A picture perfect New Year

Whether you’re into film, Polaroids, digital cameras or phonography, make it a goal to improve your photography — and memories — in 2017.

Dorothea Lange once said, “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”

We all capture today’s moments with photos. Lots of photos. In fact, we’re taking more photos today than ever before. Facebook alone has 200 million new ones uploaded every day. Their archive is 10,000 times larger than the collections at the Library of Congress.

But are we creating lasting memories?

Sharpen your photography skills in the new year by joining a club, taking a class or attending inspiring presentations. Your photographic documents of time will become more thoughtful and enduring. Happy New Year, and here’s to good memories.

Crosstown Camera Club

Christ Presbyterian Church, 6901 Normandale Road, Edina


The Crosstown Camera Club welcomes photographers with all levels of experience. Activities include salon-style competitions, workshops, social outings and exhibits. Meets the third Thursday of the month at 6 p.m., September through June.

Fort Snelling State Park Camera Club

101 Snelling Lake Road, St. Paul

fsspcameraclub.org or dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/fort_snelling/index.html

Hone your nature photography skills at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. See wildlife, giant cottonwood trees and river shorelines. Presenters and photo challenges concentrate on the park and experiences with nature. There is no fee and all are welcome. Meets the first Saturday of the month at 9 a.m. in the visitor center.

Independent Filmmaker Project

550 Vandalia St., Suite 120, Saint Paul


While IFP concentrates on filmmaking, they also have many still photography classes and photo exhibits in the Marsden/Gustafson Gallery, named for two revered Minnesota photographers. Upcoming classes include DSLR Photography Boot Camp, Documentary Photography and iPhone Photography Boot Camp.

Minneapolis Photo Center

2400 N. 2nd St.


Tucked away on the second floor of a formerly shabby warehouse near the river in north Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Photo Center is a wonderful resource. Studios, equipment rental, darkrooms, exhibits, classes, competitions, ongoing presentations and critique groups make this hidden gem a home for pros and beginners.

Upcoming classes include: beginning digital, weddings and portraits, composition basics, macro photography, photojournalism, sports photography, Photoshop and Lightroom. Next summer’s teen photography camps are already listed and fill up quickly.

Two regular monthly groups inspire and educate. F-Stop, led by documentary street photographer Tom Arndt, promotes aesthetic and technical growth through critique and discussion on the third Wednesday of each month ($5 at the door). Commercial and fine art photographer Michael Crouser facilitates Photo Union League. Discussions, assignments, and critiques guide and inspire photographers of all levels on the second Tuesday of each month ($27 for members or $30 for non-members; register online).

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska


Learn tips and techniques from renowned photographers in the middle of one of Minnesota’s premier outdoor spaces. Upcoming classes include: photographing Bruce Munro’s light installation; Winter Wonders; lightroom photo editing & organizing; and raptor photography with owls, vultures and eagles from the University of Minnesota Raptor Center.

Minnesota Nature Photography Club

REI, 750 West American Blvd., Bloomington


Founded in 1956, this club fosters continuing education in the art, science and technique of nature photography as well as enjoyment of the outdoors. Meetings, held on the third Wednesday of each month, include a presentation, fellowship and competition among members. The club is affiliated with the Photographic Society of America.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

3815 American Blvd. E., Bloomington


This secluded nature area near the airport makes for a great escape from the city. Minnesota Zoo photographer Adam Borgstahl shows his work in visitor center gallery through Jan. 28.

Classes in the new year include lectures, photo hikes and the wildlife photography hack called “digiscoping” — using a smart phone or digital camera with a spotting scope.

National Camera

Locations in Burnsville, Edina, Golden Valley, Roseville


The metro area’s largest camera dealer also has great classes for customers and the general public. Learn how to use all those dials and settings on your camera this coming year and watch your photos improve. One-on-one instruction, group classes on compact automatics, DSLRs and Lightroom are offered at all locations. Classes are open to all, and many are free with a camera purchase. Upgrade your equipment at a trade-in event.

St. Paul Camera Club

Otto Hall, Episcopal Homes Campus, 1860 University Ave., St. Paul


Established in 1893, the St. Paul Camera Club is the oldest club of its kind in Minnesota and one of the oldest in the nation. Everyone is welcome. The club’s goal is to encourage the craft of photography for people of all abilities.

Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the first and second Tuesdays of the month from October through May.

The first meeting is always a salon; members enter photos on a given topic and a guest judge critiques the work, offers suggestions and awards prizes. It’s a chance to learn and improve. The second meeting of the month is a presentation on a wide variety of topics, ranging from technique to creativity.

Periodic photo outings take the group to local and regional destinations.

West Photo

21 University Ave. NE


Known as the pro photo store, West Photo has been serving Twin Cities photographers for more than 40 years. But they also have plenty to offer beginners and amateurs.

Their convenient store is stocked with equipment and gear, a real photo printing department, darkroom and digital printing supplies — and film. Yes, people still shoot film, and it’s actually making a comeback.

In the new year, West Photo will host two public photo events a month. This fall’s street photography walk with local legend Valerie Jardin was a sell out. Look for another in 2017 as well as other social shooting events.