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May 2020 - Image Competition 80+ Score Images
This bit of encouragement is to all you moms out there trying to be a good mom, a good wife and also find “your thing” by following a passion.
This year I turned 70. This is going to be a great decade. However, looking back over the previous decades, I remember the challenges of wanting to be a good mom and at the same time be a good business owner that added joy to the lives of others. I come from a worker bee mom that loved her job. She was the minister’s secretary and she loved all the church people that were in and out of her office. There were many times that she just sat and listened when someone needed to talk to Dr. Robinson or Dr. Bridwell, but they were unavailable. After listening they would eventually say “It’s okay. Just have him call when he can.” Crisis averted by a listening ear. But as much as she loved her job, she would only agree to working until 3:00pm so that she could pick me up or be home when I got home from school. She said that I always seemed to be willing to talk for those first few minutes after school was out.
I was fortunate to have a career where I could be in control of my time. Being home when Curt and Kristen got home from school was important. I was not home long since photographing students began after school. Kristen did a lot of homework in the front seat of the car while I captured smiles. Curt had baseball practice or a game. I was always at the game…just late!
In the 80’s I joined PPGH (Photographer’s Guild of Houston), TPPA and PPA. I attended meetings and went to Texas School and all sorts of other educational opportunities. I started entering print competition, but always found it challenging to meet the time deadlines. My goal was to be awarded the Master of Photography by Professional Photographers of America. But I put that dream aside for many, many years. I just had my hands full running a business and being a good mom and wife. The most important thing was to be there when they were willing to chat about their day.
My children are grown now and live out of town. Running an excellent business is still of upmost importance to me. Capturing the landscape of your family brings me great joy. However, it was time to finish the goal. I didn’t realize how close I was until I stopped and accessed what I had accomplished. So, with the encouragement of so many colleagues, I reached that goal this year! I was awarded my Master of Photography and as I walked across the stage, one of my favorite sparks of positivity hollered “You did it, Cindy!” I was way more emotional than I was expecting. Thirty-five years later, I really did accomplish my goal.
Let me encourage you young moms or you more seasoned moms. Time goes by more quickly than you can imagine. I loved my life raising children but I also love my life now where I can see more clearly the goals that I want to achieve. I even got braces because it is never too late to improve. (The top braces are off and the bottom braces will be off very soon.) I lift weights three times a week with the most amazing trainer and friend that a woman could ever ask for. I find life so fulfilling and I want you moms to know that you can have it all. You just can’t have it all at the same time. Pace yourself. Enjoy the day. Do what you can do. Realize that some goals won’t be fulfilled until later in life, but I want to encourage you all to know that it is all so sweet and fulfilling to never ever give up and to keep on chipping away at this one glorious life. The journey has never been sweeter.
I do not have an art background as so many in photography do. So, as I endeavor to grow my photographic art, and I try to consider color harmony (one of the 12 elements of our PPA photographic competition), I ask myself what is it and how do I apply it?
So I started doing a little sleuthing to find out the things I did not know. Like did you know that hue simply means color? You are probably thinking to yourself, Teri, did you not learn this in kindergarten? No, I didn’t go to kindergarten, but I didn’t learn it in first grade, or second grade, or third grade…you get the idea. I only recently came across this little nugget of information. But maybe there is someone else out there who is as clueless as I am, so I am going to be vulnerable and share my ignorance.
So in addition to learning that hue means color, I also learned that color value is the lightness or darkness of a color. The lightness of a color is referred to as a tint, and the darkness of a color is referred to as a shade.
And that is not all! If I add gray to the color, I reduce the intensity of that color. When I add gray to a color the result is a tone of the original color.
Okay, so now I know that hue equals color, that color value equals the lightness (tint) or darkness (shade) of a color and I found out that I can create tones of a color by adding gray. What else did I want to understand? Oh yeah, what is color harmony? Color harmony is using a pleasing color palette or color scheme in our photographs/art. I learned that there are six commonly used color schemes.
So there you have it! Color schemes that will help establish color harmony. I have found my little journey into the world of color theory helpful when planning for image creation. I hope you find the information useful as well!
Classes are still open for Texas School 2020 to be held April 26 - May 1 in Dallas. In case you aren't familiar with this amazing event, we are posting a write-up from Sandy Buller, 2019's recipient of a $500 Scholarship to Texas School to give you a taste of what to expect.
MY PPGH SCHOLARSHIP EXPERIENCE by Sandy Buller
It was late morning, April 28, 2019 as I drove the back roads from southern Waller County up through Grimes County and Madison County to reach I-45 headed north to Addison, Texas to attend the 2019 Texas School of Photography at the Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel. I was thinking to myself, this is quite odd going to a photography school yet my instructor’s course syllabus mentioned that cameras were not required for this week’s course, just one’s laptop computer. Well, it only makes sense, because it was a course in Photoshop.
This course was not about retouching photographed portrait images. It was about how to make artwork out of nothing or use elements from one’s photographs and other mediums to create a composite illustration that could be identified as fine art. The instructor was Thom Rouse from Chicago, Il. He used his and other’s actual photographs which were transformed and manipulated from Photoshop techniques. He also added real-life, everyday stuff like magazine pages that had been altered from a chemical reaction, then photographed to highlight the textures and colors. In the Photoshop techniques, he demonstrated how he used masking layers, adjustment layers, and layer styles to generate the outcome of the artwork.
We spent time all week going over these techniques working on our own creative project utilizing our own images. Doing the techniques over and over each day helped embed the process in our minds, too. It was from the continued repetition that other possibilities arose which fueled the creative process further. The students in the class were very engaged, interactive and courteous with each other. This cordial, loving environment made it the norm to share Photoshop shortcuts and personal techniques to help each other.
One of Thom’s rules was that Judgement was not allowed in his class and he encouraged everyone to especially remove self-judgement from one’s thinking. Abandoning self-judgement allows ALL judgement to be eliminated as well. We learned that judgement in any form is the thief of creativity. Thom set out to make his week-long classroom a place of respite for creativity, where we could play as children, experiment, take creative chances, and learn a whole new bag of tricks.
In addition to Photoshop, we had a continual conversation throughout the week as we worked on our personal projects that were to be completed at the end of Texas School. Our conversations explored visual literacy, inspiration, creative process, personal process, and personal style.
Visual literacy is achieved from knowing how one makes good images if one doesn’t know what good images look like. We spent time talking about how to view art and images in a way that would contribute to our own creativity.
Inspiration was another topic. We focused on how to find it and figure out how to use it in a way that would lead to original image making and not just imitation. We made a distinction that even though inspiration might originate from an existing piece of artwork, it can still be a unique creation.
Creative process was discussed as a process in general. It’s not just “paint by numbers” — It’s a learned skill.
Personal process is complex and whether we know it or not, we all have a personal image-making process comprised of a technical process, a conceptual process, and a personal process. We had conversations that spoke about how important it is for one to recognize and define one’s own personal process.
Style, and more importantly one’s personal style, is the result of all the above. And according to Thom Rouse, “You don’t choose it — it finds you.”
We learned how to use Citrasolv and squirt/spray it on any soy-based ink publication, like those in National Geographic magazine pages, to create abstract art. The textures and complex mixture of colors that are generated from this process are already unique and creative as a stand-alone piece of artwork, but when added as an element within a composite, the possibilities are endless.
For a week, I was in a creative environment learning who I was and exploring my own personal process, and at the end of the week, I was “introduced” to my own personal style. It came to me in a dream while I was there at Texas School. I now know that my inspiration resides within me and I can create something intentionally or even on a whim without having to scratch my head about what to make. I have learned a skill, like riding a bicycle, that I won’t ever forget.
Here is my personal project at the end of the week long class. I call it “Snapshot from a dream in progress.”
And now I am honored to say that Thom Rouse is an instructor of mine.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience and your awesome project with us Sandy!
If YOU haven't yet registered for Texas School, what are you waiting for???
After many long and exhausting hikes in which I carried my DSLR to the top of many mountains (well, maybe small hills), I made the switch to mirrorless. My new camera, the Nikon Z6, is smaller and lighter than my DSLR and that makes it easier for traveling and for hiking also.
In order to understand the difference between the mirrorless camera and the DSLR, I realized that I had to understand the different viewfinders of these cameras. The viewfinder is the tiny square screen you look through on the back of your camera when you're focusing with your stronger eye. The LCD screen is the large black square where the image will appear. There are two main kinds of viewfinders :optical viewfinders (DSLR) and electronic viewfinders (mirrorless). Let's look at the differences between them.
How does the electronic viewfinder differ from the optical viewfinder? First, let's understand how the DSLR creates an image. The "SLR" bit of the name means "single lens reflex" and is the mechanism by which light is directed from the lens to the viewfinder using mirrors and a prism. When you look through an optical viewfinder you're actually looking through the lens of the camera (the light is bouncing off a mirror and flipped through a prism). This gives you a every clear, sharp view of the scene. In a mirrorless camera, the imaging sensor is exposed to light at all times. This gives you a digital preview of your image on the rear viewfinder. Without the beefy mirror box taking up space in the camera body, the mirrorless camera can be much smaller than the DSLRs. That's the first thing that you'll notice.
My first day of using my mirrorless camera, I used it in the default mode of 'live view' or at least I thought it was in 'live view'. But not really. That was how it started working when I took it out of the box. The mirrorless camera has this astonishing new feature: your image is shown on your LCD screen in the same way the 'live view' on your DSLR shows you the image on your LCD screen. But there is a difference. As soon as I put my eye to the viewfinder , it shows the image to my focusing eye. The camera senses that my eye is touching the viewfinder. But when I take my eye away, the viewfinder goes black and the image is shown on the LCD screen. How can that possibly happen? That's the beauty of the electronic viewfinder. You get what you see.
Let's get technical to understand more. With an electronic viewfinder, you're actually just looking at a tiny screen, instead of seeing an image that is projected by mirrors or other optical means. You are viewing directly the image that is captured by the image sensor. This tiny screen gives you a real time preview of what your photo will look like. You have a real time exposure preview to hep you dial in the exact exposure. With the the electronic viewfinder, you'll also get a preview of your depth of field. Even though a DSLR has a depth feel button, it sometimes makes things look unrealistically dark.
I'm still getting used to the electronic viewfinder. It's definitely different than an optical viewfinder. I still feel as if I'm shooting in live view' although that's not what's actually happening. In general, I'm happy that I bought a mirrorless camera although I'm not going to sell my DSLR any time soon. I'll use both of them but in different situations.
By Laura Mansur Guerra
Happy New Year and welcome to another exciting year at PPGH!
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as President of PPGH in 2020. Current board members are listed on our site under About>Board of Directors. We have a great team working together for the coming year and we hope you will contact us with questions or suggestions.
We always have volunteer positions available for members to serve PPGH. At the moment, we are looking for someone to create graphics for our monthly programs & workshops. Let me know if you would like more information about this opportunity.
Texas School registration is January 3rd at 11pm. There are so many opportunities to learn from knowledgeable instructors that I keep changing my list of classes. I usually am early to bed, but tomorrow I’ll be sitting at my laptop waiting for 11pm. Here’s a link to the site: https://www.texasschool.org/
This month our meeting is on January 14th, the second Tuesday, due to Imaging. Michael Martinez is our presenter with a PPA merit program starting at 12:30pm. This is your opportunity to learn from the owner of a successful boutique studio. Come join us and learn how to increase your profit from sales and take your business to the next level. If you cannot attend the day portion, Michael is presenting an evening program 7–9pm during which he will explain his ‘circle of happiness’ & how to use this to your advantage in business. Don’t miss this opportunity to increase your profit. You can find more information & register on our Home page.
Image competition will be starting a little earlier now, at 5:15 pm to allow our Image Competition Team & Judges time to review all the images & tabulate scores for the ribbon winning images. If you entered an image, you will be able to sign in before winners are chosen. By entering image competition, you already are a winner, because you will receive valuable feedback from our judges.
Updated PPA merit program times are:
Our Fellowship Program Description, Tracking Form & our Submission Form have been updated on our site. The tracking form is now a copy of the submission form so if you print it and fill it out during the year, it will be easy for you to input your information on the submission form; no more hunting for the right category. A description of the PPGH fellowship program and the forms can be found under MembersOnly>Fellowship Information. These awards are available to Professional Active & Lifetime/Honorary members. Laura will oversee out Fellowship Program this year & will be able to answer questions you may have regarding accumulating points and fellowship awards.
I hope to see you on January 14, 2020.
PPGH 2019 Year End Review
First of all happy Holidays to all of our members.
A week ago we held our annual holiday party and awards ceremony. It was a good time and we awarded lots of trophies for print competition and we gave away a ton of door prizes generously donated by vendors and many of our own members. If you didn’t make it this year make plans to attend next year. Nikky LaWell took photos for everyone who wanted them and Laura Mansur was taking candids. Kevin has put Nikky’s photos in an album on the members only facebook page. Go to Photos and then albums to see them.
This year was a busy one, we had 18 workshops, our number of print competition images doubled, the board meetings are now conducted online and we changed the Viewfinder to a Blog format. Another huge change was the revamp of our website with the majority of that work being done by Kevin Falcon earning him the selection of the president’s award:
At the holiday party I called out a few of our members for their services:
Here is a list of the print competition award winners:
2019 PPGH Annual Image Competition Winners
Best Album 2019
Best Digital Artist 2019
Best Illustrative – Best Animal 2019
Best Illustrative 2019
Best Portrait – Child
Best Portrait – Group
Best Portrait – Man
******Different Trophy New last year*******
Master Best Overall Illustrative
Master Best Overall Photographic Open
Best Illustrative – Scenic 2019
Best Portrait – Animal 2019
Best Portrait – Child 2019
Best Portrait – Man 2019
Best Portrait – Woman (Tie) 2019
Best Wedding 2019
Active Best Overall Illustrative 2019
Active Best Overall Photographic Open 2019
MASTER Photographer of the Year 2019
ACTIVE Photographer of the Year 2019
**********Highest CPP Scoring Image**************
Score 96 - 2019
We had enough door prizes that nearly everyone won one. Among the highlights was a Texas School Scholarship from Don Dickson and a PPA membership for a year. Here is a list of the vendors:
Thank you to our vendors.
Here’s to a fantastic 2020, Kathy has lined up some wonderful speakers and I look forward to seeing all of you throughout the year.
Last night at our annual Holiday party we announced our 2020 PPGH Scholarship winners. Congratulations to our winners:
Our winners were notified earlier today. Hope they checked their email!
Kevin Falcon Cr.Photog., CPP
2019 Scholarship Chairman
Click on the post title to view in a new webpage with a larger view. NOTE: Currently viewing this post from a computer is the only way to view the PDF.
Back in the 80’s when I started entering prints, we were required to enter 16x20 prints. Sometimes, these could become very expensive especially if you needed retouching done. Today, it is a lot cheaper because all you need to do is enter a digital file, therefore making it more affordable
My first entry was as an Aspiring PPGH member. Once I saw the entries that I was competing against, I felt like asking for my print back. I received a 73 and that was second place. Frank Chrichio was judging that evening and said the subject is too static. His feedback was: "What’s with the hat? Why is she holding her toes?" It was a picture of my youngest daughter sitting on top of a card table in my living room. I felt bad, but that was my daughter he was talking about. I listened and worked on correcting my mistakes. My scores slowly improved, but plenty of 78’s.
I started doing my own color printing at HCC, and my black and white at home. I tried to be more creative by mounting prints on paper, then trimming the paper close to the image to achieve a key line, etc. My print scores were higher and merits started to come in. I strongly felt if photography was going to be my career, then I needed to do it right. I went for my CPP first, then my Craftsman degree, then finally my Masters.
In 2019, PPGH was offering a Judging Scholarship so I decided to apply and was awarded the scholarship. I wanted to go to judging school to experience more of what goes on behind the scenes. With all the new technology in the digital era, we were able to see the setup of the actual IPC judging panel in Atlanta, which was quite exciting.
We were referred to as Jurors in Training “JIT." If you want to become an IPC approved Juror, you have to follow a set of requirements. Carl, our instructor, went over the instructions for the panel and explained some of the commonly used technical terms. We then sat on mock judging panels. As the prints went by, scores were given. We experienced some challenges (when one or more judges requests a review of the scores), as well as automatic challenges (when one score affects the image's ability to achieve the next highest category). An important takeaway was that it all depends on the make up of the panel. It’s all subjective, as everybody has a difference of opinion. Some judges see faults in the images, but sometimes they can be overlooked.
Following the 12 elements of print competition is very important. Do not give the judges a reason to give you a lower score because you overlooked something, because you were in a hurry, or because you waited until the last minute to enter your prints. Pay attention to the details and don’t rush it!
There are 2 ways of looking at the 12 Elements of print competition. Either in the list form (Chart 1 below), or by groupings (Chart 2 below). Either is fine; just pay attention to each item individually.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to enter print competition. Remember, it’s your image and you love it! What they see in front of them takes only a few seconds to score, so unless the print is challenged and talked about you will not know why it received a 79. The judges can change their minds, scores go up or down, and you always hope that the score goes higher, sometimes it works against you and scores are lowered. However, it’s all a learning experience… there is no magic formula.
Here are the 12 Elements again:
If you study Chart 2, and look at the 12 elements in the groups shown, it makes it easier for you to understand. *You only have to remember 5 groups which encompass all 12 elements.
I have sat in many judging rooms throughout the years, and I especially like it when you get to hear judge’s comments. I have judged many times before locally, at State Convention, and numerous times in Mexico, especially when I was the guest speaker.
What was reiterated to me is that there is no magic formula to print competition. There are still rules that you need to follow to improve your chances at receiving a merit. Remember, judging still is very subjective. Print competition is like playing a game; you just have to learn how to play it. Green merits $$ are the ones that are most important. Enter prints, get recognized, and create images that define who you are. Always follow your dreams and good luck!
Thank you PPGH for this exciting opportunity.
By Armando, Chacón, Master Craftsman Photographer, PPA and PPGH Life Member, PPGH Past President 1998
It’s almost a wrap for the year. We are hosting one last workshop by Teri Whittaker, who will be presenting Fine Art Flowers on November 14. We have Jennifer McGraw doing an evening only senior’s program on November 19. Then, on December 8 we will have our Holiday Gala and Awards program.
One last thing please submit your fellowship points by midnight November 25. You can find the fellowship submission form on the website. After login, go to the Membership Only tab, pull down to the Fellowship Information section, then download the Fellowship Submission Form. Also, in the Membership Only tab, you can apply for one of our scholarships to be used at an upcoming training of your choice, by filling out the PPGH Scholarship Application. Scholarship winners will be announced at the Holiday Gala and Awards program.
Duane Blocker, President PPGH
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