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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Junior spreads passion for photography

Scroll down the “Saratoga Photography” Facebook page, and you’ll find photos ranging from a sepia vista overlooking London to a bamboo pathway at Hakone gardens to a murky close up of an air vent. The cover photo, a soft “bokeh” arrangement of two Canon cameras with a blurred background, displays the depth and artistic touch the club strives for.

During Photography Club, which meets every other Wednesday in adviser Catherine Head’s room 005, members share photography techniques and discuss camera features they find useful. About 15 members attend the meetings regularly. Club officers, including junior president Uday Singh and junior vice president Michelle Handoko, occasionally create slideshows to introduce new techniques.

During one meeting last year, members tried their hand at an abstract form known as “ink drop photography” and discussed methods to achieve the desired effect. In this style of photography, drops of ink or food coloring are dropped into a clear container of water and serve as the subject of the photo. The shapes the drops of ink created in the water allow for “some incredibly artistic and abstract shots,” according to Singh.

He enjoys applying this technique because “simple items like food coloring and water can be converted into beautiful works of art.”

Though the club often discusses advanced techniques, Singh holds iPhone photography days to emphasize that students do not need high quality cameras to join the club.

“Lots of people [think], ‘Oh, I don’t have a nice camera. I can’t come to Photography Club,’” Singh said. “In Photography Club we want to make people realize that you don’t need a good camera to do good photography.”  

Singh joined Photography Club as a freshman because his section leader for band, class of 2013 alumnus Todd Nguyen, was club president at the time.

“[Nguyen] was my role model, so I followed him to the club and from Photography Club my interest grew,” Singh said. “He helped me outside of school and in the club, so I became more knowledgeable [about photography].”

Nguyen and Singh maintained contact after Nguyen graduated, and Nguyen, now a student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, even added Singh to the photography club groups of colleges like UCLA and Urbana-Champaign. Singh, inspired by the college clubs’ system of posting pictures and receiving feedback on Facebook, brought the idea to his own club.

Most photos on the Saratoga Photography Club page have five to 10 likes, and some have suggestions left by other club members.

“Lots of really good pictures have shown up and some really good advice has been given that I didn’t even know myself,” Singh said. “It’s a learning experience for everyone.”

Singh believes the photos allow members to receive constructive criticism without feeling self-conscious. The suggestions are positive and get people more involved in photography.

“It’s definitely very reassuring when you post a picture and people are like, ‘Wow, this is great,’” Singh said. “[All criticism involves] just minor things that you can fix, and that’s what I really like. In our group it’s not like, ‘This is completely wrong, do everything differently.’ It’s mostly, ‘There’s one little thing and you’ll have a great picture.’”

By the time Singh joined, the club was contacting the Saratoga Library each spring to put up pictures in the group study room for a month or two. Singh plans to carry on the tradition and has also considered placing a display in the school library this year.

Singh does photo shoots for friends and took his first professional, purchased photos for a Santa event over Thanksgiving break. But he sees many more reasons to dive into photography.

“No two pictures are alike, and there are so many different pictures you can take. You just have to be able to look for it and know what to get,” Singh said. “[Photography] combines the technical aspects of cameras and settings [with] the creative aspects of what you see and how you want to frame it.”

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