Presidents Message Dave Ficke eMail Dave
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I was going to write about how summer is quickly approaching, with Memorial Day sliding by us on sneaky bare feet, along with the many photographic opportunities of summer. After all, July 4th is a little over a month away, and with it, summer picnics, vacation trips to the beach, family gatherings, and the highly anticipated solar eclipse.  But then I thought, how boring! This topic must be used as summer rolls around each year!   Therefore, allow me to expound a little on the topic of ‘learning and practice.’ It is often said that learning is a life-long process and no matter our age or occupation, there is always something to learn.  For example, if we observe the works of famous painters we see that their technique, style, subject, etc. evolve over time.  As we put more time into what we do, we learn various processes and techniques that we were unsure of before, improve with practice.  Although at times this is frustrating, it’s a process that takes time and patience.  I have found that as I read various articles, attend workshops and classes, and get out the camera to implement these new skills, that over time my photographic skills are evolving for the better.  I think we can all agree that if we had appendicitis, we would prefer a surgeon not read a manual while doing surgery.  Same logic goes when we drive a car.  It takes practice and there is a learning curve.  As summer approaches and with it these great opportunities to capture the moments, a few questions come to mind.  When was the last time your sensor/camera was cleaned?  Do you know how to take that shot at the birthday party with only the candles of the cake for light?  Do you know how to effectively use your on camera flash without the ‘deer in the headlights’ look?  Can you change from aperture to shutter to manual settings without looking and thinking about it?  How about taking that eponymous family photo of all those beloved folks at the beach with the sun in the background? Do you know how to control your depth of field?  These skills are all part of summer, family, and fun and the learning process.  Anticipating that birthday or beach party, family gathering or opportunity to shoot sun-drenched landscapes or tiny wildflowers, make sure you have all those ‘tools in your tool box’ or ask for help from a fellow photographer and then get some practice!  As many great painters and photographers began their craft, trained, practiced, and evolved, they, and their ability matured over time.  Just as we learned to drive a car with a stick shift, stalling out several times, we eventually could shift gears, turn on the signal, press the button with our left foot to turn on the high beams, turn on the windshield wipers, and switch radio stations, AND shift gears without having a cerebral overload, we can learn how to use our cameras and take better photographs.  It’s a process.  June 5th we are excited to have a special program with Paul Speaker from Bay Photo talking to us about the print and don’t forget about our metal print contest.  I would like to here from you so if you have a comment or suggestion please email me at and in the subject line put RCC Comments.  Thanks, Dave
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