WKCC Staying in Focus

by Willa Condy

2020 was to be a year of celebration for the West Kootenay Camera Club. It was their thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the WKCC.
Plans were underway for their 30th Anniversary Photo Competition and Show, posters were up and the Canadian Association of Photographic Art (CAPA) judges were booked.
Then in March 2020 Covid restrictions arrived and the WKCC made the hard choice to cancel the show.
Picture yourself taking better photos… This is the mandate of the WKCC. It was formed in January 1990 and has members from all over the West Kootenays.
“Photography is not a great mystical thing,” says Ken Ferch, a founding member, “once you know the basics, the rest just happens…photography is an art form, a medium of art.”
The WKCC started with a dozen members and has grown to a club with over 50 members.
Part of WKCC mandate is education, with every meeting including tips and hints on how to improve member’s photography.
Another component is the social aspect. Popular is the monthly field trips that let members go off the beaten trail and photograph areas out of their comfort zones.
When WKCC was formed cameras still used film and post processing was done in a dark room. Now cameras are now digital and computers and software have replaced the darkroom for creative effects.
With shut down and social limits meeting in person was not in the cards. WKCC started to pivot onto a different platform. Instead of meeting at the Castlegar Library twice a month they changed to having bi-weekly Zoom meetings.
Field trips were put on hold but the education element was still part of each meeting. The members were still striving to increase their photographic ability. The monthly contest where members submit photos continued. Each month a different topic is chosen and the members submit their photos for critique and judging. The winning photographer chooses the topic for the next month. Judging is done in advance on Zoom and the entries are shown at the last meeting of the month.
WKCC joined with other photo clubs in B.C. to have webinars hosted by various photographers on different photography techniques. One meeting was a joint Zoom meeting with the Whitehorse Camera Club. The members got to see scenery from around the West Kootenays and the Yukon.
A big change was the WKCC website, westkootenaycameraclub.com was upgraded by a group of talented volunteers. The new website features pictures from the WKCC membership. The new website was unveiled in late April and feedback was positive on the change.
This year the WKCC still cannot hold a photo competition and show. Restrictions in place in B.C. have put a damper on festivals that are generally held in the spring and early summer.
That includes Sunfest in Castlegar. Generally held the first weekend in June the Castlegar Sunfest has been the time that many head over to the Kootenay Gallery to see the entries in the WKCC photo competition and show.
After missing last year’s show the WKCC wanted to do something to help raise people’s spirits.
They decided to change the WKCC photo show to a photo exhibition.
Members can exhibit three of their favourite pictures which will be on display at the Kootenay Gallery from June 4th to June 11th. The Gallery is closed on Monday.
Social distancing will impact how many people are allowed in at a time but there will be WKCC members present during the opening weekend to explain about the camera club and also on the photos exhibited.
Adding to the fun the public will be invited to choose which photo they like the best. They will be able to vote on their choice of best photo in the exhibition. The winning photo will be featured on the WKCC website. With subjects ranging from Abstract to Scenic there will be many photos to enjoy.
WKCC still is unable to have meetings in person and at the end of May will be having their second election of officers via Zoom.
Even during a pandemic the WKCC still is working at bringing the picture into focus. One photo at a time.

Willa Condy was born and raised in the West Kootenay. She is married, lives in Trail with her “better half” and their dog Roxy. Willa is part of the baby boom and loves photography, music, writing and having fun. Her email address is pokie1@mac.com

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