That went fast.
There is something to be said for getting through Winter at record speed, but the end of the year has really snuck up on me. I know we have big storms ahead here in the Endless Mountains of PA, but today's 51 degree weather sure is playing some kind of "fooled you" game.
I've been thinking through the year in terms of my photography journey. Honestly, I have shared much of what has occurred in previous blogs during the year, but let me just review the highlights.
Master of Photography
In April of 2023, after 2.5 years of hard work, I received my Master of Photography degree from Professional Photographers of America (PPA).
I am happy to say, I achieved the degree using ONLY animal/pet and nature photos. This was also a personal choice, since pets are my photographic specialty.
This achievement is the top highlight of my year, but it hasn't stopped me from continuing my education in the field of photography. I have taken numerous courses this year, not only to continue to enhance my work, but to also keep up with new technology and equipment.
Achievements and Recognitions
I was honored this year, at the Professional Photographers Association of Pennsylvania's (PPAofPA) Inspire and Capture image competitions, to have my work recognized by a distinguished panel of judges.
From left to right above: "Seaside Serenity" garnered the Best Illustrative Nature trophy at the PPAofPA Inspire competition, as well as a Judge's Choice award. "Unscholarly Activity" won Best Animal Portrait at the PPAofPA Capture competition. This is the second year in a row in which I have won a trophy for best animal portrait at Capture. "Suspended" garnered a Judge's Choice award at the Capture print competition as well. (Click on the individual photos to enlarge them.)
Northeastern Pennsylvania Professional Photographers Association (NPPPA)
Over the course of 2023, I competed in three local print competitions through NPPPA. Submitting four prints in each of the March, May and September events, the results were:
- March - 4 Blue Ribbon prints, 2 prints made the Court of Honor
- May - 3 Blue Ribbon prints, 2 prints in the Court of Honor
- May - Director's Award for the Highest Scoring Print of the competition
- May - Fassbender Trophy for Best of Show
- September - 4 Blue Ribbon prints, 2 prints in the Court of Honor
- September - Director's Award for the Highest Scoring Print of the competition
I met new families, new pets, new high school seniors, and new businesses this past year. I love meeting and working with new people and pets, but I am also always glad to see my repeat clients return for more photo sessions. Puppies and kids growing up, new additions to the family, and special occasions are just some of the reasons clients return, but many have told me it's also because of the great experience they have had in the past when it comes to having their portrait work done.
This is always good to hear, as I definitely keep an eye to detail, offer new products, and keep an open and flowing communication line between myself and the client during the order fulfillment process.
Sometimes all it takes is a Santa hat and some digital backdrops, or a decorated tree set up in the studio.
The bulk of my sessions are completed in November, but I was actually able to squeeeeezzze in some December quick sessions, and as usual, did my own holiday cards last minute after everyone else's were completed. Working with great photo labs is so helpful to the process of getting things on time, so I wasn't worried.
What's In Store for '24?
New camera alert. I am finally a member of the mirrorless tribe, and over the holiday being busy did not give me much time to experiment with the new addition. So in the New Year I will be getting used to working with the Nikon Z5.
At the end of January, I will once again coordinate a juried Photography and Art Show at the Clarks Summit Ice Festival.
As noted above, in the spring I will receive a state affiliate degree. I also hope to receive my Animal Image Makers Accreditation in the spring. I only need ONE MORE IMAGE to merit to meet this goal.
I've signed up for some artificial intelligence (AI) classes. AI is showing up in all things, and while it is not allowed in PPA print competition, it is an effective tool in enhancing creativity in other areas of photographic work.
Well, that's 2023 in a nutshell.
I hope you all have a Happy New Year! Stay healthy, happy and safe. I'd love to add you to my ever-growing client family in 2024.