Camera Clubs/Photo Clubs

I haven’t been involved with camera clubs or photo clubs for many years now.  As a preteen/teenager I was a member at a local camera club.  My goal when I joined that camera club was to try to learn about photography, and meet people with the same passion for photography that I had.  The experience that I had with that camera club was one of the reasons that I put my camera down for a period of time.  Ever since I bought my first DLSR I have been toying with the idea of joining a camera club or photo club again, with many reservations. I started to look into the different photo clubs and camera clubs in my general geographic vicinity.  The search came up with many options.  Honestly, it didn't look like much had changed over the years.  Many of the different camera clubs and photo clubs are highly competitive with photo competitions every month.  These competitions are judged by someone or a panel, that may or may not be qualified.  Consequently, I find these clubs to be highly political and generally frustrating.  The other thing that I find frustrating about photo clubs or camera clubs was the endless compliments of photos that members post.  I don’t think this helps anyone.  Leading to the members getting IPS (Internet Photographer Syndrome).  Internet Photographer Syndrome is when new photographers get so many compliments that they think they should be recognized as the next Ansel Adams or, start shooting weddings without prior experience, and generally think they are much better photographers then they actually are.  When someone does post constructive criticism, which is extremely rare, everyone thinks you are being a troll.  Constructive criticism is needed for growth, no matter what it is about.

You should join photography clubs, but never camera clubs or any clubs that try to score art, since art is entirely subjective and cannot be scored numerically - Ken Rockwell: "The Seven Levels of Photographers"

By pure chance I ended up hosting a night photography workshop on a Saturday night and one of the attendees was a friend that I had not seen in quite some time.  Apparently the word about my workshop had been passed around the Barrie Photo Club and far more people that I expected attended the workshop.  The group that showed up was a fantastic bunch that wanted to make pictures, have fun, and be social.  As a result I found myself taking Monday off work to make pictures of two sow bears with two cubs each in Algonquin Park.  By Wednesday I was a member of the Barrie Photo Club and was at my very first meeting.

Sow Bear with cub In Algonquin Park with members of the Barrie Photo Club  Camera Club

Do's and Don'ts when Joining a Camera Club or Photo Club

If are thinking about joining a camera club or photo club, here are my recommendations.  DO NOT go out and join the closest camera club or photo club.  DO take your time when deciding which club(s) to join.  DO visit each club you are considering joining.  Most clubs will let visitors sit in on a meeting to get a feel for what they do and who they are.  DO ask questions of the members.  People are generally friendly and everyone is there for photography so the conversation is easy to start.  Finally and maybe most importantly DO take the time to figure out what you want to get out of being a part of each club.  Then you will be able to join the camera club(s) or photo club(s) that best suit your personal interests and goals.

As some of you may have seen in my twitter feed last weekend I received a package in the mail from Lowepro.  When I first saw the envelope I was truly unaware of what Lowepro could be sending me, which made me quite excited.  I then remembered that I had filled out an application to become a Lowepro preferred photographer about a month earlier.  When I opened the envelope  I discovered a Lowepro Preferred Photographer luggage tag.  As you can see from the photo below, the tag now proudly hangs from my everyday Lowepro CompuTrekker AW.  In this post I hope to answer some of the questions that I received after my tweet.

Lowepro Preferred Photographer Tag

What is the Lowepro Preferred Photographer Program?

The program is a way for Lowepro to thank photographers for using their products, at the same time it also helps to build brand loyalty.

How do you become a Lowepro Preferred Photographer Program?

lowepro preferred photographer signup

You can start the process of becoming a preferred photographer by heading over to the application page.  Obviously the more detail you give the better your chances of becoming a member.  You should note that one of the required fields is your website, so you will need to have at least some of your images online.

What are the benefits?

According to Lowepro once you are a member of the preferred photographer program you will receive "information and invitations not available to the general public".  What that information is and what the invitations are for remains to be seen, but I have only been a member for about a month.  By doing a quick google search I found a newsletters that members have received in the past.  The newsletter contains information on new products, tips, webinars, and more.  Another rumoured benefit of being a member is that if you review a Lowepro product, and notify the company, they will send you a "thank you".  So if you see a camera bag review on the site you know why ;-)

My hope is that this post will help clear up some of the mystery that seems to surround the Lowepro Preferred Photographer Program.

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Night Photography Workshop

Two weeks ago I announced my 2013 photography workshop schedule. I am happy to announce that I am adding to my 2013 photography workshop schedule. I have decided to include a Night Photography Workshop on August 10th, 2013.

Light Show - Trent Woods Photography - Night Photography Workshop

Night Photography Workshop Details

August 10th lines up to be a great date for a Night Photography Workshop.  Why is this date so great for a Night Photography Workshop you ask.  Well the new moon is on the 6th of August thus limiting the amount of light pollution for the moon.  The second reason that August 10th works out to be a great date for a night photography workshop is because the Perseid meteor shower peeks on the 12th of August.  Meaning that there should be a good chance to catch stunning pictures of the Meteor shower as well.  The Perseids are arguably the best meteor shower of the year.

The cost to attend this workshop is $100 per person when you signup before the 1st of March, if you signup after that date the cost goes up to $125 per person.  The group will be meeting anytime after 7pm (Instructors will be there by 7pm).  With sunset at 8:31pm, the group will be able to mingle and learn about each other before the nights activities really get rolling.

Topics Covered

During the course of the evening and throughout the night we will be exploring topics such as Light PaintingStar Trails, Photographing the Milky Way, Playing with lasers and Flash lights to create effects, and exposing for a subject in combination with the night sky.

Lasers and Flash Lights - Night Photography Workshop - Trent Woods Photography

Needed Equipment

You will absolutely need to bring the following items...

  1. Camera with a Bulb setting (the ability to leave the shutter open for more then 30 seconds)
  2. Tripod
  3. Proper footwear
  4. Proper Clothing to be out all night

Optional Items to make your life easier and the workshop more enjoyable

  1. Remote shutter release
  2. Flash light(s), off camera flash(s), laser(s)
  3. Things that are fun to play with at night

Workshop Location - Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Reserve

In 1999 Torrance Barrens was designated by the government of Ontario, as the worlds first dark-sky reserve.  With Torrance Barrens being a signification distance from any urban light sources and the lack of cottages or homes in the area provides an unsurpassed location to avoid light pollution while viewing the night sky.  The topographical features of Torrance Barrens are neither low nor high.  Which means that  there are no hills in the distance, or towers to obscure the view of the sky.  Additionally, one of the most dominate features Torrance Barrens is the granite rock.  The granite does not transfer vibrations from the surrounding ground.  All of these features combined make it one of the best places in Ontario for astronomy and night photography.

Guest instructor(s)

Star Tails at Torrence Barrens Dark-Sky Reserve - By Paul Bruch

Paul Bruch will be joining this workshop as instructor.  Paul has many years of night photography experience, for the attendees to learn from.  Paul's Flickr photo stream showcases his diverse experiences and talents as a photographer.

With my fingers crossed I am trying to get a third instructor for the night.

The Night Photography Workshop is going to be a great time.  To signup for this workshop click here or to see any of the other workshops that I will be hosting visit the Trent Woods Photography Workshops Group.

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2013 Photography Workshop Schedule

I am pleased to announce my 2013 Photography Workshop Schedule.  I will be hosting at least three Photography Workshops in 2013, and possibly more depending on demand.  Thus far I have set aside dates for three workshops in three very different locations, which I will describe below.  My goal is to provide a one day on location photography workshop.  Allowing the people attending the freedom to learn and explore the environment around them.  Explore and experiment with their photography skills/equipment.  While still have a source of knowledge available to answer questions and make suggestions.  By limiting the number of attendees in each workshop to just 10 participants I am able to spend time with each person, answering any questions they may have.  I am currently running an early bird registration special.  If you register before March 1st 2013 you can save $25 per workshop off the regular $125 per person price.  Additionally If you register for 2 workshop you are automatically registered to attend the 3rd workshop for free, this deal only applies if it is the same person taking all three workshops.

Spring Waterfall Tour in Muskoka Photography Workshop - April 27, 2013

Potts Falls - Trent Woods Photography - 2013 Photography Workshop Schedule

The first of the 2013 Photography Workshop Scheduled is a Waterfall tour of Muskoka.  There are many beautiful waterfalls along the Muskoka river.  During this one day workshop we will be visiting 2 waterfalls.  At each location we will be discussing techniques and equipment used to capture stunning images of waterfalls.

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Spring in Algonquin Park Photography Workshop - May 11, 2013

Spirit of the Morning - Trent Woods Photography

Just two short weeks later, my next photography workshop will be taking place in Algonquin Park.  During our visit to Algonquin Park we will utilize the Highway 60 corridor to get to our hiking locations as well as photographing wildlife.  We will be visiting at least 2 of Algonquin Parks interpretive trails, hiking a minimum of 7kms.  The topics that will be highlighted during this workshop include Landscapes, Macro, and Wildlife Photography.

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Summer Waterfall Tour in Owen Sound Photography Workshop - July 6, 2013

Hoggs Falls - Trent Woods Photography

My third and final workshop will be taking place in the Owen Sound area.  There are many different types of waterfalls, and Gray County showcases many of them.  This workshop is one of the easiest in terms of the distance that participants need to hike, but it is most defiantly the most difficult terrain to access our shooting locations.  During our explorations at each location we will be discussing techniques and equipment used to capture powerful images of waterfalls.

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All of my 2013 Photography Workshops are geared towards all levels of photographers.  It doesn't matter if you are taking pictures with your cell phone or a high-end DSLR camera.  Everyone can learn something from my workshops.  Each workshop presents it's own challenges both photographically and physically.  All of the workshops that I will be hosting will require hiking to the final location, sometimes only 100m while other times 5+kms.  Much of the landscape that we will be crossing will be uneven and challenging.

I hope you can join me at one or more of these workshops.

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Using Geocaching as your Photography Guide

Using Geocaching as your Photography Guide is an alternative to hiring a professional photography guide.  All to often photographers find themselves in a new area, city, or town looking for the best place to make some beautiful images.  Many photographers just don't know where to go, or are unable to find a guide for the area.  This is where Geocaching comes in handy. The first question that some of you may have is, what the heck is geocaching? Geocaching is an outdoor real life treasure hunt. Participants use GPS enabled devices to guide them to a container hidden at the coordinates that are listed on  All you need to get started is a free account.  If you would like to start finding geocaches while out making pictures, you will need a GPS enabled device, such as a smart phone with the geocaching app, or handheld GPS unit.  As an added bonus if you choose to use a handheld GPS you can geotag all your photos when you get home.  Having a GPS with you also makes it much easier to find those special spots later on, or even years later.  Lastly, getting lost is near impossible.

Geocaching is an outdoor real life treasure hunt. Participants use GPS enabled devices to guide them to a container hidden at the coordinates that are listed on

My family and I have visited many geocaches that have brought us to popular spots that many people see as the final destination, and then the geocache took us a little bit further down the trail to reveal a hidden gem that absolutely takes your breath away.  For example I live in central Ontario, about 20 mintues from where I live is a hydro dam waterfall known as "High Falls".  The waterfall is a very popular rest area for cottagers.  The area immediately around the falls is beautiful, however it's not a very photographic.  The hydro dam and the bridge over the falls seem to creep into any angle you might think would work.

High Falls-Geocaching as your Photography Guide-Trent Woods

A geocache took me down a  path maybe 200m (~600ft for my American friends) away from High Falls, to a tranquil, and magical set of waterfalls.  I have lived in the area for my entire life and I never knew that this waterfall was there, until geocaching took me there.

Potts Falls - Fall-Geocaching as your Photography Guide-Trent Woods

I can hear the keyboard starting to click now...  "if you are a good photographer you can make good pictures anywhere".  I agree but after seeing the two above photos which set of falls would you prefer to photograph?

Before I go on any working photography trip I always use geocaching as my photography guide, if only to give me an idea of where I want to go.  When I start to research the area I am going, I head over to and search for geocaches near the area I will be staying.  This will provide me with a list of caches in the area.  At this point I start browsing the geocache listing, and take a look at the image gallery.  By viewing the images in the photo gallery and reading the cache description I have a good idea if I want to visit the area.  This is a time consuming process and manual process.  I have been able to find many locations that I may have over looked or never discovered without geocaching, especially in areas that I was not able to find a professional photography guide.

Please keep in mind that using geocaching is only an option.  It will not replace the experience , or the access to sites that a good photography guide can provide.  I highly recommend hiring an experienced local photography guide when ever you can.  Good guides are worth their weight in gold.  In the cases when you are unable find a guide, Geocaching will help you find the places you want to make great pictures.

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Barrie-Allandale Model Railway Association

The Barrie-Allandale Model Railway Association has been around since 1963 evolving several times along the way to find themselves where they are today.  When the club was originally founded it was call the Lake Simcoe Railway Modellers, the name of the club was changed in the early 1990’s to more accurately reflect the fact the club was in Barrie.

Model Railroad - Barrie-Allendale Model Railway Association The Barrie-Allandale Model Railway members meet every Tuesday from 6:30-9:30pm.  Possible new members are always welcome with only two restrictions.  Possible new members must be at least 18 years of age and you must supply and maintain a National Model Railroad Association membership.

The club’s current layout is a 16x20 foot, 3 loop layout.  The layout is made out of modular sections that are 2 feet by 4 feet, allowing each member of the club to work on their own section at home, on their own time.  The modularity of the layout also allows the club to disassemble the loop for easy transport to shows and events.

Each year the Barrie-Allandale Model Railway Association host their annual model train show held at Bradford Greenhouses Garden Gallery.  The show attracts a large number of vendors, selling everything from books, and slot cars, to high end model train equipment and everything in between.  There are also a number of model train clubs and associations on had with their layouts up and running for all to see.  If you get a chance to experience the show I would highly recommend it, children’s eyes just light up when they see the trains going around.

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Barrie Swordplay Association

I think at some point in everyone's life there is a time when they have dreamed about Knights.  Whether the dream is to become a Knight or to be rescued by your Knight in shining armour.  Since we don't live in  the fourteenth century, the Barrie Swordplay Association just maybe the place for you to live your dream.

Barrie Sword Play Association KnightEstablished in 2007 the Barrie Swordplay Association holds classes every Monday night at the Bayfield Mall across the hall from Sir Games A Lot.  Classes cost $10 each and run from 6-9pm.  Safety is the number one concern of the group.  Without the proper training someone could be seriously hurt, quickly and easily.  That is why each class consist of a warm-up, drills that focus on proper footwork and sword techniques, and free time at the end of each class to spar or continue to practice.  The group focuses training on three main styles of combat: English Backswording, Italian Long Sword, and Viking/Medieval Sword and Shield.

The Barrie Swordplay Association has performed for thousands of fascinated spectators at events such as Casa Loma's Renaissance Fair and Celebrate Barrie.  Their Performances have earned the Barrie Swordplay Association the title of Honourary Knights of Casa Loma.

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If you would like to learn more about the Barrie Swordplay Association please visit the links below.

Barrie Swordplay Association on Facebook Barrie Swordplay Association Website Barrie Swordplay Association on YouTube Casa Loma

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons Blacksmith

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons Blacksmith forge was built 1642, as one of the keys to creating a self-sustaining community in Huronia.  With the forge up and running, the people living at Sainte-Marie could custom build the items that they needed.  The only other option was waiting for supplies to arrive from Quebec. The trip from Quebec to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons took thirty days one way, by canoe, which made custom manufacturing iron goods that much more important. Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons BlacksmithThe primary Blacksmith at Sainte-Marie was a Jesuit lay brother by the name of Louis Gauber. He was charged with the task of making iron tools, hinges, spikes, nails, and other structural items used to assist in the construction of not only Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, but other structures throughout Huronia that the Jesuits were involved with. Gauber would have also created items that were used for trade such as awls and fishhooks. Gauber worked the forge at Sainte-Marie from 1642 until the settlement was ultimately abandoned in 1650.

Mining operations had not begun in New France in the 1640's therefore iron was brought to the New World from established mines in France. Iron would have been transported in various forms, from large bars known as ingots, to flat, round, or square rods, in various weights and dimensions. The ingots would have been used to create larger items such as tools. The rods would have been used for smaller items like nails, or hinges. During times when iron was scarce, items around Sainte-Marie that were deemed nonessential could have been repurposed and turned into need supplies like nails.

Most people are familiar with a typical one hearth forge in which a blacksmith uses coal to heat the metal they are going to work with. Sainte-Marie among the Hurons forge is not unique but is a less common type of forge that uses two hearths. The black smith uses the first hearth to burn hardwood and produce hot wood coals. Once enough wood coal is available the Blacksmith scoops the hot wood coal out of the first hearth and places them in the second hearth. The second hearth would have a set of bellows attached, that allow the blacksmith to pump a large amount of oxygen in to the bottom of the coals, providing a perfect place to heat metal to a temperature at which it can be worked.

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Many special events take place at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons throughout the year, so be sure to check out their special events calendar.

Additional Resources


Ontario Rodeo Association Finals 2011

Alliston played host to the Ontario Rodeo Association Finals 2011 from September 30th to October 2nd.  The rodeo was held inside the Alliston Memorial Arena, with capacity crowds each of the three days.

Ontario Rodeo Association Finals 2011 - Cowboy getting ready to ride

The top 7 contestants in each category from the previous 14 Ontario Rodeo Association events qualified to be a part of the finals.

Categories included...

  • Bareback Bronc Riders
  • Saddle Bronc Riders
  • Steer Wrestlers
  • Team Ropers
  • Breakaway Ropers
  • Tiedown Ropers
  • Barrel Racers
  • Junior Bull Riders
  • Junior Barrel Racers
  • Bull Riders