A budding Annie Leibovitz or the next Ansel Adams might have recently made his or her first sale as a professional photographer last week.

In sustaining a 21-year tradition, members of the Winterset Elementary School Camera Club participated in the annual auction to help support next year's group of shutterbugs.

The subject matter for the 30 matted photos shot by the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students at the northwest Columbus elementary school since last October ranged from the sky to zoo animals to bridges.

Normally the Camera Club has a couple of dozen members, but this year only about 10 to 12 students joined, according to adviser Erik Dietry.

The smaller number of students "... has allowed me to get more accomplished with them," Dietry said prior to the start of the May 23 sale. "We've covered a lot of different things."

Dietry, a second-grade teacher, is in his 15th year in charge of the group.

The Winterset Elementary Camera Club was founded 21 years ago by the late Linda Studier, a teacher who died in January 2007.

Principal Audra Pearson said she sees participation in the club as an excellent learning opportunity for the members.

"I think it just brings another humanitarian experience of being out in the world ... that critical thinking of looking at something and trying to find the beauty in it," she said.

"I like taking pictures a lot," said club member SunAri Malone, 9, after one of her photos sold with the help of auctioneer Dave Munyon.

"I think it can be a good experience," SunAri said. "It can be pretty fun, and it was awesome."

"It made me proud to see that this is something she's connected to," said Constance Allen, SunAri's mother. "I think it's a way to express herself."

"The group is very enthusiastic," Dietry said. "They love taking pictures."

The one thing the students ask most often is what they should take pictures of, and Dietry said he supplies five ideas to them each month, things like snow in the trees during winter, flowers sprouting in the spring or colorful leaves in the fall.

"We do a lot of outdoor shots because they turn out better," Dietry said.

"You never know what each year's going to be like. I still enjoy doing it, even though I've been doing it a long time."

"I think they've done a beautiful job," Pearson said in opening the auction.

Dietry told those assembled funds from the auction help pay for printing, matting and framing for the works of next year's Camera Club members.

At one point, auctioneer Munyon said, "Folks, there are no friends in auctions," as a means of bumping up the bidding.

But there is family.

Amanda Putnam gave the winning bid for photo No. 5, the Hocking Hills. The photographer was her son, William Putnam, a member of the club along with his brother, Isaac.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1