Author: afritz

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.


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


Photo by Danny Matson

Andrew Fritz

Vice President & Competition Coordinator

Charlotte Wright

Program Coordinator

Russ Morris

Marketing & PR


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.

Year End Party – Thursday Dec 1st, 2016

NAPfS’s December 2016 meeting will be held on Dec 1st, 2016 from 7PM until 9PM.

We are at the end of our first year of NAPfS and to celebrate, our December meeting will be a social gathering. Come eat, drink and be marry. Bring a snack and drink to share. No glass containers. There is a play set immediately out front and the location is kid friendly. Bring a friend and your family.

LOCATION: Green Red Barn, 901 Old Austin Hutto Rd, Pflugerville, TX 78660. More info.


Competition: People’s Choice Award

December will be our the club’s first choice awards. Members attending will vote for their favorite winning images from this years competitions. We’ll tally the votes and announce the winner at the meeting. Need a preview? Check out the winners below:

Meeting: Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

NAPfS’s November 2016 meeting will be held on Nov 3rd, 2016 starting at 7PM.

LOCATION: United Christian Church at 3500 West Parmer Lane, Austin, Tx. 78727.

The meeting schedule is:

7:00PM – Meet and Greet
7:30PM – Speaker: Greg Burger from Precision Camera
8:00PM – Monthly Competition

Monthly Competition

Submission Deadline: Midnight, Sunday Oct 30th.

November is an open competition. Any image from the last 2 years may be entered. Participants will be divided into two classes. Each club member will choose which class to enter. For more information, see this post.

Submit your images here.

Our guest judge for November’s competition will be Greg Burger and Rodger Backman of Precision Camera & Video.

Mirrorless Cameras and the new DJI Mavic Drone

With Speaker Greg Burger &  Robert Backman, Precision Camera & Video

Gregg Burger is the General Manager of Precision Camera.  He has been in the photo industry for over 35 years. He has owned Olympus, Minolta, Canon and Nikon.  His current cameras are the Nikon D750 and the Sony A7RII.  Both full frame and both are great cameras.  Which one does he use more now?

Robert Backman is the top sales person at Precision Camera and has been a Nikon shooter for many years, he shoots weddings and portraits, but is best known for sports.  He shoots for a national online sports site.  At the games he still brings his Nikon but lately his Olympus and Fuji have been used more and more.  Why?  Ask him at the meeting.


Mirrorless cameras are not taking a backseat to normal size DSLR’s any more.  Mirrorless cameras have many advantages over their larger Nikon and Canon brethren.  Smaller and lighter, they are ideal or travel, but don’t stop there. Recent mirrorless have closed the quality gap too and are making spectacular images. Greg and Rodger will bring a selection of current mirrorless cameras from Olympus, Fuji and Sony for a little up close and personal Q&A.

Mavic Drone

And, as a bonus, Greg and Robert plan to bring along the new (and tiny) DJI Mavic drone. The Mavic is the newest and most compact professional level drone on the market. The best part? It is affordable and easy enough for anyone to use. Come see one up close and personal.


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


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.


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.

Field Trip: Liendo Plantation Civil War Weekend

This is an RSVP only event. See below to RSVP by Nov 12th.

Keith Mitchell will lead a field trip for club participants to play the part of photo journalists at the Liendo Plantation Civil War Weekend. The event takes place November 19 and 20 at the Liendo Plantation near Hempstead, Texas. Club members will get special access to areas not open to the public thanks to Keith on Saturday the 19th.

For more info on the event:

When: Led by Keith: Saturday, Nov 19th, 2016.
Club members agreeing to Liendo’s image sharing policy will have free access to the entire weekend 11/18-11/20
Where: Liendo Plantation, Hempstead
Address: 38653 Wyatt Chapel Rd, Hempstead, TX 77445

Liendo’s image sharing policy: Club members will have press passes for participants who fill out the form. These passes will wave the event registration fee and the plan is that we will have opportunities to photograph in locations not open to the public. Upon arrival, you will be required to sign an agreement saying you will provide the Liendo Plantation with full size digital copies of your images that can be used in marketing their event and location.

Clothes and Equipment

Clothes: This field trip will involve a lot of walking. Please wear sturdy shoes. Those attending the tactical battle on Saturday morning should wear long sturdy pants. All participants should be prepared for diverse weather conditions including rain, cold and heat (it’s Nov in TX so it might be 90 and sunny or 40 and raining or any other combination).

Camera: Tactical battle attendees will need a telephoto lens (200mm+) to capture the action well and should plan to travel light. An additional wide angle lens (ex. 35mm) may be occasionally useful.

Saturday, Nov 19th Schedule

The schedule below is subject to change. Keith will keep everyone who RSVPs up to date via email.

Most of the activities take place on Saturday the 19th. You may want to spend the night of the 18th in a local hotel so that you can be onsite bright and early, but you certainly could drive early from Austin Saturday morning. If you choose to photograph on the 20th, your press pass will get you access; however Keith will only be attending the 19th so you will be on your own.

7AM: Tactical Battle – Weather & Conditions Allowing – Maximum of 5 people by RSVP order – 18 years of age or older only.
The tactical battle takes place away from public view and is a realistic war game conducted like a civil war battle. That means there are charging cavalry as well as canons, and rifles being used (all without projectiles). Any of these could result in severe injuries if encountered directly. Photographers will be required to stay clear of the battle and photograph from a distance, but also must stay alert and clear of the battle as it shifts. A telephoto lens (200mm+) is required. Sturdy shoes and long pants are required. All participants must be 18+ years of age.

10AM-2PM: Public Events
Numerous events occur around the plantation during the morning. Keith will provide details and lead the group during this time.

2PM: Public Battle
The public battle occur in a large open field (1.5x a football field) with the public watching from bleachers.

Notes from Keith:

The Liendo Plantation Civil War Weekend has scheduled events Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Our club organized participation is only for Saturday Events. If you wish to participate in the event with the special access privileges you will need to register by November 12th.
If you wish to participate in the sunrise tactical battle on Saturday, you probably will want to stay in a local hotel Friday night. We have no guarantee the tactical battle will take place, only that it is planned.  I’ll notify you of a meeting time and place on the plantation grounds via email when it is known. To keep from disturbing the realism of the tactical battle, we will restrict club participation to 5 people with 200mm or longer lenses being required.  The rest of the events have no such restrictions.  A more detailed Saturday schedule will be emailed to registered participants as it is known. The public battle is always at 2pm Saturday


Meeting: Thursday, October 6th, 2016

NAPfS’s October 2016 meeting will be held on Thursday October 6th, 2016 starting at 7PM. The meeting location is First Baptist Church, 306 Round Rock Ave, Round Rock, Texas 78664.

LOCATION CHANGE: First Baptist Church, 306 Round Rock Ave, Round Rock, Texas 78664.

Click to see full size.

Click to see full size.

The meeting schedule is:

7:00PM – Meet and Greet
7:30PM – Speaker: Keith Mitchell
8:00PM – Monthly Competition with Judge Keith Mitchel

Monthly Competition with Judge Keith Mitchell

Submission Deadline: Midnight, Sunday October 2nd.

October is an open competition (no theme). Any image from the last 2 years may be entered. Image submission is open until midnight on Sunday October 2nd. Participants will be divided into two classes. Each club member will choose which class to enter. For more information, see this post.

Submit your images here.

Our guest judge for October’s competition will be Keith Mitchel.

Speaker – Keith Mitchell

keith-mitchellKeith Mitchell, Ph.D. is a retired University of Texas educator and former executive briefing specialist for Apple computer.  Keith began taking pictures as a part of his corporate education responsibilities at Apple computer. He was part of the team Apple used to roll out QuickTime VR panoramic tools to the education community nationwide. Keith continued to practice photography as a part of his career while working in UT’s department of education.

After retiring, Keith studied portrait photography formally at the Texas School of Photography. Kieth is an active Austin PPA guild member. He has won several local PPA guild print competitions. Keith currently manages a photography business, DigitalAspirations as well as managing a video interview studio for Apple at the Austin campus.

Find more of Keith’s work at

Becoming a Civil War Photojournalist through Reenactments

Keith Mitchell, explains how you can  become a photo journalist embedded in the Civil War. Keith will share images, video, and photoshop composites that he has produced to capture Union and Confederate troops in action!  A field trip will be announced making it possible for you to get your press pass for a November re-enactment.