PMP – 2021 Monthly Theme Gallery

2021 Peer Mentor Monthly Theme Gallery

Each month the TPC Peer Mentor groups have a meeting that begins with a Theme Challenge where the peer mentors vote and critique the photos submitted for the monthly theme.  In “normal years” there are two groups and each group has its meeting in Jackson.  Starting in 2020 and continuing into 2021 there has only been one Zoom meeting each month.  We are all hoping we can move to 2 meetings a month where we meet TOGETHER !

This 2021 Gallery will display the “winners” of each of the monthly challenges with a description of the theme and the submissions.  I hope you will find the new galleries easier to review than the old galleries that jumped around :-).  To view a large version of each photo, simply click on the photo and it will immediately enlarge.

March 2021

For March 2021 the Theme Challenge was Running Water.  Our March Zoom meeting had about 20 attendees.  At our PMP February meeting it seemed that the weatherman wouldn’t give us any help to “find” Running Water photos.  But soon the sun came out, the snow and ice began to melt, and it seemed like a great time to get out in the wild and take photos of running water in streams, down waterfalls, and just about any place you might want to take Running Water Photos.  Oh-so-pleasant to get outside amid the covid-19 !  Lots of sunny warmer days to view melting snow.

The peer mentor meeting began with a technical zoom problem (new MacBook software has a zoom challenge) but the group was understanding. We moved on to review the new Photography Composition Themes and a discussion of what to look for in a Running Water photo.  Most of the discussion focused on what to do, and how we learned, to take good running water photos.  There were 14 Challenge Theme photos and about a dozen of them were taken outside with two taken indoors.   After the first vote (since there were 14 submitted photos, each peer mentor had 4 votes) the group critiqued the 10 photos that did not earn a second round.  Every photo had received at least one vote with 4 photos earning a second vote.  The peer mentors have been very interested in receiving more feedback and even though this feedback was limited to 1-2 minutes per photo, these critiques were well received.

After our critique of 10 photos each peer mentor had one vote to decide on the top photos.  The 4th place photo was by Michael Cohen which showed strong emotion and a tear, which was clearly “Running Water” but one of only two monthly photos that was not taken outdoors.  The 3rd place photo was by Becky Hawkins of the Moose Falls water fall in the very south of Yellowstone NP.  If you have ever hiked to Moose Falls you know that could be dangerous in nasty weather; how about CC skiing to the falls for this beautiful photo?  We are glad to have Becky back with us in one piece.  The 2nd place photo was by Sue Lurie of another water falls south of Jackson.  It certainly wasn’t as dangerous to take as Becky’s, but Sue’s panorama shot is a beautiful view of  cascading water in the winter.   And the winner of the Running Water Theme Challenge was a photo by Louis Brad that was taken outside.  But where was it taken?  It looks like a satellite near Mars or Saturn but … it was at Louis’ hot tub.  His Running Water shot was taken at night with a Nikon 810, 24-70 lens @ 34mm, for 10 seconds @2.8.  That was certainly not water running down a stream or a water fall but it certainly was Running Water.

Louis chose Creative Blur for the April Theme Challenge.  Louis and I will put together a set of articles to help all the peer mentors learn about “Intentional Camera Movement” and “Rear Curtain Flash”.  Sounds like we have a “art theme” that doesn’t have any clearly established “Rules.”  Fun stuff to try something new for most of our peer mentors.

To view more details of these photos, click on one of the photo.  

February 2021

For February 2021 the Theme Challenge was Natural Frames.  Our February Zoom meeting was attended by about 20 peer mentors to decide on which of the 14 submissions was the best example of Natural Frames.  This was a challenging theme for a couple reasons.  First, the weather wasn’t very helpful in February since it snowed almost every day; nice for skiers, not too great for photographers who were looking for some sun.  Second, Natural Framing isn’t an easy photo theme since the “guidelines” aren’t as clear-cut as a theme like B&W.  If you would like to learn more about “Natural Framing” check out the PMP-Monthly Theme Articles and then review the four finalist photos.  These are 4 good photos … but are they all Natural Framed photos?

Which photos are examples of a Natural Frame composition?  Which ones do YOU believe do NOT meet the guidelines that are stated in the Natural Frame articles.  The Peer Mentor Program has added a type of theme (“Photography Composition”) to the monthly theme challenge to give us an opportunity to begin to explore the “essential ingredients” in a variety of composition elements.  Whenever the monthly theme is one of the Photography Composition Themes we will have an opportunity to discuss the characteristics of the composition and critique each photo using the criteria within the articles.  To look more closely on these 4 photos click one of the photos and use the arrow button to look at all 4.


January 2021

After two months of winter, the peer mentors had quite a bit of time to take great photos for the ICE Theme Challenge for January 2021.  Last night 15 people came thru with very diverse eye catching photos of ice this winter.  We began our 50th Peer Mentor Program Meeting (we will have to wait to celebrate our 4 year photography community) discussing two new TPC programs (the WDID “What Do I Do” and the “Post Processing Challenge”).  The peer mentors who attended the WDID meeting last week were very positive about  what they learned at the meeting and are looking forward to the Post Processing Challenge.

We then discussed the challenge of ICE Theme, including chilly weather but also exposure, macro challenges, and where to go for good shots.  We then turned our attention to the 15 ICE photos that were submitted and adopted a new approach which would give constructive feedback to more photos.  Rather that simply voting for the top 3 photos, we decided (actually Randy decided) that the initial voting would depend on the number of submitted photos.  When only 10 or less photo were submitted, each mentor attending would vote for their 3 favorite photos.  But when 11-14 photos were submitted, each attendee voted for 4 photos, and when 15 or more photos were submitted, each attendee voted for 5 photos.  Then after the “first round” the group would critique the top 3 or 4 or 5 photos before the second round of voting when each attendee had a single vote.  This approach gave the top 5 photos a lot of valuable feedback which gave all the attendees thoughtful reasons for their last single vote.  The more effective informational feedback we have from the peer mentors, the more we can learn together.  We had a lot of valuable discussion that I believe helped all of us learn.

There was a tie for 4th place.  Barney Koszalka‘s photo of two lemons in the ice gave good balance and details to what first looks like a “simple” photo” but it does grab your attention.  Becky Hawkinswas the other 4th place with a macro photo of ice on a creek; the detail in the ice grabs your eye as the blurry stream passes under the ice.  Sue Lurie‘s 3rd place photo of an “ice pebble  island” on a cold winter morning grabs your attention with the morning fog and the light tree.   The 2nd place photo grabs your attention right away until you figure out what has been photographed … but it is interesting even if you don’t know what it is.  David Navratil‘s 2nd place photo is a block of ice being broken with an ice pick.  The white ice and dark background keep drawing your eye to the detail in the ice and you wonder how he got that detail with one shot: he used a 20 shots per second camera !  And the winning photo was a very artistic shot of a small puddle turned into ice as Susan Drew was walking her dog.  The details of this macro shot takes you beyond simply ICE to wonder about the depth and details in this photo.  You may be thinking “What is that?” but soon move beyond the question and enjoy the beauty.

Susan chose Natural Framing as the February Theme Challenge.  Natural Framing was the theme challenge for June 2020 so you can get moving on taking some great shots by reading the articles in the PMP-Monthly Theme Articles and by checking out the photos from June 2020.  The June 2020 photo were good images but we are looking forward to even stronger Natural Framing.  Check-out the articles to get some ideas about Natural Framing.

To return to the PMP – Monthly Theme Gallery Main Page CLICK HERE