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Santa Rosa Photographic Society is now open for new members

Participation via Zoom with in person gatherings as well
Santa Rosa Photographic Society is now open for new members
Eureka Dunes, Death Valley, February 2020. This photo recently took 1st place in the Northern California’s Photo Clubs monochrome category. Gaidus credits his participation in the Santa Rosa Photographic Society for his win.Photo by Herb Gaidus

By Herb Gaidus

Under a dim amber light, a 10-year-old boy watches in wonder as a black and white image magically appears on the wet paper in a tray before him. He dreams of someday capturing iconic images of the National Parks of the west like his childhood hero, photographer Ansel Adams.

Thirty years later, the boy has two sons, 8 and 10, of his own. His dream of seeing the National Parks of the west is realized with 10 summers of travel cross country from NJ in a motorhome. However, his photographic aspirations shift from the iconic imagery of the west to family photos that document the boy’s growth and travels for a cross country travel blog.

At 50 years of age, the boys have moved out, and film is replaced by digital cameras and cellphones. Captured images have a 3 second half life on Facebook or other social media with only the superficial likes of well-intentioned friends as a measure of their worth.

When I turned 60, I moved to Oakmont in Santa Rosa, and shortly thereafter joined a photo club called the Santa Rosa Photographic Society (SRPS). A latent love of photography was rekindled. In 3 years, I captured 1000’s of images with the pent-up vengeance of the many years lost.

The image here recently took 1st place in the Northern California’s Photo Clubs monochrome category for the year 2021, and would never have been made without my participation in the SRPS.

I suggest that any photographer, from beginner to professional, with an interest in improving their skills would benefit from joining the SRPS.

Founded in 1986, it has been serving the needs of the photographer/ artists in Sonoma County for over 35 years.

For an annual membership fee of $75, you have full rights to all the services the club offers, but most importantly, access to and friendship with some of the most creative and talented photographers in the county.

The club offers monthly competitions where each member can submit up to 3 images in 3 of 5 categories (Pictorial, Monochrome, Nature, Travel, Journalism, and Creative). Members are grouped into 4 levels from Beginner to Master based upon ability and progression through categories. The monthly competitions are held via Zoom, around the 2nd Thursday of every month, where each image is critiqued by a different professional judge. Winning images are selected, scores kept, and rankings established for year end promotion to the next levels.

An associate membership fee of $65 allows those with less interest in direct competition to get constructive feedback on their image from a judge in a separate non-compete category.

On the 4th Thursday evening, Zoom presentations are given on various topics of interest to photographers.

The club also holds monthly field trips to photogenic locations throughout the bay area and beyond, with a separate Zoom review and critique of those images as well.

Finally, in-person social gatherings on a quarterly basis provide ample opportunity to learn from others in the club, rub shoulders, swap tales, and otherwise interact with members directly.

I invite anyone with a desire to improve their skills and perhaps rekindle a long-lost passion for photography to consider joining our organization.

Further information and a link to join the club can be found at https://santarosaphotographicsociety. org/.