Welcome to the world of the Fort Wayne Photography Club, which is celebrating 65 years of existence in 2011. Sharon Gerig is the club’s president.
“I always wanted to take pictures from the time I was 10 or 12 years old, but my mother wouldn’t let me touch her camera, which was an old Brownie,” Gerig said. “My husband brought a camera on our honeymoon, and he knew from that moment on we’d have to have two cameras.”
Both Gerig and her husband, Lynn, continue to take pictures today, long after that 1968 honeymoon. Sharon Gerig specializes in nature photography. Her photos capture the beauty in a single bloom, the stillness of a forest floor or the delight of a grandchild holding a snail.
“I wanted to document the beauty I saw all around me,” she said. “Your memory doesn’t serve you as well” as a photograph does.
Gerig is an expert at composition, the art of framing a subject to eliminate distracting elements. Her husband, she said, leans more toward the technical side of photography. She shoots with both film and digital cameras, she said, but still loves the richness of film images.
“I was literally mourning the fact that we had to make the switch” to digital, she said.
A retired nurse and church organist, Gerig has been a member of the Fort Wayne Photography club since 1999. The club has around 90 members, a number that’s grown in recent years as the use of digital cameras has risen. The club offers monthly competitions within the ranks, bringing in outside judges to review members’ work. The club also hosts monthly workshops on everything from the basics of operating a camera to how to manipulate digital images through programs like Photoshop.
“Most of the workshops are put on by members of the club,” she said, though occasionally an outside expert will come in to share information. (Learn more about the club by visiting www.fwphotoclub.com.)
For Gerig, the ability to be at one with nature and to capture a bit of nature’s beauty are part of the lure of her favorite style of nature photography.
“There’s nothing to me more beautiful than being out in the forest when it’s wet and gray,” she said. “It’s so full of life. It’s so beautiful, and it’s always changing, whether it’s the light or the season.”