Category Archives: Announcements

2017 – A Year of Growth and New Things

We just finished our first full year of club and it went great. And we are working to make 2017 bigger, better and more PHOTOCLUBY! Below are the new leadership team, as well as our plan. Don't see something you want or think we should do? Tell us! This is a club for the members, of the members and run by the members.

Leadership

2017 is NAPfS' second year and our first with a more robust leaderhsip team. Everyone please welcome your *fully volunteer* leadership team for 2017:

Tani James

President

Photo by Danny Matson

Andrew Fritz

Vice President & Competition Coordinator

Charlotte Wright

Program Coordinator

Russ Morris

Marketing & PR

Comeptitions

Print Competitions

2017 will be an exciting year for competitions at NAPfS. We will continue having monthly digital competitions with live critiques from rotating and visiting judges. There will continue to be two classes, Class 1 - Novice and Class 2 - Advanced. The club will add a print competition starting in July where club members bring physical prints on paper and the prints themselves are judged. Like the live critiqued digital competition, the print competition will provide everyone present with valuable feedback. It will also provide an oppritunity for club members to begin to learn and practice the craft of printing, taking what are mostly digital creations in their computers and turning them into works of real physical art.

People Choice Award and Photographer of the Year

In 2017 the club will repeat the "People Choice Award" allowing the club membership to select their favorite images from all the competition winners. In addition, the club will run a year long points based competition. Each image that places in a competition will earn the photographer points based on the award it receives. At the end of the year, the club will award the photographer with the most overall points, regardless of digital class or print the "Photographer of the Year" award. This competition will work in a similar way to drivers championships in automotive racing. Stay tuned for details on how the points competition will be scored.

2017 Themes

2017 competitions will include more themes. The themes will be dovetailed with our educational speakers and field trips. Months not listed are "Open" and do not have a theme.

  • February - Oldies Night. There is no theme per-se, but the "taken in the last 2 years" restriction is lifted. Dig into your archive if you want and find those favorite oldies you made way back in 2014.
  • March - Colorful
  • May - Spring Explosion
  • July - Moment of Impact
  • September - Petal 2 the Metal
  • November - Faces of Man
  • December - No Normal Competition. Annual Party and Yearly Awards - People's Choice and Photographer of the Year.

To give everyone plenty of time to go out and make images for the 2018 themes, we've designated those as well, but not assigned them to months yet. The 2018 themes in no particular order are:

  • Blur
  • Night Time Photography
  • Sunset/Sunrise
  • Famous Destinations
  • Faces of Man

Member Print Exhibition

We will have one member per meeting present a selection of prints of their choosing during the 7:00 to 7:30 meet and greet portion. Members will use this time to browse the images. At the start of the meeting, the exhibiting member will give a short (~5 minute or so) explanation of the exhibit prior to the meeting's other activities.

Field Trips

2017 will see more field trips. The club will host at least 4 official field trips. Our plans are to have the following:

  • Spring - Lysts on the Lake. Knightly combat including full contact jousting, sword fighting and other western martial arts.
  • Early Summer - Wildseed Farms. Visit a wild flower farm in the heart of the Texas hill country.
  • Late Summer - Cars and Coffee. Tag along to Austin's biggest car meet with everything from modern hyper cars to classic rods.
  • Fall - Viva la Vida. Photograph the Day of the Dead Parade in Austin.

Other members may suggest and run field trips. It's easy. Just let one of the leadership team know what you want to do. We'll collect some information and publicize it to the club members.

Good Financial Foundation

Thus far the club has existed mostly on favors from various club members and our connections. However, going forward the club will require some minimum cash flow to do things like rent venues and pay speakers small stipends for speaking and judging. By paying for a location, we can remove the ongoing labor of finding a location and have access to venues we otherwise wouldn't. This will free the leadership team up to concentrate on providing better educational and inspirational opportunities.

Starting in January of 2017, the club will collect dues of $24/year (that is ONLY $2/month). Competitions, field trips and other club sponsored activities (we have other stuff in he works!) will be "members only". The meeting will still be free to attend, but we will encourage those attending regularly to join. After all, it is only $2/month and it will help the club grow and flourish.

The Small Print: Memberships are not prorated. It's $24 whenever you join during 2017. For logistics reasons anyone may enter January and February's competitions under the assumption that they still need to pay since we will still be gathering dues from everyone. However, after February, non-member images will be rejected. New members may enter their first competition once their dues are received.

Stay tuned for information on how to official join the club and pay your 2017 dues.

2017 Leadership Positions

2017 will be the first year that NAPfS is run by a member elected board. Below are the positions and the description of their duties. The club is evolving and these duties will evolve with it.

The club has several high level goals and this is an exciting time to be involved. In 2017 the club would like to:

  • Establish formal membership with dues.
  • Find a “forever home” so meetings are in the same place each month.
  • Have more frequent meetings so there is time for more than just competition and one speaker.
  • Have more diverse content presented but local and national talent.
  • Host/help with an outside show or event.

Club members are encouraged to nominate individuals for these positions or volunteer themselves. To volunteer or make a nomination, please email web@napfs.club.

President

2016 Outgoing – Andrew Fritz

  • Coordinates the actions of the club’s leadership.
  • Presides over meetings.
  • Does whatever needs to be done to make it happen.

Vice President

2016 Outgoing – Unfilled

  • Take over for the President if he/she is unable to attend a meeting.
  • Assumes President’s position if he/she is unable to continue to fill the role.
  • Helps the President as needed per the president’s direction.

Treasurer

2016 Outgoing – Unfilled

  • Arrange for the club to legally take dues.
  • Set up a bank account.
  • Manage the clubs money per the direction of the President and the rest of the board.
  • Oversee any required tax prep (should be none to minimal).

Competition Coordinator

2016 Outgoing – Andrew Fritz

  • Finds qualified judges for each meeting.
  • Collects images for the monthly competition via the web form.
  • Prepares previews for the judges each month.
  • Prepares and runs the competition at the meeting.
  • Publishes the competition results with the help of PR & Marketing.

Program Coordinator

2016 Outgoing – Charlotte Wright

  • Finds speakers for the club’s monthly meetings.
  • Publishes speaker information for upcoming meetings with the help of PR & Marketing
  • Insures the club has the required AV gear for the speaker.
  • Assists speakers during their presentation as needed.

Membership Coordinator

2016 Outgoing – Andrew Fritz

  • Manages the membership list and email list.
  • Responsible for collecting membership forms and dues.

PR & Marketing

2016 Outgoing – Andrew Fritz and Kimberly Fore (2017 incoming)

  • Promote the club’s activities on the web and social media.
  • Maintain the web site.
  • Create posts for upcoming meetings and past competitions.
  • Create infrequent email updates for the membership (approximately monthly).

2016 Year End Survey – Tell us what you think!

2016 was our inaugural year and it went by in a blur. We are working to make 2017 even better, but we need your help. Tell us what you thought about NAPfS’s 2016 programs and competitions. Tell us what you want to learn in 2017!

This survey will run until 2/1/2017. We ask that each person only fill it in once.

Pflugerville Library Photography Show – 2016

The Pflugerville library has asked the club to organize a photography show to be displayed at the main Pflugerville Library from November 18th, 2016 until January 20th, 2017. Photos will hang in the main entry way and adjoining conference room. Entry is free, but photographers must live in the North Austin area.

Rules

  • All photos must be suitable for all ages in a public setting. No nudity in photos is permitted. Images depicting violence or other non-PG topics may also be excluded. The final decision rests with the library in any case and their decisions are final.
  • Photos must hang for the entire show period (11/18/2016 – 1/20/2017). All work must be hung on November 18th, 2016 and no works may be removed before tear down on January 20th, 2017 for any reason.
  • Each photographer is limited to a maximum of 5 photos.
  • All photos must be at least 8×10. This dimension does not include the matte or frame. The libaray has space for large works (up to 4′ wide) however, only a small number of such larger works can be accommodated.
  • Sale of displayed photos is permitted. The Pflugerville library can not and will not facilitate sales. However, photographer can include prices and contact information with their work and handle the transaction directly. Also, remember that no works may be removed prior to 1/20/2017 regardless of any sale.
  • Photos must be delivered and hung on 11/18/2016. The library uses a wire based system. Traditional hanging wire on the back of frames works best. Saw tooth hangers do not work well. Photographers are responsible of preparing and hanging their own work.
  • Photographers may submit up to 5 photos. Each photographer may submit up to 5 photos.
  • Submit only your own work. Third parties may not submit photos from other photographers.
  • Photographers submitting their work are solely responsible for it. The Pflugerville Library and NAPfS take no responsibility for damage that may occur to the prints or mounting. Remember, this is a show in a very public space.
  • Submission deadline is 10/2/2016.
  • Photographers will be notified of acceptance of their work no later than 10/6/2016.

Summit Photos

Submissions are now closed. Please stay tuned for information about acceptance of your images and for hanging details.

 

Competition Changes – Introducing Classes

NAPfS is an inclusive club with members of a wide range of skill levels.

Competitions required a minimum number of entries to be successful so we started in a single large group. However, that single group has as wide a range of skill levels. By separating the competition in to skill based classes, everyone is on a more level playing field. The judge is able to provide more useful critiques to those in each class. Each class is more internally competitive. Competitions are more educational and inspirational.

In February, club members will be able to self select the class they compete in from two options. Everyone will hopefully be competing with peers closer to their own image making skill level.

The Classes

Naming the classes is something I agonized about quite a bit. Names have power.

Everyone starts somewhere. Everyone advances at a different speed. We all have different amounts of time, mental energy and money to devote to photography and that makes a difference.

The classes are not about the length of time you’ve been a photographer.

The classes are not professional vs amateur. Earning money or doing it purely for the love of it has very little to do with skill and quality of the resulting images.

Being in one class vs another is not a sign of status.

Which class a photographer belongs in is their decision based on their self perceived experience level and skills. Below are guidelines relative to the photographers main focus when they make images. Hopefully everyone feels comfortable picking a class for themselves. If you are unsure, feel free to ask me (competition@napfs.club) and we will determine the appropriate class for maximum learning and fun.

Class 1 vs Class 2

Class 1 is for photographers that are focusing primarily on getting the technical pieces of a photo to come together. They may have a vision but still need to consciously focus on the nuts and bolts of making the photo: focus length, focus point, exposure, exposure settings or post processing. A class 1 photographer will find, however good their vision that they sometimes struggle to realize it due to technical limitations such as improper exposure, missed focus, less than ideal composition, not being sure what focus length to use or how to achieve an interesting perspective. Technical details like focus, exposure and framing will often be the key to separating images that receive and award from those that do not.

In class 2, photographers have a solid handle on fundamental technical elements of their photography. Achieving sharp (or otherwise vision appropriate) focus and proper exposure happen subconsciously. Critiques in class 2 should focus on the impact of the image. Images in class 2 should generally be free of straight forward technical mistakes (e.g. missed focus) but class 2 photographers break “rules” relative to technical details and have learned to do it in a way that works. The judge should be able to focus on the message the image presents, how it speaks to them and how compelling the photo is in general.

Choosing

Obviously class 1 and class 2 overlap in many ways. Just because someone is very comfortable with the technical aspects of one type of photography (say landscape) doesn’t mean they will be as comfortable in another (say studio photography). The decision to choose class 1 vs class 2 is about general comfort level and about receiving meaningful critiques. Great photos in either class will be recognized. And a photo with high impact that is missing some technical aspects (see the example below) could win in either class. Winning in class 2 is not better or worse than winning in class 1. A great photo is a great photo.

Example 1 – Flawed but Good

Honor Flight by Andrew Fritz

Honor Flight by Andrew Fritz, Honorable Mention, Jan 2016

This image is an example of a photo by a class 2 photographer (me). It is far from technically perfect and I realized that when I submitted it. I was on location shooting as a photojournalist with not ability to control things like the crowd or lighting. Despite the flaws: busy background, distractions on the frame edge and overexposed foreground soldiers, this image has extremely high impact.

The subject, the WWII veteran, is dead center, in sharp focus and properly exposed. Shallow depth of field helps isolate him somewhat. There is no glaring technical flaw with the subject and that is what matters in this case. Many viewers feel strongly engaged with him and his expression, his rheumy but intense eyes are powerful. The photographer (me) positioned himself to be directly in the subjects gaze. Regardless of intention, the photo is as it is: the veteran stares directly through the soldiers into the camera.

The judge, while pointing out technical flaw, choked up. I (as the photographer) have the same reaction and can not stop looking into the vet’s eyes. After I lock eyes with him, I’m literally unable to see anything else in the photo without a head shake. The technical problems, if not irrelevant, fade to trivial. A class 2 photographer sets out to make images like this and recognizes the result’s impact despite the flaws. They are willing to present it but not another superficially similar image lacking the key element: the subjects engagement.

Example 2 – No Margin

Joshua Baker - Najatt in Gold

Najatt in Gold by Joshua Baker, 2nd Place, Jan 2016

This image is an example of an exercise in technical perfection. Pose, framing, lighting and exposure all had to be nearly perfect for this image to work at all. If any one element was less than perfect, the image would fail despite no easily identifiable technical mistake.

While this type of image looks simple, it is an all or nothing proposition. It requires a diverse skill set to consistently execute. While a class 1 photographer could attempt and even succeed at this image, a class 2 photographer can confidently attempt images like this knowing they have a fair chance of success, and knowing they can determine the successes from the failures. The hard part of this image for a class 2 photographer is coming up with the vision and realizing the elements in the photo (makeup, model, pose) to fulfill that vision.

Like the previous example, the class 2 photographer recognizes this image as the best from probably 10s or 100s of similar images that all different slightly in pose, framing and lighting.

Example 3 – Time is Not the Issue

Travis Johnson - Proud Fella

Proud Fella by Travis Johnson, 3rd Place, Jan 2016

This image, by Travis Johnson, is an example of a great image from a fairly new photographer. I suspect that Travis belongs in class 2 despite being active at photography for less than a year. As noted above, we all learn at different rates for many reasons. Class 1 vs class 2 is not about how long you’ve been a photographer.

Wildlife photography can seem accidental to many, but to consistently produce great results requires great technical skill, persistence and frankly luck (the sort you make yourself by missing sleep). Working with animals in the wild (whether in Africa or your back yard) is probably one of the least controlled situations possible. Where Josh had absolute control over the environment, model, lighting, room temp, camera position, food supply and just about every other variable in his photo above, Travis (and any other wildlife photographer) has almost none.

The light is what you find. If you want something else you have to wait for the weather to change or come back at a different time of day. The background is also out of direct control normally. If you don’t like it you have to move somewhere else. The behavior of your subject is (nearly) totally out of your control. You can’t ask the lizard to do anything. Even approaching this close often results in your subject running away.

So, when a photographer nails the technical aspects, not easy given the lack of control and especially the close focus distance and long focus length this image used, and manages to grab a great expression with clean backgrounds, the image is good. Whether it receives an award will depend on how the judge feels about it and what it is competing against.

The key to whether Travis should place himself in class 1 or class 2 is really about his own knowledge. If he made this image intentionally, finding (or recognizing after the fact) a clean non-distracting background, and releasing the shutter at the right moment (or again, recognizing it after the fact), then I’d suggest he is a good candidate for class 2.  Of course, it is his call.

LOCATION CHANGE for Dec 3rd Meeting

Due to a scheduling conflict, we will be holding our December 3rd Meeting at the Pflugerville Recreation Center (400 Immanuel Rd, Pflugerville, TX 78660) instead of the normal location. This change is only for the December 3rd, 2015 meeting.

Meet in the lobby for meet and greet. We will move to the conference room for the main meeting at 7:30.