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.

November 2021

The Theme Challenge for November was Architecture Photography.   There were 15 peer mentors at the meeting.  The meeting began with David Navratil explaining the December 4th meeting at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.  The Jackson museum has an exhibit of the National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Wildlife Photographs and the Teton Photography Club is inviting members to visit the museum December 4th at 11:30 am to  view the photographs, have lunch, and discuss (“critique”?) the photographs.  This would be the first face-to-face meeting of TPC members in almost two years so we are looking forward to having peer mentors “see” one another.  Please contact David Navratil (  to let David know if you plan on attending.

After the discussion of the National Geographic meeting the group discussed the three key characteristic (Composition, Exposure, and Clarity) that we would use in critiquing the Architectural Photos.  These three aspect were used to “review” seven “Not-so-Great” photos that a few peer mentors had agreed to send to Randy.  This is very helpful because it presents images that have been identified as missing key compositions, exposures, or clarity, and the group discusses solutions to the problems.  This discussion is helpful in getting us ready for our critiques. 

There were 11 Architectural Photography submissions with a wide variety of approaches.  Each attending peer mentor (except for Randy and David) had 4 votes in the first round.  Most of the photos received at least one vote with three photos standing out with 11 or more votes.  The remaining 8 photos were critiqued specifically with a focus on composition, exposure, and clarity.  This approach has become very helpful in giving specific informational feedback to each of the peer mentors.  For example, one of the images lacked clarity and the group explored how the image had been exported to discover it only had  64 KB.  This gave the peer mentor guidance in exporting photos; an educational event that went beyond simply pointing out an error.  Peer Mentor critiques can help you solve problems in photography.

The initial voting led to three photos for the second voting.  The 13 voting peer mentors (Randy and David do not vote) resulted in two quality architectural photos and one true standout.

In third place was a photo of “Steelhedge” in Driggs ID.  In 2008  a group started to build the Teton Air Ranch just to the east of the Driggs airport.  After the program started the $$ began to dwindle and the building of multiple airport development buildings stopped.  The “buildings” have never been completed and more than a decade later the property is dangerous but quite revealing of the start of architecture.  Randy has taken a few images of Steelhedge over the last couple years and his 3rd place close-up reveals the first step in architecture.  The photo was taken with a Nikon 500 with a 70-200 2.8 lens 1/80, at f/9.0 ISO 320.  The new LR masking was used to bring color and texture to the sky.

The second place photo by Sue Lurie looks like a beautiful water color painting.  Her photo was taken on the back of the Center for the Arts.  After a number of visits to take a photo of this colorful building, Sue arrived at a time that created beautiful shadows.  The photo was taken with a Canon EOS 90D and a Tamron 18-400 lens at 56 mm.  Sue increased the saturation and used Color Efex Pro (NIK software) to flatten the image.  After her editing to enhance the colors, the geometry, and photo stands out to invite you to enter the building and the photo.

The winner of the Architecture Photography Theme is the B&W photo of the Manhattan Bridge and the One Manhattan Square Building as the storm is approaching in New York City.  He was with a photo workshop but chose to move to include the bridge and the new building together.  The photo was taken on a tripod with a Nikon D850 and a Nikon 28-300 lens at 72mm.  The exposure was 1/250 sec at f/6.3, ISO 64.  In Photoshop, Topaz Denoise, Silver Efex pro for the B&W conversion, the detail extractor filter in Color Efex pro 4 were applied followed by dodging and burning to finish off the image. 

Barney has decided on Panorama for the January 26th Zoom Meeting.  Below are the Top Three photos for our Architecture Theme. To look more closely on these 5 photos click one of the photos and use the arrow button to look at all 5.  Then click on the “X” in the upper-right corner to return to the complete post.

October 2021

The Theme Challenge for October was Texture/Pattern.  There were 14 peer mentors at the meeting to discuss the theme, review a dozen entries, and vote on their favorite photo.  We always have a variety of photo entries but for texture/pattern we had an extremely diverse “type” of photos.  Some peers felt that a photo should have both texture and patterns, others thought that a photo should be about one or the other, while some members thought texture/pattern should be the main focus of the photo while others thought the photo should have a texture or pattern somewhere in the image.  It made for a good discussion before we looked at the 12 entries.

A number of peer mentors were interested in a November Photo Shoot so the group decided to have a sunrise photo shoot on Saturday November 6th.  Randy will contact the peer mentors to decide on a place to meet for the sunrise. We also discussed the TPC presentation by Hector Astorga, a well respected Wildlife Photographer.  Hector’s Zoom presentation will be open to the public and will begin at 6:30 pm on Wednesday November 10th.  More info will be sent to TPC members.

Randy introduced a new approach to give each peer mentor more helpful informational feedback about their submissions.   Before the actual voting for the Theme Challenge, Randy will share some “not-so-great theme images” (which the peer mentors have chosen to send to Randy) to give the group a chance to discuss the critical aspects of the theme photos.  The group is encouraged to explore the Composition, Exposure, Clarity & Focus, and how a not-so-great image meets the “requirements.”  This was a good beginning to the voting of the dozen submissions that was a “warm up” for the group.

Since we had 12 submission the first vote allowed everyone to submit 4 votes.  Each of the photos received at least one vote with 5 photos receiving at least 5 votes.  Each of the images that received less than 5 votes were then given feedback about their composition, exposure, focus, and/or theme.  

The second vote on the final five ranked to top five and gave each of these photos informational feedback on why the peer mentors thought they were a success.  Tim Libassi’s photo of an aspen forest earned an honorable mention. There was a lot of support for the shadows in the foreground.  Sue Lurie’s photo of a spider web with blurry droplets in the background was voted a tie for 3rd place.  The group thought the sharp focus of the spider web in a photo that looked B&W was a pattern that stood out.  Also voted in 3rd place was Tim Cully’s orange feathers.  The discussion focused on the pattern of the feathers-on-feathers as well as the texture on each of the feathers.

The 2nd place photo was Candy Brad’s photo was a small stream in Canada taken from a helicopter.  The group spent a long time discussing the texture of the snow and trees that lead the eye from the lower left hand corner of the photo to the upper right hand corner.  The group liked how the pattern was black-on-white with great detail.  The 1st place photo by Becky Hawkins had great contrast to Candy since Becky’s photo was a very colorful photo of a tunnel at O’Hare airport.  The group really enjoyed the unusual type of texture and pattern that was shown in the lighting along the walls and the triangles in the ceiling.  The escalator and the art on the ceiling take our eyes from front to back thru the tunnel.   

Becky has decided on Architecture Theme for the November 17th Zoom Meeting.   PLEASE BE AWARE THAT NOVEMBER 17th IS THE 3RD WEDNESDAY IN NOVEMBER AND THE LAST PEER MENTOR ZOOM MEETING IN 2021.  Below are the Top Five photos for our Texture/Pattern Theme. To look more closely on these 5 photos click one of the photos and use the arrow button to look at all 5.  Then click on the “X” in the upper-right corner to return to the complete post.

September 2021

The Theme Challenge for September was Fog, Steam, and Smoke.  There were 13 peer mentors at the meeting and everyone that had submitted a photo was at the meeting !  We spent lots of time thoughtfully critiquing each of the 11 photos.  It was a good learning experience for everyone.

We began the meeting with a discussion of the coming meetings in October.  The dates of TPC and PMP meetings have been switched with the Peer Mentor Zoom meeting on Wednesday October 20th and the Teton Photography Club meeting on Wednesday October 27th.  The PMP will have the Texture/Pattern Theme for September and the TPC will have the “What Did I Do” activity in September.  Please recognize that the PMP and the TPC meetings will be switching Wednesday.  The peer mentors also  decided to re-introduce our monthly Photo Shoot.  The group decided on having a PMP Photo Shoot on Saturday morning October 2nd … probably a perfect fall morning.

We began the meeting with a discussion of the challenges of taking photos for our Fog, Steam & Smoke Theme and how this theme challenge compared with previous themes this summer.   The group discussed how various “rules” in Composition Themes compared to General Themes.  It was interesting how different peer members viewed artistic “rules” and how these guidelines impacted taking photos and critiquing photos.

Almost all of the 11 photos received at least one vote with more than half of the photos receiving almost enough votes to be included in the second round.  The group gave fairly detailed critiques to the 8 photos which did not earn participation in the final voting.  These critiques were very valuable, not only for the peer mentor who took the photo but also a general discussion of the critical “ingredients” in good photography.  Maybe we should explore how to expand our critiques of the Theme Challenge Photos in future meetings to help each peer mentor to improve their photography?

After the thoughtful critique the group voted on the final 3 photographs.  These 3 photos were very different Fog, Steam, Smoke Photos with each of them incorporating a very different view of this theme.  AND the voting for the three photos was as close as it could be with two 1st place photos, and one 3rd place photo and only one vote different between the three.

The 3rd place was a steamy infrared photo by Barney Koszalka of the Snake River below the dam.  The group discussed the cold and frosty feeling the photo presented including a discussion of the composition and how the B&W infrared approach brought out the details of the trees and the river.  Barney used the infrared to bring out the fog over the river and the stormy sky.

The 1st place duo show a very different use of the Fog, Steam, Smoke Theme.  

Sue Lurie’s photo taken off the highway south of Jackson demonstrated how depth of field dramatically sets off the smoke in the forest with great varied color in the foreground bushes.  The detail of the colorful bushes grabs your attention and the smokey conifers in the background remind you that it is a very smokey day.  

Arnie Brokling’s photo of pure-smoke is very different but also very inline with the Smoke Theme for the peer mentors.  Arnie setup a theater for smoke in his kitchen and developed a smoke-on-black image that gets the viewer trying to figure out theme: Is that a skeleton?  There was no discussion of whether Arnie’s photo met the “rule” of a Fog, Steam, Smoke Theme but there was a lot of discussion of how he arranged the image and what it signified.

Sue and Arnie decided on Texture/Patterns Theme for the October 20th Zoom Meeting.   Below are the Top Three photos for our Fog, Steam, and Smoke Challenge. To look more closely on these 3 photos click one of the photos and use the arrow button to look at all 3.  Then click on the “X” in the upper-right corner to return to the complete post.

August 2021

The Theme Challenge for August was Minimalist.  There were 13 Minimalist submissions with lots of discussion about the challenge of taking minimalist photos.

We began the August meeting with a discussion of the new TPC September program called “Ask the Experts.”  This program invites TPC members to submit a photography question to for our board to identify an expert who will answer the question at a Zoom meeting on Wednesday September 15th.  We are looking forward to some interesting questions from a variety of skilled TPC photographers.

Our last two PMP Zoom Challenge Themes have been Macro and Minimalism which both have a somewhat specific “definition.”  We have started out each of the last two meetings with a discussion of the “guidelines” (Is that a better definition that definition?) which was followed by critiquing images that were not submitted and only somewhat met the guidelines.  These discussions of photos that don’t really meet these guidelines seem to help the peer mentors get “warmed-up” thinking about what to look for when they vote for the best photos for the challenge.  And they have led to helpful critiques for every photo submission.

After David collected the votes for the 13 images (each peer mentor was allowed 4 votes) the group critiqued the 9 non-finalist photos.  These critiques were very valuable, not only for the peer mentor who took the photo but also to further define the criteria the group used to vote for minimalist photos.

After the initial critique the group voted on the 4 Finalists.  Third place was a tie between Rachael Dunlop and Arnie Brokling.  These two photos were very different approaches to minimalism.  Rachel’s photo was a line of fir trees at Pilgrim Creek Road (I wonder if there were any bears there that she couldn’t see).   This will be remembered as the summer of the smoke and Rachael’s photo does a good job of showing that off.  Also tied for 3rd is Arnie Brokling’s photo of a single tree north or Mormon Row right after a storm.  After a long dry summer we will all remember the welcome rain that came late in August.

The second place photo was taken by Louis Brad.  His beautiful photo of a Harbor Seal was taken in Alaska where he said it was always raining.  The slick seal really stands our among the green ripples that minimizes the surrounding.

The winning photo was taken by Sue Lurie.  He gorgeous prairie image is a classic minimalistic image of five sheds and a couple barns in the distance among a golden farm field.  The critique by the peer mentors often mentioned how her photo image looked exactly like a painting with a foreground that was in focus, the barn images standing out, and a grey somewhat stormy sky.  We even compared her photo to a book cover; do you remember that book?

Sue was in a bit of a loss when we asked her for her choice of the September Challenge (since she was the Challenge Winner two months in a row).  The group gave her some help and she decided on Fog, Steam, and Smoke as the Challenge Theme for next month.

Below are the Top four photos for our Minimalist Challenge. To look more closely on these 4 photos click one of the photos and use the arrow button to look at all 4.  Then click on the “X” in the upper-right corner to return to the complete post.

Sue chose Fog, Steam, and Smoke as the Theme Challenge for August.  Given that this has been the Summer of Smoke we should have plenty of opportunities to collect examples.  We will have the articles for this new theme in the near future.

July 2021

The Theme Challenge for July was Macro.  There were 14 Macro photos submitted and the Zoom meeting was attended by 18 peer mentors.  At the May/June Zoom meeting the peer mentors had decided to move to two meetings in August (one Zoom and one Face-to-Face meeting) but due to an increase in COVID-19 problems we decided to continue to have only one Zoom meeting on August 25th.

The peer mentors discussed the TPC Summer Picnic that occurred at Curtis Canyon.  About a dozen peer mentors had attended the picnic and the response was very positive.  The TPC Board has discussed having another picnic in August and the peer mentors discussed where we might have another picnic on August 18th.  After discussing a variety of possible locations the peer mentors decided on suggesting to the Board that the picnic be at either Snake River Overlook, Blacktail Pond Overlook, or the Rendezvous Park.

As a lead-in to our critique of the photos that have been submitted, we always have a discussion of what we have learned about the  the Monthly Theme.  Our discussion of Macro Photography was very educational with a “focus” (sorry about the pun) on the importance of focus and the value of having a TPC workshop on focus stacking.  The group was very interested in the value of a macro lens and  impact of using focus stacking to improve macro photographs.  This discussion certainly impacted the importance of sharp focus as we viewed our 14 macro photos.

For the first time we had a brief critique at the meeting of 3 photos that were NOT part of the vote.  This helped the group continue our discussion of what were the important variables to create a good macro photo.  This could be a valuable addition to future Monthly Themes.

Since there were 14 photos submitted each peer mentor had 4 votes to submit for their favorite macro photos.  After David collected the votes we critiqued the 10 photos that had not reached the Final Four.  Almost all of the photos received at least one vote and each of the photos received valuable informational feedback.  In the last year these critiques of every one of the photos has been helpful information, not just to the person who took the photo but also leads to discussion of a variety of aspects of the theme.

Charlotte Kidd’s photo of a beautiful blue Damselfly was tied for 3rd place.  The detail in the slim blue body continued a discussion of the importance of a specific focus in in macro photos. The green blurry background was a great setup for the blue Damselfly.  Charlotte must have really steady hands since she took this super close-up photo withOUT a tripod … WOW

Also in 3rd place was Becky  Hawkins photo of morning dew bubbles on a web with each of the bubbles magnifying the grass below the web.  The peer mentors had a lengthy discussion of Becky’s photo since she also did not use a tripod (another steady hand) and she was interested in suggestions on the composition.

In 2nd place was a striking yellow Mountain Dandelion which Barney Koszalka photographed in his home.  Barney’s photo pointed out how critical it can be to take macro photos since he used focus stacking (Helicon Focus software) to combine 56 images that had been taken with a 60 mm macro lens.

Sue Lurie’s photo that took 1st place had no color; it was “just” a B&W photo of mushrooms that she took in her home.  But if I remember correctly, this photo received more votes than any recent theme photo for any topic.  The discussion of Sue’s photo brought out many plusses and no suggestions for any changes.  The clear focus and the depth of field leading to a slightly blurred mushroom in a shadow will really catch your eye.

We ended up talking about macro photography and our 14 photos for almost 2 hours and I believe the discussion was helpful to everyone. Below are the Top four photos for our Macro Challenge. To look more closely on these 4 photos click one of the photos and use the arrow button to look at all 4.  Then click on the “X” in the upper-right corner to return to the complete post.

Sue chose Minimalism as the Theme Challenge for August.  We will have the articles for this new theme in the near future.

May/June 2021

The Theme Challenge for April and May was Silhouette.  Due to a variety of complications the peer mentor meeting in May was moved to June 9th, which will be the only Peer Mentor Program meeting in June 2021.  This early June meeting may be followed by a Zoom Meeting (7/14) and a Face-to-Face meeting at Meridian Trust (7/28): More details to come in the near future as we all hope for the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to be under control.

The May/June Zoom meeting was attended by slightly more than a dozen peer mentors to critique 12 dramatically different Silhouette photos.   But we began the meeting with a discussion of Gigi’s future trip to Alaska (in case anyone wished to also attend) and a fairly short “lesson” on the new LightRoom Enhancement feature.  The Enhancement feature was viewed as quite important to many of the peer mentors; we will encourage a more in-depth lesson in the near future.  Take a look yourself and let us know what you think.

The group then discussed the “evolution” of the future peer mentor meeting and arrived at these suggested solutions:  

  1. Each month, starting in July we will have two peer mentor meetings: one Zoom meeting (second Wed 7/14) and one Face-to-Face meeting (fourth Wed 7/28);
  2. Anyone can attend either or both meetings;
  3. The Zoom Meeting will continue “as-is” and the Face-to-Face as-it-was;
  4. Each meeting will have their own theme;
  5. Any new ideas should be sent to Randy (

Our theme for the month was Silhouette, which was our first Photography Composition theme which led to a very educational discussion of the theme.  The “definition” of a silhouette from the TPC website articles was “A silhouette is created when you photograph a subject against a bright background where the viewer only sees the shape of the subject” (Randy’s interpretation).  This discussion included quite a bit of explanation of how to look for silhouettes and the exposure and focusing challenges.  It was an educational discussion for any attendees who had not taken these types of photos.

After a review of the voting there was a slight change in the Final Top 5 Photos.  In first place was Tim Cully’s night shot of the Elk at the Wildlife Art Museum with a beautiful Milky Way background.  The comments of this photo made it clear that this image was a winner!  Also in first place was a unique iPhone photo (yep, a good photographer can take good photos with a smart phone) of a dandelion in B&W by Barney Koszalka.  

In second place was an image by Charlotte Kit of a pronghorn on a Teton hillside surrounded by cactus … oh wait, those  objects don’t all live in the same place.  Turns out that Charlotte pulled together a Photoshop collect to create her silhouette.  Third place was taken by David Navratil of an elephant in front of a wispy tree and a beautiful sky.  Hmm, David hadn’t been off to Africa but he did have an object he could put in front of a beautiful sky.  David and Charlotte demonstrated how a photographer could build a silhouette photo.  In fourth place was Randy Isaacson’s lens-flare of three lamp post in his yard with a evening storm on the way.  And the second fourth place was a fishing boat coming into a harbor in Maine with a beautiful sunset in the background by Lou Hochheiser.

Barney and Tim decided on Macro as the July 14th Challenge Theme for the next Zoom Meeting.  The next Peer Mentor Zoom Meeting will be on the 2nd Wednesday in July.  If the COVID-19 remains in control in Jackson it is very likely that there will be a Face-to-Face Peer Mentor Meeting in Meridian Trust on the 4th Wednesday July 28th.  More information will be sent to all peer mentors by e-mail in the coming month. 

Below are the Top Five photos for our Silhouette Challenge. To look more closely on these 5 photos click one of the photos and use the arrow button to look at all 5.  Then click on the “X” in the upper-right corner to return to the complete post.

April 2021

For April 2021 the Theme Challenge was Creative Blur.  The April Zoom meeting had about 16 attendees and there were 14 Creative Blur photos submitted.  This was the first time we had a Creative Blur Theme since August 2019 and the submitted photos were very different from the previous challenge.  Hmm, I wonder it that was due to the articles that Louis submitted?  Does that sound like I am encouraging you to read the articles … YEP 🙂   The diversity of the images was impressive and every one of the photos received at least one vote in the first round of voting.

After the initial voting, the group critiqued the 10 images that did not make the final vote.  The PMP members have frequently talked about the value of receiving feedback on their photos and I believe everyone who attended the zoom meeting appreciated receiving a critique of their photo.

After the critique of the 10 images the group voted on the top 4 images for the second round.  The voting was extremely close which was clear when we had a discussion of these photos.  The critique after the final vote was very positive as many folks stated that they could have voted for any of these 4 as the best image.  In fact, the photo that was voted 4th in the Final Vote was the photo that had receive the most votes in the first round.

Candy Brad’s photo of 3 moving bison was voted 4th place (2 votes from 1st). The group had an extended discussion of what they were learning about Creative Blur and how panning from side-to-side  led to this photo.   The 2nd place tie-vote was by Louis Brad and was also a photo of a bison but Louis’ photo was a zoom blur that also had a lot of discussion.  A key factor that Louis shared was how putting the bison directly in the middle of the “blur.”  The other 2nd place photo was by Tim Cully of a forest of aspen trees.  The group was very positive about how Tim’s “blur” was clear enough that the photo was not abstract and the soft color drew the viewer into the “forest.”  The 1st place photo was by Charlotte Kid from her backyard in North Carolina AND it was taken with an iPhone.  This Creative Blur was also clear enough that the peer mentors knew what the composition was, really liked the red-color blur in the foreground,  and were also drawn into the path into the forest.  The two larger trees set-up the “picture.”

Charlotte’s chose Silhouette as the May Photography Composition Theme. Charlotte has already sent me 6 excellent article for taking Silhouette photos, which I strongly encourage that you read ASAP.  Silhouette is not a super-difficult challenge IF you read the article Charlotte has chosen.

Below are the Top Four photos for our Creative Blur Challenge. To look more closely on these 4 photos click one of the photos and use the arrow button to look at all 4.  Then click on the “X” in the upper-right corner to return to the complete post.

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