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The Teton Photography Club is proud to showcase the work of our Peer Mentors who have submitted theme images.  The images in the gallery below are the top 3 images that the peer mentors voted upon at their meeting based on the theme for the month.

September 2020

We are still having Virtual Peer Mentor Meetings but September was a wee-bit different.  In August Gigi had chose the Weather Theme Challenge.   But the “weather” in the Teton area was hidden for most of the month by the smoke from California and Oregon and Washington State.  So in the middle of September Randy added a second monthly theme: Smoke and Haze Theme Challenge.  We had received 14 submissions for the Weather Theme and 10 submissions for the Smoke and Haze Theme, so we moved thru the usual discussion of the themes fairly quickly to ensure that we had enough time to vote and discuss the submissions of both the themes.

The 14 images with a number of storms, clouds, rain, five B&Ws, and even on photo of the snow.  The 3rd place image was an image of an airplane flying over her home in North Carolina taken by Charlotte Kidd; the plane was tiny but the clouds were huge and beautiful.  The 2nd place image emphasized the many layers across Flat Creek by Sue Lurie with the creek, cattails, clouds, and sky with a variety of contrasting colors that took viewers deep into the photo.  The winning photo was by Beth Holmes that made you feel chilly.  The photo was a very symmetrical image taken as if you were about to walk across a bridge between String Lake and Jenny Lake on a chilly wet day.

The 10 images for the Smoke/Haze Challenge were quite different with 2 photos that included a sun you could barely see, lot of images that included clouds, a number that included layers, and even a camping fire.  Third place was a pano photo by Barney Koszalka with many beautiful layers; the blue haze from the smoke brought you into the image.  The peer mentors thought the top two photos had a very similar theme: a focus on mountains with very little detail and an image within the photo that was almost a negative space.  The 2nd place photo was by David Navratil looking up Cascade Canyon with the mountains have a wee-bit of details, a brownish sky, and a single tree in the foreground; it is a photo that keeps your attention.  And 1st place is a photo by Ericka Tremblay taken on the western slope of the Tetons that has a similarity to David’s mountain shot; silhouette of the mountains, brownish grey sky and mountains, and one image that will really grab you attention – a hot-air balloon. Ericka’s image is very interesting and the slight sunlight on the top of the balloon makes it a very special image.

Since the original assigned theme for September was won by Beth Holmes, she had the right to choose the Challenge Theme for October

 Beth chose Telephoto Landscapes for October. 

August 2020

We are still having Virtual Peer Mentor Meetings and our August meeting was one of our best.  There were  12 very diverse images submitted for our LensFlare-Sunburst-Starburst Theme Challenge.  We started the meeting with a discussion of how the Theme Challenge was a challenge, especially when the smoke took over our skies.  Good lesson for all of us to avoid waiting until the week (or day) before the meeting to take the PM theme images.  In fact,  this was such a good lesson for me to learn that I’m going to write a blog about the value of these challenges in my website.

The 12 images were very diverse with three that seemed to catch the attention of the dozen peer mentors that attended.  We had discussed that there are many kinds of LensFlare images but the vote made it clear that Sunburst images are the ones we really enjoy.  David Navratil’s photo of a river with the sun shining through the trees took 3rd place.  Sue Lurie’s image of a trip to the farm with the sunrise above the barn took a strong 2nd place with a LOT of discussion of what the peer mentors liked about her photo.  And the winner was Gigi Halloran’s beautiful image of the meandering river leading to the setting sun.  We had a lot of very interesting photos but I’d have to say that “beauty” won the competition.

Gigi chose Weather as the Challenge Theme for September.  I hope that we all learned our lesson (myself included) to starting taking shots of the weather starting this week.  Here are the 3 winners:

July 2020

The July Virtual Peer Mentor Meeting was our fourth virtual meeting and I wondered if we would have any entries.  July is always a busy month for local photographers and with the NEOWISE Comet in the night sky it seemed that everyone was busy.  But it turned out that many folks had taken Vanishing Point Theme Challenge photos and even more were out just about every night taking NEOWISE photos.  We started the meeting with a discussion of Vanishing Points and voted on the 10 challenge entries.  With more than a dozen peer mentor voting the final results were as close as your could get with two B&W images and one color shot, and a tie for second and a one vote winner.  There were very different “views” of vanishing points and all three very interesting.  There was a tie for second place with David Navratil’s photo of benches in Colter Bay and Randy Isaacson’s photo of a road less traveled.  The winner was Barney Koszalka’s photo of O’Hare airport in Chicago.  After our vanishing point discussion and voting we turned our attention to about a dozen great NEOWISE photos.  The peer mentor photographers shared information about their night sky photos, the group had some very interesting discussion about exposure, focus, noise reduction, etc, and Aaron Linsdau ended the meeting sharing some good ideas about night photography,

Barney chose Lens Flare/Sunburst/Starburst as the Theme Challenge for August


June 2020

The June Virtual Peer Mentor Meeting was our third virtual meeting and also the first peer mentor meeting the week after the TPC Photo Contest.  We started the meeting with an interesting discussion of photo contests.  The dozen attendees shared their reaction to the organization of the contest and Randy will be sending out a survey to all the peer mentors so that he can share the thoughts of the peer mentors to the Executive Committee.  There were 12 submission of photos for the June Natural Frames Theme Challenge which began with a discussion of what we learned about Natural Frames.  The top 3 photos very different examples of the theme.  Third place was Pene Black’s photo of her Huckleberry Flower, but she wouldn’t tell us where the huckleberry bush was.  Barney Koszalka’s image of the moon rising behind the mountains earned a second place honor.  David Navratil’s bird image was the winner which received quite a few very positive comments.  David chose Vanishing Point as the Theme Challenge for July.

May 2020

The May Peer Mentor Meeting was a Virtual Meeting which brought together the 2nd Wed and 4th Wed Peer Mentor Group using Zoom.  This was our second virtual meeting and once again we had a great submission of theme photos with 15 very diverse Shadow photos.  We started the meeting with a discussion of what good shadow photos might have, which was educational and helpful in our voting.  We are working as a group to use the Theme Challenge each month to improve our photo-eyes, and the May photos show that our themes are pushing us to see differently.  Every one of the 15 photos received at least one vote and we were left with a top-4 that were very different in multiple ways.  Becky Hawkins shadow photo of the wagon wheel and the bicycle earned 4th place with a discussion of how much better it would have been if the bike would have been a bit higher in the image.  Doug and Ben tied for 2nd.  Doug Ayers shadow photo of a tea pot brewing led to a discussion of the sharpness of light and how light impacts shadows.  Ben Nardi mountain photo led to a discussion of how shadows can create emotion and drama in a photo.  Tim Libassi’s chess shadow photo led to an interesting discussion of how color and light can impact a photo and how shadows do not only happen in the sunshine.  Tim chose Natural Frames as the Theme Challenge for June.

April 2020

The April Peer Mentor Meeting was a Virtual Meeting which brought together the 2nd Wed and 4th Wed Peer Mentor Group using Zoom.  Considering it was our first Zoom meeting everyone thought it went quite well with 19 images and about as many peer mentors on-line.  The theme was “In My House” which brought a variety of diverse images and a bit of confusion about the “theme.”  An unclear theme description led to a very different interpretation of the “guidelines” of the theme which in the long run will help the peer mentor group define future themes.  But we had an impressive variety of photos to discuss.  The group also agreed that on-line meetings should last about 60-75 minutes.  Since we had so many theme submissions (19 is by far the most theme submissions) the group decided to identify the top 5 photos.  Barney was the winner and decided on the May theme as SHADOWS.  Here they are:


March 2020

The Theme for the 2nd Wed PMG was Foreground Interest

The 2nd Wed Group had another small attendance with only 7 members attending.  That seems to indicate that the weather in Feb/March was inhibiting or the Covid-19 led many folks to be cautious.  Given the recent concerns about the pandemic, saying home was a pretty good decision.  But the 7 of us had some very good discussions about Foreground and also wildlife photography as we move into the spring season.  Our discussion about Foreground Interest led to good discussion about the photos that were submitted going beyond the usual “leading lines” to discuss bottom bands, corner anchor, and how focus can be used in portraits.  And the top 3 photos were great examples of our discussion.  Sue Lurie’s photo of animal tracks into the B&W image were a great example of leading lines.  Peter Marigolds photo of 3 otters scrambling along the snow led to a discussion of focus (foreground and background were out of focus but the 3 otters were sharp).  Peter also shared a number of amazing shots of the winter life of otters which led to good discussions of wildlife photography from position (e.g., getting down low for otters) to focus.  And the winning Foreground Photo was Beth Holmes B&W photo of the Tetons.  Beth’s photo used a fence by Cunningham’s Cabin as the leading line and willows as the foreground anchor.  Beth decided on the theme for the next meeting – Clouds and Sky. 

February 2020

The Theme for the 2nd Wed PMG was Black & White

As has been the case at winter peer mentor group meetings there was a fairly small attendance at the 2nd Wed Group meeting in February.  But since we had some extra time we did a critique of all 7 of the photos submitted for the Black & White Theme.  We started the discussion and critique with with a discussion of what we learned from the articles on Black and White.  This discussion helped us vote on the the 7 images, including how they fit the criteria of Shadows & Shapes, Contrast & Tones, and Simplicity.  Sue Lurie’s photo of the road to Kelly earned 3rd place which goes to show that going to the monthly photo shoot can really payoff.  Barney Koszalka’s photo of three Bison in the snow at Yellowstone earned 2nd place and a good discussion of monochrome as part of B&W photography.  And Randy won with a semi- abstract view of the morning shadows in his backyard; the only sunny morning in months :-).  Randy decided on a theme at the meeting but then changed his mind and decided the Foreground Interest would be a better winter theme.

The Theme for the 4th  Wed PMG was Panoramas

The meeting of the 4th Wed peer mentors included good photos, good critiques, and quite a bit of very good discussion about Panoramas, topics for questions, and our first “Where I’ve Improved” critique.  It was a meeting you didn’t want to miss and we had a dozen peer mentors and a few others to encourage all of us to Advance Together in our photography.

The Panoramas (and Vertoramas) Theme led to an interesting discussion of how to take good panoramas including actually taking the photos in the field and how to stitch them together.  Mike Jackson gave us very good advice about overlap and the importance of lens correction.  The seven entries for the Panorama Theme all received votes in the first round and 4 images voted upon in the second round.  The winning image was a beautiful clear night sky image of the Teton range by Rachael Dunlap; the stars were sharp and the foreground added to the beauty of the chilly night.  Tim Cully’s photo from Yellowstone was a very interesting and different pano.  You may think of a pano as a wide view of a huge landscape but Tim’s intriguing shot was taken of a winter pond that was probably less that 100 yards long.  His image also led to a discussion of how moving a couple feet can impact the composition of a photo.  There was a tie for third place with two more “common” panos; David Navratil presented another night photography image and Lou Hochheiser’s wide daytime pano of the Tetons.

January 2020

The Theme for the 4th Wed PMG was Fog, Smoke, Steam

We had a small attendance at the 4th Wed Peer Mentor Group due to health reasons for some members and other members were getting ready for the Annual TPC Trip to Yellowstone.  But we had an interesting discussion and photo critique.  We started the meeting with a discussion of what we learned from the Fog, Smoke, and Steam articles which helped us to vote for photos that met the “criteria” from the articles.  We agreed that good foggy/smokey/steamy photos are moody with a simple composition that  typically has a focused foreground with background less sharp.   With only 4 voting peer mentors there was a close vote.  Tim Cully and Terry Jensen tied for 2nd place.  Terry’s photo was a winter shot of a fence along a stream with lots of fog and the Big Hole Mountains in the background.  Tim’s photo was a very unique image of smoke setting-off light in the ceiling of a building – VERY unique.  And the winner was Chris Paige, who was not able to attend, with a photo of swans  in a very dense fog that created a very moody feeling.  Tim and Terry chose Panoramas as the Theme for February.

The Theme for the 2nd Wed PMG was be Food.  

We had a variety of Food images with 3 that really stood out.  We had an interesting discussion of what created a good image of food and it was clear that lighting, a clear identity and attention to the food, and avoidance of distractions; sounds consistent with other photo topics.  Third place was a photo by our friend Mike Jackson whose photo was of pizza ingredients with shadows and interesting background.  Second place was a photo of a cup of coffee and a donut; a simplistic image that gets your attention – time for breakfast.  And the winner is a well structured image by Barney Koszelka of some wine and cheese.  Barney’s photo was the clear-cut winner with balance, delicate lighting, and a beautiful reflection – ready for some wine and cheese?  

November 2019

The theme for for the new 2nd Wednesday Group was Panoramas.  We had a smaller group with only 7 entries since this was our first meeting after splitting up into two groups.  Most of the panos were landscape photo with one unique artistic exception – post office boxes.  Third place was Doug Ayers’ post office boxes, which led to some interesting discussion since he took the shot with his cell phone.  Second place was Tim Libassi’s sunrise photo of the moon over Jackson Lake.  And the winner was Beth Holmes’ sunset shot over Jackson Lake.

The theme for the new 4th Wed Group was Negative Space.  This topic was a great learning experience that showed that each of the peer mentors had a slightly different, or significantly different, “definition” for Negative Space.  Tim Cully’s photo of Jackson Lake from an airplane led to a very educational discussion.  Some of the peer mentors believed that  a true negative space image needed to have only one focal point and that the boat and reflection of the mountains were distracting.  Others thought that the boat added a leading line to the image and that the reflections were not distracting.  It was a thoughtful and educational discussion.  Pene Black’s cherries in snow and David Navratil’s elk and the sand dunes tied for 2nd place.

October 2019


The theme for the October 2nd Wednesday Peer Mentor Group was WEATHER.  We had a really diverse set of images for weather with  Nancy Peters with an image a not-yet-stormy shot of the mountains.  Second place was Beth Holmes image of elk in the middle of a snow storm.  And third place was earned by Rosalis Estes with a beautiful semi-macro image of a frozen leaf.


The theme for the October 4th Wednesday Peer Mentor Group was also WEATHER.  As is sometimes the case we has a close vote for the top three and as often the case the winner had a unique image.  The winner was Ericka Trembley who submitted an abstract photo of the WEATHER – a frozen window.   As is often the case, we had a tie for second place between Tim Cully and Becky Hawkins.  Tim’s photo is an image of the mountains as the storm begins with rain starting to fall.  Becky’s photo focuses on a beautiful orange/yellow sky above the mountains.

September 2019 – Our Last One Group Peer Mentor Meeting


The theme for September was Vehicles/Transportation.  September was our last Peer Mentor Program meeting with only one group; in October we moved to having a 2nd Wed Group and a 4th Wed Group.  The winner of the Vehicles/Transportation Theme was Ben Nardi with an amazing photo of a firefighter plane dropping orange fluid too help put out a fire near the Wildlife Museum.  Randy Isaacson’s B&W image of an old tractor was second place and Tim Cully’s airplane image was third place.


The Theme for August was Creative Blur

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