Whanganui Camera Club members' annual exhibition is on from this Saturday at the Community Arts Centre.
"It's our main drawcard, an important part of the club's tradition," says Ken Graham, club president.
This year's exhibition has attracted nearly 60 entries, which is more than last year's.
"Even more awesome images to look at," says Ken.
"From a wide variety of club members," adds past president Jacqui McGowan. "There's been no limiting to any particular grade of photographer."
She says many newer members are taking part.
Photographers are either A or B grade, according to experience, ability or personal choice. The grading assists judges to make fair assessments during club competitions. Judges come from all over New Zealand and are mostly members of the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ).
"We're lucky in that we have a lot of members who have been on judging courses as well," says Ken.
"We also use people from the community, who may not even be photographers," says Jacqui. "Such as portrait painters: they can give us a different perspective. We'll often pair them with a Camera Club member for a photographic point of view and they give the artistic point of view. But Camera Club is not just about competitions and that's one of the things about the exhibition - some people come to Camera Club and never compete, but by entering the exhibition they're getting that experience of producing a good photo, framing it, showing it in public, working with other people, seeing what an exhibition is all about."
Jacqui says they attend to learn, to socialise and to share their enthusiasm.
The club also has outings. Jacqui and committee member Heather Mackenzie are both keen instigators of such photographic trips, says Ken.
Members use a variety of cameras and there is much friendly banter and social competition between users of Canon and Nikon.
Heather put in a plug for Olympus, "the better brand".
"It's the image that counts," says Jacqui, "It's like writing a prize-winning book - you can use the stub of a pencil or a $5000 computer."
There are more technically-minded members who keep a record of shutter and film speeds, F-stops, focal lengths etc.
"It is easier to be more creative and take photographs in difficult circumstances with a good camera," says Jacqui. For example, the camera in an iPhone 7 plus will take a very good picture if conditions are right or if you're an expert.
"A good photograph has to move you," says Ken. "Landscape, portrait, street photography, whatever. You can be a little forgiving on the technical side if the emotion is strong enough. But if the emotion is not strong enough you can perhaps rely on the technical side to deliver it as a good photograph."
It was the late American photographer Ansel Adams who said, "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept."
"The beauty of the club is there are so many people with so much knowledge in so many different areas," says Jacqui.
Members also tend to have their own signature styles, many of which are displayed in the annual exhibition.
"We have quite a mixed bag," says Ken.
The club runs training sessions, he says.
"We have Shutter Bugs just before the meetings, so if people aren't entirely familiar with equipment, Jacqui takes sessions in an informal get together."
Because of the wide variety of photographic equipment sessions have to be one-on-one.
"People have to work it out for themselves," says Jacqui. "Often it's just giving them the vocabulary so they know what to Google."
Members are encouraged to view the work of other photographers to gain appreciation of different styles and learn what makes a good photograph as opposed to a snapshot.
The Camera Club Members' Annual Exhibition is at Community Arts Centre, 19 Taupo Quay, from October 7-15.
Individual members are also showing their work at various venues.
Sharad Dohare shows his photographs collaboratively with his son's pencil portraits in Diversity at Fine Arts Gallery, 17 Taupo Quay.
Ken has an exhibition upstairs at Element Café over the next two weekends (10am-2pm daily). It's called Japan, consisting of photographs he took during a recent eight-day trip.
The Camera Club recently purchased the Gonville Women's Bowling Club in Handley St as a permanent, dedicated facility. The club meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 7.30pm. Prospective members are invited to turn up early. There will also be club members at the exhibition to answer questions.