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Blog: Pride and Humility


by Stephen Terlizzi


Precisely at 7:00 p.m., on the third Thursday of each month, in a small room in downtown Los Altos, California, photography enthusiasts gather for a monthly ritual – the local photo competition. While there is no large prize awards or Pulitzer Prize winning recognition, everyone takes the competition results and the resulting feedback very seriously. As each photographer’s images are open for display and critique, one can witness a strange blend of pride and humility filling the atmosphere of the room.
It can be hard to watch one's perfectly-composed Swallowtail Butterfly on Agapanthus getting smoked in the Nature category by a much more interesting photo of cheetahs devouring its prey on the plains of the Serengeti, or a cute blue-footed booby from the Galapagos Islands. Unfortunately for me, with a two-year old daughter, the probability of any animals on the Serengeti prancing in front of my camera lens is pretty low, unless I start shooting pictures off the Discovery Channel.
Granted the aforementioned daughter is a secret weapon in my arsenal and is a ready-made model for great portraits.  But since turning two, she is not as pliable a model as she was before. As clichéd as it sounds, the terrible twos has paid a price on my photography.  I knew that a different approach to photography was crucial; I found it in abstract photography.

Lesson from the Scene: Are You Adding Context to Your Photos?

by Stanley Leary

Ted Koppel once said that during his years at ABC News Nightline, his staff spent the majority of their pre-broadcast prep time on the first 10 seconds of the show. That’s how important a “lead” or “hook” is to stimulating interest in a story. But focusing on a hook can backfire, too — if it doesn’t help to get the larger message across.
As photographers, we all want our images to have a great visual hook. But if that hook is not in service to our story or message, it doesn’t help our audience. Too many wire-service photographers substitute visual pyrotechnics for visual storytelling. The result is that the audience must rely entirely on a story’s writer to understand the context for the photographer’s image.

Blog: A Walk Around My Neighborhood

By Gary Geschwind

As I was driving around my neighborhood, I was amazed at how many people had planted beautiful flower gardens in front of their homes. So, I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to photograph some of the flora. As I was shooting the pictures, several homeowners asked what I was doing. When I told them, they were quite pleased that I was photographing their flowers and gardens for our web site.