Monday, January 12, 2015

Learning a Lot at Photogenesis

Oh yes, and Precision Camera and Scott Sitkowitz gave us an opportunity to shoot a pretty model. 
I just came back from a four-day State Convention put on by Texas Professional Photographer Association (TPPA), called Photogenesis. It was inspiring, exhilarating, educational and fun. I met new friends, got pages of notes, learned how to be a better salesperson (thank you, Ross Benton), felt confident enough to take the CPP test after a day of "Cram for the Exam" (thank you, Steve Kozak), enjoyed watching beautiful images that were submitted to the photographic competition, and enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow Austin Professional Photography members. (Steve also provided us with a Print Comp Boot Camp to get us psyched to enter future competitions.)

Randy Kerr was a wonderful inspiration, first thing on Saturday morning. He quoted Doug Box severl times by reminding us to ask ourselves, "What is the best available light and how can I improve upon it?" He urged us to slow down, look for the symbolism, wait for the story to unfold, and study the grayscale.  "Our real journey is in interfacing with illumination," he said as he showed magnificent images he captured of statues in Umlauf Gardens as well as compelling images taken in Dominica.

As if that weren't enough, we were treated to a talk by renowned photographer, Laurie Klein, a successful wedding photography who was providing clients with infrared images long before it became popular. Laurie calls herself a "Landscape Photographer" who puts people in her landscapes. She was trained by Ansel Adams and you can definitely see his influence in her magnificent work.  Laurie challenged everyone present to go out and shoot something that they are uncomfortable shooting using the camera/equipment they are least happy with. She herself is doing this to grow as a photographer, by shooting nudes and water and utilizing more color in her photography. It seems like a great assignment and I am going to definitely pursue it.



There were parties and photo excursions and walk-up workshops where you could get ask someone in the know about their particular topic. 

Sunday morning, bright and early, we were treated to Mark Heaps with a presentation called "Turning Up the Signal." "Engage people," he encouraged, "go out and be part of the story." He recommended studying the principles of art and design, looking for grids and the golden mean. He showed us how to make a few simple moves in Photoshop with tolls we don't generally consider, to make our images pop. Lastly, he suggested we all study Gestalt psychology tries to understand the laws of our ability to acquire and maintain meaningful perceptions in an apparently chaotic world. Good thought - now to find some reading time!

The Trade Show was awesome with lots of vendors and really good information (and some good buys I'd say, judging by all who walked out with armfuls of products.) Sunday afternoon still had two great speaker (actually, it had MANY good speakers but unfortunatly I had to choose between four great options at 1:30. 

Bob Coates was great as he showed us artistic techniques to take us to the next level. He promised to send us a list of great resources as he showed us how he made art out of several images.

The weekend ended with an absolutely awesome talk by Ken Sklute who has merited more prints that just about anyone (maybe more than anyone). He is a weather chaser as well as a balloonist and pilot and entusiast for getting the image no matter what. He says he always looks for the foreground and he demonstrated this by showing stunning images of Aurora Borealis, lightening, tornados and more.  He is also growing as an artist by utilizing time lapse and video effects using stills. Do yourself a favor and check out his website!

The whole convention was just great and I just needed to replay some of it in my mind and hopefully offer those who couldn't make it, a chance to research some great teachers, photographers and human beings.

This is what I saw as I left the building. Not stunning, but a ray of sunshine and hope for me to grow as an artist this year.  Keep shooting, friends!