Alex Martin started a camera club to teach kids her age how to use a camera. Her gear was financed by a hobby that also benefited the MSPCA.
The 13-year-old Wood Hill Middle School student admits that she has issues remembering what shutter-bug terms like “ISO” mean, but the blurry photos she sees popping up from her friends on Facebook are much less forgivable.
“That’s the thing that annoys me the most,” she said, laughing. “I think focus is the biggest problem for a lot of people.”
Two years ago, Alex capped off her fifth-grade year as editor-in-chief of Hawk Talk, High Plain Elementary School’s newly-created student newspaper, by picking up another hobby.
“I started making jewelry during the summer,” she said. “I sold it to my friends at the school and some of my teachers.”
While making regular donations to a local MSPCA animal shelter, Alex said the hobby has raised upwards of $1,000 for her. Of the $1,000 collected, $600 of that went to a Nikon D-3100 she wanted after trying a similar digital SLR camera her mother owned.
After that, “I kind of just played around with it and learned how to use it,” she said.
Stuff like “shutter speed” — how quickly a camera opens and closes its lens — and ISO — how sensitive a camera is to light — equate to better looking shots, she said. Though she hasn’t mastered how to use them in union, she’s helping other students at Wood Hill understand more basic camera concepts.
The club meets every Monday after school for one hour. Most of the time, she explains how to focus a camera, when to use a flash, how to adjust a camera for different brightness situations and more.
This past week, the club hiked around the woods outside the school and tested shooting for texture, or how to show relief on flat objects as if they weren’t flat, she said.