These female friendships transcend mom talk or shopping. The dozen members of El Dorado Hills Chicks that Click share a mutual passion for photography. Three years ago people kept telling professional photographer Stephanie Redhair she had to meet Diane Orciuoli, another local woman most often found with a camera in hand. They struck up a friendship; then invited other friends and friends of friends into their circle, organically forming a club where photography experience doesn’t matter but a proclivity for adventure does.
“Some women joined because they wanted to learn how to use their fancy cameras,” said Redhair. “We have from beginners to professional photographers, but we all get something out of it.”
Once a month the camera club chooses a fieldtrip, most often during the weekdays when children are in school. “We usually find someplace interesting to shoot and have a meal,” said Redhair. They don’t stay in El Dorado Hills either, but traverse the region, going as far as St. Helena, where they shot photos at various wineries before capping their adventure off with lunch and spa treatments. More recently they visited old churches in Coloma and then dined at the Argonaut Café.
They often choose a skill to focus on during their outings. While recently in Placerville they focused on street photography and “shooting from the hip,” or shooting with out anyone knowing it. “The camera can be at the waist or above your head or pointed sideways,” said Redhair of the technique. “But you are not using the viewfinder to compose your shots.” Afterwardsthey swapped notes and enjoyed lunch at Sweetie Pies.
Where they go depends on what members pitch. Mountain Democrat photographer Shelly Thorene is a member of EDH Chicks that Click. She said she’s like to see the group explore night photography one of these days and, once the weather warms up, she’d like to take a trip to the second Saturday art walk in Sacramento and maybe visit some art galleries afterward.
When life gets busy and the group can’t meet, like during summer or the holidays, they do virtual assignments and share them online (in photography talk Redhair said this is called “chimping”). Last summer the group challenged each other to post pictures that are “hot,” either figuratively or literally. They’ve played with Bokeh (or intentional blurring in a photo). They also participate together in the annual Focus on Folsom photography contest.
“I’m learning more about photography all the time,” said Redhair. “I love that we can all look at the same subject, but through our shots it shows how we interpret the same subject in different ways.”
Though Thorene’s day job is as a photographer, being a member of the camera club “is more of a creative outlet,” she said. “I take pictures everyday for work, but I get to manipulate photos and do my own artistic work with these outings.”
Thorene also likes the camaraderie. “Photographers can be a strange breed,” she said. “Sometime we can be loners; so it’s nice to be around people with the same obsession.”
Even Thorene learned something new during the last outing.
“I just bought a new camera and one of the members gave a brief run through about HDR (high dynamic range),” she said. “This is when you shoot multiple frames with the same subject; it’s a helpful technique when you’re shooting a sunset, for instance, and you want to properly expose the sky and foreground. I wasn’t able to do this with my old camera without a tripod, but with my new camera I can.”
“It’s such a positive group,” said founding member Orciuoli. “It’s about beauty and seeing our surroundings, but it’s also about growing as women and doing something for ourselves.”