Monday, July 20, 2015

And Then There Are Those Moments...

And then there are those moments...
It was February, 1995, and NANPA (the North American Nature Photography Association) was having its very first Summit in Ft. Meyers, FL. Everything was magical about that first gathering of over 500 photographers and publishers from around the planet.

Some of the attendees were internationally famous photographers like Tom Mangelsen, Frans Lanting and Robert Glenn Ketchum. Others were publishers and editors from magazines like National Geographic, National Wildlife and Audubon. But the majority were simply avid nature photographers who were finally getting a chance to gather and share a common passion.

What was truly special was that everyone - from the first year photographer to the most seasoned and published conservation photographer - was able to sit and share, knowing that we all had stories about our photographic journeys and all worked to capture that "magical photo". I don't think that there was a single person at the Summit who didn't leave with at least one incredible moment to share.

My moment was getting an opportunity to photograph in the Ding Darling National Wildlife refuge on Sanibel/Captiva Island for the first time. For a Colorado photographer, it felt like I was stepping into Jurassic Park! Tears rolled down my face as every 50 yard trek revealed another first for my bird list. And when I thought it couldn't get any better, there, photographing to my left stood my idol - Roger Tory Peterson, the Father of NANPA and the Peterson Field Guide series and my 'bible", the Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds!

I quickly maneuvered my wife, Linda, to stand to his left, and making sure I wasn't too obvious, photographed Roger and Linda, side by side, shooting wading birds.

Apparently, I wasn't as stealthy as I thought! I blushed as Roger turned to me after I shot the photo and smiled. Well, since I had already blown my cover, what could I lose by asking him to autograph my copy of the Peterson Field Guide to Western Birds!?

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Back Story: Preparedness + Opportunity = LUCK

"President Carter"  © Roberta McGowan

by Kate Dardine

For western photographer Roberta McGowan, it also didn’t hurt to have a heap of talent and a background in journalism, having worked years ago in Philadelphia as a newspaper photographer, then as a corporate photojournalist, and now with her true passion, as a western photographer.

That’s why, when she ended up with third row seats to see President Jimmy Carter speak at the Aspen Institute in Colorado, she was glad to have her iPhone 6 handy.  She made a few images during his talk, but when she managed to be in the right place at the right time as he was descending the stairs, Roberta took two more photographs. And the story could have ended there.

But it didn't.  Roberta, who is no stranger to marketing and PR, emailed two versions of the best photo – one color, one black and white, to President Carter's office staff, asking if they would like a copy.  They said yes, and chose the black and white.  She asked if she could send two – one for him and one that the President would autograph and send back to her. "Absolutely," was the reply.

That’s where Fine Print came in.  “I wanted these prints to be special, and I wanted them printed on bamboo paper,” Roberta explained in our recent phone conversation.  “Because Carter has always been an environmentalist, I thought he would appreciate the photo being printed on an environmentally friendly paper.”  We printed the images last week, and Roberta kindly emailed us letting us know how happy she was with how they turned out.  We were thrilled – and tickled to learn something we produced would be in a Presidential Collection!

Roberta shared with me her philosophy on getting the perfect shot:  “You don’t need to have the fanciest camera and lenses. You just need to know your craft, have talent and when an opportunity arises, make the most of it.”
Her portrait of Jimmy Carter looks like it could be a painting, but, she laughs, “It is straight out of the iPhone camera.  I didn’t do anything  elaborate; I’m not interested in manipulating the image. I just see my shot and take it.”

This philosophy has worked well for Roberta, who, aside from her photography and interest in western subjects, is an avid horsewoman. She and her husband live on the western slope of Colorado.  You can learn more about Roberta and see her beautiful photographs on her website,

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Trends in the Art World

by Tonya Aspegren, Fine Print Marketing Maven

"The Good Wife" set
What comes around, goes around. Trends are part of our culture. Everything comes full circle, maybe just to see if it ever went out of style in the first place! We love them, we hate them. They are part of our fashion, our decorating, our way of thinking. Sometimes a color scheme, a hairstyle, or a fashion makes its way into your consciousness. What do you do with that information?

In the last year, we’ve noticed a trend in botanicals. We’ve seen it on the walls of TV series such as "The Good Wife" and "Madam Secretary", as well as the cover of Professional Framing Magazine and the pages of Pottery Barn catalogs. Fine Print even had a mention in the magazine This Old House as the printer who could produce vintage botanical prints on high quality art paper!

As an artist, you want to continue your own style and originality. You likely have a collection of similar works. As trends come and go, you don’t want to abandon what you do for something that may be gone tomorrow. However, if you are tuned into the current trends, you may be able to grab onto a color that may be attracting the eyes of a buyer or a motif that fits your painting style.

There is nothing wrong with noticing the trends around you even if you don’t want to jump on the bandwagon. If you notice a trend in more contemporary, streamlined styles, you may choose to go with a simple, less decorative frame. If you notice a color scheme that is standing out, you may want to showcase a painting that complements those colors.

What trends have you been tuned into lately?