Life Changing

by Bettye Sue Austin

Before moving back to Cookeville, I used to take pictuaustin_bettye_1454976605res of my flowers with a small Canon point and shoot camera.   I never took a class so I really didn’t know what I was doing at the time.   I hybridize daylilies and wanted to run a daylily seed business after retirement.

With this plan in mind, I moved to Cookeville bringing my daylilies along with me.  My goal was to learn how to get clear images of the daylilies, so I could display the two plants I crossed on my web page. I bought a DSLR camera and signed up for a class taught by Bill Miller, a member of the Cookeville Camera Club.  IMG_8345

The class changed how I view my surroundings!  I learned to see angles, shapes, texture, and color in this beautiful world we live in.  I learned how to compose my images to make them more appealing instead of just taking a snapshot.  I learned how to take close-up “macro” shots of my flowers.  I also learned how to take portraits of my family members.  I really enjoyed shooting the images for each class assignment and looked forward to sharing them with the other members in the class. After I completed the class, I practiced what I learned every day.

We are all so busy and rushed that we don’t always pay attention to the beauty around us. We don’t see the beauty in the night sky, a sunset, the textures and colors of the buildings in our town, and the beauty of a tree in winter with a perfect form.  Now, I notice beauty everywhere I go.

Photography slows us down a bit so we do notice the beauty20160604-IMG_7349around us.  You don’t have to travel far to get great images.  There are lots of subjects in our own backyards.  You don’t need an expensive camera to get great photos either.  The cameras on our wireless phones are getting better with every new release.   The method of making a photograph emphasizes “seeing” in a different way – seeing interesting subjects in an interesting environment, and then composing what is seen in a compelling way.

The Cookeville Camera Club offers optional outings for its members.  Our most recent outing was a trip to Johnson’s Nursery to photograph flo20160428-IMG_2870wers.  We were allowed access before they opened for business.  We are encouraged to share our photos in contests and essays.  Our next contest is “flowers” so the trip to Johnsons was perfectly timed!  We are constantly offered opportunities to learn and improve our photography skills.  The club invites guest speakers to our meetings to share their knowledge and tips for becoming better photographers.  Come visit us on one of our essay nights if you would like to see a variety of great images.  Members sometimes share their images from a special trip.   Gary Moore recently shared images from his trip to Antarctica.  It was a beautiful show.  To find out what’s going on at our club, check out our website at

I never did start that daylily seed business.  I’m too busy taking pictures of the daylilies or anything else I find in my own yard, always trying to get that perfect shot.