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  1. #1
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    I'm back too! And completely inspired!

    OK, I was just gone for less than a week, but I've come back a new person. I learned SO MUCH about photography and am encouraged and inspired!

    About that contest that I entered my six Paris shots in ("A Sense Of Place") ... I won Runner Up. The winner absolutely deserved to win. She's studying for her Masters in Photography at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, and her six photos were of children in Zimbabwe, and technically excellent. Her shots looked like they were straight out of National Geographic. I'm honored to have been Runner Up to her. BUT, Robert Holmes (http://www.robertholmes.net/bio.htm) told me that if there had been one Single Shot winner, it would have been my picture of the Paris couple in the snow. SO, I'm happy. I've got a lot to learn though.

    Hopefully from now on you'll see me posting much better photographs! (But I'm sure I'll still experiment and ask your opinion if the experiment works.) I may even "unveil" sometime soon. In fact, how about if I post a full-body shot of myself here, that I took the day I got to SF? I'm the one on the right.




    (heh heh heh)














    .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I'm back too! And completely inspired!-shadows002.jpg  
    Last edited by opus; 08-17-2004 at 10:13 PM.
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  2. #2
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Penny, I will try. I consider most of what I've previously done to be flawed, and with my "new eye" I hope to get much more powerful images that tell a story.

    I'll still post whatever I like, though. Some of my pictures thrill me even if they're not great.

    Well heck, I'll post a couple here.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I'm back too! And completely inspired!-sf_sunset1_jfr.jpg  
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  3. #3
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    And here's another that I like for its color, although compositionally it's not strong.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I'm back too! And completely inspired!-gg_night.jpg  
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  4. #4
    Just a Member Chunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kellybean
    OK, I was just gone for less than a week, but I've come back a new person. I learned SO MUCH about photography and am encouraged and inspired!

    About that contest that I entered my six Paris shots in ("A Sense Of Place") ... I won Runner Up.
    That's terrific news Kelly. Congrats. It sounds like you are starting to believe what others of us have realized before - that you have a very good eye.

  5. #5
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    --swoon-- Thank you Chunk. I think I am starting to believe it.
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  6. #6
    Opinionated Newbie
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    kelly -- I hope you don't get pulled into compostion paralysis. I think too many people get hung up on composition when there is a perfectly good image to be taken, a perfectly good story to be told. One photographer that I respect TREMENDOUSLY was telling me a story a while back about an image he had on the wall. It was of a young girl, skateboarding, in a sunday dress past a white picket fence with a portion of a beautiful tree in full fall colors in the frame.

    Everytime I visited his studio I would study the photo over and over again. Finally I asked about it. Turns out it was his daughter. He had actually won a second place award with it. He was told by multiple judges that it would have won first place had the composition been correct. What was wrong? Well, instead of the finely dressed young girl moving from left to right in the frame, she was moving from right to left.

    Bottom line is that the basics are important, but their is so much more to the image.

  7. #7
    Minolta Warrior #2? MaxPower's Avatar
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    Way to Go!!!

    Congratulations Kelly!!

    Your photos were very deserving of the honor of second.

    Good Job!

  8. #8
    seenyourmember villenadecorte's Avatar
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    Yay for Kelly

    Hey Kelly!! It sounds like you had a fantastic trip! Where did you end up going in the city?
    I am so glad you took runner up- your six shots were great. I liked the snowy couple too, and the one through the window. Those were really great!

    I love what you've posted from you trip so far!
    Keep em coming!

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  9. #9
    Senior Member shesells's Avatar
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    So kelly..

    Tell us how you really feel!
    Your enthusiam is catching and if your new photos are any sign of what you learned then you're gonna kick some butt with your new confidence. Those photos are wonderful! did you go to Robert Holmes workshop? If you did, I'm so jealous. You were already very talented and now you seem so much more sure of yourself. Care to share some of what you learned? Can't wait to see more, Kelly. Congrats on your win also, those were some beautiful pics.
    ~ kit

  10. #10
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Todd, I'm afraid that "composition paralysis" is difficult to avoid, and I'd been stuck in it before. One thing I learned at this conference, though, which is perhaps very valuable, is ... well, I can probably illustrate it best with an experience.

    I had submitted my photos for the contest, and on the last day I had them in my hands to take them home. I came across someone who billed herself as a "photo critic" who went to area photo clubs to critique photos. She looked at my 6 photos, and mentioned things she would have changed about most of them, for instance, cropping out some of the sky in the early dawn street scene. But then before I left I went up to Robert Holmes and asked him for a critique of the pictures, since he had critiqued my other work but not my "best" work. He never mentioned any of those things (about the 4) that the lady did, but talked about what he liked about 4 of them, and was (justifiably) critical of the other two. What I learned from that is that there is always something that someone could "change" about nearly every picture, but you really need to look at the picture as a whole, as long as it's working. If something just isn't working, identify it, but don't pick out things to change just for the sake of changing or critiquing. I respect Robert Holmes opinion so much more because I saw that he appreciates the story and the light and the artistic value of photos, rather than just coming at them cerebrally with a bunch of "rules".

    So I've come up with a new way to judge my own photos. I will look at them with the following questions in mind:

    1) What is the first thing I see when I look at this shot? Is that what I'm supposed to see? If not, throw it out.

    2) Does this picture describe one sentence, or a thousand words? The fewer words the picture suggests, the weaker it is, in my mind. For instance,

    "This is a picture of a dog standing there."

    Probably that is a fairly weak picture. Here would be a stronger picture:

    "This is a picture of a dog, frozen, looking intently at a bush. I wonder what's in the bush that he's waiting for? Wow, it's pretty late in the evening, and there's no one around. Is the dog lost, looking for his supper? Does it have a master, maybe the dog is bringing a bird home for its master? Maybe it's a mother bringing food home for its young. Wow, the dog looks like whatever is behind that bush is the difference between life and death. Look at the color of the sky! Look at the detail in the dog's coat! I can almost feel the heat of the ground and hear the silence..."

    THAT would probably be a strong picture. The story that it tells engages the mind in questions. The picture is worth a lot of words.

    So this is my new criteria, how I'll be looking at my own stuff from now on. I didn't actually "learn" this from anyone at the conference, but after hearing critiques of my own and others' work, seeing great work, and comparing the two, I've formulated this approach in my mind. Let's see if it works.
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  11. #11
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Max, thank you so much.

    Oh wow, I never noticed that before, but I *love* your avatar! What power! ;)
    Drink Coffee. Do stupid things faster with more energy.


  12. #12
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Well, I guess you're inspired - and confident too! That's a good thing, now go shoot !

    I was at a school in April and asked a few people to critique my portfolio. There were a couple of things that more than one person said, but most people had different things to say about each photograph. I think you need to know a little about the person doing the critique, see their work and how it relates to where you are now and where you want to go. Like you realized, if you saw more in Robert Holmes' work than the other person's work then you should take more notice of Robert's critique. You might learn or see something from anybody's critique, but knowing who's critiquing you should give you some insight as to why they're saying what they're saying.

    San Francisco in itself is an inspiring place, glad to hear you had a good time.

  13. #13
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    Kelly -- I really love the balance that you are seeking! I am always weary of those who follow some sort of academia approach to what I believe is an art form a means of expression. trust me, I am by no means an artist, but I love photography for capturing that one moment that will never occur again.

    You do good work and I love to see people grow -- in whatever inspires them! You have inspired me, by the way, to attend some sort of photo seminar myself Not bad, 'eh?!?

  14. #14
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    VD, thanks.

    --WARNING-- The following is a long-winded description of my trip. It's OK to skip it because I'm not saying much.

    When I got to the city I was SO tired, as I hadn't slept for about 24 hours. I drove through downtown following 101 and ended up at the Marina, but couldn't find a parking space, so I just shot a couple out my window and moved on. Then I found a really neat little restaurant somewhere off 101 heading towards the GG bridge, maybe on Carpenter street? It's called Pacific Catch, and I loved their blend of seafood and Mexican. Sweet Potato Fries, yum! It was excellent. Then I headed towards Marin but stopped at the GG Bridge *just because* you're supposed to. The fog had rolled in so my shots weren't spectacular. I browsed the gift shop and then I moved on. Got up into Marin, found Mill Valley and my Holiday Inn, unloaded, then got a bite to eat at Frantoios and hit the sack by 7 pm. Slept till 7 am. (I told you I was tired!)

    Next day I found Starbucks and went on the internet, had lunch in Sausalito (?--Kitty's Cafe) then went shopping for new jeans and a 1 GB CF card since I'm now shooting RAW. Ran up to Muir Woods, which was fantastic, as was the view of the city and the fog rolling in along the way. Came down and met my friend, who took me to Tiburon to walk her dog along the bay. Snapped a bunch there, including the shadow pic above. Then she and I went for Sushi nearby, and then I came back to the room.

    Next day I hit Starbucks again, then headed up to Corte Madera to Book Passage bookstore, where the conference was held. Thursday afternoon through Saturday I was pretty much there 9 am - 10 pm. Then on Sunday after the conference I went back to Tiburon an hour before sunset and got a bunch of shots there, two of which I showed above. I stayed there WAY too late, and ended up "feeling" my way back along the pitch dark path for what felt like a mile back to the parking lot, and I wasn't even sure I was on the right path. It was a bit of an adventure, wondering if someone was going to leap out of the bushes at me before I found my car. Since then I've told my friend about it, (jokingly comparing my "travel adventure" in a SF Park with Allison Wright's adventures in Nepal and Tibet) and my friend said, "The most dangerous thing you'd be likely to come across there is a mosquito, and even those are uncommon!"

    Let's see. The next day I ran back to Muir Woods to grab a mug from the gift shop (I had forgotten my money the first time), then went to macy's to pick up another piece of luggage (on deep clearance) to take home all the extra stuff I acquired during the week , went back to Book Passage to have them ship my books back home, then left for the airport and stopped along the way in nearly the same spot as before to eat a slice of pizza. Parking is terrible there! So is traffic.

    I got lost three times on my way to drop off my car, but made it with plenty of time to spare. And now I'm home.

    --END Long winded story--

    I took a bunch of shots of the bay at night to stitch them together into a panoramic shot, and on the plane I *Very Quickly* stitched together the low res. I'll work harder on the high res as I want to create something to frame on my wall, since I love night shots so much. I'll post my low res quickie version here and hope it works that you can see it, although it's quite imperfect. I'm posting it now because I don't think I'll get the high res done for awhile.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I'm back too! And completely inspired!-lowres-panorama.jpg  
    Last edited by opus; 08-17-2004 at 10:17 PM.
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  15. #15
    Liz
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    Cool Congratulations Kelly.......

    I'm so happy for you. Your experience certainly has given you exactly what you need - actually what you already had inside of you, but now it shows.

    Your photos are excellent. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of your photography.

    Liz


    Quote Originally Posted by kellybean
    OK, I was just gone for less than a week, but I've come back a new person. I learned SO MUCH about photography and am encouraged and inspired!

    About that contest that I entered my six Paris shots in ("A Sense Of Place") ... I won Runner Up. The winner absolutely deserved to win. She's studying for her Masters in Photography at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, and her six photos were of children in Zimbabwe, and technically excellent. Her shots looked like they were straight out of National Geographic. I'm honored to have been Runner Up to her. BUT, Robert Holmes (http://www.robertholmes.net/bio.htm) told me that if there had been one Single Shot winner, it would have been my picture of the Paris couple in the snow. SO, I'm happy.

    Hopefully from now on you'll see me posting much better photographs! (But I'm sure I'll still experiment and ask your opinion if the experiment works.) I may even "unveil" sometime soon. In fact, how about if I post a full-body shot of myself here, that I took the day I got to SF? I'm the one on the right.




    (heh heh heh)














    .

  16. #16
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Kit, I actually did not win anything. I was just mentioned. But that's more than I expected. I guess I just wanted to know I had a chance, that I did actually belong there.

    The conference was a Travel Writers and Photographers conference, and it was the kind of thing where if you weren't ready to take the next steps, you might go home feeling like you wasted your time and money. I'm guessing many aspiring people, both writers and photographers, discovered at the conference that they didn't really want to become professional writers or photographers. You got a real sense of your competition at this conference, and it was pretty intimidating. Many attendees had already been published. Many beginners saw the long road and the hard work involved. There were people among the faculty who could help you take the next step, but you had to be ready.

    I'm going to post this right now and come back later to post some of what I learned, because I'm getting distracted.
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  17. #17
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shesells
    Care to share some of what you learned?
    ~ kit
    There was so much I learned, and so much of what I learned was from visual examples, that I can't really pass along some of it. Bob Holmes gave a really good slide presentation, comparing what he's learned from fine art paintings that has influenced his photographs. It was amazing to see how the basic elements transferred. I'm really going to have to take a closer look at fine art.

    Alison Wright (http://www.alisonwright.com/) is an excellent photographer of people. I learned a lot about lighting techniques, and also about removing elements of a scene that you don't want in the picture, such as a blue Wal-Mart bag in the background, before you shoot it. She taught us that you have control over what goes into your picture, and that it often takes tremendous patience to sit and wait for the picture you want. I hadn't done that before. I expected to be able to "shoot from the hip" and get great shots every time. My #1 priority right now is to work on having patience.

    Mikkel Aaland (http://www.shooting-digital.com/), author of "Shooting Digital" was there, and he taught a section on digital photography. Another (cute!) photographer/web developer named Jeff Pflueger (http://jeffpflueger.com/aboutjeff.php) showed us why having a web presence is essential, and gave us great tips for setting up a website.

    The photo editors for Sunset, Islands, and Spa magazines were also there, teaching and giving consultations. David Elliot Cohen (http://www.america24-7.com/bios/projects.shtml) rounded out the faculty, at least for the Photography part. They showed us more of the business side of photography, giving us a good idea of what editors want and what the markets are. The business part was invaluable. But I did learn that even the best photographers don't make a whole lot of money.

    I'll tell you what the general consensus was of my work, though: I lack people. Over and over again the group saw my landscapes or architecture and mentioned how the picture would have been strengthened by the presence of a person, small and symbolic, to give it "punctuation". It became a joke as I showed a series I took at the resort I stayed at in Mexico, because from my shots it truly seemed to be deserted. Finally I showed a shot of skinny dogs lying prone on the beach, and Alison exclaimed, "There really WAS a nuclear explosion!"

    So the main things I took away from the conference that I'm going to work on to improve my shots are:

    1) I am in control of what is in the frame. Move three steps to the right, crouch down, climb high, etc. to get the best shot. Also, it's OK to move things out of the way, as long as you put them back. This isn't *strictly* photojournalism, where you have to record everything untouched.

    2) Look for "punctuation" in a scene. Perhaps it's tiny taillights at the base of a mountain, or a person reading the sign on a building, or a child with its hand out on an aquarium. These things will make the photograph so much more compelling.

    3) Good shots are not accidents. They are created. You look at a scene, and plan it out, anticipate when the light will be best, when or where a person is going to move into the best position, etc. Sometimes you go back at a different time of day. You're rarely going to just pass through a place and snap a great shot. It takes thinking. And waiting. Even action shots require thinking and planning.

    4) Photography is all about the light. I already knew this, but the conference brought it into the forefront of my consciousness.

    5) Oh, and this: Your portfolio is only as good as your weakest shot. Only show your best.


    That will be $500, please. ;)
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  18. #18
    seenyourmember villenadecorte's Avatar
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    next time...

    And I do hope you will be back !!! Next time I hope a few of us can get together when you come out again!
    I am so very glad you had such a rewarding trip out here.
    and BTW- I love that shot you did with the bridge peaking over the top That makes my heart melt! Its kind of like, when you leave home for a while, and you see just the beginning of something you recognize on your way back home.
    GREAT GREAT shot!

    -VillenaDeCorte

    Quote Originally Posted by kellybean
    VD, thanks.

    --WARNING-- The following is a long-winded description of my trip. It's OK to skip it because I'm not saying much.

    When I got to the city I was SO tired, as I hadn't slept for about 24 hours. I drove through downtown following 101 and ended up at the Marina, but couldn't find a parking space, so I just shot a couple out my window and moved on. Then I found a really neat little restaurant somewhere off 101 heading towards the GG bridge, maybe on Carpenter street? It's called Pacific Catch, and I loved their blend of seafood and Mexican. Sweet Potato Fries, yum! It was excellent. Then I headed towards Marin but stopped at the GG Bridge *just because* you're supposed to. The fog had rolled in so my shots weren't spectacular. I browsed the gift shop and then I moved on. Got up into Marin, found Mill Valley and my Holiday Inn, unloaded, then got a bite to eat at Frantoios and hit the sack by 7 pm. Slept till 7 am. (I told you I was tired!)

    Next day I found Starbucks and went on the internet, had lunch in Sausalito (?--Kitty's Cafe) then went shopping for new jeans and a 1 GB CF card since I'm now shooting RAW. Ran up to Muir Woods, which was fantastic, as was the view of the city and the fog rolling in along the way. Came down and met my friend, who took me to Tiburon to walk her dog along the bay. Snapped a bunch there, including the shadow pic above. Then she and I went for Sushi nearby, and then I came back to the room.

    Next day I hit Starbucks again, then headed up to Corte Madera to Book Passage bookstore, where the conference was held. Thursday afternoon through Saturday I was pretty much there 9 am - 10 pm. Then on Sunday after the conference I went back to Tiburon an hour before sunset and got a bunch of shots there, two of which I showed above. I stayed there WAY too late, and ended up "feeling" my way back along the pitch dark path for what felt like a mile back to the parking lot, and I wasn't even sure I was on the right path. It was a bit of an adventure, wondering if someone was going to leap out of the bushes at me before I found my car. Since then I've told my friend about it, (jokingly comparing my "travel adventure" in a SF Park with Allison Wright's adventures in Nepal and Tibet) and my friend said, "The most dangerous thing you'd be likely to come across there is a mosquito, and even those are uncommon!"

    Let's see. The next day I ran back to Muir Woods to grab a mug from the gift shop (I had forgotten my money the first time), then went to macy's to pick up another piece of luggage (on deep clearance) to take home all the extra stuff I acquired during the week , went back to Book Passage to have them ship my books back home, then left for the airport and stopped along the way in nearly the same spot as before to eat a slice of pizza. Parking is terrible there! So is traffic.

    I got lost three times on my way to drop off my car, but made it with plenty of time to spare. And now I'm home.

    --END Long winded story--

    I took a bunch of shots of the bay at night to stitch them together into a panoramic shot, and on the plane I *Very Quickly* stitched together the low res. I'll work harder on the high res as I want to create something to frame on my wall, since I love night shots so much. I'll post my low res quickie version here and hope it works that you can see it, although it's quite imperfect. I'm posting it now because I don't think I'll get the high res done for awhile.
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  19. #19
    ...just believe natatbeach's Avatar
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    hey do you have a link to the contest winners ort is it not online...Congrats on your placing...glad it was a great learning experience and that you had a great time...congrats again.
    "I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer.
    I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time.
    I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe that I did anything important.
    I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live."
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  20. #20
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Nat, the winner had submitted prints, so unless she has a website somewhere, I don't think her stuff is online. I could probably email her and ask though. I'll let you know if I hear anything.

    I did find out that one of our faculty, Jeff Pflueger, was apparently an alumni from last year, and he won third place last year. And if his work won third place, I can't even imagine what won second and first. So, the fact that there was only one winner this year, and I know my work had flaws that kept it from being more than mentioned, makes me think that they judge each year according to the quality of the work rather than having three set prizes.

    Anyway, here's the link to Jeff's entries last year: http://jeffpflueger.com/2003winners.php

    They are simply amazing.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member shesells's Avatar
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    Kelly - the check's in the mail..

    Those are some excellent tips. I actually printed them out and taped it where I can be reminded of that stuff. Thank you so much for taking the time to put all that together.
    :::hmm, trying to figure out how to get a teeny tiny person in my macro shots:::
    ~ Kit
    Last edited by shesells; 08-19-2004 at 05:19 AM. Reason: I wanted to.

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