Thinking outside the lens

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ Amy Snyder enjoys experimenting with props, lighting and subject matter when taking photographs. Here she demonstrates how holding a crystal decoration ball in front of a subject results in an inverted, magnified image being captured. Her photography is on display now through Feb. 1 inside Conference Room A in the Fisher Community Center, as part of the Central Iowa Camera Club’s latest photo exhibit.

“If there isn’t a photo of it, it never really happened.”

These are the words of Amy Snyder, a photographer who sees the world, literally and figuratively, through the lens of a camera. Her photography is on display now through Feb. 1 inside Conference Room A in the Fisher Community Center, as part of the Central Iowa Camera Club’s latest photo exhibit.

Snyder, a native of Jesup, got interested in taking pictures when she was 11 years old. She and her twin sister Ann spent countless hours using their Kodak disk cameras, with circular cartridges. She joined the camera club in 2015, using only the built-in camera on her Droid Turbo cell phone. Today, she uses a Nikon D-5500.

Snyder has an eye for the unique. She also favors action shots over still life. While her favorite subject matter is her family, her favorite style is experimenting with props and lights.

“I like to do light painting. My photograph ‘Great Ball of Fire’ was made using steel wool set on fire,” Snyder explained. “I did this work attending a workshop in Des Moines.”

Light painting, also known as light drawing, is a technique achieved by moving around a hand-held lighted source or material and using a slow shutter speed. The resulting image is a dramatic display of swirling light.

“It’s a challenge. You first have to work on getting the camera to focus on something first, like your hand [before it can work],” Snyder said.

As a person who does not enjoy spending long periods of time editing her work, she instead likes to have all the elements aligned before she starts snapping photos.

“I like to get a good shot the first time,” she noted.

The photographer draws inspiration from her many world travels, including to Denmark, Ireland and Australia, as well as the natural world around her. Whenever she is able, she enjoys submitting her photography to contests.

“I love entering photo contests and seeing how the other artists view the world,” she said. “There’s a lot of good competition in this club, too.”

The camera club named her the co-photographer of the year in 2016-17. She has won ribbons at the Central Iowa Fair, with the goal of entering pieces next year at the Iowa State Fair. One of her proudest accomplishments is having one of her storm photos featured in a weather calendar released by KWWL television station.

The latest technique Snyder is experimenting with is using a crystal decoration ball. Holding this type of ball in front of a subject matter results in an inverted, magnified image, capturing a distinctive photographic moment.

Snyder graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in hotel, restaurant and institutional management. In her spare time, she enjoys playing sports, including kayaking, running, tennis, golf and anything outdoors.

To learn more about the camera club or the exhibit, which is managed by Mary Giese, contact her at The club was founded in 1977 and has around 40 active members that gather the first Thursday of the month — September through June — from 7-9 p.m. at the Fisher Community Center.


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or