopping to compose the best shot first.”

His favorite photos are those of people showing some emotion, but he says you always need good light and color exposure. He admires the Old Masters like Ansel Adams, who envisioned what he wanted from a scene before taking the picture. Adams was a master in “photoshopping” in the darkroom. Also, he likes Margaret Bourke-White (the first female Life Magazine and WWII photographer), W. Eugene Smith who did a Country Doctor series, and Joe McNally the father of off-camera flash.

His advice: Study photographs and fine art in galleries and museums. Notice the color and composition. Don’t copy. Shoot what interests you. Practice what you learn. Never think you are too old to learn new techniques. We’re a work in progress.

Bill said, “My favorite thing is something I haven’t done before.” He would like to someday photograph “a day in the life of someone,” and show the human-interest story of that person. He said he is not very technical and uses a free software program from Google called “Snapseed” to lightly edit his work. Plans in the future are to learn Photoshop and Lightroom.

Bill Grinonneau’s images portray geometric, nostalgic, romantic images of everyday objects captured in meditative and sometimes humorous ways. His interests are lines, shapes and forms illustrating the balance of nature and its surroundings. Presently, Bill’s works are focused on vibrant color. He describes himself as outgoing but reserved. In the Photography Club we have enjoyed his creative photographs, sometimes of everyday objects, but with a twist.

The club has an open studio from 9:00 a.m.-noon in the Agate Room at SaddleBrooke TWO every Wednesday and Friday. Please stop in for a visit.