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2020 (whole year)  - Image Competition 80+ Score Images

The Viewfinder

  • 14 Jan 2020 9:52 AM | Laura Mansur, Cr. Photog., CPP (Administrator)

            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


  • 02 Jan 2020 11:35 AM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    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:

    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:

    • ·         12 pm             Check in Desk Opens
    • ·         12:30 pm       PPA Merit Program Bjegins
    • ·         5:00 pm          Check in desk opens for the evening program
    • ·         5:15 pm          Image Competition begins
    • ·         6:15 pm          Dinner & Social Time
    • ·         7-9 pm            Evening program

    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.

    Kathy Kinser

  • 16 Dec 2019 3:34 PM | Duane Blocker, CPP (Administrator)

    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:

    • I have chosen Kevin Falcon to receive this award. Kevin has been instrumental in reworking our web presence and assisting the transition to a blog format. Kevin has been there assisting me as president all throughout the year. In adition he has documented the various processes for the president’s role making my job so much easier. I was able to worry about content because he laid out what was expected. I did not need to reinvent the processes. Please thank Kevin for all of his hard work.

    At the holiday party I called out a few of our members for their services: 

    • Sherry PicheFor 6 years Sherry has run our print competition. She will be stepping down from that role this year. I want everyone to thank Sherry for her dedication in this role. She’s been here for almost every meeting. She’s consolidated the years entries for the awards which is time consuming. Yet she has always been supportive and a joy to work with. I’ve personally worked with her for almost 5 of those years and she has been the “go to” person for the competition. Please thank her for her dedication.

    • Tara FlanneryFor the last two years Tara has been hauling around the print competition equipment and setting it up every month. For much of the time we had that very large and heavy speaker. Tara quietly gets the images the morning of the meeting, then sets up the equipment. I know what it takes yet for the last two years I’ve not really had to think of it. She will be rolling out of that role to be secretary but I wanted to thank her for that role.
    • Alison MontgomeryThe beginning of the year found us without a treasurer. Alison agreed to accept this role. Treasurer is such a key role and Alison has been a joy to work with and I know that I can always count on her. 
    • Theresa CampbellShe has been our Viewfinder editor for over 3 years. This is one of those tasks done in the background and yet it takes a tremendous amount of time. You have to beg for article to be written and then submitted on time. She has been involved with the transition to a blog format. She is working into a marketing role on the board and I wanted everyone to know of her efforts.
    • Aileen HardingShe has put together our workshops this year and last. We do our best to provide the best education possible while keeping the cost reasonable and giving our members chance to earn merits toward their PPA certifications. We put on about 20 of these a year so there are a lot of moving pieces. Please thank Aileen for her hard work.
    • Teri Whittaker Every organization has a person that is the glue that helps hold everything together. The person that knows the answers to all of the little things that go on day to day in an organization. Teri is PPGH’s glue. She is the executive director, works on all of the graphics, answers my endless questions. Please thank her for her endless help and work on your behalf.

    Here is a list of the print competition award winners:

    2019 PPGH Annual Image Competition Winners


    Best Album 2019

    Karen Butts

    Best Digital Artist 2019

    Karen Butts

    Best Illustrative – Best Animal 2019

    Aileen Harding

    Best Illustrative 2019

    Armando Chacon

    Best Portrait – Child

    Karen Butts

    Best Portrait – Group

    Karen Butts

    Best Portrait – Man

    Armando Chacon

    ******Different Trophy New last year*******

    Master Best Overall Illustrative

    Armando Chacon

    Master Best Overall Photographic Open

    Armando Chacon


    Best Illustrative 2019

    Diana Waguespack

    Best Illustrative – Scenic 2019

    Maryanne Keeling

    Best Portrait – Animal 2019

    Allison Schmidt

    Best Portrait – Child 2019

    Alison Montgomery

    Best Portrait – Man  2019

    Sabrina Casas

    Best Portrait – Woman (Tie) 2019

    David Johnson

    Best Portrait – Woman (Tie) 2019

    Tara Flannery

    Best Wedding 2019

    Maryanne Keeling

    Active Best Overall Illustrative 2019

    Diana Waguespack

    Active Best Overall Photographic Open 2019

    Alison Montgomery

    MASTER Photographer of the Year 2019

    Karen Butts

    ACTIVE Photographer of the Year 2019

    Alison Montgomery

    **********Highest CPP Scoring Image**************

    Score 96 - 2019

    Alison Montgomery

    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.

    • Millers
    • CG Graphics
    • Pounds Lab
    • PPA
    • TPPA
    • Texas School
    • Member offering tutoring and Fine Art Prints

    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.

    Duane Blocker

  • 09 Dec 2019 2:30 PM | Kevin Falcon, Cr.Photog., CPP (Administrator)

    Scholarship Recap

    Last night at our annual Holiday party we announced our 2020 PPGH Scholarship winners. Congratulations to our winners:

    • Leslie Cervantez
    • Julia Garza
    • Joan Reynolds

    Our winners were notified earlier today. Hope they checked their email!

    Kevin Falcon Cr.Photog., CPP
    2019 Scholarship Chairman

  • 02 Dec 2019 6:30 PM | Kevin Falcon, Cr.Photog., CPP (Administrator)

    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.

    November 2019

  • 17 Nov 2019 12:18 PM | Theresa Campbell, CPP

    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.

    CHART 1

     CHART 2

    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:

    • Does it have Impact? Wow the judges!
    • Are there any Technical details that the judges might object to? Is it Creative enough or just a plain image?
    • Is the Style new or is it the same thing they see every day? Be unique!
    • Is the subject in the right place; does the Composition follow established rules?
    • Did you work on the Presentation, the key line, the matting; does it help or hinder your image? Is the Color harmony there? Does it help the image or not?
    • Center of interest… can you focus your eyes on it, or is it hard to find?
    • Lighting is the lighting pattern there? Is the image flat? Did you use separation lights? Indoors or out the same rules apply. In studio you set the lights, outdoors the lighting is already set. Be sure to use it to your advantage.
    • Subject matter: what are you trying to convey? Much depends on what type of subject you are using.
    • Technique: Did you over do it? Are there any signs of what you did left on the image?
    • Storytelling: It is very important to bring the judges in with a good title.

    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

  • 02 Nov 2019 9:30 AM | Theresa Campbell, CPP

    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

  • 30 Oct 2019 9:30 AM | Kevin Falcon, Cr.Photog., CPP (Administrator)

    We are fortunate to have a guild that appreciates continuing education for our members.  The guild usually awards at least two or three $500 scholarships, and one $750 scholarship for the Judges workshop.

    For a $500 scholarship, if you:

    1.       Have been a Professional Active Member for two (2) years,
    2.       Have not received a scholarship from PPGH in the previous three (3) years,
    3.       Have paid your current dues for the year of scholarship application,

    …..then you need to go online and complete a scholarship form.

    For the $750 Judges Workshop scholarship, if you:

    1.       Have been a Professional Active Member for three (3) years OR are a Lifetime Member,
    2.       Hold a PPA Degree or Certification (priority is given to Master Degree applications)
    3.       Have not received a scholarship from PPGH in the previous three (3) years,
    4.       Have paid your current dues for the year of scholarship application (not applicable to Lifetime Members),
    5.       Must be willing to be frequently available to judge PPGH image competition for 3 years
    …..then you need to go online and complete a Judge’s Workshop scholarship form.

    You will need to login to the website.  Go to the Members Only section.  (Hover over the three lines at the end of the Menu line and you will see the Members Only section.  Scroll down to the Scholarship area and submit the required information. Here is a direct link that will prompt you to login. Scholarship Information.

    If you are selected to receive a scholarship, the following reimbursement information will be helpful to you:

    1.       The scholarship is good for one year after the date it is awarded.
    2.       The scholarship may be used for a maximum of one educational event.
    3.       The scholarship has no cash value (it may not be redeemed for cash).
    4.       The scholarship may NOT be used for online education.
    5.       The scholarship recipient must have paid their current dues for the year of reimbursement (not applicable to Lifetime members).
    6.       The scholarship recipient must pay up front for the educational event.  Reimbursement to the scholarship recipient will occur only after the recipient has attended the educational event and reported back to the guild about their experience (either by Viewfinder article or by sharing in person at a monthly guild meeting), AND submitted their receipts for reimbursement to the Scholarship Chairman.

    The deadline for scholarship submission is 11:58 pm, on November 25, 2019.

  • 28 Oct 2019 7:19 PM | Theresa Campbell, CPP

    Sherry & Teri created a very thorough presentation on posing which began with an explanation of how to do a facial analysis to determine the best ways to pose people.  We paired up and analyzed each other’s faces.  Then we each presented to the class how we would photograph this particular person and why.  This information increases our ability to photograph people at the correct angles that will flatter their facial features.

    Then they shared some important do and don’ts for eyes, nose and hands.  The next step was a demonstration of the basic standing and sitting poses of both men and women.   Attendees again paired up to practice and critique each other in both man & woman poses.  Sherry & Teri checked the different groups to ensure posing was being accurately modeled.  When the basic poses were performed correctly the group moved on to more advanced poses modeled by Sherry & Teri.

    The last segment of this class was posing groups, starting with two people and building up to large groups. It was reinforced that we must pay close attention to height, physical ability to bend or kneel, hands, feet, position on chairs etc to place people to their best advantage in the group photo.

    Practicing posing yourself, will help you be prepared to demonstrate posing to your clients to ensure they look great.  You will become more confident posing others, resulting in relaxed and natural looking subjects looking their best in the images you capture.

    Kathy Kinser, CPP
    PPGH Workshop Coordinator

    Hey, do you want to get more involved with PPGH?
    Join a committee like Kathy did and provide workshop reports!

  • 25 Oct 2019 1:30 PM | Duane Blocker, CPP (Administrator)


    For a full breakdown of Fellowship Points, be sure to read the document on the PPGH website under Members Only > Fellowship Information. Here's a link.

    Hopefully, you have been documenting your Fellowship points throughout the year, but if life has gotten in the way, here are a few tips to help you compile your points.

    Want to know how many meetings and workshops you attended for the year? Login to the PPGH then click on My Event Registrations. You will discover a nice, neat list of everything you attended. How easy is that!

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