Grand photos

 The Photo Club of Sun City Grand in Surprise, AZ


Through Their Lens

A Series of Interviews with Active Grand Photos Volunteers

Susan James

Susan volunteers as a member of the Social Team and recently led a photo shoot to the Desert Botanical Gardens.

When did your interest in photography begin? At age 13, when my baby brother was born. Back then, my camera only took black and white pictures so I have loads of black and white photos of his first year of life. I don’t recall taking more photos until the age of 23, when I went to Europe with my new Vivitar 35mm camera. The photos were all slides, and a few years ago I picked out the best ones to have prints made, but lost the slides and prints in the process. I was so bummed. Since then, I’ve used various 35mm cameras and more recently a digital Canon Sure Shot, but I’ve primarily used my smartphone since the iPhone 4 came out. The iPhone is easy, convenient and consistently takes better pictures than I get with my digital camera.

How did you arrive at Grand? I have an older teaching friend I worked with who moved here shortly after Grand opened. A friend and I used to come visit her every April to warm up! (It was cold and damp where I lived in Seattle.) I decided when I could retire, Grand is where I wanted to be. I bought a condo at La Solana because of all the grass, water features, and flowers everywhere. It’s a good place to live, being a single person.

What do you most enjoy about Grand Photos? The people – everybody is so nice, helpful and genuine! I also love the classes because all of the instructors are so knowledgeable. I’ve learned so much from each of them. I’m especially getting into more artistic abstract photography after taking several classes.

How did you find yourself in various volunteer roles? I gave monitoring a try, but it was too technical for me. I am not a techy person! I decided the Social Team would be a better fit. Since there weren’t any afternoon photo shoots being offered this year, I decided to organize an afternoon/evening shoot to the Desert Botanical Gardens to see the Chihuly Exhibit. I have other ideas for future afternoon photo shoots.

What is it about photography that has maintained your interest over so many years? Friends have always told me I have an eye for photography. Everywhere I go, I see things all the time that would make a great photo. I’ve recently traveled within the US to see friends/family so I have taken many new photos. I haven’t been out of the country for a few years so I’m looking forward to a trip overseas soon, to recapture new travel photos, to replace the onces I’ve lost, and to experience new adventure.

What are your favorite things to photograph? The ocean, mountains, landscapes, city scapes, flowers, trees. The scenery is so different here than it was in the Northwest so I’m exploring new and different photo opportunites. In the past year, I’m especially enjoying creating more “artsy” abstract photos, even making my photos look more like paintings.

Previous editions of Through Their Lens:

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