By Ami Olson
It was a banner year for the Camillus Middle School Photography Club.
About 45 CMS students joined the after-school program this year, which normally draws around 12 young shutterbugs, and the group wrapped up its 10th year with a first-ever photography contest.
John Luebs, who has volunteered to instruct the club since its inception, said the sudden increased interest in the club might be due to an article published last year about his camera collection.
"After that article kids were swarming into the [guidance] office to get into program," Luebs laughed.
The group met after school Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the entire school year, beginning with the basics of black and white photography and film processing, and moving on to more advanced photo manipulation techniques by the second semester.
This year the group finished the afterschool program, which ran Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, with a photography contest. Luebs said students could enter as many shots as they wanted to in any of the four categories, and there were 39 entries total.
"It's fascinating to work with these kids, they are like sponges," Luebs said. "You say something once and they got it."
Luebs, who turned 81 last week, discovered his love of photography in 1946. He taught the art in several schools and owned a chain of photography studios in the mid-west and now teaches adult photography classes at West Genesee.
The contest was the brainchild of CMS technology teacher Dan Wilson, Luebs said.
"Dan Wilson is, in my judgement, one of the best tech teacher's I've ever seen," he added.
Winners were awarded gift cards donated by P and C, Wegmans and Walmart.
The first-, second- and third-place winners of each category will be on display through the end of the school year at Maxwell Memorial Library.