September Meeting of the Jefferson County Photo Club

The Jefferson County Photo Club met on Tuesday, September 13, 2016. The items discussed were as follows:

The reception for the Photo Club Display at the Fire Hall Gallery will be Friday, September 16 from 6-8 PM.
The Berkeley Arts Council has a nationally juried display of railroad art called Heavy Metal. This will be on display until October 1. This is truly a display for the railroad buffs.
Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 3:30 there will be a Gallery Talk at the Berkeley Arts Council by Joe Goodrich, who is the railroad photographer whose work is on display.
There will be a display at the Berkeley Arts Council beginning October 5, 2016 for the Eastern WV Juried Exhibit. Hanging will take place on Oct. 2nd and 3rd, if any one is available to help. There will be a reception on October 15 from 5-7 PM. Photo Club member Alice Newton will have 2 items on display.
Rip Smith will have a solo show in the Fire Hall Gallery in October. These will be pictures from his road trip out west. Joe Bourgeois will also have wood sculptures on display at the same time.
Our pictures need to come down no later than than 9/26, as Rip’s pictures will be going up on 9/27.
Upon coming speakers: Diane Meese Cooper will talk about wildlife photography in October. Frank Juggles will talk about landscapes in December.
We decided to hold the rest of the meeting in “salon” style and go around the room. Dan Smith talked about “shutter-up” procedures, is going to use a tripod and do some comparison shooting.
Jim Bowen would like to see someone who is an expert at digital photography to help out those who are more knowledgeable with film. It was decided that we would need to be very specific in what we are looking for. Maybe we could compile ideas in email and have members speak about their best work and how history may influence your style. We could also possibly sponsor a class for the group, maybe pay a teacher to come in. Rip would be available to offer guidance.

We discussed about telling a story, tying your pictures togethers so they are more meaningful

My publisher is a good place to get some small books put together of your work. Also,

This was all we discussed. Hope to see you on Tuesday, October 11.

Jefferson County Photo Club August Meeting Minutes

The August meeting of the Jefferson County Photo Club was held on Tuesday, August 9, 2016, at 7 PM.  The items of discussion are as follows:
The September Show of the JCPC work – Photos have been received by most members.  If you want to submit photos, you must do so my midnight the night of this meeting.  Please send to Melanie.  Rip knows the exhibitor for the August showing and will work with him to work out a date for hanging our stuff up.  Work can be dropped off at the Visitors Center on Aug. 28th and 29th.  Will hang on Aug. 30th.  Anyone that can help, please let me know.
Identity Crisis – Photo paparazzi are still needed for the Identity Crisis.  If you are interested, let Melanie know so she can add you to the list.
The Berkeley Arts Council is currently seeking submissions for the 4th Annual Eastern West Virginia Juried Exhibit.  The entry fee is $15 for 2 entries.  The submission deadline is August 24th. This will be for a hanging in October.  For more information, please go to the Berkeley Arts Council website here:
There is a new Indian restaurant that opened in Martinsburg, called the Spice Connection.  JCPC member Alice Newton has some work that is on display.
The Shepherdstown Visitors Center has some photos on display from JCPC member Dan Smith.
Speaking of Dan Smith, Dan recently took a trip to Norway and brought some beautiful photos to share with the group.  If you are on Facebook, Dan has been sharing a variety of his work from this memorable trip.
Artist Statement for the Sept. Show – Melanie had a discussion regarding how to write an artist statement.  She passed out a handout that lined out 6 common things to writing an artist statement:
  • Start with the basics – talk about the photos that you included in your collection, what is the common theme?
  • Try not to get too technical – People reading probably don’t care if you shoot with a Nikon or Canon or if you use Photoshop to process.
  • What would you like someone else to say about your work – possibly the best way to get to the heart of why you took your photos.
  • Share your background and history – how long have you been doing this? Why did you start? Why do you enjoy it?
  • Try not to pat yourself on the back too much – its OK to say you are proud of what you have accomplished, but try not to go overboard.
  • Does it have to be a traditional artist’s statement – the answer is no – make it who you are.

A website good for the checking the content of your statement are  Final statements need to be sent to Melanie by August 23, 2016.

Also, remember that Melanie and Kelly will be stepping down as the co-presidents this year and we will need nominations for board of directors.

Jefferson County Photo Club June Meeting Minutes

The Jefferson County Photo Club met on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.  This was a critique session but a few announcements were made.  They are:

The Berkeley Arts Council is hosting a juried Art of the Portrait contest.  There is no fee, contestants would email up to 3 portraits, they will be juried by a panel, and if accepted, the artist would be asked to make a donation to the Berkeley Arts Council.  See the Council’s website here for more information:

The Martinsburg Roundhouse, in cooperation with the Berkeley Arts Council will be open specifically for artists on Sunday August 14th, between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M. Come spend the day in our magnificent historic buildings. See the sun work its magic in the Roundhouse throughout the day. Better yet, paint it, draw it, photograph it. All for a small donation of $20.00 for the day.  Let them know you’re coming with an email to  Melanie asked if there would be a charge if someone brought a model – Rip believes there would be a charge, but would find out and let us know.  Anyone who creates work from this event will be invited to show their work during the month of September at the Roundhouse.

Treasurer’s Report – We have almost $1300 in the bank.  Currently have 12 paid members for 2016.  If you have not paid your dues, please see Ellen Hardesty.

There was some discussion regarding our showing at the Firehall Gallery in September.  This is a month long show that will not only have the club’s work exhibited but everyone will also need to draft an “artist statement” – this statement does not need to be very formal or long.  It would need to include who you are, what are you trying to do with your photos, what drives you, and things of that nature.  If we have 12 people to show their work, everyone can submit 2 photos each.  These photos should be consistent with your artists statement.  The show will run from 8/31 through 9/26 – Rip will confirm these dates.  How to submit your work:
1.  Bring your photos to the August meeting for a critique session before turning the    photos in.  Up to 4 photos and they need to be framed and ready to show.
2.  Also, bring your draft artist statement to the August meeting
3.  The deadline for turning in the pictures will be August 16th – no later!
4.  Decisions will be announced by August 19th via email.
5.  All club members must let the President (Melanie) and Secretary (Kelly) know your intent to show your photos no later than August 9th (our meeting night) to be included in the show.  No exceptions.  Multiple reminders will be sent through out the month of July.
6.  We can have Curt, Melanie and Ellen choose the photos to include, or we can use an outside source to jury – if you prefer an outside source, please give us a name so we can contact them in enough time to line them up.
The rest of the show was spent on critiquing the photos that were brought in.

Macro Photography and How to Stay Motivated, Monthly meeting Tuesday May 10, 2016

· Please see for information regarding Photo 16 Show dates and times; the upcoming Railroad juried show; the upcoming juried portrait show; and keep a watch out for the annual Eastern WV juried show in October.
· Rip Smith also mentioned the possibility of an excursion into the Roundhouse in Martinsburg. It might cost $25 each and he may be able to arrange it in August or Sept. Let him know if you are interested and were not at the meeting.
· The Budweiser Clydesdale Hitch will be at the Charles Town Race Track 5/12, 13 and 14. In addition they will arrive in Shepherdstown at 5 PM on Sat. 5/14 where you can watch them being prepared for a 6PM parade up the main street of town.
· Our next club show will be in September at the Fire House Gallery in Charles Town. More details will come later but we can each enter two pieces. These can be older works you have re-visited or new works. Each person will be asked to prepare a brief artist statement to accompany their images

Presenter: Melanie Brownsmith on Macro Photography in place of scheduled Kelly Riner
· What is macro photography – the capture of an image resulting in a 1:1 (life size) image of the object
· Opposed to micro photography – the capture of an image that is larger than life size
· Tools to achieve macro;
o Extension tubes – hollow tubes available in sets (usually 3) to get you closer to the subject
o Close up filters – like giant magnifying glass on the front of your camera
o Using a reverse ring to turn you lens backwards on the front of your camera
o Telephoto lens – need to use a reflector, tripod, ring light or bank of LED lights
§ Problems – camera/lens shake (use a lens with a tripod collar); insure your subject is parallel to the center of your lens; be careful not to block your source of light; use manual focus so the point of focus is where you want
§ Depth of field – having a soft focus background makes your subject stand out more

Presenter: Melanie Brownsmith on Inspiration
· Problems of inspiration
o Lack of time
o Being creative on demand in a given time slot
o Lack of pressure or accountability when you go out to shoot (a mission of what to capture)
o How to be your own motivator
· Things to do to combat the problem
o Look for things that inspire you
o Meet up with others – both artists and photographers
o Learn a new trick – magazines, books, Creative Live and U-Tube videos are sources
o Limit your choices – use just one lens, etc.
o Buy a new gadget and learn to use it
o Set goals

Melanie has set up a Flickr group that will challenge people to do a 365 day project or a 52 week project. Contact her by email to let her know you would like to join as she has to issue you an invitation to the site.

Thanks to Melanie and all who provided us with a very good meeting including lots of discussion and demonstration of a variety of equipment.

Monthly Meeting, April 12, 2016

The Jefferson County Photo Club met on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. This meeting was for the club members to bring photos ready to hang and the club members voted on which pics were the best. We did have other items that were discussed:

There was a reminder that the Berkeley Arts Council was holding a juried photo contest and was looking for entries.
We discussed our exhibit that will be in the Fire Hall Gallery in September. Artists will need to do a brief write up about what makes you do the photos you do, what inspires you, what are your goals, who is your inspiration. Photos should be recent, in the last 2 years, and not be photos that have been previously shown.
We discussed using the Middleway reinactment as a possible shoot out – best time would be in the AM, early as possible.
Rip discussed that he is working on a railroad art exhibit, with a national juror, possibly at the Round House in Martinsburg. He is working on have a special day set aside for us to pay to come in and take photos in and around the round house. More to come from Rip on this.

Printing, Matting and Framing Your Work – Meeting Minutes from the March 8, 2016 Meeting

The March meeting of the JCPC was held Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Topics of discussion included:

Melanie mentioned that there was a new group in Martinsburg that was advertising shootouts for boudoir and pinup types of photos. It is advertised with 2 models and 9,000 sq. ft. of studio space. The organizer is Wendy Lee and the cost is $175 for 4 hours if signed up before April 1.

Kurt sent out an email to the group regarding the The Farmland Protection Board looking for some shots of Civil War battlefields in Jefferson County. If you have any you’d like to share with them, contact Liz Wheeler at

There has been some slight changes in our upcoming meeting schedule:
April will be our club competition, which will also be our showing at the Fire Hall Gallery. Please bring your work, framed, matted and ready to show, to the April meeting. Sizes can range from 11 x 14 to 16 x 20 and should be something you have not shown before. The folks who attend the April meeting will vote on their top 3 submissions, and the one’s with the most votes will win a ribbon. We will leave our work there to be displayed through the weekend of April 15-17, 2016.
May will be a seminar on How to Keep Inspired and Macro Photography.
June will be a critique session, so please bring work that you would like to have critiqued.
Diana Cooper, a nature and wildlife photographer, will come talk to us about Wildlife/Nature Photography in October. If you want to see some of Diana’s work, check her website
Frank Ruggles, a landscape photographer, from Great Falls, VA, will come talk to us about Landscape Photography in December. If you want to see some of Frank’s work, check out his website
The rest of the schedule remains the same.

There will be a full month showing of the club’s work in September at the Fire Hall Gallery. The club decided that we should show a couple of photos each, that show what we are best at. Along with our work, each photographer should provide an Artist Statement. Sample of Artist Statements can be found here: Please let Melanie, Kelly or Rip know in advance if you will be participating in the September showing so we can determine how many photos we can accept.

Rip mentioned that there is a Juried Photography Exhibit which will be on display June 8-July 9, 2016 in the Berkeley Art Works gallery. Entries are open now through April 18. Details and online entry instructions visit

Stephanie mentioned that The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has acquired the C&O 1309 Steam Engine, which was the last steam locomotive built for a domestic railroad. Once the renovations to the engine are complete, the Railroad will be operating every weekend, May – September. The cost has not yet been determined (but may be $180 for an all day excursion) but you can find out more information at This would be a perfect shoot out opportunity.

Lastly, there is an exhibit at the Washington County Museum from the Cumberland Valley Artists and Photographic Salon. There are many photos on display and is worth checking out.

Printing, Matting and Framing – by Melanie Brownsmith and Rip Smith
Melanie and Rip led a very informative discussion on printing, matting and framing your photos for display. There are many options available and only some were captured here.

There are only 2 options for printing your work: doing it yourself or sending out to a processor to print for you. You need to ask yourself “what do you want your final product to look like” and adjust your work accordingly.

Print yourself can be expensive, especially if you don’t do a lot of printing. Printer ranges from $265 to $2500 and up. Cartridges for the printers can run $85 and up. If you don’t use your printer often, your cartridges can dry out, and if you use it a lot, you will run out quickly.

Rip suggested that when looking at printers, you want to go with one that is a pigment printer, like an Epson 2000 or 2100. Epson seems to have better quality. Pigment inks will last longer that other types. Rip also stated that you need to make sure you get your digital files right and that your editing skills should be good.

There are literally hundreds of paper available for printing photos but only to major types: Matte (softens blacks) or Glossy – luster/satin/semi-gloss, etc. (deeper blacks). When using Gloss, look for D-Max or Maximum Density. Thin paper can cause your framed work to have a wavy look to it. A thick paper is better. When printing photos, especially for showing your work, you want to make sure you use the same paper for all of your work. This will make sure your photos look consistent.

If you send out to a lab, you can check to see if they offer swatch books of the types of paper they offer. Some of the labs you can check out are: MPix Pro –, Bay Photo –, for creative print processing, you can try Automated Photo Technology –

Matting and Framing
When choosing a mat, you should go one size bigger than the size of your photo. Poor presentation can make good photos look bad. Use the best materials that you can afford – this includes mats as well as frames. Use archival materials – they will last much longer, this includes paper, mats, and tape (AC Moore or Michael’s carries acid free tape). Make sure you use acid free mats and backing boards and reinforcement tape to hold your photo to the mat. Mats should be a a 2 to 3 ratio. Be aware that you use mats that fit your image. Ph neutral will help to preserve your work. Make sure to hang your wire so that it never shows above the top of your photo frame.

Frame moldings will vary greatly. Don’t distract from your work with your framing and matting. Keep your lines clean, and your presentation simple.
I think that’s it for now, unless someone has something to add. Our next meeting will be held at the Fire Hall Gallery on April 12, 2016. Don’t forget to bring your work, framed and matted, ready to hang, for the exhibit to be shown in April.

Critiqueing Your Work, Put What you learned last month to work – Monthly Meeting Minutes for January 19, 2016

The January meeting was held on January 19, 2016, at the Black Dog Coffee Company. This meeting was scheduled as a Critique Session but there were a few items that were discussed:

Alice mentioned that there was going to be a weekend conference in Delaware, featuring a Tony Sweet preday session. The conference runs Saturday and Sunday and has various discussions every hour or so. The cost is around $140 for the 2 days, and you have a choice of discussions to attend. Alice will email the specific information for everyone.

Rip mentioned the possibility of the JCPC having an exhibit at the Fire Hall Gallery. The months that were available were May or September, and the group decided that September would be better so the club members have time to get something together. Rip stated that the information from Jefferson Arts Council was to possibly to a themed show but the club thought that since we are such a diverse group, we should limit ourselves to a theme. Rip will follow up with the Arts Council and let everyone know.

Ellen Hardesty notified the group that we will be changing banks from City Bank to the Bank of Charles Town.

Dan Smith mentioned that he took a “Bird In Flight” workshop for the Conowingo Eagles. The workshop was about a 4 hr. lecture and was very informative. He suggested that anyone who was interested could check out their Facebook page to get more information. Going to the Conowingo Dam to photo could be a possible future shoot out event.

Upcoming meeting topics:

February – 4 State Realty, Reception at the office from 5-8 PM
March – How to Keep Inspired
April –
May – Photo Club competition, members judge
June – Macro Photography, Kelly to present
July – Critique session
August – How to Edit Photos, Rip and Melanie to present
September – Possible to have paid speaker from Loudon County, Alice to coordinate
October – Organizing your photos, Julia to present
November – Critique session
December – What drives you to photograph what you do, every to participate

This schedule is subject to change.

Next meeting will be Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at the 4 State Realty. See you there.