Photo club aids Pat Ward

Photo club shoots pictures at a show choir competition held by the Synergy and Innovation choirs.

Meredith Gwennap, Staff Writer

Local photographer Pat Ward helps photo club members get experience with photography and equipment by giving them a chance to take photos at Showzam, a show choir competition, each year. The profits fund an annual trip to Minneapolis.

Photo club is a place where students can present their photography skills, research important photographers, plan the Minnesota trip and eat treats.

Three years ago Ward was contacted by the former director of the music department Sarah Van Waardhuzeln. Van Waardhuzeln wanted Ward to set up a photo booth at Showzam. In order to make this happen Ward needed to be with the computers at all times, and needed help with the cameras.

Ward contacted photo club sponsor Dan Weiss to see if photo club would want to help out. “Members get some real world experience in event photography,” Ward said. He offered them the option to be paid individually or take a donation for the club. The club and Ward came to an agreement of a $500 donation based on an hourly rate.

The donation from Ward  does not cover the whole trip. “It helps a lot of students who couldn’t afford [the trip] can still go,” Weiss said.

Ward begins the process by taking the photo club members to a show choir dress rehearsal. At the dress rehearsal Ward conducts a short training session consisting of how to use his cameras, tips special for shooting show choir pictures and the best types of pictures in terms of what sells.”It was cool to experience using higher level equipment,” sophomore photo club member Katelyn Perkins said.

The photo club members roles are not only to take pictures, but also act as runners. A runner is a person who holds multiple empty memory cards. After each performance the runner collects all of the memory cards from each photographer and returns them to Ward at the computers. Ward switches the used  cards for empty cards and the runner returns the empty cards to the photographers.

Ward loads the full cards onto the computers and adds a quick fix through Photoshop. “There is usually a group two and three deep looking at their photos most of the competition,” Ward said. The competition is held on a Friday night and all day Saturday. “I often take pictures of nature and still life scenes,” Perkins said “It was a good experience to take fast motion pictures.”

Ward, photo club  and the Vocal Music Department benefit from this. Ward receives money from the prints bought. “Having a booth like this at is something that helps draw choirs to this competition,” Ward said “[This] is how money is raised for the Vocal Music Department.”

The photo club sponsors a trip to Minneapolis. “It’s my way of thanking my students for putting up with the rigor I put them through in class,” Weiss said.

In Minneapolis students visit a total of three museums and the Mall of America. “My favorite part is looking at the paintings that my students have studied,” Weiss said.