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Enjoy nature? Love shooting photographs? This club's for you!

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When a group of local photographers set out recently for one of their routine photo opportunity outings, it was nothing but routine. The Rutherford County members of the Carolina Nature Photographers Association (CNPA) visited Poinsett Bridge. There th

When a group of local photographers set out recently for one of their routine photo opportunity outings, it was nothing but routine.

The Rutherford County members of the Carolina Nature Photographers Association (CNPA) visited Poinsett Bridge. There the waters were swirling with beautiful fall leaves interspersed and the photograph was magical.

Poinsett Bridge is the centerpiece of the 120 acre Poinsett Bridge Heritage preserve owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and maintained by Greenville County Rec. Constructed in 1820, it is believed to be the oldest surviving bridge in the state.

That picture and many others are the pride and joy of the members of the CNPA that meets the second Monday evening of the month at the Rutherford County Annex, North Main Street, Rutherfordton at 6:30pm.

CNPA is looking for new members and the club is not exclusive. Young people, men, women and senior citizens are invited. The group is especially looking for young people interested in photography in North and South Carolina.

The group members also photographed the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Newland recently. The colors of autumn were as crisp and beautiful as they've ever been, some leaf watchers believe and the photos are proof.

Rickey Green, Gary Poteat and Judi Barnett are the only charter members of the Rutherford County CNPA that began 12 years ago. Since then others have joined as club continues to capture the beauty of their surroundings.

"If you look at the photograph of the membership, you will see most of us are older and we would love young people to join," Green said.

When the group of photographers began meeting 12 years ago the Rutherford County Photography Club was formed to plan photo shoots in the area and to share one another's pictures.

In December 2008, the group joined Carolina Nature Photography Association (CNPA) with the help of Bill Lea, well known international wildlife photographer.

The Rutherford County photographers then became CNPA Foothills South Regional and was one of 13 regions in North and South Carolina.

CNPA has over1,036 members including those from outside the Carolinas.

CNPA is one of the largest photography clubs of its kind in the country.

In addition to the regular meeting, the club also enjoys a monthly photo outing for photo opportunities.

"We offer one stop shopping to nature and wildlife photographers for regional and associate-wide activities, field trips, workshop, networking, competitions and a lively interactive website", the brochure says.

There is an online members choice contest annually. Photos of the winners are displayed and cash prizes are awarded at the group's annual meeting.

Anyone who enjoys taking photographs and enjoys beautiful scenery and nature is encouraged to become a part of the CNPA.

"You do not have to have a bunch of expensive camera equipment," said member Rickey Green. "If you enjoy taking photos with a camera or your phone, you are more than welcome to join us."

Green and Gary Poteat are co-ordinators of the group and the President of CNPA, Bruce Dickerson was among those on a recent trip.

Most of the photographs on this page were shot in the fall with the exception of Swan Lake, Green said.

Interested people can become a part of CNPA by paying a membership fee of $60 for a family of four people or $45 for individual membership.

CNPA is a nonprofit public benefit corporation organized under the South Carolina Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for public and charitable purposes.

For more information all Rickey Green 828-429-5096 or Gary Potet 843-670-9542.

There is an opportunity to join CNPA online. Visit www.cnpa.org for the information.

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