Photographer shares knowledge during presentation

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  • PHOTOS BY CHRIS WYMAN Standing in front of a framed photograph in the Vernon Senior Center, photographer Leesa Beckmann of Barry Lakes holds two self-portraits that she created for the Vernon Camera Club meeting featuring a presentation by Highland Lakes cinematographer/photographer Rob Haley.

  • Photo by Chris Wyman Cinematographer/photographer Rob Haley holds a self-portrait created by Vernon photographer Terry Neff.

Rob Haley is a well-traveled and award-winning cinematographer and established still photographer with more than 25 years of experience.

Last week, the Highland Lakes resident shared that experience at the Vernon Camera Club's monthly meeting.

Haley’s two-hour presentation included an introduction to shapes and patterns and then moved on to cover the elements of basic photographic composition, including the pros and cons of deep and shallow depth-of-field, and the effect of freezing action versus showing blurred motion in photographs.

Additional fundamentals included symmetrical and asymmetrical balance, framing subjects within a composition and using leading lines that catch the eye and direct a viewer’s attention to the photograph’s primary subject.

The presentation also included the theory of the “Rule of Thirds” in which an image is divided into nine equally sized rectangles with four points of intersection near the center of an image. In theory, the composition should have primary subject material at three of the four points for a balanced composition.

Following the viewing of a collection of self portraits by famous artists from da Vinci to Picasso to Andy Warhol, the program concluded with Haley offering a critique of the members’ monthly photo assignment, which was “selfies” or self portraits. The members’ self portraits varied greatly in the way they handled the challenge and included “straight” shots as well as extensive photo manipulation techniques.

“It was a great meeting [Tuesday]," said Barbara Laufnick, the club's public relations coordinator. "Rob was a fantastic teacher; everyone really enjoyed him.”

After the meeting, the members had a chance to speak with Haley at length to ask questions about their own photographic pursuits and concerns.

Samples of Haley’s still photography are arranged in 15 photo galleries that can be found at Haley is a recurring featured artist at the annual Highland Lakes Professional Art Show each summer and was an Adjunct Professor at the New School University in New York City.

The club’s next monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, May 6, and will feature speaker Cheryl Williver, a New Jersey photographer, stylist, and owner of Images Everything Photography. Williver has more than 20 years experience and is a member of The Photographers of Sussex County. She also is chairwoman of the annual New Jersey State Fair Photography Exhibit. She will be critiquing photos on Shapes and Patterns, which is this month’s assignment for club members. She also will give a lesson on how to mat photos for photography competitions.

The club’s meeting that will launch the summer season is scheduled for Monday, June 2. That meeting will feature a group of professional press photographers who work for area newspapers and who have varied specialties. They will be sharing trade secrets, insights on the gear they use, and will be available to ask a variety of tough questions such as, “What do you do when you arrive at an assignment and there doesn’t seem to be anything worth shooting?”

There also will be free photography catalogs and gift awards for audience participation.

The Vernon Camera Club is now in its second year with about 25 regular members of varied levels of experience and expertise ranging from beginners to advanced photographers. Meetings are open to the public and a great chance to connect with people with similar interests in photography. The club always is looking to add new members.

For more information, contact Barbara Laufnick at 973-875-1170 or via email at

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