Last-minute photo gift ideas

Only a few more days till Christmas. Are you filled with that holiday spirit yet? To me, the winter holidays mean two things: giving and taking . . . giving photo-related gifts and taking seasonal photos.

If you’re looking for last-minute photo gift ideas to share with 4-H photo project members, there are dozens of possibilities. If you are looking for holiday photo ideas, those possibilities are limitless, too. (more…)

Deciding on a camera

So, you want a new digital camera for the holidays! But what should you buy? Today there are tons of options, which is good and bad. You have a much better chance today to get the camera you want at the price you want, but you will have to do some work to find it.

Thanks to the Internet, though, you have a ready source of information to compare cameras before you purchase. And if you’re near a store that sells cameras, you can try out your possible choices before you make your final selection. That will take some time, so the first thing you need to do is start early enough so you have the time. You don’t want to be rushed into a decision. Here are some things to consider as you decide. (more…)

Photo walks . . . with a purpose

In my last blog, I encouraged your 4-H photo project members to consider a group photo activity that would take some time to complete.

The Sauk Prairie Earthlings 4-H Club of Sauk County, Wisconsin, took the suggestion to heart. During 2010, the Earthlings photographed nature around the twin cities of Sauk City and Prairie du Sac, while following in the footsteps of local naturalist and author August Derleth. The group capped off its year on Nov. 8 with a presentation of their photo work after a hearty Thanksgiving-style dinner. How appropriate and how timely! (more…)

Ideas for extended photo activities

It’s time to celebrate the past 4-H photo project year and start planning for the next. Why not start with an extended activity that will carry your group through your next county fair.

A group activity is a fun way to include everyone and to keep them excited throughout the project year. Following are some possibilities. (more…)

Back again with 4-H photo blogs

Hi again. After a summer hiatus, my 4-H photography resources blog is back again for one more year. Starting next Monday, Oct. 25, I’ll be posting twice-monthly blog items through September 2011.

It’s good to be back. Our state 4-H photo advisory committee, a veteran group of 4-H photo leaders and staff members, has given me lots of suggestions for topics for the year. Take a look and tell me what you think.

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Three more photo books for youth

A few weeks ago in one of my posts, I lamented the fact that I could find few recent photo books for young people.

But Joe Courneya, Extension Educator, University of Minnesota Extension 4-H, saw my post and shared information on two more photo books, including one written by a former 4-H member. While checking out these books on the Internet, I discovered a third.

Wisconsin 4-H ordered copies for my review. Here’s what I found. (more…)

State 4-H photo display: top 12

Each spring our state 4-H photo advisory group has the privilege of selecting the “top 12” photos in the latest Wisconsin 4-H Youth Photo Display.

About 10 of us gather in Madison to do the judging. Most of us are registered county fair photo judges, so we’re used to critiquing the interesting work of our state’s 11,500 4-H photo members.

But what a treat it is to see so many fine entries at one time. And what a challenge it is to sift and winnow the 150 photos to find the 12 “best”! (more…)

Explore black-and-white photography

During my county fair judging the last few years, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of black-and-white photo exhibits. So I asked one young exhibitor, “Why black and white?”

“Because it’s more ‘pure’ than color,” he said.

I didn’t get a chance to ask him follow-up questions, but my guess is that he was reacting negatively to the trend toward surreal, super-saturated, high-definition color images.

I don’t care much for those oversaturated color images, either, and I’m not alone. A growing number of photographers feel the same and have started a counter-trend toward use of B&W. Our 4-H photographers were just ahead of their time! (more…)

Photo Project Meeting 5

Congratulations. You’re halfway home! With this meeting you’re starting the second half of  your 4-H photo project year.

In Meeting 5, you’ll look backward at your group photo field trip and then forward to the county fair this summer. Here’s a possible agenda.

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Photo quotes worth a thousand words

Photographer Alfred Stieglitz was once asked, “How does a photographer learn?”

“By looking,” he answered,

I love that quote, not only because it was said by Stieglitz, who died on the day I was born, July 13, 1946, but also because it’s simply stated and true. You don’t learn photography by buying more expensive cameras or longer lenses, but by taking your time to really see, to really look, before squeezing the shutter.

We can learn a lot by studying master photographers like Stieglitz. Their insightful quotes are great for stimulating ideas and creativity among photographers of all ages and abilities. Check out the quotes in this post and in the PowerPoint, which you can download for your next 4-H photo meeting.

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