Mentorship Program for Victoria Camera Club 2022-2023

You’re new to this wonderful hobby, photography, and you have lots of questions. You’ve been photographing for years and want to broaden your horizons and learn to master a photographic genre you’re not familiar with. You might want to consider being a Mentee. OR you’re an experienced photographer (but not necessarily competing at the Advanced level) and you want to share your knowledge with someone just starting out. You might want to consider being a Mentor.

Welcome to the Victoria Camera Club’s Mentorship Program. The program matches a Mentee to a Mentor for a series of personalized sessions in which a Mentee can learn exactly what they want to learn. The Mentee benefits from the Mentor’s expertise and tutelage. The Mentor benefits from tutoring the Mentee because teaching another is in itself one of the best ways to learn.

Here’s how to join the Mentorship Program available to Victoria Camera Club members.

Log In to the VCC website and navigate to Members Only/Mentorship Program.

Click on MENTOR: I wish to volunteer as a Mentor to other club members OR

Click on MENTEE: I wish to be a Mentee and work with a volunteer Mentor

You will be asked to fill in a few details including name, phone, email, camera, availability, and up to three topics of interest from a list ranging from architecture to post processing to street photography; and you will be asked whether you would prefer one-to-one or small group sessions.

The Mentorship team will then introduce the Mentor and Mentee to each other. The Mentor will initiate the first contact and then the two will mutually organize their four hours of session time.

If you have any questions about the program contact Jason Frank or Ian Faris. (Insert blind email addresses here)

Here’s how David Zussman describes his recent experience as a Mentee.

Mentorship Program – A Testimonial

Submitted by David Zussman

I have always had a strong interest in sports and landscape photography. As a result, over the years, I have tried to improve the quality of my photography by buying cameras and lenses with more advanced features in order to get closer to the action. About two years ago, I purchased a Tamron 150-600mm telephoto lens with the expectation that I would soon be taking well composed, sharp and well-crafted photos. Despite many efforts to take advantage of the best features of this lens, my output only had limited success. The majority of the sports and landscape shots were flawed – they were mostly unfocused, soft, and lacking in clarity.

It was about that moment in my photographic trajectory that the Victoria Camera Club announced a new mentorship program for club members. The intention of the program was to offer the services of expert and experienced members to those club members looking for advice and mentoring. I quickly responded to the announcement and in September 2021 I was introduced to Don Peterson, who lived on Hornby Island and had extensive experience using telephoto lenses for landscape, bird, and sports photography. More important, I soon learned that Don had a deep understanding of all aspects of long-range photography and was a patient teacher who took the role of mentoring as a serious commitment.

Over a short period of time, Don had me test the quality of my lens and send him samples of my work for review. He provided a list of best practices that included using a tripod with the stabilizer (vibration compensation) turned off and ensuring that the background would not later become a distraction when the photo appeared on screen for review. But most of all, Don emphasised that I needed to understand the behaviour of the subject I was photographing. In other words, I “need to anticipate where the interesting action is going to take place before it happens.” His valuable advice is a reminder to me each time I set up to use my telephoto lens.

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