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KKHPhotos.Com ~ Life Lit Up

Knowledge Gained

The Kansas Professional Photographers Association’s  2017 Winter Expo has come and gone. This KPPA event was no less amazing than any of the other’s that I have attended over the last three years. This bunch of hard working, and very talented, photographers really know how to put on a “show”!

The weekend kicked off in a darkened room where image after image (nearly 130 in total) were projected on a wall for all to see. While we enjoyed the images the judges were hard at work. This was the judging. The Judging! That once a year, stick your neck out there, and have your work torn apart by some of the best photography judges in the country, judging.  Photographers from all over the state entered their best in hopes of taking home a heavy little piece of glass, a piece of ribbon, or maybe even a wooden plaque! These photographers included little ol’ me. Sometimes I have a hard time realizing that I am actually “one of them”. That my images can hold their own against the crowd. Among those nearly 130 images that were being judged were four of mine. I entered an image titled Tiffany, one titled Step by Step, one with the title of Walk A Little Slower Son, and one that I called Intensity. And I waited…

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The judges were tough. They really know their stuff and aren’t afraid to tell you like it is. Just listening to the judges discuss an image, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, is a great learning experience all of it’s own. We sat as silent as we could. This large group of creative minded individuals all hoping for the same thing. Hoping to hear a nice high number when our image comes around.

The highest score you can receive is 100. This night the highest score given was 89. When I heard how tough the judges were and saw photographer’s whos work I admier and consider to be amazing art getting scores in the 80s and high 70s I didn’t think I stood a chance. I knew then there was no way I was going home with any of that glass, none of those ribbibon,  and certainly not a plaque. Not this year; Id have to be happy with the awards earned in the past. But still I listened and watched and waited. Waited to hear what would be said as my work appeared.

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Whoa! I wondered if I had heard right! Did I really hang in there and manage scores that were right there with some of those “big guys”!! Oh yes I did! Just so close to that piece of glass, just so close.

Intensity, a black and white image of a mountain lion isolated on white, received a score of 78. That’s OK! I’ll take that!

Step by Step, an image of a beautiful tiger walking straight at me, received a score of 79. Better! Just so close to that coveted 80 points of those images that are deserving of a merit.

Walk A Little Slower Son, a soft image focused on a single pink rose with an elderly mother and her son walking among the flowers fading into the distance, received a score of 79. Plus a fraction or two of that last point. So close!! I was told that this image nearly brought tears to the eyes of two of those tough judges. You can’t put that on the shelf!

Then there’s Tiffany, a big old hairy gorilla shot in profile as she thoughtfully looked off into the distance. Tiffany and I had a nice long visit that day and I told her I’d do my best to make her famous! She seemed pleased with that thought. Well Tiffany; I got you an 81! Yep; you were “in the running” for that glass.

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When the scoring was done this group of photographers, some of us very happy with our scores other’s maybe not so much [but still better for having taken part in this amazing experience] moved on out of the darkened room and into a fun filled night. We shared a meal, spent time visiting, learning, and laughing. While the judges continued to work. They had the difficult job of taking all those images, that had scored 80 and above, and deciding which would take home what awards. These higher scoring images were once again put through the ringer in a head to head competition and awarded their places.

The rest of us would have to wait once again until the following night when, at the annual banquet, the winners would be announced. I was so happy to see friends who have worked so hard be called up to the front and handed those awards. I was proud to know that some of my friends were receiving even higher awards than just our state image competition. It was an amazing evening, with great food, beautiful images, and again laughter, and learning.

and learn we did. With a weekend filled with amazing speakers I filled a notebook full of notes. Notes about Photoshop techniqes, image storage, photography tips, and even marketing!

No. I didn’t bring home any glass, or ribbon, or wood this time but what I did bring home is something even far more valuable.

Knowledge Gained

Each and everytime I attend these events my skills improve.  So look out everyone!! I may have missed the mark this year but I have dusted off those old awards, made room on the shelf for more, and have sharpened up my skills for next year. Yep; next year I’m bringing home some of that glass again!! You just watch me.web_walk_a_little_slower_son

2016 OMG!

The other day I grabbed the new calendar, and the old calendar, and began filling in important things like birthdays and anniversaries for the new year. In the process I looked back over 2016 and; well I have only three little letters to describe it…

OMG!

What a year it was with ups and downs, joy and pain, fun and stress, and everything that comes with it all. So at the risk of sounding like a teenager on snap chat…

2016- OMG!

In January 2016 I started out with the best intentions of working hard to improve my photography skills. I planned a few personal photo projects to keep me shooting, have a little fun, and brush up on those rusty skills. I did get off to a good start but that didn’t last long. January also brought New Year’s fun with the kids home, and junior high basketball to shoot. Oh, and yes, I did start those photo projects and had some fun with minimalism. All in all it was a great start to the year.sports_photography_indoors_high_school_gym_0591

February was a lot of fun with the KPPA Winter Expo. So many new things to learn, friends to catch up with, and the excitement of the KPPA print competition! And WHOO HOO! I brought home two more awards!!! Who would have guessed? There was more junior high basketball to shoot, crocheting and crafting to do for upcoming craft fairs and vendor events, a wintry day spent walking at the lake, a visit to a zoo, and yep I even worked on another one of those photo projects! February’s project was black and white. We had some icy days across the state this month and on one of those days my son, K, slipped and went over backwards with his head rapidly meeting the concrete. Good thing he had some aunts working near by to drive him to the ER for stitches. OUCH!!blog_kppa_awards_2016_IMG_1482

March – Hmm what did happen in March? Whatever it was I didn’t get it on the calendar! One thing I do remember is that was the month my warranty expired. You know like the week after the warranty expires on your new stove and it all of a sudden won’t bake those cookies anymore. I know that’s when my warranty expired because that’s when I began to fall apart. I deal with vestibular issues, migraines, diabetes, high blood pressure, and sever fatigue on a regular basis but I think it really started with a consult at the dentist/oral surgeon. [keep in mind as you read that this dentist is a three hour drive away, every visit means six hours of driving time and many of the doctors are as far away as a two hour drive] He told me what I figured he would and scheduled many other appoints to follow. And, as of the writing of this post, I am still dealing with this one. UGH. Did I work on a photo project in March? I don’t even remember.blog_isolated_object-IMG_2429

April gave me the opportunity to try something new when I started taking my crafts to a few events. Along with the crochet toys, hats, and dishcloths I also took a few KKH Photos prints and greeting cards! My first event was something called The Chicken Festival. it was a good thing that #4 and #7 were there to help or I never would have gotten set up in time. Oh if I could only sit at a booth and sell things and walk the event and shoot at the same time! April also brought me a brand new pair of sneakers with my KKH Photos logo and much more painted all over them by my nephew BA. Oh and I got in another visit to the zoo, a walk around the lake with beautiful flower gardens, and some more Photoshop practice.

May – YIKES! I started those never ending trips back and forth to the dentist, those drives seem to get longer and longer every time I make them. In May I rode in a police car for the first time. D and I had been in a town about 30 miles from home to celebrate my birthday with dinner and a movie when on the way home we discovered that deer really can fly! Well when met with a Trailblazer traveling at 65mph they can at least become airborne. The sheriff’s officer who responded to our call drove us nearly home where a friend , DW, met us and took us on the rest of the way. And in May we lost D’s mother, he and his sisters were by her side for the final goodbye, and as sad as that is, at least we know that she is finally pain free.kansas wheat harvest 2016

June saw more visits to the dentist and the pain and misery that goes along with that. It also gave me a chance to capture a few images of golden Kansas wheat, time for crafty creations [one of which I now have a license to sell as an officially licensed product with CLP labels and everything! It’s a WuShock and if you ever heard of WSU basketball I’m sure you know what that is. Oh, and I made time for another photo project and worked on isolated objects. Not sure if that really counts because it’s something I do a lot of anyway. June also brought with it a few doctor appointments. Yep, falling apart here. But I will try to fall with style. 😀fb-IMG_3463

July is always a fun month with the 4th and those colorful fireworks! I think I just might have shot as many images as everyone else shot firecrackers!! I entered a few crafty creations and a few photos in our county fair and was very happy to come home with red, blue, and purple ribbons! The fair also brings lots of photo opportunities from the parade to the rodeo. You should have seen the dirt caked on my face after shooting the dirt track races! I looked like a mud monster. There were more doctor appointments, L & M moved to a “new” old house, and grandpuppy Pablo came to stay with us for a few months again.blog-IMG_4187

August is always full of summer fun and this year was no exception. I had the privilege to spend a day shooting the Alton Ks Jubilee again. It may be a small town but they know how to put on a big event! With things like a nice parade, car show, human foosball, and mud volleyball it’s always a fun day and there’s always something to shoot. Yes August had more than its share of doctor appointments and dentist visits but it also brought some family time with my sisters and a visit to our Mother’s grave. I even managed a visit to the zoo! [have you noticed a theme by now?]fb_img_6026

September brought fun, fellowship, and learning opportunities at the KPPA Fall Expo where I won a copy of Topaz Adjust as a door prize. Yes! More awesome image editing!!! Much to learn. September also took me back to the power plants where I had the opportunity to take several shots from a higher vantage point and shoot another awesome fundraiser event. I had an image used by a law firm in a Best of Topeka magazine ad for the best lawyer of the year! I took my crafty creations and a few prints to a small fall craft fair; this time with help from L & M. There was time to crochet more Wu Shocks and flip-flop slippers more, and more doctor and dentist appointments. September ended with some family time at #4’s farm where all but one of us eight siblings were in the same place at the same time!blog_img_6677

October – I found myself stranded on the side of the road with a blown out tire [5 men appeared practically out of nowhere to help before D was able to find me. One simply jumped off his tractor out in the field, one brought his 18 wheeler to a screeching halt, and three appeared in pick-up trucks. Good old Kansas roads!] I spent time with family, went to a 25th wedding anniversary party that was missing the groom due to a case of food poising, visited the Keeper Of The Plains after dark and found an ugly old troll, shot some little kids football, created a new website for a non-profit, and yes, made it to the Zoo! I even got new KKH Photos t-shirts all black and orange! There were more doctor appointments and dentist visits, began work for the craft cooperative [The Craft Basket] and spent a day at a big craft fair.blog_img_7912

In November I  made it to one high school football game to grab some sub-state images of those boys of fall at their last home game of the season. The kids made it home for Thanksgiving Day, I rapidly crocheted and crafted for those Christmas orders, worked at The Craft Basket, saw those doctors, had a short dinner time visit with some of D’s family on a night that we were all in the same city at the same time, and made time for a girl’s night out with a couple of crafty friends.

December was just a crazy month. It really gets the OMG award for the year! Let’s just make a list: junior high basketball to shoot, two surgeries at once, recovery, Christmas at L & M’s with a Christmas migraine, a biopsy, recovery, MRIs, physical therapy, doctor appointments, spinal injection,  working at The Craft Basket, Christmas party, dentist appointment not gone well with pain still there, grand-puppy Pablo went home again, those dang muscle and nerve issues from all the spine issues, a quiet New Year’s Eve at home with D and a warm fuzzy blanket and some TV… It’s a good thing D and my sisters have been around to help out!

January 2017 – starting off just like 2016 ended.

As I sit here doing my best to type with a still stiff left hand and arm, an achy back, and indescribable pain from the dentist visit earlier this week (and not looking forward to the 3 hour drive to visit him again tomorrow) I can’t help but think 2017 will have to work hard to beat 2016.

Bring it on 2017! I’m up for the challenge!