New photo group organizing in Melrose

 ... Loose organization, monthly outings, digital and standard 
film ...

from the SilverStringers

Mallard" by Louise Fennell

The SilverStringers have opened yet another door with the
establishment of a group interested in photography, using
both digital and standard film formats. The group, which is
starting with six members, has had some modest success in its
first two outings.

"We're are looking for folks who would enjoy the
challenge of shooting just about anything," commented Louise
Fennell, who provided the impetus for the group. "We are
unstructured, laid back, not altogether organized -- but we
simply enjoy getting out once a month to shoot any scene that
piques our fancy."

The group is connected loosely with the Melrose Mirror, in
that their photos will appear with irregularity in this
monthly electronic magazine. The Stringers and their
publication provide an ideal display for the group's work,
whether the photos are scanned from paper prints or they are
the product of the new digital cameras.

Ms Fennell is associated with another such group from the
North Shore, which meets monthly at some agreed-upon location
-- usually close to dawn to capture the soft morning
sunlight. She said the group has no name, it hardly ever
makes a Starbucks stop, and is quite dedicated to its work.

"These folks are dedicated to enjoying photography both as an
art and for personal enrichment," she said.

difference between the North Shore group and the one being
promoted by the Melrose SilverStringers is that the former
roams farther afield. One time they will be in Newburyport,
the next time in Boston Harbor. The Melrose group has been
started as an experiment whose objectives are to provide a
picture-view of this community, much as the Stringers have
been doing in words for the past six years.

"So far we have attracted half a dozen seniors," Louise
commented, "whose ability runs from enthusiastic Sunday
shooters using standard, uncomplicated equipment, to three
folks who have discovered the advantages of digital cameras.
These three are members and writers for the Melrose Mirror,
and often provide the photographs that make the Mirror the
outstanding production it is today."

"We're no big deal," she said, "but we enjoy what we do --
and that is to photograph our town, end to end. So far we've
had close-ups, a million scenics, clever shots of store-
fronts, and some really good photos of our public library.
And a zillion shots from Pine Bank Park and Towners Pond."

"One shooter concentrated on the bronze statue of the child
reading her book, in front of the library," she said, "and
the series turned out very well. It was done in digital, and
the photographer used the project as a learning device, using
a popular digital photo editor."

"He spent a lot more time editing his photos that he did
shooting," she quipped.

She told of the group shooting a woman who was seated in the
window at Starbucks, writing a novel. "We talked with her,
and she had no problem serving as a model," Louise said. "It
was a good problem, shooting through glass, and seeking
permission from the lady."

So far the group is half digital, half standard film. The
major difference between the two is that digital camera has
no film or developing charges, and the pictures can be
downloaded to a computer - and viewed - in a matter of a few

Although the SilverStringers have been into digital
photograph for six years, they recently expanded their
computer lab to include sophisticated editing of digital
photography. It is immediate, and they can go from field
shoots to publication within minutes, including rough

"Really there's no problem with using standard film," Louise
explained, "but we do have to wait until the photographer
gets his stuff developed and printed. At that point we can
scan the photos to put them into production.

"The Mirror is a good outlet for our activities, and the
editors get good photos of Melrose."

"We do like to get an early start, because of the dramatic
lighting of early morning. There again, we sometimes head out
in late afternoon, to get a similar, but much warmer,

"We aren't providing lessons," she said, "but we see our
people picking up on what the more experienced shooters are
doing. And we do offer help, as we go. It's a friendly group.
Totally informal.

"We meet at 7 a.m., the first Monday of every month, weather
or not," she said. "Any one interested is welcome. They can
visit the SilverStringers at any Wednesday meeting at 1:30 at
the Milano Senior Center, or simply show up at our monthly
shoot. All skill levels are invited -- just remember that its
purpose is to practice shooting, and socializing is strictly

Louise Fennell can be reached at 781-662-2534 or at The second organizer is Mirror Editor Don
Norris, whose email is The Melrose Mirror
is associated to the Media Lab at MIT, and the Melrose
Council on Aging.

Other members of the group include Jean Maure, Stringer
editor Ella Letterie, Shirley Chester and Lorry Norris.

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