Every year, for the past several years, an invitation to submit art work to the Annual Congressional Art Competition has arrived in my mailbox at Topeka West.  And every year I think "Eh, my students are too busy." or "Their work has been included in enough competitions for the year." or "Best of West is right around the corner and we need the work."  Well, this year I decided to change all of that negative-thinking and I set out with a purpose to get my students involved...especially the junior/senior advanced students.  So I mentally picked out a few pieces, asked the students to fill out the appropriate paperwork, and a couple of weeks ago I delivered 22 photographs to Congresswoman Lynn Jenkin's office here in Topeka.

Time went by and just a few days ago I received an email stating that two Topeka West students had placed in the top 4!  Seven different schools participated in this competition with a total of seventy-some pieces being judged.  So having two pieces place in the top four is quite the accomplishment!

Junior Kyler Collins and senior Bryce Maes placed 2nd and 4th respectively.  See their winning pieces below and be sure to tell them congratulations when you run into them on campus!

 Kyler Collins, junior     2nd Place

Bryce Maes, senior     4th place

Update:  Today, May 1st, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (along with USD 501's superintendent Dr. Julie Ford, Topeka West's principal Jeanne Carton, and other distinguished guests) stopped by the photography class room to personally congratulate Kyler and Bryce.  What a fantastic opportunity for these students and for Topeka West!


New Work: Advanced Photography

Even though I have been involved with the photography program at Topeka West for over 16 years, the creativity and dedication of the advanced students always continues to amaze me!  During class the students are always sharing information, helping one another, and critiquing each others' latest creations.  I am so incredibly proud of the level of work that the students are completing and thoroughly enjoy "showing off" their stuff!  This round of images is no exception....take a look and see for yourself.

 Eric Pasley, senior

 Danielle Phelps, junior

 Alex Lewis, junior

 Jon Brooks, senior

 Rita Kerschman, junior

 Emily Ferlemann, senior

 Samantha Wise, senior

 Klayton Edwards, junior

 Genevieve Akins, sophomore

 Ashia Gordon, junior

 Trina Chitwood, sophomore

 McKenzie Steinbock, sophomore

 Sarah Press, senior

 Shelby Heydon, senior

 Tharin Brown, junior

Megan Ayers, senior



Instagram Shooting Challenge @ Gizmodo

Instagram Shooting Challenge Winner:  Blake

Still haven't downloaded Instagram?  Now that the app is also available for the Android OS, Instagram's user base has grown exponentially over the past couple of weeks.  Though others are concerned about Zuckerburg's recent acquisition of Instagram, it hasn't swayed hardcore users like those who recently submitted to Gizmodo's Instagram Shooting Challenge!

Get ready to view almost 200 amazing Instagram images in seven different galleries!  What a collection!  Click below to get started:

Gallery 1
Gallery 2
Gallery 3
Gallery 4
Gallery 5
Gallery 6
Gallery 7


Skateboard Photographer Michael Burnett Shares Tips & Techniques

In this two-part video series, photographer Michael Burnett shares his tips and techniques to improve quality and composition.  Though Burnett's photography focuses mostly on skateboarding, his ideas can easily be carried into all aspects of photography.  Both videos are chock-full of information and fantastic images!

Part 1:

Part 2:


Instagram is Now Available on Android OS!

Finally, after a year of playful teasing on Instagram's part, iTunes most popular mobile photography app is available on the Android operating system.  Download your (FREE!) version of Instagram on Google Play....and follow me!!