JANUARY UPDATE

JANUARY 14, 2021 | JOEL BROWN

Hello Santa Rosa Photography Society

I welcome everyone to the 2021 world of the Santa Rosa Photography Society. Last year, 2020, was a challenging year for Sonoma County, California, our country & the world. Political turmoil throughout the year; the return of fire danger to Sonoma County; the tragic loss of our members Richard White and Jim Radford, as well as Ben Braver who was the partner of our Ronnie Rosenbach; and the all-encompassing impact of Covid-19.  Our club has been forced to embrace an increasing reliance on the digital landscape where our website, Zoom, Facebook, and email has become our communication lifelines. However, despite the difficulties of minimizing the feeling of isolation inherent to utilizing digital mediums for all our communications. Our SRPS membership has continued to try to join in solidarity as a human family. In that spirit I offer the below pictures excerpted from the 1955 “Family of Man” photo exhibit, and the hope we can get thru these challenging times with smiles on our faces.

1955 “Family of Man” photo exhibit, pages 154 – 155

I introduce myself for the first time as Joel Brown, SRPS president, taking over from Michael Funk. I hope to do this job at least ½ as well as Michael has done these past 2-years. Our current board consists of Greg Pech, Cheryl Akers, Elizabeth Springs, Steve Muench, Jennifer Marano, Lynda Stuber, Michael Funk. I want to especially thank Steve Muench, in stepping in as Competition Chair at the end of 2020.  

Going into 2021 still burdened by Covid-19, please expect our club meetings and field trips to continue electronically. There does seem to be some hope that by the summer 2021 the Covid-19 vaccination program will be sufficiently widespread that we may begin again to meet in person. I want to assure all members that SRPS continues to pay lease fees for the LBGC in anticipation of our return to face-face meetings.

I want to congratulate the following for advancing up thru our competition process and encourage new members to enter our monthly competitions to improve photographic skills.

BASIC TO INTERMEDIATE: Joel Brown, Pat Carlson, Ronnie Rosenbach

INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED: Steve Gibbs, Guy Miller, Lynda Stuber

ADVANCED TO MASTERS CANDIDATE: Bill Stacy, Michael Funk

MC to MASTERS: Anne Abrams, Nick Allen, Tim Allen, Tamara Krautkramer, Tony Reynes, Steve Ruddy

There were 8-entries from SRPS to the N4C Portfolio competition and my understanding is that N4C will be contacting each of you with submitted portfolios soon on the judge’s evaluation of your work. Our on-line Exhibition thru Smug Mug is going well; thanks for the setup by Tim Allen & Steve Muench. Our Facebook page, overseen by Ronnie Rosenbach has become a common space to post pictures. Tony Reynes’ pre-competition photo review sessions seem to be always full. We have a SRPS YouTube Channel set up by Nick Allen; and Bill Stacy & Tony Reynes post our meetings to the channel for members viewing at their leisure. In summary, SRPS despite the challenges of 2020 continues to grow.

One of my primary goals as president is to help identify what “best practices” we can retain from this temporary period of all communications thru digital means and continue to use productively once the world is more normal. Well to cut this short, I look forward to working to make the club stronger and practicing the art and skill pf photography with all of you in 2021.

“Life is short and precious, so one must make every Shutter Click count!” – unknown photographer.

Thank you

Hello everyone,

What a year it has been. A year I am sure many of us would like to forget. When I look back, I try my best to find the positives that have taken place and discard the negatives.  (no pun intended)

The most recent positive is the fact the club voted to award Steve Muench Honorary membership for all the hard work he put in since we lost Rick White as Competition Chair.  We all know that Steve made it possible for us to continue as a club with our competitions, meetings and even an exhibition.  What most of you may not know is that Steve created what I believe he called “Mind Maps.” When I first looked at these mind maps with the Board of Directors, I thought I was looking at the diagram for an electrical system of a nuclear submarine.  I am still trying to wrap my head around how he did all this.  He is an amazing person and I have written a personal note thanking him and advising him of his Honorary membership. 

It has been an honor to serve as President of the Santa Rosa Photographic Society these past two years.  I got to know many of you a bit better, and along the way I hope I have become a better person and a better photographer.  I do have to apologize for not being as involved in the past several months as I would have liked, but I have had things going on that have kept me busy with other endeavors.  I think this is a perfect time for Joel Brown to move into the position as President and I am looking forward to working with him in any way I can. 

I also have to thank all the other members of the Board of Directors, committee members and volunteers who make this club possible.  Without these people I couldn’t have made it longer than the first several months.  Our club is so much better with their participation and leadership. If you haven’t yet volunteered to be involved in one of our committees, please don’t hesitate to do so.  You will find out it is more fun than work. Thank you for showing me your kindness, sharing your wisdom, and creating an opportunity for me to grow as a photographer. 

Finally, thank you very much for your very generous gift certificate to Safari West.  I plan to take our 5-year-old grandson so he can see the wonders of the animal kingdom.  Oh, and I won’t forget my telephoto lens.  I guess that means I will have to bring Nancy along so I can be busy taking pictures for our Nature competitions. 

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a joyous Holiday season.

Mike

End of Year message

,Hello Everyone,

“Life is like Photography. You need the negatives to develop.”  Ziad K. Abdelnour

“photography is an itch that won’t go away. No matter how much you scratch it.”  T.A

“ Whosoever possesses a camera should never know boredom.”  Wayne Gerard Trotman

I trust you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  What a year this has been.  I’m sure we are all ready for a change and hopefully that will be coming in 2021.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone in person again and getting away from zoom.  Meeting via zoom has had its challenges, however I believe it went better than could have been expected.  This is, of course, due to the hard work of our resident technology guru Steve Muench and his sidekick in this endeavor, Bill Stacy.  We owe them a great deal of gratitude.  

Unfortunately, this year we also lost two of our members, Jim Radford and Rick White.  My thoughts go out to their families and I have missed their participation in the club. They each brought something unique to our organization.  With Rick’s passing we had to adapt quickly in order to keep up with the responsibilities of the Competition Chair.  Fortunately, we had a group of members who stepped up to the plate to fill in and help streamline our competitions and end of year events.   Their work will enable us to quickly adapt if someone leaves the club for any reason.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly missed being able to head out with other members on various field trips.  We really missed out on so much during the year.  Thanks to our Field Trip Committee we did have the opportunity to do some innovative photography in our homes and yards.  Thanks to Trisha, Joel and Elizabeth for keeping us busy during this stay at home period.  We were also fortunate to have many great programs put on by our Master Candidates.  If you didn’t learn anything from them, you weren’t paying attention.  We have a very talented group of potential Masters. 

We began a Portfolio competition for the first time, and if you were at our last meeting you got to see the wonderful, creative and substantial work a small group of our members put into this competition.  I wish them well at the N4C level.   This year we will be doing our first Zoom exhibition.  Not exactly as good as being able to display our work at a local venue, but hopefully we will reach out to a wide audience and perhaps even make some money for the club.  I am looking forward to seeing all the amazing work our club members have submitted.  

With the new year we will have new leadership, Joel Brown will be taking the helm as President and I am thrilled he has accepted the position.  Also, a big thanks to Elizabeth Springs who will be our new secretary.  I am looking forward to working with Joel and the other members of the Board and the various committees.  The club does not run itself; this year was a stark reminder of that.  

I hope to see you at our zoom exhibition on December 10th.  Please stay healthy and safe.  

Mike

“Taking a picture is like giving a piece of your soul away. You allow other people to see the world through your eyes.”  Katja Michael

“Regarding the creative: never assume you’re the master, only the student. Your audience will determine if you’re masterful.”  Don Roff

October update

Hello Everyone,

“When your heart jumps every time your camera locks focus…you’ve become a photographer”

-Mark Denman

It is getting to be that time of year when we bring everything together as a result of all your hard work taking, processing and submitting images to our competitions.  We also have our elections at the first meeting in November.  According to our bylaws you will be given an opportunity to nominate someone for a position on the board.  In 2021 I won’t be able to fulfill the position of President, so one or more will need to be nominated for this position.  Additionally, Cris Gondak will not be able to serve in her capacity as Secretary.  We already have two nominations for these positions.  Joel Brown has accepted a nomination for President and Elizabeth Springs has accepted the nomination for Secretary.  If you have anyone else in mind, please be prepared to bring up their name at our next meeting before the vote.  The nominee must have consented to serve prior to the vote.     

Additionally, the board of directors met yesterday to discuss all the various competition awards, and the upcoming zoom exhibition.  There is an incredible amount of work that goes into ensuring all the proper awards get collated.  Bill Stacy has arranged to have four judges review the 454 images that are eligible for the end of year awards.  As you can imagine a daunting task.  Steve Muench has also been working diligently behind the scenes as the new Competition Chair. One of the problems he has found, which creates an enormous amount of work, are the various levels of competition, B, A, AA and M.  N4C doesn’t use these levels and it creates additional work to make sure your entry is submitted to N4C in the correct category, and mistakes can easily be made.  The board has proposed we align our competition levels with those of N4C. They use Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Master.  As this is a rule change, we need you to ask you to approve the change.  

Please vote to approve or disapprove the change from:

B to Basic

A to Intermediate

AA to Advanced

M to Master

We also need to change the wording in our Competition Rules and Bylaws.  This is due to the timing we receive the winners from our last competition from N4C.  There is very little time to collate all the scores before the banquet and it will be easier if we have the ability to change the date of the Awards Banquet. This gives us much more flexibility.    

The change would be as follows:

Competition rules, change from Section 7.0 currently “at the annual awards banquet in December of each year.” to “at the annual awards banquet.”

Bylaws change article 7 section 7.3 from “in December on a date to be announced.” to “a date to be announced.” leaving out the month December. 

Reply to me with your vote YES or NO on each of the changes.

There is a great deal of information that will be coming your way very soon.  Please be on the lookout for updates on how to enter your image into the zoom exhibition with SmugMug.  At our next meeting, in addition to viewing the submissions to the Field Trip competition, we will also be including a preview of the 8 Portfolio entries that were submitted to the N4C Portfolio competition.  This is a new competition and I am really looking forward to seeing those entries.  I am told they are outstanding.  

That’s it for now, don’t forget to vote on the above changes.  When the minutes of our board meeting are completed, I will be forwarding them to you.  

Take care and be safe,


Mike

August Update

Hello everyone,

“ Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.” Diane Arbus

“To me, photography is an art of observation.  It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”  Elliot Erwitt

It’s been awhile since I have written a monthly newsletter so here it goes. It appears as though it will be a while before we can get together in person. I don’t know about you, but I do miss seeing everyone at our meetings at the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center. The only positive I can say is that I am not eating as many snacks, at least I tell myself that! Work continues behind the scenes, and Bill Stacy and Steve Meunch have been doing an excellent job making sure our zoom meetings are presented. Trisha and Joel Brown have continued to make sure we have stay at home outings that continue to test our knowledge of photography and open new horizons. Liz Lawson and Betsy Waters also continued to make sure we have the best in presentations. This year we are fortunate to have our master candidates filling our calendar with excellent information.

I enjoyed tonight’s presentations by our master candidates. Anne Abrams presentation on IPhonography certainly got me excited about getting out to use my iPhone more.  I particularly enjoyed the panorama shots and the numerous blending of images she did in the various apps she introduced us to.  Tim Allen’s presentation on better black and white images gave me a better understanding of how to achieve various tones in my black and white images. I use NIK’s Silver Efex Pro 2 like Tim does, but he showed a number of methods to improve the images in this software.  An example of this was the use of the histogram and rolling across the various zone numbers.

If you were following the recent email thread on backup strategies, you most likely have learned a great deal of information. While I am certainly not a computer guru. I do have a cloud-based backup system and two external hard drives. This discussion prompted me to check to make sure everything was working properly. In doing so I found that one of my drives needed some attention and fortunately I was able to get it rectified.

Last year I wrote a message that included my thoughts on moving to a mirrorless system. I had a Canon 5D mark iv and purchased a Canon EOS R. While there is never a perfect camera, I found I was using the mirrorless EOS R far more often than I was the DSLR. The DSLR was relegated to wildlife and nothing else. My walk around camera for landscapes, street and portrait photography became the EOS R.  I recently sold the EOS R to one of our club members and ordered a Canon R5.  While I am waiting for the R5 to arrive I am “stuck” with the 5D.  It’s a wonderful camera however I really miss the articulating screen, the face and eye detection, the electronic viewfinder (keeps me from missing correct exposures) and the smaller size of the mirrorless.   Hopefully the R5 will do everything I will ask of it.

If you have any thoughts on the operation of our club during this stay at home time please let me know.  I hope to convene a Board meeting before long to discuss how we will be closing out 2020 due to the current circumstances.

On the lighter side, thoughts about photography:

  1. Don’t lose focus
  2. You’ve got a great body, CF or SD card?
  3. The fastest way to make money from photography is to sell your camera.
  4. I came, I saw, I captured.
  5. Your camera takes really nice pictures!Thanks, I taught it everything it knows.

That’s it for now, stay well and stay safe.

Mike

 

May Update

Hello Everyone,

I trust you are all well and keeping busy with your photography and whatever else you enjoy doing.  This is a tough time for many of us and staying busy is a good way to deal with all the restrictions we have been dealing with lately.  

The N4C has decided to add Monochrome projected images to monthly competitions.  It took this step because the clubs that do prints have been unable to compete due to the restrictions placed on all of us regarding social distancing.  I have polled our board members to see if we wanted to add Monochrome as a monthly category in addition to Pictorial.  The response was that it is a good idea.  By adding Monochrome each month, we won’t be adding to the total number of images submitted to a competition, as we will retain the three-image limit for each competition.  We will just have an additional category to compete in.  This is supposed to last until those clubs that hold print competitions can begin competing with prints again.  Your guess is as good as mine as to when this will occur. 

According to Bill Stacy’s email regarding the feedback on our most recent judge there seemed to be a divide in how his judging was perceived, positive and negative.  What struck me was the number of responses Bill got to his request for feedback.  We have had at least 30 members attend our competitions, and only about half of you sent in feedback.  We would certainly like to hear from those of you who attended.  We will get a better idea of how a particular judge was received.  So, please respond and rate our judges, it helps all of us.  

I am planning on holding a Board meeting soon.  If you have ideas you would like to present to the Board for discussion please send me an email so I can add it to the agenda.  

Mike

April update

Hi Everyone,

I hope this message finds you all well, learning to adjust to our new normal.  If you tuned in to our first Zoom meeting not long ago you learned a bit about N4C and the new Portfolio competition, what they look like and some examples of how and what they should include.  This may not be for everyone, but for those who want to take advantage of this new competition it could certainly be fun.  

I need to thank Bill Stacy for coordinating our N4C presentation.  He has also been working with Steve Muench to make our first Zoom competition a reality.  Steve will be conducting our meeting along with the judge.  Steve, Bill and I will be having a test session prior to the competition to work out any bugs there may be.  If you haven’t used Zoom yet, you may want to watch a tutorial on YouTube prior so you can feel a bit more comfortable with this platform.  I noticed during our N4C presentation the appearance and location of buttons differ on various viewing platforms, iPad, desktops etc.  

Our Field Trip committee has been doing a great job of coming up with at home field trips and I am looking forward to seeing the various images that come out of these at home excursions.  Tony Reynes is still doing critiques so make sure to give him a call when he announces the dates and times for your image review.  

Fascinating facts, believe them or not: 

Anyone who knows anything about photography is familiar with Adobe Photoshop.  But most people don’t know the software was originally developed by the Knoll brothers in 1987 and titled ImagePro.  It was then purchased by Adobe and turned into Photoshop.  

Photography paper used to be made out of asphalt.  

35mm form at film was first introduced in 1925 by Leica. 

The first person who invented the negative was Fox Talbot.  This occurred in 1839, the first year Hippolyte Bayard presented the first positive print to the world.

The term “megapixel” was first used in 1984.  

If you are a member of our Facebook page you may have seen a post by Terry Connelly about “The 25 best movies about real photographers.”  If you are looking for a way to pass the time at home, please check them out.  I have seen three so far and enjoyed every one of them. 

Mike

February update

Hello Everyone,

It has been a busy month, competition wise for the SRPS.  We held our monthly competition February 13th, and N4C held their annual awards banquet this past Sunday to announce the annual awards.  We have a very talented group of photographers in our club. I was very happy to attend the banquet along with Jennifer Marano and her husband Alan, Liz Lawson, Trisha and Joel Brown and Betsy and Gary Waters. I am listing the major awards below and I am attaching the complete list of projected images from N4C.  

N4C Annual Awards:

Tamara Krautkramer won Best in Show, Journalism with her Pilgrim images and Betsy Waters won Best in Show, Nature for her Egrets images.  Herb Gaidus won a 1st place for his Cellular Absorption image in Monochrome, and Jennifer Marano won a 1st for her Cowgirl images in Journalism.  There were many other winning images from our members so please make sure to see all the winners in the attachment at the end of this email.  

At our last competition the 1st place winners were:

Creative:  B- Pat Carlson, A-Steve Gibbs, AA-Mike Funk, M-Terry Connelly

Nature:    B-Pat Carlson, A-Greg Pech, AA-Bill Stacy, M-Tamara Krautkramer

Pictorial:  B-Fritz Carlson, A-Steve Gibbs, AA-Trisha Brown, M-Tamara Krautkramer

I hope you are planning to attend our Journalism program Thursday evening.  It is being presented by Adrian Mendoza.  I don’t know about you, but Journalism is not one of my strong suits, so I am hoping to up my skills in this category of our competitions.   Speaking of programs, we will have some excellent programs this year as our Master candidates do their presentations as part of their journey to the Master level.  Keep your eyes open for announcements regarding these presentations. 

The Board will be meeting March 5th at the LBAGC to discuss a number of issues including our website and incorporating the Forum Steve Ruddy has been working on.  There is a lot if interest in this, so I am looking forward to getting the bugs worked out so we can all utilize this valuable tool. If you have an item you would like the Board to discuss, please attend or let me know and I will bring it up for you.  

Don’t forget to check the list of field trips Trisha sent out recently, and if you would sign up to lead a trip that will be greatly appreciated.  I hope to see you Thursday at our Journalism program. 

Mike

January update

Hi Everyone,

Congratulations those photographers who took first place in the last competition.  They are as follows:

Pictorial:                                              Monochrome:

B.    Pat Carlson                                   B.    Joel Brown

A.    Sherri Oster                                  A.    Francis Williams

AA. Bill Stacy                                       AA.  Jennifer Marano

M.  Anne Abrams                                M.   Tim Allen

Journalism:                                          Travel:

B. Joel Brown                                      B.  Betsy Waters

A. Herb Gaidus                                    A.  Herb Gaidus

AA.  Bill Stacy                                      AA.  Bill Clark

M.  Tamara Krautkramer                    M.  Terry Connelly

If you haven’t seen the “Year in Pictures” insert in last Sunday’s Press Democrat, please take the time to look at it.  They are an amazing series of photographs taken by the Press Democrat’s staff.  Certainly, a learning experience for your Journalism entries.  

The new President of N4C, Doug Stinson has sent our board a couple of questionnaires to be reviewed for input. The questions deal with items the membership will be interested in.  They are very thorough, and I believe, can lead to changes in the way N4C operates and have a positive impact on our photo club and N4C.  As soon as Mr. Stinson finalizes the questionnaires, I am sure you will be seeing them, and given the opportunity to respond.  I am certainly looking forward to answering the questions I saw.  

Below are some photography quotes I thought you may find interesting.  

  • “Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
    — Don McCullin
  • “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”
    — Edward Steichen
  • “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.”
    — Andy Warhol
  • “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
    — Dorothea Lange

“You might be a photographer if… Your eyesight from staring at the computer has gone from F11 to F1.8.”
– Naman Pokarna’s Photography

Now for some fascinating facts:  Believe them or not.

1.  Color photography first appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1959. The photo was of an American flag.

2.  Founded in 1853, London’s Royal Photographic Society is the world’s oldest photographic society in continuous existence.  

3.  The thread size of the tripod attachment on your camera is the same as the bolt on a typical lampshade.  That means you can pull the shade off any old lamp and have your own jury-rigged tripod. (Who knew facts about photography could be so useful?)

That’s all for now, see you at the next competition.

Mike

another update

January Update:

Hi Everyone,

Our next competition is Thursday evening, I hope to see you there.  We are also having a dinner at the East West Café with our judge prior to the competition.  If you would like to attend, please contact Bill Stacy as soon as possible, so he can notify the restaurant to expect you.  

You should have received a list of potential field trips from Trisha, Joel and Elizabeth.  Please make sure to bring the completed form to the meeting or send it via email so they have your feedback.  Don’t be shy about leading a field trip, it is easy and doesn’t take much time.  I have volunteered to lead the field trip to Preston Castle.  I hadn’t heard of Preston Castle, knew nothing about it, but after doing some quick research I thought it would be a fun trip to go on, and hopefully get some interesting photographs.  As I get more information, I will pass it on.  

For those of you who are new to our club, a significant part of your dues go to the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center.  We pay $30.00 for each regular and associate member and this gives us the use of the facility for 13 meetings.  If we use the facility for additional meetings, such as a board meeting, we pay an additional $40.00 for its use.    If you have any questions about your dues please contact Cheryl Akers, our very capable treasurer.  

Steve Ruddy one of our new members, has volunteered to resurrect our SRPS forum.  The forum was used quite a bit by members in the past however in the recent years it has been underutilized.  Many of you may not even know we have a forum for your participation.  Steve is going to bring this forum back and try to update it to the needs of our current membership.  He is currently working on a test forum and when that is ready to go, he will let me know.  I would encourage you to visit the current forum, take a look around and send Steve any thoughts you have on how we can best utilize it.  This is not only for image critique but for questions about software and its utilization if you have questions on how to do something in a particular software such as Photoshop, Luminar, the Nik collection etc.  Steve looks at this as something that will evolve over time as members take advantage of it.  Please take the time to visit the forum.  You will have to create an account first.  Don’t worry it is easy and painless.  Take a look around and send Steve your thoughts on ideas as to what you would like to see included as part of the forum.  The forum address is srps.proboards.com.  Please send comments to Steve at steve@steveruddyphotography.com.  

I want to apologize to Tony Reynes for omitting him in my last update, and letting you know he was the first-place winner in the master’s Pictorial category.  Tony also does person to person critiques on your images. He told me he did five in the last session and he had not yet received any letter bombs.  It sounds as if that is going well.  If you would like Tony to do an individual critique, please sign up for one of his available slots. 

If you haven’t already reserved your space, please consider attending the N4C Annual Awards Luncheon in Walnut Creek.  It is a lot of fun and you will see some amazing print photos on display.  It is February 23rd.  

Bill Stacy and Liz Lawson are working on having a presentation to the club on Portfolios.  The presentation will include the rules, and topics such as the over-all purpose of this new competition, and why you might want to participate in the portfolio competition.  Examples of portfolios will be shown and critiqued. We will keep you posted on this important program as details become available.  

Lastly, here are some fascinating facts, believe them or not:

1.  The word KODAK is totally made up.  Unlike Canon, which means a rule or law, KODAK means absolutely nothing.  George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, just like the sound of the letter “K” so he created a whole world about it.  

2.  During the 1800s, one of the most popular subjects for photography were dead bodies (“postmortem photography”) While it was primarily famous people who were photographed, many regular people were also photographed after their deaths.  

3. The equivalent f-stop values for the human eye are f8.3 in bright environments and f2 in the dark.  

See you soon,

Mike