A few months back I had posted that I was in a photo phunk and wasn’t sure what to do to get out of that temporary black hole. Until now, or a few weeks ago when surfing the net I came upon the Photographic Society of America and through them I discovered the Manhattan Miniature Camera Club. Both of these organizations have been around since the 1930’s and are open to all photographers who love and are serious about the art and science of photography.  It is a breath of fresh air to find such forward thinking and open minded photography organizations like these two. 

PSA: I immediately signed up for a beginners photography course that I do online.  I am a self-taught photographer and my education in photography was through books; anything and everything that I could learn from the internet; photography blogs and sometimes forums  and of course the best teacher of all; trial and error.  But I really needed a good grounding in the basics so, when the opportunity presented itself in the form of a course done on my time schedule and with a prestigous organization with professional and highly respected photographers like PSA I jumped at it.  As recommended I purchased The Complete Guide to Photography by John Hedgecoes (2004 edition) and this is my text book so to speak. I am assigned an instructor and communicate via email where I receive and turn in  my assignments. I’ve completed the first photography assignment demonstrating auto focus, depth of field, shutter speed and apeture priority this past weekend and received my second which I will work on in the next week or two; lots of reading and three projects to complete.

MMCC: It’s terrific doing the online thing but I also needed to meet and talk with other photographers face to face and have a place to show my work to be critiqued and to gain experience in competition.  I had my first meeting and competition at the MMCC last Monday. At first I was very hesitant about meeting these photographers since  most of them have been in the business for many years and I’m just starting out. I quickly felt comfortable after the first hour especially as everyone was so friendly and by the end of the night I knew I had made the right decision in joining.

The meetings are twice a month every 1st and 3rd Monday with the first Monday as a competition night. Each photographer submits two images (there is no theme) in one or each of the three catagories; digital, print or slide, and is scored from 5 to 9.  I had one image that scored a nine and I almost fell out of my seat and one that scored only a seven and a half.  It wasn’t until I saw that image projected on a screen that I noticed the subject was dead center of the photo. Doh!  The scores are recorded each week and tallied at the end of the meeting year with the top scoring photographers receiving an award and showcased on the website. A total score of nine is an award and an eight is an honorable mention. There are also three theme based competitions during the year with a separate scoring and awarding. 

I had my second meeting yesterday and the program agenda was “You Be The Judge”.  We  all took turns critiquing each others work just like a judge would at a competition.  This was competely new to me both judging and being judged. I really thought I would have a problem with hearing another photographer judge and comment on  my work; I wasn’t sure how I would react but I  found the critique very informative and constructive in a positive way and again had to remind myself that I am dealing with professionals and that all of this is a learning/teaching experience.  Fun.

I am definitely out of my photo phunk and on my way to being a better and more educated photographer and having the time of my life doing so.  I’ll keep you posted as to my progress as the weeks go by.

FYI, the photos below are from this past Saturday’s trip to Governors Island capturing the beautiful scenes and the peaceful tranquility on an island just minutes from the hectic City of New York; truly an oasis.  I’m going to submit one of these for the October MMCC competition.

Enjoy and stay in focus,

Cate – www.photobycate.com

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