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For more perfect pictures, learn from masters

SALISBURY — What makes photography special to so many people? I would venture to say that it is because photos represent an artistic means of communication between the person taking the photo and the viewer.
Photographs are not only art, they are a medium through which to tell a story. Rowan Public Library is a strong proponent of storytelling in any form and offers an array of items related to photography.
“The Art of Photography,” by Bruce Barnbaum, is a book available for check out at the library. In the book, Barnbaum does a good job laying down a foundation for understanding what makes a good photographer. He does this by not only teaching mechanics, but by explaining the philosophies behind them. Numerous charts and photographs effectively demonstrate how certain techniques create better images.
A similar book in the library’s collection is Michael Freeman’s “The Photographer’s Eye,” which also explains and demonstrates good composition and design. Both of these books are sure to appeal to beginning photographers as well as to those with more experience.
When a person knows how to photograph properly, it shows in their work. Diane Griliches is a great photographer and more than 100 of her images are reproduced in her book, “Thinking Photography.” The photos inside are striking, but what’s really helpful are the descriptions of what she was thinking as she took them and the methods she used to capture them so beautifully.
If you want to get better at photography, you must practice the art. “In Creative Photography Lab,” Steven Sonheim lays out 52 witty, yet constructive photography exercises that will show you a new way of thinking about taking photos. From a study in reflections, to take-your-camera-to-work day, to creating a mini photo journal, these assignments will give you the practice you need in an enjoyable way.
Have you ever thought about taking a photography class? If so, you may want to consider signing up for a computer class through Gale Courses (formerly Learn 4 Life). There are several courses available where you can learn basic and advanced photography. There are even classes to help you master Photoshop Elements, a popular photo editing program.
These online courses normally cost big money, but are available to Rowan Public Library cardholders for free. For more information, go to www.rowanpubliclibrary.org and look for the Gale Courses link. Classes last for six weeks and sign-ups begin every few weeks. The next round of classes begins June 18, so if you’re interested, enroll now.
It seems everyone these days is taking photos. Whether it’s using a traditional camera or a smartphone, you can take better pictures by understanding the elements of design and composition and through mastering certain techniques. Rowan Public Library can give you the tools you need to express yourself through photography.

Summer reading for adults: Literary Elements. Rowan Public Library invites adults to join the library for a summer of programs and great reads with “Literary Elements.” Registration is online for adults ages 18+. Reading hours may be tracked June 16-Aug. 11. Prize drawings will be held with a grand prize awarded at the end of summer celebration.
Kitchen chemistry: June 23, 6:30 p.m., headquarters, Stanback Auditorium; June 24, 6:30 p.m., South branch, China Grove. Tired of using harsh cleaners that leave your head dizzy and your wallet empty? Learn how to make environmentally friendly alternatives at a fraction of the cost. As part of the “Literary Elements” Summer Reading Program for Adults. This program will be led by Toi N. Degree, family and consumer education agent with Rowan Cooperative Extension. There is no charge to participate, and each attendee will be entered for a chance to win a door prize. Visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org or call 704-216-8229 for more information.
Summer movie series: June 17, 6:30 p.m., “The Lorax” (PG); June 24, 6:30 p.m. “City of Bones” (PG13). The library will offer a movie night every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at RPL headquarters in Salisbury throughout the summer. Movies are free and all ages are welcome. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and lemonade.
Summer reading : The library invites children to celebrate science and reading with Fizz, Boom, Read. Reading hours may be tracked beginning Monday, June 16. Prizes for every 5, 10, 15 and 20 hours read with door prizes given at the school-aged programs.
Kick-off celebrations will be held at each location. Thursday, June 12, 3:30-5 p.m. at the South Rowan Regional location in China Grove; Friday, June 13, 1:30-3 p.m. at the East Branch in Rockwell; and Saturday, June 14, 10 a.m.-noon at RPL Headquarters in Salisbury.
Weekly programs begin June 16 and run until July 31. RPL staff will be on hand to entertain the youngest participants and professional performers will help captivate the school-age children. Family programs will again be offered at Cleveland Town Hall and reading hours can be tracked there at the time of the program.
For a complete schedule of programs, click here, or go to the library website or call your closest location: Headquarters, 704-216-8234; South, 704-216-7728; East, 704-216-7842.
The library will also have a literacy workshop for parents of children up to age 5 on Monday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. The workshop is free but registration is required and space is limited. You can register by calling 704-216-8234.
Teen summer reading: Teens may participate in Spark a Reaction where they will explore science through programs and reading. Starting June 17 and running through July 31, all rising sixth-graders to 12th-graders are invited to participate. Programs will be held 3:30-5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Headquarters; Wednesdays, East Branch in Rockwell; Thursdays, South Rowan Regional in China Grove.
Each week, events will focus on science concepts, experiments and crafts. Every teen who registers receives a booklet for keeping track of the library dollars they earn. Those dollars will be used to enter raffles for prizes provided by the Friends of RPL and other local sponsors. Winners will be announced at the end of the summer Blow Out Blast at South Rowan Regional on July 31, 3:30–5 p.m.
Displays for June: headquarters, doll society; South, fiber items by Rowan Fiber Guild; East, “Winnie the Pooh,” by Kim Davis.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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