Some Very Big Honors!

Where oh where is that slow season I'm supposed to be experiencing right now??  I'm feeling just as busy as ever!  Since this is the time of year most photographers seem to find a little extra time down time in their schedule, there are many photography conventions and seminars going on and I have had the priviledge of speaking and teaching at quite a few of them lately. 

Last fall I taught a class in Idaho, in and around Yellowstone (yes, that was just a little bit of fun!) and then flew back just in time to teach another class at the Wisconsin Professional Photographers Convention.

One of the scenes that I captured one morning during the class I was teaching in Idaho

An image I shot while teaching at the Wisconsin Professional Photographers Convention 

Then this January I was honored to be a main stage speaker at Imaging USA in Atlanta, Georgia where over 10,000 photographers from all over the world came to learn and see the trade show.  During the convention they also hold an awards ceremony where my image titled "A Wild Ride" took 1st place in the Illustrative category.  At that ceremony I was also priviledged to stand on stage with some amazing photography icons and be named (for the second year in a row) one of 8 PPA International Diamond Photographers of the Year.

- That's me 2nd from the left!

 And to top off the excitement at the convention, I also recieved my Masters of Photography degree!  But unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it to that ceremony because I had to catch a flight for a trip to Mexico for another photography job!  Did I mention that it has been a busy year for me?

A view from my room one evening in Mexico!
After Mexico I spent four very long days and nights at the studio preparing some images for regional competition.  I finished them just in time to send them to print before I flew down to Florida to spend four days at SYNC (Senior and Youth National Convention) where I did some speaking on up and coming trends and techniques for seniors.

An instagram image of my computer as I went over my notes before my presentation. - not a bad office!

I flew back Tuesday and was able to spend a few days at home with the family before I had to leave for the Iowa Professional Photographers Convention - which hosted the regional print competition (10 states plus parts of Canada).  Print competition consists of
the best professional photographers in each state submitting 4 prints that are judged by a national panel according to the 12 elements of a merit image.  The thing I love most about regional print competition is that you actually get to sit in on the judging and listen to what the judges have to say about your images (they don't know who created it when they judge it). 

This year because I had received my Masters of Photography degree I was up against even greater competition but I an honored to say that I was named Top Master Photographer for Iowa.  My portraits took first place in the Masters wedding category, second place in the Masters Women Category, and both first and second place in possibly one of the most challenging categories - Illustrative.  My first place illustrative print scored a perfect 100 (which is very rare).  That image also received  the ASP State Elite Award and the Kodak Gallery Award!
Unfortunately I can't share any of my images yet because they now get sent on to international competition
but once the final judging is over I will certainly post them!

Now here's the part where I get all mushy...  Not one of these accomplishments would have been possible without the help of others.  A huge THANK YOU to all of my amazing clients- past & present - who have given me the experience necessary to perfect my techniques.  I also am greatfully appreciative for the great guidance and assistance that I have received through the years from some great photographer friends.  And last but not least - to my super smart (and very hot) perfectionist wife who always seems to know what's best... thank you for driving me to take things to the next level - even if I don't feel like listening to it at the time ;)

You are probably familiar with the quote  - surround yourself with great people and great things will happen.  Well somehow I've been lucky to have quite a few amazing people in my life that have helped me to get to where I am at and I can't even begin to tell you how thankful I am that I am able to call those people friends - or should I say my photography family.  Thank you all!