Why HPS?

A video featuring a few HPS members and photographs discusses candidly about what some of our members like best about HPS.

Long-time HPS member passes away

Many of us just learned at last night’s print competition meeting that long-time HPS member Susan Saibara passed away April 10, 2011. Below is her obituary as it appeared in the Houston Chronicle:

Susan SaibaraSusan Joy Saibara, age 58, passed away on April 10, 2011 in Houston after a long courageous battle with complications from breast cancer. She is survived by her parents Edward and Jessie Saibara, brother Paul Saibara and sister Sandra Saibara. Also surviving is her long-time loyal friend and companion Owen Fisher who selflessly cared for her every day. She is also survived by her dear nieces Katie and Emily and nephew Andrew Saibara, as well as aunts, uncles and many cousins.

Susan graduated from Clear Creek High School in League City, Texas A & M University with a BA and an MBA from University of Houston. She worked for many years for Herman Miller as a sales rep to the federal government and military. She was passionate about scuba diving and underwater photography, for which she won many awards.

In lieu of flowers her family suggests donations to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center or Seven Acres Jewish Senior Care Services, which provided exceptionally kind compassionate care to Susan.

Burial will be a private family gathering. A memorial service celebrating Susan’s life will be announced at a later date.

Published in Houston Chronicle on April 15, 2011

Susan, you will be missed dearly.

April 2011 print competition

When? Tuesday, April 26, 2011 : 7-9 p.m.

Where? Tracy Gee Community Center

What? Join us for our monthly print competition. HPS members may bring up to two total prints in their respective group (bronze, silver or gold – new members begin in the bronze group). All members may enter the monthly Special Assignment but keep in mind that doing so still counts towards your two total prints.

This month’s Special Assignment theme is “Pinhole Photography.”

Afterwards, feel free to join us for the meeting after the meeting as many of us will drive a very short distance to La Madeleine French Country Cafe (10001 Westheimer Rd) for some social interaction and late night snack.

You have to water the weeds

Message from the President
April 2011

Watering the Plants

So, you may have noticed that I didn’t publish the Message from the President at the beginning of this month. The fact is, it’s been a little rough around the Kleb house in the past few weeks: two deaths in the family; my wife was laid off; my daughter was in the hospital twice with pregnancy complications; and a couple of 60 hour weeks at work led to a little burnout.

Go figure!

I intended to just skip this month and start fresh in May with all this hopefully behind me. But I saw something yesterday I felt compelled to share.

You see, last week, my father went in for a minor surgery. Nothing serious — it just means he needs to keep from lifting stuff or straining too much. My father spent the majority of his life as a farmer and rancher. That was the only job he ever had until his mid-40’s.

Telling him not to work too hard for a few days was like telling the tide not to move. So, I’m helping him around the house as much as I can.

Like a lot of people he keeps a garden. Unlike a lot of people, he keeps several gardens, needs a tractor to work all the grounds, and produces enough to keep three families fed (literally) and still give a truckload away to friends. On a good year there’s enough to sell the surplus to local markets too. To top it off, he started planting less after he turned 60.

Now, many of you may have noticed it’s been a while since we’ve had any rain. As a man who grew up raising crops, I can tell you this is quickly becoming one of the worst droughts in Texas for the past couple generations.

So, yesterday I came home from work and helped him water his potato patch. Keep in mind this involves a tractor with a 300 gallon water tank for “just four rows this year.” I filled the little tank (300 gal. is the little tank) for him and drove the tractor to the field while he followed in his truck. He had to explain precisely how much water to let out, in which gear and speed to drive, and what pattern to drive the rows in.

I don’t think it ever crossed his mind that I’ve been doing this with him since I was born and might have a pretty good idea of how to go about it.

The ground where I watered sucked up the moisture so fast you could barely tell that I was dumping water out with a 1-1/2” hose. Where it hadn’t been watered, the dirt is just a powdery dust. The only place in the garden that’s actually growing anything is where my father had been irrigating for the past few weeks. The rest of it is barren and dead.

And, then I saw it.

John Kleb - Watering the Plants

My father gets out of his truck and starts to pull a few of the weeds out from between the potato plants. It wasn’t enough to make a difference, but enough to keep him from feeling useless while someone else tends his garden.

I knew there was a lesson to be learned from this scene.

By the end of the row, I got it. There’s a dilemma in watering a garden. If you water the plants, you water the weeds. And, if you don’t water the weeds, the plants will die along with them. So, you have to feed them both and know the difference between plants and weeds.

The same is true with being artists and photographers.

We have to keep feeding our ideas and our creativity. Even if an idea or a theme ultimately turns out to be a weed, we have to travel down that path until we know that it’s not a plant — but, it is in fact a weed. The plants are surrounded by weeds. So are our good pieces surrounded by really bad ones.

Part of the journey to being a better artist is learning to cull our work without stopping the work altogether.

I hear a lot of new photographers say they get frustrated because they took twenty photos and only had one that they liked. To top it off, they didn’t get a good critique on it.

You’re not watering your weeds enough. Take a hundred photos, make each one a little different than the one before it, then separate the good from the bad, the better from the good, and the best from the better.

Think about why you chose the ones you did. Learn to distinguish the difference between a weed and a plant, but water them both. Without one, you can’t have the other. And, over time, you’ll learn how to make the plants grow stronger than the weeds.

That’s how farmers do it.

~ John Kleb, 2011 HPS President

Photo Outing – Galveston Island

Sunday, April 17, 2011 beginning at 9 a.m.

Join HPS members on a photowalk in various locations on Galveston Island. The plan is to meet at 9 a.m. at Saengerfest Park located on the corner of Tremont St (23rd St) and Strand St (Avenue B) and photograph around that historic area in the morning.

Then, we’ll meet up for lunch at a local restaurant (TBD).

Afterwards, we have several options for continued photography: historical district houses, Elissa (sailing ship), beaches, etc.

Join for a part of the day or stay the whole time. For more information including map and contact info, please download the PDF »

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