May. 2002

President's Message

Photo FAQs

Article - The Trip of a Lifetime

President's Message

Bob Coffey

One of the most important learning experiences that your membership offers is competing, especially in the assigned subjects. First of all, it keeps you actively shooting and practicing your skills. Like speaking a foreign language, if you donít use it, you loose it.

Second, competition pushes you to do your best work against your peers. For me there is always a bit of an adrenaline rush as I anxiously wait for the little red LED numbers on the score box that quantifies the judges' reaction to my latest creation. Sometimes I am elated with the results while other times I am less than thrilled.

This is a time to ask for a comment to gain the feedback from someone with another perspective, whether it is for your own image or that of a colleague. These critiques can be very helpful in teaching us the finer points of subject selection, composition, lighting, exposure and other techniques.

In our recent efforts to streamline meetings in order to vacate the building by the 10 p.m. deadline, primarily for Print Night competition, we appear to have lost sight of the importance of the commentary segment of our meetings. At the last Print Night there were very few requests for comments. In one instance, when the image was displayed for comment, no one asked a question, so no comments were offered. This was due in part to our not providing appropriate instructions to the judges. The intent of asking for comments is to have the judges discuss the good points and weaknesses of a particular image with constructive suggestions for improving it, i.e., to educate us in the art.

In the future, we will make a point of clearly explaining this requirement to judges at the outset so they will know what is expected. Speak up and request a general comment or ask a specific question. This segment of our competitions is vital to our growth as photographers.

- Bob Coffey