Posts Tagged ‘La Jolla’

A Sweet Goodbye to La Jolla

Sun Star Pier, La Jolla, California, August 6, 2009

Within days of moving to La Jolla 3 1/2 years ago, I discovered this local landmark – the Scripps Pier, and immediately was drawn to it photographically.  I didn’t have any previous connection to pier’s or other of man’s constructions along the water’s edge, but that would change living in La Jolla – and in large part because of this pier.  I returned every sunset for nearly 3 weeks to get my first successful image of this pier – Time.  That particular photograph really started a new direction for my photography and made my work more personal.  It would be fair to say that that image marked the beginning of working on my own aesthetic and creating my own images, as opposed to looking at others and trying to replicate.  I imagine that most photographers and artists go through similar stages – it begins with trying to make the work you look up to and respect, and once you feel capable and have learned the techniques involved and the process, then you can begin to find your own aesthetic and create a new style that is more unique.  Well, this photograph – Time, and the process of making it and having to be patient and go out night after night before I got everything right, had much to do with getting me on my own path as an artist.

Prior to this time, once I had a successful image of a location, I would generally not return to shoot it further.  Why mess with a good thing?  That too changed in La Jolla, and again, in large part because of this pier.  After several months, I had began to learn much about this tunnel-view composition and what I was drawn to about it.  It hung in the front of the gallery that I spent much time in and had the opportunity to speak with the public about the photo.  This furthered my feelings and understanding of the piece.  A desire to shoot it again arose and within a year, after many visits, I had made a second image that I felt to be a success – Fog.

Through the first 2 years, I made, what I would call – 2 successful images that were “gallery worthy”.  In my third year, I went through a major aesthetic change in my work and went from shooting primarily bright Fuji Velvia color panoramic work to dark and moody black and white squares.  There were a number of reasons behind this – a darker mood and life outlook due to events in my life; a feeling that color was too often distracting the viewer of more clear communication that didn’t seem to be the case with black and white; finding myself more drawn personally on an artistic level to cleaner, simpler works; feeling that the most challenging image to make, yet perhaps most rewarding, is the one that is most simple in it’s elements yet still holds a dynamic with the viewer, this leading to continually eliminating elements which eventually led to eliminating color – to name a few.  In the end, this transition came completely naturally and with ease and my shooting was invigorated like never before.  I began to re-shoot many of the compositions that I had become familiar with in the area, and found many new ones and ways of making images.   At the end of a string of, yet many more visits, I had made my third successful image, and perhaps my best (favorite) yet – Passage.

Through 3 1/2 years in La Jolla, I would say it’s safe to say I have photographed the Scripps Pier over 100 sunsets.  I have certainly thought that it would be cool to capture an image with the sun setting down the center of the corridor, and at one point, I made some conscious pursuit at it, but my timing was off and I never really followed through with it and never got closer than a week of the right time.  I guess it wasn’t so important to me that I find the exact day or two of the year that it’s do-able.  To be honest, I’m really not that much of a planner and it goes against my style completely to turn the art into a science and research as to the exact time and earthly coordinates blah!  That would be one quick way to take the joy out of photographing, for me.

So, you could call it sweet karma, randomness, coincidence, dumb luck, or whatever you’d like, but on my final evening in La Jolla before moving away, I decide to head out one last time to shoot Scripps Pier at sunset.  I’m super-busy packing and cleaning, and generally waiting until the last minute, like I do.  As I arrive at the pier, it’s 5 minutes from sunset and I can see that the sun is lining up better than I have ever seen.  This is pretty cool, I think as I set up the tripod.  Just as I get the camera set and my settings in order, the sun clips the upper right corner of the frame at the end of the corridor.  Sweet! I take about 8-10 exposures, bracketing and trying different f-stops before settling on f/22 to get the more dramatic starburst.  The sun is visible in the frame for about 3 minutes before it moves north out of sight in this composition.

To get this on my last night in La Jolla!  Pretty cool indeed.  Now, I suppose I’m ready to move on outta here and go start over in a new area -

Maui will work…

time1Time, 2006

fogFog, 2007

pier-placewebsitePassage, 2009


Blurb books – Is it worth the time, effort and cost?

final-coverThis turned out to be the final cover for the book, but unfortunately, I am not overly thrilled about the results.  This is the 2nd time I’ve put time and energy into making a book with Blurb, and both times I felt disappointed when I finally received the much anticipated finished product.  So, instead of sharing with you my excitement of this new book, I’ll instead give you a little review of the product and my perspective on Blurb so you can know what to expect if you plan on using their services to self-publish a book.

First of all, I do think that self-publishing like this is getting better and better and I strongly suspect it will eventually allow for “bookstore quality” books without having to spend 10-15k to publish a run of books.  Eventually, you’ll be able to make individual books made-to-order that are as good as the coffee table books we pay 50+ dollars for at Borders, but regardless of what they say, these are not yet “bookstore quality.”

The first Blurb book I made, Time Exposed, took quite a number of hours to do.  I’d say I spent at least 30 hours on it.  This time was spent getting the picture files sorted out, sized and ready.  Figuring out which images to include, a layout that flows in a sensible manner, finding and/or writing text to include, and then laying it all out with the software provided by Blurb – it ends up being a lot of work!  After weeks of this, couple hours here and a few hours there, it was ready to publish.  The book was printed and delivered fairly quickly, around a week, and I was very excited to flip through the 158 pages.  But right out of the packaging, I was already disappointed with the cover.  The cover image, which I had done with the “image wrap” style, simply did not look very good.  The image was Cosmic LifeCosmic Life and the deep rich blues in the upper corners were choked and transitioned poorly into black (which no blacks exist in the image!).  I mean, I personally don’t agree with – you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Hell yes, you can!  Not to mention there was a scratch on the back cover!  You can certainly come to some conclusions simply by the cover and this wasn’t looking good.  It didn’t get any better from there.  Immediately upon opening the book, I noticed the paper quality was anything but the “bookstore quality” that they claim in their product.  It felt thin and cheap, and just by turning the pages, dents in the paper were forming.  Not good.  To top it all off – the colors were a bit inconsistent throughout.  After spending so much time on this, to say I was disappointed was an understatement.  Sure, I should have slept on it and let myself settle down some, but I didn’t.  Instead, I wrote an email to Blurb and it probably wasn’t the nicest letter.

Blurb responded promptly and I must say, they do seem to have good customer service.  They began a new book and I sent that one in to be replaced, mainly due to the scratched cover.  I was hoping for some kind of miracle, but the 2nd one was much of the same without the scratch.  I didn’t announce the book to anyone and figured it would just sit on my bookshelf.

With a little time, my feelings settled and I forgot how frustrated I was over the book.  Then, Blurb announced a Premium paper upgrade (that you pay extra for), and I thought – Wow, that could make a big difference.  With Christmas around the corner, I ordered one and had it delivered to my parents.  Now, I guess this is all relative and I’ll surely be more critical of the final product than anyone else because I put in the time and want it perfect, but my parents absolutely loved it and still mention it from time to time.

Months later and skipping up to this latest work – I’m 75% of the way finished with a series of black and whites and I’m thinking – a Blurb book might be worth another try.  Better paper, black and white images so you can’t mess that up, right?  I’ll do a smaller 8×10 book so it won’t cost as much… So, I get started on it.  This time, I consciously try to stay patient and not rush it to get published.  I work on it a couple hours here and a few hours there for over 2 months!  Definitely, a good amount of time gets invested in this.  In my mind, I’m hoping to use this book to help market this series of works, almost as a portfolio.  I spend much time making sure the images are sharpened correctly.  I make full pages in Photoshop with the images and text and simply plug-in full bleed pages as opposed to using their software, just to have total control as to how each page will turn out.

page-sample

I finally send the book to the publisher and there’s no turning back then.  Once again, Blurb is quite quick with getting the book printed and delivered and I have it in a week.  This time, I go with the book cover instead of the Image wrap, because that was sucky last time.  I kept the book to 80 pages in the 8×10″ size so it would be a little more affordable, in hopes to actually sell some books.  Again, the book is packaged well and this time, I am quite happy when I unwrap the book.  The cover looks amazing!  Shiny and perfect and the image looks great!  So far so good.  I open the book and the feel of the paper is better – I’d call it getting quite close to what you expect from “bookstore quality”, but not quite there yet.  Even as a still-new book, the pages are a bit wavy when you lay it flat on a table.  No $50+ book from Borders does that!

blog-sample-a2It’s new…it has “Premium Paper” which costs more…it’s called “Bookstore Quality”, but it still is wavy???  Oh, and this problem tends to get worse with time.

blog-sample-a1The front cover turned out great this time!  If only the whole book had been done this well…

blog-sample-1The printing seems to have the most problems in the blacks and darker areas, and in the more extreme transition zones.  It’s hard to see here in this picture, but the pointed out area is highly choked and it really ruins the image.  Over 1/2 the images in the book either have this sort of choking, or lightly colored (!?) blue and purple rainbows (!?!?).

blog-sample2Again, this has bad choking, colored rainbows, and a much darker vignette than the image should have.

I want to like Blurb as a company.  I like what they are trying to do, but I guess I just have to come to terms with the fact that the quality isn’t there yet.  This sort of self publishing absolutely does not produce “bookstore quality” books and that’s a bummer.  I wish it did because I would absolutely love to have a quality book out there in the world for people to view.  Even if it were more expensive and I wouldn’t make any money on, which is generally the case with Blurb books.  My first Time Exposed book costs me over $90 to make a 158 page book!! and the quality isn’t there.  This Dark Coast book costs over $35 and it’s a small book of poor quality!  What do I do with that!?  I suppose my parents might be able to overlook the poor quality and enjoy it…

I had hoped to enter Blurb’s 2nd annual book competition with this book.  It seems to be a reputable contest with many big name sponsors, but I don’t see how I can enter this.  I had hoped to use this book as a tool to help market this series of images, but I certainly won’t be doing that either.  Instead, I will most likely take both books off Blurb’s storefront, remove the announcement of the books from my facebook page and website, and start saving my $15k to do a real book the right way!  And in the meantime, control the work I put out with excellent quality fine art prints.

So, if you are looking to make a book as a gift or for mom and dad, then you’ll probably be happy with Blurb.  If you are thinking that you are gonna make a fine quality book of your work to sell, market, or show in public, then I’d recommend not wasting your time with this sort of publishing and start saving your fun-tickets to do it right.  Unless of course, you have a better idea – then, please share it with me.


DARK COAST almost ready for the world..

cormorants-and-flowersCormorants and Flowers

I’ve been working on putting together the DARK COAST series for a few months and it’s nearing completion.  I had made a decision to approach it as a series which would have an end, a closure to the portfolio, as opposed to making it an endless compilation of like-work.  

Most of the images that were shot for this series were made in a relatively short time of 4-6 months, but it is covering the locale that I have already been shooting for 3 years and am therefore very familiar with.  The last month or 2, I’ve been working on editing the series, designing a Blurb book, creating a postcard as a mailer to galleries, figuring out the sizing/pricing/edition sizes and the rest of what comes with organizing this into a cohesive and strong body of work.

I am reminded as to how difficult editing a project down can be.  I initially had 60-70 images that I felt were strong enough to be included, but kept taking my time with it and trimming it down to what will be around 30-35 images in the series to be printed as limited editions – the book will include most of the original 60-70.

book-cover

  Usually, I’d have a tendency to rush through some of this project, especially the making of the Blurb book, but again, I’ve been forcing myself to slow down and take my time with it.  Initially, I had chosen this image and design for the cover.  Not so much because it’s my favorite or the strongest image, but more because I thought it worked well as a cover shot and tied the book to the local La Jolla area with a recognizable landmark.  But as the weeks went by, I found that I wasn’t loving this cover and I had chosen an image that I didn’t even feel was in the top 20 – in fact, I had contemplated cutting this image altogether from the collection!  How could I choose this as my cover?!  Today, I redesigned the cover with a different image and am now totally content with it.  Not only did I choose one of my top favorites from the series, but it’s probably even more recognizable of a local landmark.  This project is definitely  proving as a valuable lesson in patience.

So, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel until this series is complete.  Finalizing final prints for each image that made the final cut, figuring out the galleries to send mailers, putting the final touches on the book, and always brainstorming as to new and creative ways to market the photographs to possible buyers.  And when I say – almost complete – that really means – ready to go out into the world – which, of course requires still much more work and concerted efforts to make happen!  But it feels good.  And that is why I am diggin’ this new approach to producing a series of work with an end as opposed to more greatest individual hits.  With a project, you can visualize the process and the end result, then go out and make it, and at some point see the fruits of your labor and step away feeling satisfied, moving on to the next project.

Of course, I am already thinking of the next works and already have some images that I’m excited to share!  These will probably be the basis to the next series, but for now – take a peek at DARK COAST and let me know whatcha think.  And if you want to support emerging artists, buy the book – or - a print for your collection.  And for those photogs that are used to working towards making the individual greatest hits, consider creating a series that you can focus on and that has a start and finish – it can really be rewarding and act as a learning lesson in many valuable ways that you may not find when you’re always going from one shot to the next.

 

 

 


Let the Game Come to You

night-boat

I mentioned in the previous post working with a different aesthetic and how liberating it has been.  Really, I have been taking a whole new approach to making my images, the different aesthetic is really just a part of it.  In the past, I would generally pre-visualize a scene, then go and work to create it.  Or, I would scout out a location and figure out the light (and color) that I hope to get and then go, usually a number of times, until I was able to capture the image and the feel that I was after.  For a landscape photographer, this is probably a general work style – find a dynamic scene and return time and time again until you’ve captured the essence of it.  But that’s not what I’ve been doing the last months.  Now, I am leaving the house with minimal gear, all fitting in a smaller camera bag slung around my shoulder and a tripod, and no predetermined ideas about what I may or may not shoot.  I am trying to go out clean and to allow myself to be open to whatever may inspire me photographically.  My success rate has been really unbelievable!  How inspiring this has been!  And surely there are many photographers who approach their work this way naturally and are thinking, “yeah, so what”, but for me it has been a big change.  Perhaps for the first time as a photographer, I feel I am really being present and allowing the process of making images to simply unfold, and the results have showed with images coming more naturally than ever before.

flight-pathstudy2

Along with all this, which I feel is really just a natural procession of my work as a photographer, comes many new images and beginnings of studies.  (This is another difference in my new approach – instead of just going out looking to make individual greatest hits, I am taking a subject that I am drawn to and photographing it in many ways and working with a mindset as to “study” a subject.  Quite a different process as before.)  Which leads me to this series of flight and boat paths at night.  

I love to photograph at night for many reasons, the primary one being that I love the capture of time in a still image.  Obviously, capturing extended time at night is a little easier than during the day because it is dark!  As I have been heading out lately under the dark night skies, my attention has been drawn to the incoming flights that fly directly overhead the seaside park by my house, and the fishing boats in the bay with their lights on to attract their catch.  

night-boats-and-sea

Working with these images, new ideas have formed and new studies are already on their way, having been spawned through the study of capturing the trails of light from planes and boats, neither of which I would have thought were much of a photographic subject had I thought about it.  And maybe that’s the point to all this blabber – that thinking about what you are going to shoot is not always the best method.  You hear coaches tell athletes,”Let the game come to you.”  What exactly do they mean?  The player has practiced practiced practiced and when game time comes, it’s time to stop thinking and just play – naturally, without thinking.  Let the game come to you and flow naturally with it.  That’s what the best players are able to do, and I suppose that is what I am talking about here.  If you already take this approach to your work, good for you.  If not, try it.  Go out with your gear and have no thoughts or ideas about what subject you may photograph.  Pick an area of interest and allow your attention to go where it may.  You’ll know when to pull out the camera and let the game come to you. 

flight-path-and-seashore

 

 

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Working with a Different Aesthetic

Cliff Birds. Study 1

CLIFF BIRDS.  STUDY 1.  LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA 2009

If you follow my work at all, then you will have noticed that recently the work has taken on a different aesthetic.  Although, my primary focus over the last several years has been based in bold color and often, the panoramic format, there has been quite a number of things that has led me to seeing and shooting differently as of late…and I must say, it has been a thrill!

Early on my photographic path, and as I embarked on landscape photography specifically, the works that were influencing me were color.  Art Wolfe’s book Edge of the Earth Corner of the Sky was a big influence and still one of my personal favorite collections of photography.  Many of those images touched me strongly and his use of capturing time resonated with me.  Around this same time, I found panoramic photography and began educating myself on this aesthetic.  One of the initial ideas of the panoramic that really resonated with me was – it is the most natural photographic formats to view with the human eyes, it is how we see.  Sounds good, right?  We do see wide.  It was with this thought that I wanted to learn to capture the landscape in a wide panoramic format, and so I purchased a Linhof 617 and began to work at it.

The learning curve was steep for me, and I found some months of time and many shooting attempts passing by before I made what I felt was a successful image with the wide 3-to-1 format.  You have to see the world different and the composition contains so much area, it becomes quite difficult to make every element make sense.  I pressed on.  It was probably two years before I began to feel somewhat comfortable and probably a third before I felt anything resembling confidence with the format.  In the back of my head, I always wondered what it must feel like to find the perfect format (for me), where the work came more naturally.  It was obvious that most other landscape photographers had found their ideal formats and weren’t going through these same struggles, right?  I mean, whether it was Kenna and his Hassleblads, Wolfe with his 35mm, Fokos with his large format 8×10, it seemed that most weren’t going through these difficulties.  To make matters worse, I was trying to mingle the panoramic format with the 6×7 medium format AND 35mm/DSLR formats, all making for a lot of confusion.  Of course hindsight being 20/20, I now clearly see that for a developing photographer, this is madness!   

I began working in photography galleries where the work was primarily hyper-color.  Fuji Velvia and beyond.  I spent several years talking with people about these works and the surreal colors and it clearly had an influence on my work.  I shot only Fuji Velvia and chased after sweet light and moments of glorious color.  Now, several years later, my thoughts and feelings regarding color, and specifically the hyper-colors in photographs, have somewhat changed.  Not due to any one moment of epiphany but rather to a culmination of many things.  Primarily, I began to see that, with the digital age in full swing, that people get hung up on the colors that I was accustomed to making.  Whether it was done naturally with film did not matter, most people simply couldn’t allow themselves to view a bright colored piece and have the communication with it that I would hope because they couldn’t get past the color!

I think this is what happens – People think, hey, this isn’t how I see the world…I don’t see color like that in my everyday life, so it must be false…it must be Photoshopped and enhanced.  With my work, I never really did try and create photographs to look exactly like the way you might with your eyes, I more tried to create images that would evoke a feeling or a line of thought.  As an artist trying to communicate to the viewer, and to see the viewer continually not having this communication, seemingly due to this hang-up regarding color, was troubling at first, but led me to explore this topic deeper.

Amazingly, I never saw these same reactions from the viewer with black and white images.  It is crazy to me, since we see the world in color, not black and white!  Nonetheless, people seem more open and able to simply view the black and whites and I seldom saw these same hang-ups.  Even when the black and white was heavily manipulated with a time exposure and dodging and burning vs. the color image that is very natural and straight out of the camera, 95% of the time, viewers would have no issue with the black and white and question the color!

Over time, my aesthetic was naturally becoming more simple.  I was working harder to leave more out of the compositions.  I was also working harder to leave more gear at home and to simplify my entire process with less gear, and therefore less decisions.  With all of this mentioned and many other factors, I have, of late, been finding myself going out with one camera and one aesthetic – the black and white in a square box.  I haven’t been shooting with anyone else in mind, but trying to solely focus on what I find intriguing in an image.  This aspect of the photograph has remained constant – the capture of time in a still photograph is what I find most intriguing.  Whether it’s a simple landscape with the movement of the ocean, people moving around a breakwall, or birds moving throughout the exposure, it’s this study of time that I am most drawn to capture.  I can’t say I’m abandoning color, or the panoramic format, but this recent work has felt so liberating and has come so naturally to me.  I have felt the way I always suspected of other photographers but never had fully experienced, totally at peace and at ease with the format and the aesthetic.  The work has come more easily, more naturally, and whether it communicates to any viewer is completely unknown, but I can say – I don’t much care.  Just the making of them has been pleasure enough.

wall-morphTHE WALL – MORPH.  LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA 2009


Three Birds

Note to self:  This is why you always bring a camera with you…even if you are just going for a short walk with your sweetheart and your cute little nieces.  That EPIC sunset you missed a few days ago won’t quickly be forgotten…although, this evening was beautiful!

 


Beginning to Morph

I have presented the beginnings of several new projects that I have been working on for sometime in the Archive section of scottreither.com One of which is entitled Morph. This is one of the images from this growing collection where the common thread will be people, cars, planes, and other everyday moving objects captured in a longer exposure causing them to blur and Morph into something else – visually in the images anyway! Keep an eye out for many new images Coming Soon!


Tree in the Fog

 

tree-in-fogweb1

You become things, you become an atmosphere, and if you become it, which means you incorporate it within you, you can also give it back. You can put this feeling into a picture. A painter can do it. And a musician can do it and I think a photographer can do that too and that I would call the dreaming with open eyes.  -ernst haas

 


Windy Windansea

Follow your bliss

and the universe

will open doors for you

where there were only walls.

-joseph campbell


Umbrella for Two

umbrella

Umbrella for Two, La Jolla, California 2007

With the cooler days of a Southern California winter before us, La Jolla has once again become a quiet little village. Yes, the locals like to call La Jolla a village for some reason, and of course quiet is being used relatively.  Personally, when I think of a village, I think of some quaint little mountain setting in Italy, or perhaps Nepal, where there are a couple of hundred residents living and working together.  You can trade some yak cheese for some rice wine or meet for bocce ball with the elderly men in the afternoon.  In fact, Webster calls a village:  ”a small community or group of houses in a rural area, larger than a hamlet and usually smaller than a town, and sometimes (as in parts of the U.S.) incorporated as a municipality.”  Oohh, now a hamlet sounds charming indeed…not sure I’ve ever been to a hamlet, but do look forward to it.  Anyways, I’m pretty sure that we are a lot larger than a hamlet and this certainly can’t be called rural.  In reality, this is a town.

So, starting over more accurately…with the cooler days of a Southern California winter before us, La Jolla has once again become a quiet little town.  Not a very good time of year for local businesses, but it is nice for those of us who live here in the village town.  Photographically, I much prefer going out shooting when there aren’t a million people around.  I suppose the portrait photographer would feel different, but for me, photographing has always been my solitary time.  It’s my time to look within, and by doing so I can see a little more clearly.  I like to go for long walks with the camera and an ipod.  It still amazes me sometimes when I’m composing an image, totally in my own world, with headphones on, and someone comes up and taps on my shoulder, usually causing me a startle.  I see their lips moving, but I can’t hear them, but I’m sure I know what they are saying already: “What are you photographing?”  Although I am trying to open myself up more to these moments and to not be so shut off, I can’t help but to feel that this is at the same time an impropriety…isn’t it?  I mean, aren’t headphones plugged into the skull universal for: Closed for outside business, will reopen later.  And how in the world do you describe what you are photographing?!  ”Well, uh, I’m photographing those 2 beach chairs and the umbrella.”  and then follows, “Why” or “are you a professional”.

The photograph is the answer.  The photographer is unable to answer on the scene as to why they are shooting what they are shooting.  The photograph is the answer.  When I came across this scene on one of my walks, it told me a story that I liked.  A story that I wanted to tell.  A story about a Southern California beach town that’s gone quiet for the winter.  A place where the locals still prefer village to town, and maybe that in itself says something about the community.  Anyways, a village ain’t a bad place to live.


Shorter Days…Longer Nights

The season of shorter days are here.  Sunset is at 6:25pm tonight and in a month, daylight savings time will be over and the sun will be setting before 5pm!  Grrr.  My day job keeps me in the Bartram Gallery and I don’t get outside much before 6 or 7, so I miss the light this time of year.  Generally, I might be a bit more bummed about the months of darkness ahead, but soon I’ll have a new friend coming in the mail that shoots at crazy high ISO’s like 1600 and 3200 and beyond!  If you understand these numbers, you know where I’m going here, and if you don’t…let’s just say that I’ll soon be able to shoot, not in available light, but in available darkness!

One of the new and exciting technological advances that they have made in the world of cameras is this ability to record images with super-high ISO’s.  In the past, 3200 speed film was about as fast as you’d find, but unless you were looking for an extremely grainy look, you wouldn’t be too thrilled with the results.  The new ’08 digital SLR’s are able to capture a clean and sharp image at 3200 and you don’t seem crazy to contemplate shooting at 6400.  Wow!  This is allowing for a whole new way of viewing the world photographically and capturing images.  So, although shorter days are just around the corner, I’ll still be out shooting, training my eye to see light a bit differently in the longer nights of winter.


International Photography Awards ’08

So, about a week ago, I received an email that began with:

“Congratulations.  We are proud to announce that your work has placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in one or more of the subcategories in the 2008 International Photography Awards competition.  22,872 photographs were submitted spanning across 124 countries!”

and then I did a little dance.  Not a big I-won-10-million-dollars-and-never-have-to-work-again dance, but a dance.  And of course I had to read it several times to make sure I was reading everything correctly before doing any kind of dance because how bad would that be to jump up and shake my booty in front of my sweetheart only to have her read the fine print saying “and if you could send a cashiers check in the amount of $10,000 to this Nairobi bank, we’ll release your award”…or some such nonsense.

It was fun, but torturous too, having all week to think about what may or may not be.  Definitely cool to think back a year when I thought that this was the one photography competition that I would look to enter every year and hope to have some work recognized at some point, and now, just a year later…

The ’08 winners were announced on Friday ending the speculation.  I was awarded 2nd place in the Nature category of Sunset for this series of La Jolla images that I’ve been working on, and 5 Honorable Mentions for other works.

It’s definitely rewarding to have been acknowledged for any of the work, but especially sweet that it’s the series of images that I’ve taken in my backyard over the last year.  As photographers, I suspect most of us want to travel the globe to new and exotic locations, photographing on our own time-line.  (I know it’s my goal!!)  But, I’m not at that place yet and this year I’ve really had to focus in on my surroundings…my home.

So, although photography competitions are not a main focus for me, the IPA awards are one I’m proud to have my name attached to.  And by coming in 2nd, I left room to do better next year!

Check out the IPA site: Photoawards