Nikon Americas USA

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Ami Vitale

Photographer and multimedia journalist Ami Vitale is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about her photography.

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Vincent Versace

Fine art, commercial and nature photographer Vincent Versace is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his…

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Corey Rich

Adventure photographer Corey Rich is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography and multimedia work.

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Cat Photography: Capturing Cats in Pictures

With a little patience you too can make great pictures of your pet cat or…

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Photo Tips from Across America

Nikon training specialist, Kristine Bosworth, covers the country and sends photography…

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How to Take Pictures of Water Using Long Exposures

Getting that "silky" look when photographing moving water isn't…

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Joe McNally

Commercial photojournalist Joe McNally is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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Shooting Family Interview Movies with a DSLR

Adding interviews to family movies and videos

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What is Your KeyMission?

Elijah Wood on the KeyMission 360

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Photographing it All

With experience as a newspaper photographer and close to 20 years with Sports Illustrated, George…

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Bambi Cantrell

Wedding and portrait photographer Bambi Cantrell is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about her photography.

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James Balog

Conservation photographer James Balog is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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What is your KeyMission?

Alan Thornton on wildland firefighting and the KeyMission 360

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Building Your Creative Team

Dixie Dixon on building a creative support team

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Zoo and Wildlife Photography

Spend a day at the zoo with wildlife photographer Julie Larsen Maher

Beginner

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You’re the Guest: How to Capture Unique Photos at a Wedding

Abby Liga discusses getting great photos when you're a…

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Jody Dole Photographs Objects that Catch His Eye

See how commercial shooter Jody Dole uses anything and everything to…

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Lessons from a Travel Photographer

Attention to details has helped make Rosanne Pennella the successful travel…

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Photographing People Using Wireless Lighting Techniques

Tom Bol's images inspire new ways of taking a portrait photo.

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Tips from a Model Turned Professional Photographer

See how photographer Nancy Brown turned a 20-year modeling career in…

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Thomas D. Mangelsen Understands the Behavior of the Animals he Photographs

Photography is about much more than taking…

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Reaction Time

John Solano says that for him, photographing weddings is a lot like photographing sports.

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Pete Turner: Master of Color Photography

Pete Turner is a master of color, but he's also a master of content and mystery.

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Bill Coleman: A Long Term Photo Project

Whether shooting the Amish of Pennsylvania or the landscapes of Maine or Italy,…

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How a Sports Illustrated Photographer Shoots his Kid's Games

What can a Sports Illustrated photographer teach you about…

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Shooting the Effects of Global Warming

Gary Braasch follows the evidence; the power of photography does the rest.

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John Shaw: A Photographer's Vision Simplified

See how one of the foremost nature, outdoor and natural history…

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20 Tips for Great Graduation Day Photos

Tips for taking great photos of your young graduate on their big day

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The Stories that Can be Told Through Photography

Commercial photographer Arthur Meyerson likes his photos to say the most…

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The Power and Beauty of Bears and Other Animals

When the animal in the viewfinder is a bear, this photographer knows…

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Think About Your Subject Before You Begin Shooting

Find out why thinking about your photos can be as important as taking…

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Rich Clarkson: The Right Place at the Right Time to Get the Shots

Rich Clarkson, an acclaimed photojournalist, who…

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Fast Frames: A Quick Guide to Bird Photography

Matt McRay discusses how to get birds to visit your yard so you can…

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Taking Better Photographs on the Water

Harbors, bays, oceans and rivers all have one thing in common—interesting and…

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Lighting Techniques: Light Painting

Using the technique of light painting allows you to add depth and dimension to your…

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Partner Up for Better Pictures

Learn how you can benefit from taking photos with a friend

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Group Effort: Growing Your Skills in a Camera Club

The benefits of belonging to a camera club are well known to club members, and easily understood by non-members. A camera club provides the opportunity to pursue your passion for photography in the company of like-minded folks. You can share photo tips and techniques to advance your skills and profit from the evaluations and critiques of peers and professionals. There are also practical matters as well as creative ones, as members routinely share their experiences with, and opinions of, imaging hardware and software.

We were thinking of camera clubs recently because we heard that the Huntington Camera Club on Long Island, New York, celebrated the 25th anniversary of a program that sets them a bit apart. It's their annual High School Competition, in which students at Long Island high schools are invited to compete for prizes and, perhaps more important, achieve recognition for their imaging skills and vision.

We talked with Kevin Armstrong, a club member since 1989, who guesses he's held every executive and board position, including two stints as president, about the contest and the club's ongoing vitality.

"We work the contest through the schools' teachers," Kevin says, "and we provide the teachers with the contest's categories so that they can work those categories into their photo courses if they wish."

Past categories have included "patterns," "old and new," "portraits," "landscapes" and "humor." The 2015 contest marked the 25th anniversary with a reprise of the first contest's categories: "wheels," "portraits" and the "open" category that's offered each year. The club also added a new category: black-and-white. "A lot of the teachers wanted that category," Kevin says, "in order to separate black-and-white from the many manipulated creations that are submitted." The first place winner in each category received a camera donated by Nikon, who sponsors the contest.

Digital stoked interest in camera clubs in general…more people got into photography once it went digital because they could control the whole process.

The Huntington Camera Club is the largest on Long Island, with 120 members ("and growing," Kevin adds) and a full slate of activities.

The club's year of activities matches the school year and features a monthly competition among members and weekly meetings that provide a healthy educational component. "Our competitions are really about the opinions of peers, and the opportunity to learn from them," Kevin says. "We also have outside speakers come in, including professional photographers, but the club has such a wealth of talent among the membership that we often have members presenting programs on areas they specialize in."

There's also an informal club within the club. "The Sunday Shooters Club meets most Sunday mornings at a local diner," Kevin says, "and decides where to go to shoot that day. There's a group of regulars who do it every week, but everyone is invited to join in. They might go to the city to shoot the skyline, or to the Bronx Zoo or the Planting Fields [on Long Island]. There are also a lot of welcoming organizations on the island for them. Some of the local nurseries invite them, for example."

Active in community events and projects, over the years club members have documented historic homes in the area, displayed their photography at the Huntington Arts Council, worked with the Heckscher Museum of Art and created and produced a "week in the life of Huntington" project.

Kevin attributes part of the club's success and energy to members' early adoption of digital photography. "Digital stoked interest in camera clubs in general," he says. "More people got into photography once it went digital because they could control the whole process." The benefit of club membership came into play when people realized it was better to travel together along the digital learning curve. "Camera clubs helped them take control of the process," Kevin says. "First they learned to use the cameras and the software, and they experimented with the best methods of doing things. Then the photo-art end of things came along—altering and manipulating images."

Individual club members get involved in the community as well. Kevin and two other members, Clyde Berger and Darin Reed, are photography instructors at the Sunrise Day Camp, a camp for children with cancer, located in Wheatley Heights, NY. Here, too, Nikon's in the picture with support for camp programs, camera equipment donations for fundraising events and, perhaps most notably, the creation of the photography program at the camp, held in the Nikon Photo Cabin, My Picture Place, which is on the camp's grounds.

It's likely that the Huntington Camera Club exemplifies the best that camera clubs can achieve: active and vital participation by members; an eye on the next generation of image makers; and visibility and service within the community.

You can check out the club activities, members' images and the photographs of student finalists in the high school competition at HCC's website, hccny.org/web.

The accompanying photos were provided to us by Huntington Camera Club members Kevin Armstrong, Clyde Berger, Darin Reed and Frank Sposato.

Are you a camera club member? If so, let's hear from you. What have you gotten from membership? What have you contributed? And upload your favorite photo from a club outing, excursion or competition.

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