Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Going for Gold

Entering print competitions is one of the best ways for photographers to hone their craft by seeing how they stack up against their peers and learning from each other throughout the judging process. At this years International Print Competition hosted by the Professional Photographers of America, I earned the distinction of being a Gold Medalist with all four of my prints getting blue ribbons, one of them being accepted in to the Genral Collection, one being accepted in to the Genral Collection Showcase book and two of them being accepted in to the prestigious Loan Collection. It is an honor to have that kind of success when being judged by such high standards against thousands of incredibly talented photographers across the country.

Here are the four images that were entered.

"Out of Reach" 
General Collection

"Third Party Candidate"
Loan Collection

General Collection Showcase Book

"Shootout Round Six"
Loan Collection

There are several regional print competitions leading up to the IPC, including the competition at the Focus NY conference through the Professional Photographers Society of New York State. We were allowed to enter six prints there instead of the usual four. The images below also received blue ribbons at Focus NY along with the images above. 

"No Choice"
Focus NY Blue Ribbon

"Resting Bitch Face"
Focus NY Blue Ribbon

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Civil Air Patrol Encampment

Immediately following last weeks PPSNYS Workshop, I was "deployed" to Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, NY to photograph the week long Civil Air Patrol Encampment. If you're not familiar with the Civil Air Patrol, it is the Auxiliary branch of the United States Air Force for Cadets ages 12-21.

CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and occupations. It performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue (by air and ground) and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth.

There are CAP Squadrons all across New York State including the NY212 Ghost Squadron right here in Canandaigua that meets every Wednesday evening at the VA Medical Center. My son Cade is a Cadet  Chief Master Sergeant there. Feel free to contact me if you have a teenager interested in joining.

The Encampment is a week of intense training for the Cadets who are basically immersed in military life on the base. They participate in drilling, aerospace, search and rescue training as well as getting some flight time in the CAP Cessna's or a ride on a C-130 or C-17. The Cadet's were also treated to a fly by from two USAF F15 Eagles from Massachusetts. 

It was an honor to not only be able to photograph the Encampment, but to participate in the development of the future leaders of our country and military. Here are some images from the week at Stratton ANG.

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Walk on the Wild Side

 It's been an extremely busy Summer so far beginning with my daughter Sarah's graduation from high school, followed by a 5 day cruise to Bermuda with the entire family to celebrate my Mother's 75th birthday. The day after returning from the cruise, we brought our camper down to the Geneseo Air Show to host a photography class on air show photography in conjunction with Sigma's Marc Farb who brought several cases of lenses for us to use. We were then back home for five days, which included two photography classes, a pulled wisdom tooth and two weddings.

 The next adventure brought me to Hobart and William Smith Colleges for the Professional Photographer's Society of New York State Summer Workshop. At Workshop you get to spend five days with one instructor immersing yourself in to in-depth, hands-on learning on a single topic. My instructor for the week was my good friend Scott Dere, who is a world class wildlife photographer. I've always wanted to do wildlife photography as a hobby to break up the day-to-day photography I do to earn a living. The Workshop gave me that opportunity with trips to Wildlife Defenders, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Mendon Ponds Park, Chimney Bluffs State Park, the Seneca Army Depot and even the city pier in Geneva to photograph a family of mink.

 Although each of these locations are in my "backyard", I went in with a fresh perspective and the guidance of someone who may not have known the locations, but had a keen sense of wildlife behavior and photographic techniques to approach the animals. Armed with that knowledge, I was able to capture some amazing images of things I may have completely overlooked otherwise. For example, for the last 25 years I've driven through Montezuma Wildlife Refuge on the Thruway and saw nothing but grass. Going there with Scott literally opened my eyes to this amazing resource so close to home. I was able to photograph Osprey on the hunt for fish, Egrets, Herons, Purple Martins, Swallows, and more. There are also several Bald Eagles that nest there but were to shy for the camera that day.

 Our last trip was down to the Seneca Army Depot to see if we could photograph a rare herd of white deer that reside there. After spending an hour driving the perimeter of the Depot, a young white buck came out of the woods and posed for us for a few minutes before disappearing like a ghost in the night.

 The whole week was an amazing experience reigniting my passion for photography, especially areas of photography that I often neglect while running a studio. My Mid-Summer New Year's Resolution is to keep the fire going and take time to photograph things for myself more often.

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