Southern Exposure Photography Club, based in Eldorado, was first formed when Eldorado resident Doug Seagraves approached avid hobbyist photographer David Horning about forming a group for people interested in photography.
Seagraves said he is no professional photographer, he simply enjoys it as a hobby and wanted to share that joy with others in the area who also have an interest in photography. Horning and Seagraves formed the group in January 2010 and it has been steadily growing since then.
"It's really meant for everybody, from people who have SLR cameras to those who just use point-and-shoot cameras," Seagraves said.
The group usually meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at the Eldorado Community Center, but also mix things up by meeting at various locations in the outdoors or at Horning's photography studio in his home.
Monday the club is meeting at Karel Park between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to learn how to use a reflector to enhance color and how to shoot in natural light using a live model. Seagraves wants to encourage anyone with an interest in photography to come out and have some fun with the group, while learning new techniques from one another at the same time.
"If you love to shoot photos this is definitely the place to be," he said. "It's not a class. We don't teach, we come together to learn from each other."
The group has several exciting events planned for the remainder of the year, including an outing next month to Giant City Park and a guest speaker in November. Each month members also bring some of their best work based around a common theme to share with the club, and they then vote for the best photograph of the month.
"It's fun because we share our work and ideas," Seagraves said. "If you have questions or just a general interest to become a better photographer, this is a really stress-free environment."
Seagraves said he has seen some members start out with very little knowledge of how to use a camera and has been able to watch them really improve over time.
"We've all become better," Seagraves said. "We feed off that positive energy."
The club, which is free to join, is a diverse group of people who meet once a month to share a common interest. Everyone is invited to attend, and further information can be found on the Southern Exposure Facebook page or by calling Seagraves at (618) 841-6852.
"The point is to get a group of people together every month to learn and share their knowledge," Seagraves said. "We have fun behind the lens."
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In addition, the group does some charitable work each year during the holiday season.
"We set up a studio and invite families to come get a professional photo done," he said.
As a group they then purchase an 8 inch-by-10 inch copy of the photo and give it to the family as a gift.
"It's a very fun and rewarding experience," Seagraves said.