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OLLI Photo Club – Monthly Themes

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OPC Themes for 2018

Thematic collections of photographs can help keep conversations about the artwork “on topic.” The collection may then elicit different impressions, identifications of technique, and artistic assessments from each viewer of each photograph. Sharing those impressions, techniques and assessments can be a first step toward improving our technical and artistic skills, as well as helping develop the “art of seeing,” as Freeman Patterson would say.


January            Vintage Items. Do you have an object at home that you want to photograph to save the memory before you downsize? Ever been to an outdoor antique market and wish you could buy that antique thingamajig – photograph it instead to preserve the memory.

February          Toys: Show Us Your Inner Child. You’re looking for some fun photography ideas and your toys are just looking for some fun. Give your toys the life they deserve. Put them in the scenes they were meant to be in. Tractors and gorillas don’t belong on a shelf. Dolls should have a tea party. Look at your stuff and determine where each item is supposed to be. Then, go to that place and give your stuff what is wants: a life far removed from the humdrum life of shelfdom.

March               Vintage Signs. Do some research and see how many old signs from decades past remain. Try capturing unique or interesting signs of any age.

April                  Curves. Curves make an image easy to look at by leading the viewer’s eye through the frame. It is almost as if the photographer takes the viewer by the hand, draws them into the landscape, and points the way. The viewer’s eyes are compelled to follow the line.
Curves are graceful, rhythmic, and dynamic and add energy to an image. They can separate or connect elements or simply offer a balance.

C curves, or semi-circles, are probably the easiest curves to find since almost any curves qualify. They can be anything from the gentle curve of a seashore, lakeshore, a rounded rock, or grasses blowing in the wind.

May                   Man-altered Landscapes. Rather than making an image of a traditional landscape, look for a shot that shows how man has altered his surroundings. Is it a canyon of skyscrapers, footprints in the sand, a fence?

June                  Animals. If you have gone on a safari great – you probably have some fantastic wild animal images. Please don’t feel like you have to go on safari to capture a great animal image. Your pet might prove the perfect subject. Small animals or birds in the park are equally great. Focus on the eyes, get the fur sharp. Another great macro opportunity.

July                   I Love a Parade. Get physically close to the people you are photographing. Let them see that you are taking their photo which allows interaction with them if only by eye contact. They know they’re on display in the parade and expect to have their photo taken many times. If you are otherwise hesitant or tentative photographing people this is a perfect opportunity because you have a whole stream of willing subjects literally parading in front of you (sorry – pun intended). Sometimes you’ll get a great reaction when they see your camera. Parades can be visually stimulating, and overly busy so getting in closer will help solve those problems. Pick one person, or one part of a float and get closer.

August              No Meeting Scheduled.

September       Weather. Capture an identifiable facet of weather (storm clouds, rain, snow, use your imagination.)

October            Fall Colors. Fall is a photographer’s dream season. It’s the time when nature explodes with color and misty mornings are whispering “Hey look at me, wouldn’t I make just the most amazing photograph?” Go our early enough to catch dew on a colored leaf or a misty reflection.ind of weather there is, and where the sun positioned in the frame.

November        Have Fun with It. When you are photographing a mundane object, you don’t need to worry about it growing tired of posing, so have fun with this project and take as much time as you need. Try different angles, lie on the ground, climb up on something, do whatever it takes to snap pictures that transform ordinary into extraordinary. For more inspiration, pay attention to other photographers when you are out at a popular attraction and observe their positions. Try mimicking their positions to see what they are seeing because even if you look odd, the great photographs you take are worth it.

December        Open.



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