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Sunbelt Photography Club displays photos at Arts Council

Photographer and artist Kay Stafford is pictured in front of one of her photographs currently displayed at the Albany Area Arts Council. (Staff photo: Laura Williams)

Photographer and artist Kay Stafford is pictured in front of one of her photographs currently displayed at the Albany Area Arts Council. (Staff photo: Laura Williams)

ALBANY — The latest exhibit displayed at the Albany Area Arts Council comes from the talented members of the Sunbelt Photography Club.

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Mary Ann Scott, seen in front of one of her photographs, is the current president of the Sunbelt Photography Club. (Staff photo: Laura Williams)

“Take Your Best Shot” will be on display at the Albany Area Arts Council until March 28.

Comprised of members from Albany and the surrounding area, the Sunbelt Photography Club welcomes photographers of all ages and skill levels, from interested and aspiring beginners to professionals.

“What I really love about photography is that it helps capture everyday things we don’t often notice,” said Mary Ann Scott, acting president of the organization. “Even the most common objects can look amazing through a viewfinder’s lens.”

In its first official collaboration with the Albany Area Arts Council, the Sunbelt Photography Club images currently on display reflect a variety of viewpoints. From nature scenes, people, animals, inanimate objects, and digitally-altered images, all of the photographs depict a unique aspect of life as seen through the eye of the beholder.

“It’s really a miracle sometimes when you are able to get that one shot that stands out in the bunch,” said Kay Stafford, artist and photographer. “With so many different ways available to capture these images nowadays, sometimes you just need a little luck.”

Sometimes a little cleverness and persistence comes in handy, too.

Stafford used these qualities to capture one of her photos displayed in the exhibit — an award-winning photo featuring a flock of geese.

“I wanted to get as close to them as possible, so I just took my little Sony camera and walked up as quietly as I could so as not to spook them,” she said.

“It worked. And I laugh because I think my husband was a little mad that I was able to get that shot with my ‘normal’ camera.”

Members of the Sunbelt Photography Club not only study the finer points of photography, but take opportunity to practice these skills as a group as well.

“Just last summer, we had renowned photographer John Reed come down for a workshop,” said Carroll Harper, Sunbelt member and former president.

“One thing I’ve learned is how to properly shoot images through a chain-link fence,” Harper continued. “Our instructor gave us excellent tips for using a technique — the result is that you can’t even tell the fence is there.”

That helpful hint will undoubtedly come in handy during the Sunbelt Photography Club’s field trip in April to the Jacksonville Zoo, where members will be able to tour the zoo and photograph the animals — with a long-range lens, in some cases.

“Yeah, I don’t think we’ll be getting too up-close and personal with the lions and bobcats,” Harper laughed. “But that’s what a long lens is for.”

The Sunbelt Photography Club takes members on several field trips a year. They have visited a variety of surrounding scenic places from zoos to the backroads of Georgia for timeless photographs.

“That’s really one thing that is so special about the club,” said member Alan White. “We have fun and have a great camaraderie here, and it’s nice to do this with friends. Everyone’s welcome, and no one needs to feel intimidated.”

“There’s really just a great bunch of folks here.”