May 182015
 

Let’s hear it one more time for the 39 NAU students who acted as Guest Bloggers on this blog (their photographs appearing in alphabetical order):
First row (left to right): Stephanie Austin, Krista Baldwin, Emma Benanati, Cloie Bright, Eleanor Carty, Samantha Columbo, Garrett Creswell, Karli Crocker
Second row (l to r): Stevie Deale, Alicia Dean, Rita DeBrodie, Christye Flanagan, Nikki Harcey, Rachel Leone, Morgan Louvier, Samantha Martinez
Third row (l to r): Sunday Miller, Thomas Miner, McKenzie McLoughlin, Jubran Mohammed, Parker Munsch, Don Olson, Ashlee Outsen, Hannah Petersen
Fourth row (l to r): Angel Rangel, Jasmine Riley, Sydney Roberts, Eric Schwab, Natalie Smith, Jordan Thompson, Taylor Tracy, Erin Twarogal
Fifth row (l to r): Ashleigh Vance, Luke Vanderbroek, Cory Walters, Ryan Wesson, Ariel White, Kassandra Wilhelm, Ursula Woody

That’s all folks!  Let’s give the Northern Arizona University’s Intermediate Photography students a big round of applause for sharing their images and thoughts with us in this year’s “Behind the Image:  Guest Blogger” project.   What thrills me the most from year to year with this effort is just how different each student sees the world.

To the 39 participating students, what did you think of your blogging experience here?   Was it as scary or exciting as you thought?  Would you do it again?  Would you do anything differently in hindsight now that you’ve completed your assignment?  I so appreciate your willingness to participate as Guest Bloggers and thank you for being YOU!  No matter where photography or life takes you, always remember that creativity lives within you if you tap into your individual backgrounds and passions – whether it be travel, beloved pets, people who inspire, moving natural scenes, or intimate details of the world around them – to present your visual messages.

I am also filled with much gratitude for NAU Photography Instructor, Amy Horn, who helped coordinate this real-world assignment with her class.   It’s truly a pleasure to work with someone so dedicated to her students and to facilitating the learning process in photography.

To those of you who left comments on the photographs and stories, many thanks!  If you haven’t had the chance to review all of them (and would like to), find the 39“Behind the Image” write-ups by clicking on the “Guest Blogger” in the Categories box on the right-most column on your screen.  Then, feel free to add your thoughts in the Comments section below anytime that’s convenient for you!

Finally, leave us a comment on this post about your thoughts on this year’s project.  What did you like about the photography as a whole?  Did you get new ideas?  I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks again, everyone!  Until next year!

Colleen

Apr 272015
 

Introducing the 39 NAU students who will act as Guest Bloggers on this blog starting tomorrow through mid-May (their photographs appearing in alphabetical order):
First row (left to right):  Stephanie Austin, Krista Baldwin, Emma Benanati, Cloie Bright, Eleanor Carty, Samantha Columbo, Garrett Creswell, Karli Crocker
Second row (l to r): Stevie Deale, Alicia Dean, Rita DeBrodie, Christye Flanagan, Nikki Harcey, Rachel Leone, Morgan Louvier, Samantha Martinez
Third row (l to r): Sunday Miller, Thomas Miner, McKenzie McLoughlin, Jubran Mohammed, Parker Munsch, Don Olson, Ashlee Outsen, Hannah Petersen
Fourth row (l to r): Angel Rangel, Jasmine Riley, Sydney Roberts, Eric Schwab, Natalie Smith, Jordan Thompson, Taylor Tracy, Erin Twarogal
Fifth row (l to r): Ashleigh Vance, Luke Vanderbroek, Cory Walters, Ryan Wesson, Ariel White, Kassandra Wilhelm, Ursula Woody

Each year we work with the Northern Arizona University (NAU) photography students on the “Behind the Image:  Guest Blogger” project, it just keeps getting bigger and better – and the 3rd annual event is certainly no different!  I’m thrilled to officially introduce the participants who will serve as guest bloggers on my blog starting tomorrow through mid-May.

To give you some background on this effort, two years ago, I partnered with my good friend, fellow photographer, and NAU photography instructor, Amy Horn, to offer her photography students an opportunity to turn their school studies into real-world, practical experience. Thirty-five students participated in this inaugural project (to see their entries, select Guest Blogger and Making the Image categories from the right side of this screen).  After receiving many positive comments from both the students and this audience, Amy and I teamed up again last year, where 24 students participated in our sophomore effort.  In our third year, we have 39 excited guest bloggers ready to show and tell their work!

On March 31, 2015 I visited Amy’s two Intermediate Photography (PHO285) classes to share my “Clowns, Snowballs, and Boats: Surviving as a Freelance Photographer” presentation and to share details about the “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” assignment.  The students received  instruction to select a single image they created during this semester.  Then, we asked them to provide an 800-word (or less) description of their photograph, outlining why and how they made their image.  We encouraged them to share what process they used to create it, what inspired them to make the photograph, and the technical information for the resulting photograph.  To help readers connect with them, we also requested a 100-word bio.

Their photographs and words will be shared exactly as they submitted (i.e., I’ve done no editing of their work).  Some are blogging for the very first time!  I hope you enjoy the diversity, the unique perspectives, and honesty these students will present.

Even though my blog and personal photography focuses on the Great Outdoors, the students were given free range to pursue their own interests beyond nature if they desired.  No matter our own individual domains, I feel strongly that we can refine our own style and work by reviewing and evaluating any type of photography – and get lots of new ideas!

If you feel so inclined, please show your support for these learning student photographers! Leave your insights and constructive comments in the Comment section for each blog post to not only provide your encouragement and perspectives, but also to help polish your own style.  As you review the image and write-ups, ask yourself, “What do you like about the image?  What might you improve?  Do you have any similar experiences with this subject, technique, or approach?” As I often share in my presentations and the Austin Kleon book suggests, “Steal like an artist!”  How can you apply what you like to your own work in a different situation?  Tell us about it.  Let’s hear what you have to say!

With that, please join me in welcoming the 2015 NAU Intermediate Photography students and enjoy their photography and “Behind the Image” stories!

Apr 152013
 
NAU Guest Blogger Project

Introducing the 35 NAU students who will act as Guest Bloggers on this blog starting today through early May: (In alphabetical order, all thumbnails/photos copyright their respective owners)
First row (left to right): Evan Atwood, Tiffany Bociung-Bodtke, Heather Brick, Alyssa Burkett, Niko Chaffin, James Dean, and Anthony DeAngelo
Second row (l to r): McKenna Edwards, Sherese French, Daniel Garcia, Alex Gaynor, Mark Goodger, Tom Heger, and Shelby Irons
Third row (l to r): Rebecca Kooima, Emily Larsen, Kristyn Lechwar, Jenna Lyter, Clark Malcolm, Grant Masters, and Christine McCully
Fourth row (l to r): Marissa Molloy, Takashi Okunda, Jordan Patton, Jennifer Radke, Amanda Ray, Karen Renner, and Colby Rycus
Fifth row (l to r): Stephanie Sherban, Jessica Silvius, Quinn Tucker, Keenan Turner, Tracy Valgento, Margaret Whittaker, and Kimberly Yip

Do you ever have an idea about something but don’t know exactly where it will lead?  And then once you follow your nose and chase down the idea, it turns into something so much better than you ever expected?  I LOVE it when this happens!  Don’t you?

Well, the Northern Arizona Photography Students “Guest Blogger” Project I am proudly kicking off today is a perfect example of this.   Allow me to explain…

Last October, I had the privilege of working with Arizona Highways Photography Workshops (AHPW) volunteer extraordinaire, Amy Horn (www.horndesigns.com), during a special photography workshop at the Desert Botanical Garden.  Amy and I work together frequently on various AHPW, but it had been some time since we had chatted about the exciting things going on in our lives.

As Amy, who is also a photography instructor at the Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, caught me up on her recent activities, I was so impressed to learn about how her students’ recently offered photographic support to the Komen Foundation as a part of her NAU classes.  She actively sought out the opportunity to provide her students with as much real world experience to put their school studies to practical use.

This got me thinking back to my time at the University of Michigan Business School, where we worked with real companies in the community, and I remember just how much I enjoyed those experiences.  I truly feel like those projects helped get me to where I am at today.  And so it got me thinking some more…

As you know, giving back and helping the photographic community is very important to me.  So is the endless pursuit of continuous improvement, not just for myself as an artist, but my entire community…so…

I sent Amy an email a few days after the workshop, offering a few ideas of how either my CMS Photography or my Analemma Press publishing businesses could help provide hands-on experiences for her students.   I didn’t have a clue if the ideas were something Amy – and her students – would be interested, but I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without trying.

After receiving an enthusiastic response and talking with Amy about possible partnering opportunities, we agreed to me presenting a 30-minute presentation to her Intermediate Photography (PHO285) classes, where we would introduce the “Guest Blogger: Behind the Image” assignment.

On March 7, the students received the task of “selecting a photo from this semester (can be from any class or one you already turned in) that has a story. The story should be about how and why you took this image.”  Upon completion, each student’s “Behind the Image” story and photo would appear on my blog as a “Guest Blogger” post during late April and early May.

Specifically, each student was asked to write a blog for posting about:

“Why:  What inspired you to create this image? What were you trying to “say” with it – what’s the visual message you wish to communicate? Adding in the thought process from a photographic perspective would also be helpful (e.g. “I used this filter because I wanted this effect.”)

How: As part of your story, you will share the technical information for the image, specifically camera brand/model, focal length lens used, ISO speed setting, aperture, shutter speed, any filters, and any special post-­‐processing techniques.”

In addition, we asked the students to write in active – not passive voice – and stay within a word count of 400-800 words.  Finally, we requested a 100-word bio at the end of their blog entry.

The students were not required to submit nature or outdoor-related images, as their interests varied greatly, and I feel strongly that we, as an audience, can improve our own work by reviewing and evaluating photography outside of our preferred domain.

From the assignment, we received 35 blog entries.  Starting this afternoon and over the next few weeks, in no particular order, these 35 NAU Intermediate Photography students will share their personal expression with public audience via this blog – some blogging for the first time!  I hope you will find, as I have, much inspiration from these students and their work!

I also invite you to participate in this educational project by reading their insights and providing your comments on their stories and photos.  Help make a difference in these students’ lives!  They could benefit tremendously from your encouragement, unique perspectives, and constructive feedback!   So not only do we as an audience get to enjoy and learn from their insights, but they also get the opportunity to hear what you think as well!  Everyone wins!

I LOVE it when this happens!