Tuesday, March 7, 2017


I didn’t get my first digital camera until late 2001 and even then I wasn’t about to integrate it into our photography business without a lot of testing and setting up a work flow. So, prior to that, any images I used for PPA (Professional Photographers of America) International Print Competition were from medium format 645 or 6x7 or 35mm film. However, my lab was Photoshop capable and I had many nice film images that, with some editing, I knew could do very well in print competition.

Early 2001 was a very exciting time in my career because I was wrapping up my 5-year quest to earn my PPA Masters Degree.  (Back then prints done in competition style were VERY expensive, not like today.) I  only needed two more print competition merits to each my goal.

I was also having a lot of fun using film and digital editing in a hybrid work-flow to create artistic images that, prior to Photoshop, I never imagined would be possible.

This was one of the PPA Merit images that secured my Masters Degree that year…

Camera: Bronica ETRSI; Original on B&W film—645 format
The original image on B&W film was taken in 1998 at the Monterey Yacht Harbor in California.  It was only OK because I just didn’t like the grayness of the background created by the overcast sky. It needed punch….it needed color!

So, I had my lab (Bay Photo Lab) simply overlay a color sunset gradient over the image, and darken the blacks to a pure silhouette.  Today either my wife Kathi or I do all of the artwork here in the studio. 

The scanned final file was a 57.57 MB TIFF. When printed I had the lab flip the image upside down making the sail boat up-right. I titled the competition print “Red Sky at Night…Sailor’s Delight.” The title is important in PPA competitions.

Here’s the original B&W image…

I think it was more meaningful getting my PPA Masters Degree at that time when our profession straddled both the film and digital mediums. 

’Til next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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