Their website optimistically gives the address as Nancy, Kentucky but the truth of the matter is that when you get off the Cumberland Parkway at the Nancy exit, you still have about 20 miles of narrow, crooked road to travel before you get to the Lake Cumberland 4-H Education and Training Center which is actually located at Jabez, Kentucky. In fact you have to drive through Faubush, Kentucky before you get to Jabez.
However, due to the U.S. Postal Service’s elimination of most rural post offices, Nancy is now the closest place to the facility with a zip code.
Actually it’s closer to Russell Springs but I suspect folks at the center have discovered, as I have, that it is absolutely pointless and way beyond frustrating to argue anything that makes common sense to the bureaucrats at the Postal Service.
Loretta and I spent the weekend of June 11 and 12 teaching photography at the Fort Harrod Area Extension Homemakers Craft Camp which took place at this beautiful facility. I’m not going to try to tell you how to get there because it would take the rest of the column. Suffice to say that it straddles the Pulaski/Russell/Wayne County lines.
I do, however, encourage you to look it up because the center is an excellent training/retreat facility that can comfortably accommodate (house and feed) up to 250 people at a time. I have been there for weeklong gatherings numerous times over the decades with groups that had nothing to do with 4-H. Although it is open to the public, this place is still, as far as I am concerned, one of Kentucky’s best kept secrets. The website is: https://4-h.ca.uky.edu/lake-cumberland-camp or call 859-218-0992 for more information.
Billed as an opportunity to be “cutting up,” the event we attended, hosted by Jessamin County Extension Homemakers Association, offered opportunities for adult women “campers” to choose up to three craft projects, from over 30 possibilities, they could complete during the camp. Listing all of them would consume the rest of my space. However most of them involved sewing, crocheting, jewelry, woodworking or a combination of those skills.
I believe our photography class was the sole exception unless taking https://4-h.ca.uky.edu/lake-cumberland-campg pictures of people involved in those activities counts.
Besides myself one other instructors and a cook, there were no other men on the place with, I’m guessing, over 40 women. Believe it or not, I actually like those odds for relatively short durations but I’m reasonably sure I’d tire of them after a week or so.
Loretta and I have been teaching weeklong day camps to 4-H kids for decades. We quickly discovered that it was impossible to condense more than 40 hours of lessons into a few sessions that lasted a combined total of six classroom hours. We managed to cheat by talking our participants into getting up three hours before breakfast and devoting most of their after dinner time until pitch dark into playing with their cameras when the outdoor, natural light is at its best.
When we started doing this, digital cameras were practically unheard of and certainly not commercially available but it’s been at least 10 years since I last touched a film camera, at which point I was trying to sell a $1,500 Nikon film camera for 50 bucks.
When we started, we had to convince a dozen or so “tweens” to spend an entire week exposing just one 24 or 36 exposure roll of film because they needed to be economical with the cost of film and processing. The last group with whom we spent a week probably averaged over 1,000 frames per kid. The notion of working until you get it right before you hit the shutter release evolved into shooting the subject dozens and dozens of times until you got something you found pleasing to the eye.
That convenience requires a very, very radical change in philosophy in the way one goes about teaching photography because the principle of patience flies right out the window and the bottom line is that it is far more difficult to teach digital photography than it is to teach film because of the difficulty in making kids sit still long enough to grasp a new concept.
However vastly different digital photography is from film, there are still hundreds of techniques that are equally as important to both forms. We no longer spend a lot of time talking about the way cameras and lenses work, but concentrate on basic composition and lighting techniques because a good photo requires appropriate use of both even if you take it with a cell phone.
Only one of our students in this go round had a camera larger than pack of cigarettes that had interchangeable lenses and she was openly envious of the ladies who had devices they could use with one hand and control with one finger. But at least she was able to gain some insight from my lecture on the importance of aperture control which turned out to be fairly useless to the others.
In any event, they were all able to leave the camp with very nice 8 X 10 prints, suitable for framing, pulled off my wife’s hotshot Epson printer. One lady even suggested that next year they do a separate woodcraft project to make picture frames.
In the meantime, I was simply too tired to get out of bed with the roosters this morning because I was still too worn out from the hen party.
Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Ike Adams at [email protected] or on Facebook or 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.