Photographers will soon be snapping into action in Ossett.
Members of Ossett & District Camera Club are set to launch their new season a week on Thursday after a long summer break.
The club, based at Ossett Community Centre in Wakefield, is home to a host of award-winning photographers who go the extra mile to get that perfect shot.
One such dedicated snapper is Ian Sykes who specialises in taking pictures of fighter jets in often extreme conditions.
Club spokesman Walt Covell said: “He really is a good photographer who puts himself about a bit. The last pictures he sent me were of Phantom jets in Japan. He said, ‘It was minus 24 degrees when I took those’. When you pull the pictures up at 100 per cent you can see the pilot clearly in the cockpit.
“He has also been to Poland and up in the mountains. Ian has a great big box of tricks to carry on his back. He had to climb very big slopes - I forget how many thousand feet.
“It was all set up with the Polish Air Force to fly through a gorge. The snow was up to Ian’s chest but he got the picture. It’s incredible what he does. We are lucky to have a photographer like Ian in our club.”
The club has a wide range of talented photographers aged from 16 to 82.
Its youngest member is Josh Whitehead, who joined after encouragement from his grandad Tom Stevens, who is a also a member.
It wasn’t long before Josh’s work was being commended and placed in club competitions. And last year he joined the committee.
The club hones its members’ skills with a mixture of workshops from visiting lectures, peer support and keenly-fought competitions.
Mr Covell, 79, said: “There are inter club competitions with members from the old West Riding of Yorkshire, clubs like Bradford, Pudsey, Leeds and Holmfirth.
“They make a theme up and all the camera clubs have got to put in pictures in to meet the theme. Then a judge with hundreds of letters behind his name comes in and judges them.”
The club also holds its own running competitions, like photographer of the year. Clubman Tony Pratt won the top gong last season.
Mr Covell added: “He does some excellent stuff. He is not one of these who thinks, ‘I’ll just go up to Sandal Castle and get a couple of pictures’. He goes all over the place and really goes to town with his pictures.”
Other competitions throughout the year include record, natural history, pictorial and portrait. There are contests both in print and digital projected images.
The September to May programme of lectures, workshops on current trends like photo stacking and the contests are all geared to boost people’s photography skills. Retired train driver Mr Covell, who has been a member for nearly 30 years, said: “ I joined as a new member. I thought I was good enough to join the camera club, but you realise there is more to it than meets the eye. You start off as a rookie, and then if you are willing to go regularly and take on what people tell you then you get better and better.”
“When you are a rookie you might not have a clue about things like macro photography but then you get into it.
“The competitions and work nights make you more aware of your photos. You think ‘I could do better with that because I remember what so and so told me’. It really does improve your photography.”
Ossett & District Camera Club was founded on December 6, 1955.
A committee of six, headed by president Dr Stokes, was formed.
Back then an annual subscription cost fifteen shillings, or two shillings and six pence for an associate member. Today a year’s membership costs £32.
The club still meets at its original venue: Ossett Community Centre on Prospect Road.
Meetings are held at 7.30pm every Thursday from September to May at the Coach House.
Walt Covell, the club’s publicity officer, said: “Our secretary Margaret Woolmer remembers her father, Harold Walker, joining the club in 1955 and buying his first camera.
“He came home from the camera club excited with what he had learnt, and showing off his prints. He was one of many local people that the camera club has helped over the years.”
New members are welcome at the club, which launches its new season on Thursday, September 5.
Mr Covell added: “Anyone who is interested in photography is welcome to come along and attend three meetings for free to see if our club suites them. We also welcome junior members.
“Our club holds lectures from top class people. We also do work nights, and competitions are held throughout the season. We also do trips out.”
For more information go to: ossettcameraclub.smugmug.com.