Open House 7pm WED 6.17

All are welcome as we share an exciting Open House. We’ll be announcing a Guest Speaker and Guest of Honor soon. And Table Topics will be focused on The Golden Hour – that magically time just after sunrise and just before sunset. Come, share and be inspired… we’re photographers. Learn more at JOIN HERE:  

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Join fellow photographers on ZOOM…

Members and Guests,

Lensmasters is on Zoom.

Join us 7pm First and Third Wednesday’s at this link.

You’ll learn interesting insights in photography and visual presentation, all in a Toastmasters’ format… and all ON EASY TO USE ZOOM.


May 15, 2019 Table Topics, Theme: Tell a Story

May 1, 2019 Table Topics, Theme: Alter Your Perspective

April 17, 2019, Theme: Doorway

April 3, 2019, Theme: Anthropomorphic

Anthropomorphic: The showing or treating of animals, gods and objects as if they are human in appearance, character or behavior.  The books “Alice in Wonderland”, “Peter Rabbit”, and “Winnie-the-Pooh” are classic examples of anthropomorphism.

This meeting’s photo winner were Marc for Spotlight and Vicky for Watery Eyes.

Philip Ritchie gave us a photo tip and photo challenge for the next meeting.  Our next assignment will be ‘The doorway’ which is to shoot a partially open doorway with something interesting on the other side that makes the viewer want to open the door.  Phillip has graciously offered the winner of the next table topics best photo to spend an evening with him at his studio to further develop their creativity. Winner must be a paid member of Lensmasters. Whoo hoo!

March 20, 2019 Table Topics, Theme: Black and White

March 6, 2019 Table Topics, Theme: Motion

March 6, 2019 Meeting and Award Winners

We had an excellent 20 Minute Discussion/Q&A with Professional Photographer, Phillip Ritchie.

Congratulations to our award winners for this evening.  Pictured are Diana, Luz, Phillip, John, Vicky (Toastmaster) and Marc.

Open House Fun

On February 20, 2019 Lensmasters held an open house with regularly attending members plus an additional 8 guests. We heard from member Luz Soto as she delivered the speech “The Meaning of Toastmasters in My Life.”  John Hawkins spoke about how “Everyone Can Pose Better to Look Their Best.”  After a short break, John held a demonstration of how to pose your subject for flattering results.  We paired up and took turns directing each other as “photographer” and “model” to practice the techniques. The evening was great fun and we all learned a new skill that can be put to practical use the next time we are out photographing our friends and loved ones.  Part two of John’s class is scheduled for March 20.


Table Topics Photos, February 20, 2019

The challenge for this meeting was to evoke an emotion in your image.

Table Topics Photos, February 6, 2019

The challenge for this meeting was to evoke an emotion in your image.


Table Topics Photos, January 16, 2019

The theme for this meeting was Composition of a Photograph.

Congratulations to Diane for taking first place with Bunny Cactus.

Table Topics Photos- August 1, 2018

Table Topics Photos, January 2, 2019

The theme for this meeting was Composition of a Photograph.

Congratulations to Diane for taking first place with Between Storms at Bass Lake.

Table Topics Photos, December 5, 2018

The theme for this meeting was Composition.

Congratulations to Marc and Kevin for having their photos chosen as first and second place winners for the evening.

Table Topics Photos, November 17, 2018

The theme for this meeting was The Principles of a Photograph.

Congratulations to Luz for taking first place with In the Distance.

Training Session: Photo Composition- Part 1, November 7, 2018

Marc delivered a powerful lesson on composition, the art of placing the elements in your image to 1) tell a story, 2) make it as pleasing as possible and 3) make the placement consistent with natural human eye motion.  He noted there are no real “rules of composition,” only “tips” or “guidelines.”  “You can apply several of these ideas to a single image and ultimately, the choice comes down to aesthetics,” stated Marc.

The following composition tips were illustrated with example photographs; select an interesting viewpoint, avoid distractions in your background, provide room for your subject to “move,” don’t cut body parts, employ the rule of thirds/golden spiral, use leading lines, fill the frame, frame the subject, draw attention to the main subject with high contrast or brightness, line up elements along diagonals, center the subject and use symmetry/balance, show patterns/repetition and interrupt them for emphasis, add interest with foreground elements, add elements to indicate scale.

Capturing an image that demonstrates one or more of these composition choices will be the subject of our next Table Topics session.  You can find a copy of Marc’s slides on the Photo Lessons and More tab of this website or click the image in this article.

Training Session: Principles of a Photograph, October 17, 2018

The evening was chock full of great photography lessons. John delivered a talk and demonstration on how to pose your friends and loved ones to achieve enhanced beauty, interest and thinness!

Gary gave a presentation on the Principles of a Photograph (Balance, Emphasis, Proportion, Movement, Rhythm, Variety, and Unity). Capturing an image that demonstrates one or more of these principles is our new assignment and will be the subject of our next Table Topics image sharing session.  You can find a copy of Gary’s slides on the Photo Lessons and More tab of this website.

Table Topics Photos, October 17, 2018

The theme for this meeting was The Six Elements of a Photo.

Kevin, our Toastmaster for the evening produced a thoughtful, fold-open agenda which included images representing the six elements. This really came in handy during Table Topics as we all had a handy reminder during our 1-2 minute photo comment impromptu speech.

Congratulations to Luz for taking first place with Survivals, her image of a cactus garden.

Table Topics Photos, September 19, 2018




Table Topics Photos- August 15, 2018

Meeting Quick Notes, August 15, 2018

  • John Hawkins delivered a presentation on the advantage of using a polarizing filter.
  • The website has been updated with a new look:
  • Going forward, the table topics focus (pun intended) will move from subject topics to skill topics such as; pay attention to the background, look for light, stories of the subjects.
  • Diana Dee (right) won first place for her table topics photo and Diane Beall (left) won second place:

A New Year Starts At Lensmasters!

A new year for the club began July 1 and we recently welcomed a new group of club officers… how exciting! After a series of “moment of truth” discussions designed to help identify ways we can improve the club and bring more value to our members, incoming President Dan Cossack summarized the opportunity: “We can increase the benefits delivered with a few changes. We will schedule guest speakers as often as every other month, add new opportunities for member training in photography and business communications, incorporate skill building themes into table topics, improve our website and extend our membership building campaigns.” Continue reading

Open House November 15

Improve your promotional and communication skills in a fun, friendly environment!

Photo by Steve Kaye

Experience this for yourself. Join us Wednesday, November 15 at 7PM for the Lensmasters Open House. We meet at the Mesa Verde United Methodist Church, 1701 Baker Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

Our guest speaker will be Steve Kaye, bird photographer extraordinaire and former Toastmasters member. Steve will present “Meet the Birds” with photos celebrating the extraordinary beauty of birds. Hear inspirational stories and how his Toastmasters experience helped enable his speaking career.

Snacks will be provided. RSVP on our MeetUp page at

Lensmasters 2nd Annual Christmas Photo Shoot

Lensmasters Toastmasters Club meets at Mesa Verde Community Church in Costa Mesa, CA. Each year the Mesa Verde Church has a beautiful tradition of gathering for fun, food, and fellowship at the beginning of the Advent season. Families and friends have a relaxing time of it as they communicate, eat, and create together. The food was awesome: roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry salad, dressing, gravy, salad, and desserts, desserts, and more desserts. The crafts projects were extremely well organized and looked like a lot of fun. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the evening. Lensmasters Toastmasters club has joined in the…

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Richard Takes Division, Heads for District

For the second year in a row, Lensmasters is sending a contestant to the District Conference. Our club president Richard Daugherty has won the Table Topics contest at the Division A contest on April 7, 2015 and is now on his way to compete with the top contenders in the District at the Founder’s District Spring Conference on April 25. The Division A contest was well attended and anticipation high as the best table topics speakers in the Division came together to see who will prevail to move on to the next level. No one knows what the question is…

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Gary and Richard Win Speech Contests

Congratulations to the winners of the Lensmasters Spring Speech Contest that was held last Wednesday March 4, 2015. Gary Olive won first place in the International Speech competition with a speech about the importance of photography. Richard Daugherty won first place in the Table Topics contest. Together they will advance to compete at the Area level contest for Area 6 in Division A. The Area contest will take place on March 21, 2015 at the United Methodist Church in Costa Mesa. We wish you the best of luck. Linda Daugherty was the first runner-up and Frank Larkin the second runner-up…

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Lensmasters First Photo Contest

  Lensmasters conducted their first amateur photo contest at the January Open House event. Congratulations to Jodee Christensen who took the first place prize with her photo entitled “Burning Zion”. We had a total of eight contestants participating, and our panel of judges were able to provide their feedback on how they were rating each photo. The first place prize was a book on lighting techniques and a free Photography Fundamentals class at iWink Studios. The second place prize went to Nancy Denman with “Iris Spring”, and third place went to Michael Gracias with his photo entitled “Safe Harbor”. The…

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Gayle Larkin Becomes A Distinguished Toastmaster

Photo by Richard Daugherty On Saturday November 8th, 2014, Lensmasters’ Secretary, Gayle Larkin, is presented with the highest educational award in Toastmasters, the Distinguished Toastmaster. Seen here with Distinguished Toastmaster Norm Stein (left) and Founder’s District Governor and Distinguished Toastmaster Linda Ulrich (right) at the 2014 Fall District Conference. Gayle and her husband, Frank Larkin, joined Toastmasters when his best friend, Terry McCann, said “Frank, why don’t you and Gayle join Toastmasters and do your CTM (Competent Toastmaster) before I retire in August. If you do, I’ll sign your certificates.” Terry retired after 25 years as the Executive Director of…

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How To Pose People

Our workshop last Wednesday (August 27, 2014) was focused on how to pose people and communicate with your model. I selected a young girl to model for us who has not had any prior experience modeling for photographers. Some photographers work with models all the time, but many do not. Our everyday photographers are usually photographing family and friends so I thought it would be a good idea to practice how to work with inexperienced people to get interesting photos. Choosing the subject of your photo is the easiest part of the process, but one should also consider what’s going…

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A Walk in the Woods

Since Lensmasters is a specialty Toastmasters club, we regularly engage in extracurricular activities. Sometimes, we do adventurous – even dangerous – things … like walking in the woods with Poison Ivy. Recently, several of our club members came together for an exciting and educational photo shoot in a fabulous location – Santiago Oaks Regional Park in Orange, California. This photo walk was arranged by our Vice President of Membership Gary Olive, who also coordinated our model, Carly Haas, dressed as the comic book character Poison Ivy. Carly was a fabulous model for us, and the location was perfectly suited to…

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The Warehouse Meeting

It doesn’t happen very often but occasionally communication gets crossed and we get double booked for our regular meeting room. The community room at REI is a very nice meeting place with everything you could want in a meeting room, but is also very popular. When we arrived at our regular time the room was already in use by another group. The staff at REI apologized for the misunderstanding and offered for us to meet in an area in their warehouse in the back. We checked it out and while not ideal, it was rather cozy. Since our group was…

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