As with many of us, Alene’s first exposure to photography was through her dad taking family vacation photos. She carried on the tradition with her own family, then took it further into becoming a hobby. She enrolled in some workshops before taking the (for her) brave step of joining the Simsbury Camera Club in about 2013. Alene was initially worried about being the newest, least experienced member. However, she soon decided that “You don’t need to stress over competition. Just learn from others and enjoy the moment – take what you can and have fun!” One of her early submissions was to a Humor special category and she nailed it with a first place ribbon, which definitely qualified as fun.
Over the years she’s seen the club grow in many ways, with more interesting and varied outside speakers, great presentations by members, and the continued influx of wonderful new photographers. A constant has been the concentration of the club on teaching, supported by member feedback and demonstrations of new techniques. She very much appreciates the opportunities to learn from each other.
Alene is especially drawn to creative photography, and also has a strong interest in street photography. She has a knack for seeing what many others consider ordinary and just walk past, then turning it into art. “With a camera in hand, the world opens its doors to the imagination, freezing time, revealing a depth of secrets we often miss.” She feels that giving close attention to any subject can transform it into something fascinating. Alene has also come to appreciate the various plug-ins and editing tools available for post-processing. She feels they open up avenues for creative expression and the ability to transmute otherwise ordinary images into art.
Her first camera was a Pentax film camera. She left film behind after a disastrous vacation where something went wrong with the film feed and she returned with no photos. Her first digital camera was a Kodak, followed by a Sony mirrorless. She now shoots with a Nikon D7100 and revels in the reliability and all of the various options for creativity.
For many years Alene was a sales rep for Office Depot. She was then offered a job with ZEP Manufacturing, a leading producer of cleaning, maintenance, and sanitizing solutions for a broad spectrum of industries. The company had decided that their mostly male sales force needed more females – and they surely picked the right woman for the job. When pitching new clients “I realized quickly that you had to be first or you had to be best – or you just had to be different.” She became creative when going after new accounts and chose to pitch to non-standard businesses. A big triumph was when she secured the account for the Osborne State Prison laundry – and she repeatedly went into the prison to service the account. Do NOT mess with a determined Alene!
She greatly enjoys travelling and taking photographs in a variety of places. Alene also stresses that you don’t need to be far from home to find good subjects and relates a story we should all note. She and her husband Stan would often ride their bikes past a junkyard with many old broken-down cars. One day she read an article urging photographers to always have their camera with them because you never know when you’ll come across an interesting subject that you may never see again in quite the same way. She took that to heart and carried her camera there and spent some time shooting and was able to capture interesting images. About a week later they biked past the site and all of the cars were gone! Lesson learned.
She’s happily photographed during workshops in Maine, Cape Cod, and New York City, and while travelling with Stan in Italy, Germany, and Amsterdam. It may be exhausting contemplating this, but she has biked round trip from Simsbury to Newport and from Simsbury to Cape Cod! Alene and Stan did bike tours in Sonoma, Utah, Amsterdam, and Costa Rica. She’s especially pleased to have all those varied photographs to look back on.
Through the years of her membership Alene has supported the club in many ways. She has been a competition judge and served one year as vice president. She continues to serve as club secretary while generating ideas for new activities. “I find getting involved in the club makes you feel more a part of it, and a club requires members to participate to make it work.” Alene proposed to the SCC Board the idea for a teen photo competition and shouldn’t have been surprised when the suggestion was approved and she was “volunteered” to head up the effort – which she did with gusto. Rather than the expected 50 or so entries, over 200 were submitted. Due to its success, a second annual event was planned but was derailed by COVID; hopefully, it will return in the future.
Another notable addition to club activities championed by Alene is this Member Recognition Column on the website. It was originally conceived as a way to honor the extensive involvement of George Zars, a longtime SCC member who contributed greatly to the club and passed away a few years ago. She was then inspired to broaden its reach to include periodic articles about members who have participated in the club “above and beyond”. It’s only fitting that Alene is now being recognized.