Sierra Club Camera Committee’s Focal Points Magazine

Fall and Winter Meet in Cooks Meadow, Yosemite Valley © Joe Doherty 2020


Focal Points Magazine is a publication of the Sierra Club Camera Committee of the Angeles Chapter (SCCC). It began decades ago as a photocopied monthly newsletter for SCCC members. Eventually it switched to online distribution, and around 2015, under the leadership of then Chairman John Nilsson, it evolved into a magazine-like publication that included a cover story and photographs from members, in addition to the regular announcements. Some issues exceeded 100 pages.

During the COVID pandemic two things happened. First, our Zoom speaker series attracted a geographically diverse audience who could not have attended in-person meetings before; and, secondly, the magazine became a more important vehicle for sharing our photography absent regular meetings. Our membership now stretches from Washington State to Mexico, from Los Angeles to Barbados, and the magazine reflects it.

At the beginning of 2023 we split our communications into two channels: a newsletter and Focal Points Magazine. Both are distributed electronically. The newsletter is published twice a month and contains listings of outings, speakers, local photography shows, and member news. The magazine (now edited by Joe Doherty and Velda Ruddock) is a photography showcase by and for our members. It is has a traditional magazine layout that includes a cover story, a column on conservation photography, trip reports, a column on equipment or technique, and a section of photographs submitted by members.

The cover story is solicited several months in advance to give the authors and editors time to work on text and layout. One month before publication we send out a Call for Submissions to members for content in the other categories. Each issue is about 70 pages, and we welcome ideas for future stories and columns.

Being published in the magazine is one of the perks of SCCC membership, which costs $15 per year ($25 for a couple). Initial distribution is within the membership itself, but a link to the magazine is also posted on social media and on the SCCC website. We welcome new members. For more information contact Membership Chair Joan Schipper ( or Communications Chair Velda Ruddock (

Joe Doherty