Rediscovering My Artistic Passion

By David Neal

The Urban Dictionary defines passion as putting more energy into something than is required to do it.  Although I have many and varied interests my passion has always been in the arts both, visual and musical. I had thought at one time many years ago I might try to earn a living in some creative endeavor, but my aspirations were greater than my level of competence.  While maintaining a deep interest in music I became a great follower and student of the visual arts.


My passion for creating took a change in direction to being a father, but after my children had grown I found myself with an urge to begin creating again.  I found that my artistic talent had unfortunately not improved. I began looking for ways to be creative and soon purchased my first “real” camera and a whole new world opened up.  I can now create, and the same enthusiasm I once had as a kid with pencil in hand had returned. Each time the shutter clicked I would get more excited.

My weekends were spent on photography road trips. I shot everything from Smoky Mountain landscapes and city street scenes to local music events.



The concert shots shown here were captured with an entry level camera and zoom lens from approximately 30 feet away in order to capture the emotion of the performer without being obtrusive.

I had the equipment and the enthusiasm, but I lacked any sort of direction.  When I discovered Cookeville Camera Club I knew this was where I was going to take my photography to the next level.  The first meeting I attended was their annual scavenger hunt.  A random list of ten things was given to each of us that we would need to find and photograph.  I spent the next couple of hours exploring Cookeville’s west side from the Presbyterian Church all the way to the depot trying to find and photograph things on my list.

The night ended at Cream City where I got to know some of the members, we exchanged stories about our backgrounds and some of our favorite photos over ice cream and smoothies.  I saw the same passion in those folks that I had recently rediscovered in myself.  I have seen slideshows of other members work ranging from the amateur like myself all the way to professional photographers who have been published in National Geographic.  Everyone is warm and friendly and open to answer questions and help the beginners like myself.  In addition to the slideshows and presentations, the club plans several road trips each year to seminars and expositions along with workshops detailing different aspects of photography, such as portraiture, macro, nature and post processing.  Guest photographers are asked to come and give presentations about their careers and any instructions they would like to pass along.  A full calendar is available on the club’s website and Facebook page. I have since officially joined the club and look forward to every meeting.

If you have a budding interest in photography or are a seasoned veteran I can’t think of a better group to be involved with.  We meet the second Monday of each month at 7:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church, second floor meeting room, 20 N. Dixie Ave. Cookeville, TN. (At the corner of N. Dixie and Broad. St).  We can be found at and on Facebook search. for Cookeville Camera Club.