The Colonial Nature Photography Club in James City keeps growing

On the first Monday of every month, members of the Colonial Nature Photography Club converge at the James City County Library.

The repartee is lively and those who attend chat about what they have photographed over the course of the month.

Sometimes, a speaker shares information regarding a topic pertinent to nature photography. Other times, members share photos from travels.

What they have in common is how they see the world—through a camera.

Barbara Houston, the club's secretary-treasurer, said the group was started by photographer Ken Conger about six years ago. It has continually gained new members.

"We had six people at the first meeting," Houston recalled. "It started off with area people who were interested in nature photography. We have grown over the years and we have more than fifty members now."

Craig Hill has been a member for five years and president for the past three. He said the club has been invaluable for meeting like-minded people.

"The value of the club has is meeting other photographers and finding out where are the best places to take pictures," Hill said. "Where do I go to find a hummingbird or an eagle's nest? That information is as valuable as anything."

As membership has grown, so are the honors they have gained. Several have been recognized for their work.

Houston recently took First Place for a Route 5 Corridor photo in Scenic Virginia's annual Virginia Vistas Photo Contest.

"I was very happy with that," Houston said.

Houston and fellow members Chris Tennant, Lynda Blair, Rob Sabatini and David Beals had winning entries in this year's "Virginia Wildlife Magazine's" photo contest. Members consistently have work recognized by various publications.

One of Tennant's photographs was featured on Smithsonian.com in their online album, "Best Autumn Photographs from the Last Ten Years of Photo Contests."

Houston said she recently started carrying her camera with her full-time.

"It is amazing how my photography has grown as a result," she said. "If I see something, I take a photo."

Some members have highly sophisticated equipment for photos, others have simple cameras.

"We have some members who carry a point-and-shoot and some with some very expensive equipment," she said.

"We have people who are just starting to those who are professional wildlife photgraphers," Hill said. "There is a wide range of skills."

Want to go? The next meeting is 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 8. Visit http://www.cnpcva.org for more information.