Have you read the book, ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’? Well, here’s the story of what happened when Barb Johnson got a camera.
Utah Lake is the centerpiece of Utah County. Thousands of people visit every year, either on their own, or attending one of the many events taking place at the lake, such as the Utah Lake Festival, bass fishing, boating, or para sailing. Many visitors simply walk around the lake and just take pictures.
Barbara Behm Johnson is one such Utah resident. With her children grown and gone, and her husband more inclined to relax at home, Barb got herself a camera. She started with pictures at home (of grandbabies), but eventually took her camera with her on one of her many visits to Utah Lake. Barb has always loved Utah Lake. As a budding photographer, she searched for a photo club to join, but found nothing suitable.
Barb took a lovely photo of the sunset one evening, but was unable to get the view she wanted due to another lake visitor standing in her shot. She took the picture anyway, and wandered over and struck up a conversation with her unwitting subject, who turned out to be Garth Rogers. The two impulsively decided that what was needed was to start their own photo club. They hopped in the car and drove together to find the Utah Lake Commission. Sam Braegger, Programs Manager for the Utah Lake Commission, recalls that first meeting.
“When Barbara Johnson and Garth Rogers first walked into my office in the spring of 2017, I could immediately see their passion for photography and for Utah Lake,” said Braegger. “Since its beginning, the Utah Lake Photo Club has been about photographers of all interests and skill levels, sharing a passion for Utah Lake, coming together to learn about photography, go on outings together to take photos and share in the camaraderie of their mutual interests. The Utah Lake Commission has been a proud sponsor of the club since its creation in March 2017 and enjoys the interactions with photographers, their help and support in showing the world the beauty of Utah Lake, and the opportunity to give back to residents who love the lake so much.”
Barb and Garth both began spreading the word. Wherever they went (taking pictures), they would approach fellow photographers and tell them about this new club. In April 2017, about 20 of these fellow photographers – including this humble reporter – met together for the first time.
Since then, the club has grown to more than 1,000 members. Interested parties can ask to join through the Utah Lake Photo Club group on Facebook. Many of the members are out of state and even out of country. While Utah Lake figures prominently in many photos, club members also share photos taken wherever they go. From Arizona sunsets, to the various parks and forests in and out of Utah, to far-flung locales around the world, these photographers share whatever catches their eye at the moment. Some club members are actually professional photographers, others just take professional-looking photos, and still others are rank amateurs. Many club members have had their photos published, or even featured on KSL Weather. Photos are taken with Canon, Nikon, Sony, cell phones, and more – flowers, insects, landscapes, portraits, wedding photos – whatever catches their eye.
Club members try to get together once a month to go on an outing, or share their knowledge and expertise in classes. An instructor will talk about camera settings, the use of light, how to compose a shot, various lenses and tripods, editing in post production, the pros and cons of this and that, and so much more. These monthly meetings are full of happy photographers chatting together about best ways, best locations, best equipment, failures and successes.
Recently, some of the club members sold some of their photos as a fundraiser to raise awareness about safety on the lake. Although the lake isn’t very deep, people do still drown in it occasionally. Club members hope visitors to the lake will be careful, and utilize the life vest stations located around the lake.
Photographers are attracted to the beauty of nature, and it is wonderful to have such a bounty as Utah Lake close to hand. Barb tried to explain the appeal of photographing nature. She said she found nature a lot more beautiful when looking through a camera lens. “I didn’t just see more,” she said. “I felt the beauty of nature more deeply when I looked through the lens.” Barb has since moved to St George, but she occasionally finds time to come back to Utah Lake, where she frequently meets up with current and past club members. She never tires of photography, or Utah Lake, or chatting.
Submitted by Cheri Christensen.