Hello, Olympia Camera Club

New Member Profile

The Olympia Camera Club Newsletter editor asked me to fill our their New Member/Member profile for the November newsletter. Here is my Whelan on Walkabout response.

 New to Olympia, my husband Keith and I take a selfie at Tumwater Falls.

New to Olympia, my husband Keith and I take a selfie at Tumwater Falls.

Pam, First, I want to thank you for allowing me this member profile for the Olympia Camera Club. The OCC members made a great first impression. I’m excited about participating in OCC activities this year.

What or who brought you to the club?

In June, I moved from Clovis, California (near Fresno) to Olympia, Washington. I was actively entering photos in the Big Fresno Fair and showing pictures at the Fresno City Hall, and I wanted to find ways to share photos in my new community. I was nervous about being in a new venue, but I entered two images in the Thurston County Fair, and at the Fair, two of the fair exhibit volunteers were very friendly and helpful. They gave me a brochure and encouraged me to check it out. I was impressed. I love my social networking venues, Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr, but nothing beats meeting with people face to face.

 The photography room at the Thurston County Fair, 2018.

The photography room at the Thurston County Fair, 2018.

 Selfie with one of my two, honorable mention awards at the Thurston County Fair.

Selfie with one of my two, honorable mention awards at the Thurston County Fair.

How did you get interested in photography?

Like many, I started at a young age with film, but through school, college and family pursuits, I set it aside. That all changed when I used my first digital camera. I was working for the U.S. Forest Service, and we bought a digital camera for the documentation of issues out in the forest. It was a Sony, it used a floppy disc, and you could only take eight photos at a time. But, when I found out those photos could be downloaded directly into a document, or edited on the computer, I remembered how much I loved photography. No waiting, no darkroom, no worries, just photographs.

 From my photo set “Who Will Take Out the Trash,” cleaning up illegal marijuana grow sites in 2007.

From my photo set “Who Will Take Out the Trash,” cleaning up illegal marijuana grow sites in 2007.

 “We crawled on our hands and knees, following the black pipe from one abandoned campsite to another. Volunteers gingerly picked up rotting trash, rolled up irrigation pipe and gathered bags for California Highway Helicopter H-40 to haul away.”

“We crawled on our hands and knees, following the black pipe from one abandoned campsite to another. Volunteers gingerly picked up rotting trash, rolled up irrigation pipe and gathered bags for California Highway Helicopter H-40 to haul away.”

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I started my re-discovery by taking photos of the people and places I visited for work and became interested in storytelling with images. I really enjoyed my job and loved my co-workers. So in appreciation, I would take photos of a project or activity, print and frame 12-15 images and hang them in the office hallway. I created an impromptu art gallery, and I changed it every month or two. The reaction was so much fun, I kept up the hall gallery until I retired in 2013.

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What kind of photography do you like to do?

I have fun telling stories with photos. I wanted to keep in touch with family and friends, so I created my website “Whelan on Walkabout” www.whelanonwalkabout.com where I show my photos and write about my travels. Without intent, I have become a travel photographer. Mostly, I take photos up close and personal.

I am almost always outdoors, and I rarely take photographs of people. Lately, I do have a thing for experimenting with post processing photos of seeds and pine cones.

 I became a travel photographer while enjoying cocktails at a bar in Rovinj, Croatia.

I became a travel photographer while enjoying cocktails at a bar in Rovinj, Croatia.

What equipment is in your camera bag?

 “It was a very cold night in Iceland. At first you just feel it, then, it takes shape, gradually the colors – green, yellow and distant violet shades. Elusive and only found when the weather is just right.”

“It was a very cold night in Iceland. At first you just feel it, then, it takes shape, gradually the colors – green, yellow and distant violet shades. Elusive and only found when the weather is just right.”

I had a very large pelican box full of Nikon equipment; two Nikon bodies and lots of beautiful Nikkor glass that I drug around for a month photographing Iceland. I’m not getting any younger, and I want to keep taking photos and traveling, so I sold all my Nikon gear and purchased a smaller, more portable micro four-thirds mirrorless system. Although larger sensors have their benefits, I find the ability to carry a lightweight system to be invaluable, especially for my travel photography. I now shoot an Olympus OMD- EM 5MKII with only two lenses, an Olympus pro-40-150 mm 1:2.8 zoom and an Olympus 25mm prime that functions very much like my old Nikon 50mm prime. But even that is sometimes too big to take along. If I'm shooting in the streets of Panama, or hiking Olympic National Park, I like to travel with my Lumix DX-100 and my iPhone (which is becoming my new favorite camera.)

What post processing programs do you use?

I’m a mac person. I am using Lightroom Classic CC on my iMac computer, and for special projects, I use Topaz Studio. I find Photoshop is too fat, slow, and cumbersome. For my iPhone photos, sometimes I just use Apple’s Photos app, but I don’t love it.

 One of my favorite photos, the hill town  Gordes in the Provence Region of France.

One of my favorite photos, the hill town Gordes in the Provence Region of France.

What do you want to learn from the club?

I am really looking forward to finding new places to visit and seeing what and how and what other photographers photograph. Photography is about having a good time sharing with people. To me having fun is being in a new place, taking pictures, learning about others, and sharing.

On a side note, I'm thinking OCC needs a location to exhibit and hang our favorite photos. Maybe the library, or City Hall, or a bar, someplace we could start something new in Olympia. Who knows?

Thank you for asking me about my interest in OCC. It is going to be a great year!

Cynthia A Whelan, a.k.a. Whelan on Walkabout

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