by Bob Jump
I have participated in the last three portfolios and have found them to be an excellent learning experience. I received detailed critiques of 8-10 images by 4-5 reviewers each year. That’s from 32 to 50 critiques in one evening.
Compared to the maximum of 22 image critiques during the regular competition meetings, that makes the portfolio review one of the best learning experiences the club offers it’s members, especially since it is included in the $35 annual dues.
If your goal is to improve your photographic skills, you should make the effort to assemble a portfolio and participate as often as possible in this program.
My first portfolio was titled “Fall Color in the Lost Maples Natural Area.” These images were my attempt to capture the brilliant color of fall foliage. The beauty found in nature has always moved me, and it is the motivating force for most of my photographic efforts.
The subject to my second portfolio was “The Geysers of Yellowstone.” The images in this portfolio portray the power, beauty and dynamic nature of the various geysers I encountered during two trips to Yellowstone National Park.
For last year’s portfolio I returned to the theme in my first one, namely color in nature. This time I captured the color to be found in several of the mushrooms that grow during the fall in nearby nature areas.
Portfolio Pieces Click on Thumbnail to view full-size
Color, Form, Shape and Texture in Nature
My favorite photographic subjects are found in nature. Indeed, the beauty and diversity of nature is a motivating force for most of my work. I am especially fascinated by the colors, forms, shapes and textures found in nature.
In the past I have concentrated mostly on capturing these features with landscape images. The images presented here take a different approach by moving in close in order to isolate the features of a single plant. For this portfolio, I have chosen to concentrate on mushrooms, which I find to be one of nature’s more interesting plants.
Mushrooms come in a wide variety of colors from bright reds and yellows to more subdued browns and oranges. Many have interesting textures and shapes. Most mushrooms grow very close to the ground and are surrounded by a chaotic and dull background. In order to emphasize the various features of mushrooms and to show the bright colors more effectively, I have isolated them from their distracting backgrounds by replacing their natural background with solid black.
My primary goal in taking these images was to illustrate the beauty of a variety of mushrooms. To this end, I have chosen to concentrate on their color, shape and texture, treating them more as abstract objects rather than showing them in their environment.
I have been interested in photography since I was quite young. During those early years and up through high school, I shot only black and white and enjoyed processing the images in a darkroom. During college and while pursuing a career in computer engineering education, I never seemed to have much time for this hobby.
Just as I retired, several things happened that restored my interest in photography. I now had the time and resources to pursue this hobby aggressively. Digital cameras and image processing programs such as Adobe Photoshop allowed me to recapture much of the fun I used to have in the darkroom, but now with both color and black and white images. For these reasons, photography has once again become an important part of my life.
I am a member of four photographic organizations in Houston: the Houston Photographic Society, Houston Camera Club, Houston Photographic Study Group, and the Houston Center for Photography. I have taken several continuing education courses, both at the Houston Center for Photography and Rice University. I attend club meetings regularly and participate in their various competitions whenever possible.