Be sure to check out the BPG–BOLLI Photography Group! Some members may be true camera buffs since getting their first Brownie camera in fifth grade, but many are novices, having just taken-up photography in retirement years. The eye takes in something beautiful, unusual, colorful (or all three) that makes impact and becomes an integral part of the day. Inspiration comes from anyone, anywhere, or anything around us–from a complex flower or a simple weed; a day at Fenway or a walk in the backyard after a rain storm.
“This summer, we began a weekly photo challenge, giving the group a new topic to photograph each week,” says BPG organizer Joanne Fortunato. Topics included an animal, a reflection, something red, happiness, or other subjects suggested by members of the group. Joanne says that the purpose of the challenge was to encourage members to exercise their own creativity and to photograph something new and different every week.
The BPG has also taken field trips to points within an ever-expanding circle of our local communities: Tower Hill Botanical Gardens, Mount Auburn Cemetery, and Copley Square. One of the group’s next trips will be to ‘Fog x FLO’ along the Emerald Necklace!
Recently, the BPG met to discuss final preparations for their new exhibit, which will be available for viewing in the classrooms as the fall semester starts. The entire BOLLI community will be able to savor the group’s latest works. Perhaps viewers may even be inspired to join the group and discover their own creative eyes.
Watch the BOLLI Bulletin for announcements of BPG meetings, challenges, and trips. You don’t need a fancy camera–just a desire to see your world through a different lens.
Last summer, I purchased a sophisticated single lens reflex camera with a zoom lens and more buttons and dials than the control panel of a 747. When I opened the operating manual and read about apertures, shutter speed, light balance, ISO rating, and depth of field, my eyes glazed over. For over sixty years, I had simply set my camera to automatic, pointed, and shot. This resulted in my taking over 15,000 photos, only a small fraction of which are worth showing. I decided it was time I learned something about operating my camera and composing pictures. That’s why a notice in the Bulletin about a fall “photo” outing caught my eye. On October 21, the BOLLI Photo Group was going to stroll across the Wellesley College campus photographing the impressive architecture, picturesque Lake Waban, and most importantly, the peak fall foliage. This sounded like a group from whom I might learn something. I called Steve Schwartz, the organizer of this event, to ask if I could tag along and see real photographers at work. He graciously invited me to join them.
The day of the outing turned out to be ideal. The sky was clear and blue, the temperature was mild, and the foliage was magnificent. About a dozen people gathered at the meeting spot, and Steve made introductions and explained our agenda. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, but nonetheless, I found myself slightly intimidated. The group all knew one another, many had tripods and sophisticated lenses, and they all sounded like real photographers, discussing “framing” and “depth of field” and the use of filters. Everyone had brought a polarizing filter, and Steve gave a short talk about its use and desirability. I had never heard of a polarizing filter and, of course, didn’t have one. I felt like I was in a little over my head, but I was already learning new stuff.
The group’s first endeavor was to pick out a good vantage point to photograph the colorful foliage that was visible from our meeting place. As everyone disbursed and began to set up their equipment for the “shoot,” it occurred to me that these photographers at work made, for me, a more interesting subject than the scenery. I quietly drifted away from the group. From about 75 yards away, using my 300mm telephoto lens I was able to take candid pictures of the BOLLI group in action without intruding or making anyone self-conscious.
After the foliage shoot, we strolled through the campus to the shore of the lake. Here, everyone got to work setting up tripods, adjusting polarizing filters, and strolling to find just the right spot to frame each water bird or lake view that caught his or her interest. Everyone was friendly and patient as I peppered them with questions about what they were doing and why. I only took a few pictures myself, but watching these more experienced and knowledgeable artists at work was an invaluable learning experience.
I’m glad I intruded and got to see the BOLLI Photo Group in action. In early December, I attended the Photo Group meeting where pictures from the outing were shown. Many of the pictures were wonderful examples of how a good “eye,” when combined with technical skill and creative composition, can produce compelling art. My experience with the BOLLI Photo Group inspired me to enroll in a basic photography course where I am learning how to work my camera and compose and edit pictures. After I reach some minimum level of competence, I intend to become a Photo Group member.
BOLLI’s Photo Group meets in the Green Room on the 3rd Friday of each month. Watch for meeting announcements in the Bulletin. All interested BOLLI members are welcome to attend, regardless of the nature of their experience!
During the Fall Term, the BOLLI Photo Group treated us all to a glimpse of their activities in a wonderful lunchtime presentation. It helped to introduce this very popular Special Interest Group to the membership as a whole and highlighted some of its activities.
Group organizer Joanne Fortunato kicked off the presentation with some images from the group’s October trip to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. She focused, in particular, on one outdoor installation called “Lincoln” One would think the photographers’ images would all be quite similar considering that they were shooting the same thing. But, clearly, this is never the case! Note how very original these shots are!
Other members of the group presented aspects of their work for the BOLLI lunchtime audience.
Linda Brooks shared her “Photography Projects with a Focus.” She particularly likes working with themes and, after her “Windows and Doors Calendar” (which you can find on the blog by scrolling through SIG “Photo Group” items), she started creating books, including a dog story for children. She photographed the 30 day gestation period taking place in the robin’s nest outside her kitchen window, and is now into flowers.
Helen Abrams provided “Photographing Trees: A Personal Journey.” As a docent at Mt. Auburn, she has an excellent opportunity to check out a huge number of different types of trees and focus on their fascinating differences–their twisted trunks and branches, their leaves…in all sorts of light. She says that they eventually start to look like they’re going to move! (You can find one leg of this journey in a very early blog item by scrolling back through the SIG “Photo Group” items.)
Steve Schwartz showed “Interpretations: Familiar and Artistic.” He says that, as a CPA, photography fulfills his fascination with the intersection of precision and feelings. His work, exemplified by his “Lincoln” photographs above, clearly does just that!
And, finally, the irrepressible BOLLI photo enthusiast/SGL/and field trip leader extraordinaire Arthur Sharenow rounded out the event by providing “Tips for Taking Good Pictures,” sharing some hits and misses. Always a treat!
The group meets on one Friday afternoon per month–check the BOLLI calendar for meeting dates/times. At each meeting, the group takes time to critique each other’s work, share ideas, and plan events. Any interested BOLLI member–from beginner to professional–is welcome! Coming up, another photography show featuring works by members of the group will be installed in the Purple Room for the spring term.