Since the day I started the group in June of 2009, HoustonPhotowalks.com has been a real blast. There are hundreds of amazing photographers in Houston, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many, many, many of them over the past 4 years.
Not The First Rebranding
To help keep the group’s web-site fresh (and to repair things that break when Meetup.com changes the header size or formatting options), our community’s web site has undergone a few “face lifts”. Through each rebranding, we maintained a few common features to remain recognizable: The Big Lens, the font, and (for the most part) our name.
Starting off Year Four – Going Back To Red
And now, at almost our 4-year mark, Meetup.com has kicked in with another major overhaul of their Look and Feel. Since we are along for the ride, HPW is going to rebrand too. This time, a bit more drastically than in previous years. Note however, to provide consistency in our branding, we continue to use the same font and message.
In fact, we are somewhat returning to our roots, going back to our original fire-engine red.
Old Logo History
I’ll admit it, some of these are sick-embarrassing to display. But they are what they are: our history in logos.
At first, the group was called “Houston Photowalk Events”, you can still see this reflected in some of our email addresses.
Meetup was tweaking their interface just like we were. And at one point, I was able to create large graphics for our header. Around December of 2009, we saw the familiar Orange and Black logo appear. Click to see full size.
It was about this time that our community really started to evolve. We weren’t just about “events”. The group was doing discussions, DIY’s, movie-theater presentations, and had eaten lots-and-lots-and-lots of food together. Rather than focusing on the nature of “Events”, the branding was changed so our community had a name. We rebranded to Houston Photowalks.
In June of 2010, I couldn’t really keep calling the group an experiment. We had organized and executed dozens of photowalks and meetups. To celebrate our 1st birthday, I purchased the web site domain name we use today, and rebranded as a proper “dot com”.
After organize events to small home-town parades, tours BEHIND the Galveston Strand to photograph the cracked walls and garbage dumps, and visits to the famous National Funeral History Museum, the group and our events were sometimes a little weird. So I added “Interesting and Unusual” to our branding too.
This logo remained with us from September 2010 to April 2013.
On the heels of another major Meetup.com redesign, we jumped in and rebranded again. We kept The Big Lens, the font, and the branding. But as we near our 4th anniversary, we switched back to red. How long with this logo last? Time will tell.
After Meetup made more GUI changes, part of our slogan was no longer visible on the site. To help solidify our branding, we added the tagline to the image, below the URL.
For the holidays in 2013, I had a little fun.
Meetup made a GUI change that added a colored bar along the bottom of the header image. For our group, that bar was red, and looked exactly like the underline we had been using since September of 2013. So I recreated the logo without the red bar. Also, in keeping with more current design standards, I reduced the intensity of the drop shadow behind the red text.
Its fun to see how branding and designs change over the years. I’m curious to see where the HoustonPhotowalks logo takes us in the future!
In this class, we will walk through and examine 12 MORE examples of photography techniques that can bring out the “WOW” in your photographs! These workshops build on each other, so you must have taken the first class to attend this one.
One of the coolest things about the social group photography experience is seeing how other people record their experience at the same location. We often say “wow, wish I had thought to take that perspective!” or “I didn’t see that!”.
So as humans that enjoy the creature comfort of habit, we have to break our cycle of photography techniques and try new techniques to get that next amazing shot.
About The Class
This is NOT a “what gear you should buy next” class.
All of the techniques we will discuss will be something you can use at your very next shoot or photowalk. You can make beautiful photographs with the gear you already own!!
As photographers, we have all trained ourselves to “see” and photograph a certain way, often after years of practicing specific techniques. Habits are hard to break, so we’ll focus on 12 things you can do to force yourself to make photographs that are completely different.
Some of these techniques will focus on how you handle and use your gear differently. We will also discuss composition techniques, including technical issues you may encounter. And we will discuss how to avoid common issues that plague us as photographers, like “focus” and “noise”.
All of the sections in this class are specifically design to help you get the most interesting and creative images possible.
Summary: In this class, we will walk through and examine 12 different examples of photography techniques that can bring out the “WOW” in your photographs!
Bring to Class: Tripod, camera, lens(es), paper & pen, enthusiasm!
Skill Level Needed: Beginner – New to DSLR Photography, shoot only in Auto Mode
This class is about photographing textures that surround us!
As we begin to focus on the “Artistic”, we will have classes on several photographic techniques that are not frequently discussed. Photographing the textures that make up our lives is a very interesting and challenging way to practice using our cameras.
About Photographing Textures
Texture images, by themselves, are sometimes not terribly interesting without some post processing. However having an arsenal of texture images, and knowing how to photograph them when you find something interesting, are very important.
Capturing texture images reinforces photography concepts you already know, such as composition and lighting. It also challenges you to learn new skills that will help you in other areas as you grow.
For example, practicing and mastering hand-holding your camera, or level-shooting on a tripod for a well-balanced texture image are skills that relate directly to landscape and portrait photography.
Using Texture Photographs
Texture images can stand alone as primary art compositions. They can also be used as backgrounds and art placement for photoshop compositions. As we build our personal library of patterns, shapes and textures, our options for creating beautiful photoshop compositing grow.
Even without photoshop compositing, photographing the beautiful textures around us is a great way to grow in your photographic career and hobby.
About The Class
We will discuss common techniques for photographing textures, finding textures in unusual places, training your mind to “look” for photographic textures, and some discussion about how to post process. We’ll discuss techniques for large texture photography (shooting a brick wall) and macro texture (the crackled leaf). Did you know you can turn a regular, every-day 50mm lens into a macro lens?
Summary: Texture images, by themselves, are sometimes not terribly interesting without some post processing. However having an arsenal of texture images, and knowing how to photograph them when you find something interesting, are very important. Capturing texture images reinforces photography concepts you already know, such as composition and lighting. It also challenges you to learn new skills that will help you in other areas as you grow.
Group (20 ppl): $25
Instructor: Joe Lippeatt
Bring to Class: tripod, camera, lens(es), paper & pen, enthusiasm!
Length: 2 Hours
Group Classes Available at: HoustonPhotowalks
10 years ago when Marty and I first started our journey as parents of a non-verbal, extremely anxious child, we had some very specific misconceptions. For example, we had to learn the concept of normal vs neurotypical … and start to understand our responsibility to help our child grow to be the best person he can be, rather than trying to make him “like normal kids”.
The Autism Community is (mostly) Self Educating
As a community, when we see facebook postings, emails or message board comments with things like “cure my child”, “cause of autism”, “making my child act/be normal”, etc, we typically react in one of two ways. Sometimes (let’s be honest), we react to words like “normal” a fair bit too harshly, which often leaves people who may have just recently received a diagnosis feeling attacked and unwelcome. We need to be more careful about that.
The most helpful way to respond is to gently nudge that parent into the fold by helping them understand the community and culture — educating them. This way, we can help parents to stop thinking of their child as “broken”. All children have challenges of one type or another. As parents, we guide our children in the right direction using whatever methods we personally feel is most appropriate. Some prefer therapy and training, some use medication, some prefer natural approaches — the list is endless.
Sudden Up-Swing in “High Functioning”
Marty and I have been reading New Member applications for our Houston-based support group for about 4 years. In the last year or so, I’ve seen a growing number of parents describe their child as “High Functioning”. The parent of a recently-diagnosed child often includes long descriptions of what makes their child “high functioning”. In fact, it often feels less like an “introduction to the support group” and more like an explanation of why the Dr. got the diagnosis wrong.
Today a parent left the AutismHouston.com support group and sent me this message:
“My daughter is high functioning and I’m concerned that she may see others worse off and sort of lump herself in with them…she already has low self-esteem b/c of not being “normal” ….plus she is resistant to being labelled “autistic” or as having Aspergers.”
The term “High Functioning” has been around a long time. Its the recent use — and frequency of use — that its concerning. The thing I find most disturbing is that its used as an excuse to exit from the community entirely. Somewhat like the Cochlear Implant is leading some families to avoid providing support for their child (not joining the Deaf Community, learning sign language, or even “admit” their child is deaf, etc).
You Tell Me!
Am I off-base with my assessment of the recent use of the term “High Functioning”? Is it being over-used? Should it be an area that we should focus education and encouragement? Is “High Functioning” a crutch (or an excuse) for believing “My kid doesn’t belong with kids like yours.”? Feel free to reply with your comments below.