Tag Archives: St. Kitts

Sign of the Times?

Bad Dogs - More from Basseterre. St Kitts

The nature photography group that I belong to is an affiliate member of the Photographic Society of America, or PSA. We have recently begun participating in a number of their competitions, some of them for projected images but most of them for printed images. Because I consider the well-made print to be the intended final result of my photography, I began to submit some of my work to be considered for entry in these competitions. We’ve got a lot of members and each club is limited in the number of images they can submit in each category, plus each photographer is limited in the number of their images that can be in any one submission. It’s all very complicated to me and I have a hard time figuring it out so I generally don’t bother trying. I just send my stuff in and if it gets picked it does, and if it doesn’t it doesn’t. No big deal either way.

I did have one of my photos win an Honorable Mention in one of the projected image competitions a couple of years ago, and that was nice. I’ve been working hard at getting better with my printing and am very proud of some of the work I have submitted, so I was hoping that one or more of my prints would do well.

I received an e-mail this morning with images of the winners from the most recent competition. Mine was not included in the list of winners or those receiving honorable mention. I won’t go into a lot of detail regarding how I feel about the winners, since they obviously appealed to the people who were doing the judging. But I’ve come to the conclusion that, at least for the purposes of these competitions, the kind of work I’m submitting isn’t what the judges are looking for. I’m just not using enough software.

This is not intended to be sour grapes or anything, and to conclude that would be missing my point. But I’d be interested in knowing if there is some place or some way to get meaningful and constructive feedback on printed work that is more representative of traditional photography, rather than heavily manipulated and/or highly processed images. Maybe I’m just entering the wrong category in these competitions, but I can’t imagine that I’m the only one experiencing this. Does anyone actively participate in a print review group? Is anyone interested in starting one? It’s something I’ve considered for a while, but there just aren’t that many people printing their work these days. And of those who do, it doesn’t seem like there are many people whose goals are similar to mine. I’d be interested in knowing the thoughts of anyone reading, and might even propose that a few of us give it a try and see how it goes.  Send me an e-mail or reply in the comments.

 

A Sense of Direction

No Parking, Basseterre. St Kitts

When I ventured into this photography thing as something more serious than taking snapshots, I started off, as a lot of people do, shooting nature subjects.  Kathy & I would drive around with Kevin Adams’ Waterfalls of North Carolina book, looking for waterfalls and shooting anything we found interesting along the way.  At one point it seemed like I had a knack for finding “magic moments” where the morning or afternoon light provided gifts of dramatic clouds, fabulous sunbeams and great sunrise and sunset colors.  I was a Nature Photographer, and proud of it.

Padlock, Basseterre. St Kitts

I still find myself attracted to the mountains and to the woods, but I’ve also realized that there are photographs to be made everywhere.  I’ve made photographs in small towns, large towns, on cruise ships, on Caribbean islands, at the beach, in the mountains, you name it.

The difficult thing is that it’s hard to break old habits.  When I think about photographing fall colors I automatically think about heading for the mountains.  Same with spring wildflowers, or sunrises and sunsets.  But the seasons happen everywhere, and there are photographs of all kinds to be made in lots of places besides those we think of first.  The challenge is to come up with new ideas.  Fall at a bluegrass concert in Floyd, VA perhaps.  Wildflowers at a park or garden in Statesville.  The possibilities are endless.

God is Love, Basseterre. St Kitts

The thing I love most about photography is that it so personal.  I can photograph whatever I want, wherever I want – within reason, of course!  Rather than limit my travel to traditional photographic icons, I like seeking out subject matter wherever I am, in places where it is harder to find, and where I have to work a little harder to find something that appeals to me.

Red and White, Basseterre. St Kitts

Paul Lester recently wrote on his blog a post titled “Where I Connect” about reviewing his images in preparation for a critique session at an upcoming workshop.  Paul wrote that he “connects” with nature and people.  He and I are attending the same workshop and in going through the same exercise I’m finding that while I still do a lot of nature photography I have been connecting more and more with things other than nature, which is interesting since I have traditionally considered myself a nature photographer.  I’ll probably come up with a mix of material, but it’s an interesting process.  I don’t like labels anyway, so maybe I’ll just start considering myself a Photographer, without any prefixes.  And I’m proud of that, too.

Yellow Door, Basseterre. St Kitts