The Stony Brook Camera Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The club began in 1969 with a slide show and photo competition at Stony Brook Nature Center in Norfolk as a way to increase public awareness of the sanctuary.

By January 1970, an active club was born, grew rapidly and gained a reputation throughout New England for friendliness and openness, said spokeswoman Carol Dandrade.

Today, the club has over 160 members and meets at Dean College (not affiliated with the school) or the Norfolk Public Library, depending upon the program.

The club welcomes members of all ages and abilities and holds many programs and workshops.

“Stony Brook has always meant a lot to me for the interaction with members and learning new things, especially out in natural settings,” said Diane Robertson, a member for 28 years.

“Regardless of our reasons for taking the photos we do, photography is our way of expressing our inspirations,” added Ellen Berenson, the club’s newsletter editor. “We choose to share with others what we are seeing through our lens.

“Some of us seek to contrive our compositions, such as with still life or portraiture. Others of us share what we come upon as we go along, just because, perhaps, the light is right.”

The club also offers scholarships to high school seniors from the area who intend to study photography in college. The recipients are invited to the year-end banquet to meet the membership, share their work, and receive their awards.

Allan Litchfield, SBCC’s new president, said the 50th anniversary year will be “full of opportunities for our members to grow as photographers,” and he encouraged new members to join.

“From member presentations, to guest speakers, competitions, special events and workshops, there is a wide range of topics and opportunities to continue learning,” he said. “Our club committees have worked hard throughout the summer to provide the quality programs that our club is best known for.”

Joe Norcott, the club’s vice president, said 14 area, national and international speakers as well as 13 members will present programs this year covering topics such as waterscape, infrared, macro, travel and night photography.

There will be at least nine workshops offered. The club also offers image studies as well as club and intra-club competitions to help members hone their skills. Field trips have been offered to members traveling as close as Cape Cod for night photography or as far as Charleston, S.C. for varied photo ops. Camping trips are scheduled at least once a year with planned opportunities for shooting.

For more info, including a calendar of events, visit Meetings are held each Thursday evening at 7:30 beginning on Sept. 5.

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