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Retrospective 2022: Photography

I spent a fair amount of time this year on photography, both taking workshops and capturing images. I started the year with an Equatorial Tracking workshop given by Rick Whitacre, a member of the local photography club to which I belong. He takes amazing astro landscape and aurora images. In this workshop, he shared tips and trick on getting started taking night sky photos. I learned enough to decide not to pursue this line of photography. It’s expensive, it’s fussy, and it requires being a night owl. Instead, I’ll enjoy the work of Rick and other night-sky photographers.

In the spirit of trying to learn more about other types of photography, I took an infrared photography course from Tim Aston, a noted local landscape photographer. (He is also a member of my local photography club.) As a result, I purchased a refurbished point-and-shoot camera that is modified to capture infrared images. Then I learned how to post-process the images (very different from regular photography) and have been experimenting taking other-worldly images. (Image: Vasona Park in Los Gatos)

One of our camera club members, Larry Shapiro, is a master still life photographer. When he announced he would run a still life workshop, I signed up immediately. Still life images are not my forte. but after taking the workshop, I feel better equipped to make them in the future. (Image: I created this in the workshop, using props supplied by Larry.)

Another image from the Still Life workshop.

I love making monochrome images, which is why I joined a Photographic Society of America (PSA) Digital Dialog (DD) for monochrome images. Seven of us from around the globe each share one image a month, and critique each others work. It has been extremely helpful to me, so I decided to supplement the DD group activity by taking an online course from Athena Carey called Black & White Fine Art Photography, which I completed in January. Each week I would watch a video from Athena and submit an assignment. Athena would then record critiques of each student’s images for the entire class to view.

I enjoyed the format of the class so much—watching videos, doing assignments, and getting critiqued by an expert—that I ended up taking two more classes from the same school—Bryan Peterson School of Photography. The Art of Seeing and Understanding Exposure, both taught by Bryan Peterson himself. I thought I understood exposure, but after taking the class, I realized how little I knew up to that point. I enjoyed his online courses so much that I signed on for an in-person, two-day workshop with Bryan in Seattle. It was another great learning experience. Bryan is one of the best teachers. He gives so much of himself to his students and sees teaching moments in everything! (Image: An example of breaking a pattern.)

As a member of the Los-Gatos Saratoga Camera Club, I submitted photos to the monthly photo competition—except July and August when I was out of town. Each month, a different outside photographer provides critiques of our photos and chooses the top photos in each category. I earned six awards this year. In reality, the critiques and the chance to show other club members my work are the most important part of these competitions. But it is gratifying to have an image place with an award. In the fall, we went from Zoom-only meeting to in-person. That meant that the print competition could resume. I am enjoying experimenting with paper types. Each of the two prints I submitted were awarded First Place. I posted all the winner from the past few years her:

For the first three months of the year, I joined a PSA digital dialogue group on video. I didn’t find it helpful. Many of the members didn’t submit regularly. There was very little dialogue. Those of us who did submit video weren’t on the same wavelength, so I didn’t find the critiques helpful. I’ve had a lot more experience and training making videos, so I decided that if I want to further that skill, I should find a specialized workshop or group of documentarians. Video sub-speciality is a new thing with the PSA, whose focus is on still images.

I had a few images on exhibit in the 2nd Worldwide Photographic Exhibition of the Los Gatos-Saratoga Camera Club. It was a virtual exhibit that opened October 1. The only reason we could bill it as "worldwide" is because it was virtual. Next year we will go back to a "real" exhibit.

All in all, the year has been a good one for advancing my photographic skills—taking images, processing them, and learning new types of photography.

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