InFocus is ready for your shots

The InFocus Photography Competition and Exhibition, a program of the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance, is now open for entries. The show debuts in March at Columbia State Historic Park in Columbia.

Entries are accepted through the InFocus-tcaa.org website using Smarter Entry. Instructions on how to enter and the call for entries are available at the website. No information as to prizes was included in a release calling for entries.

This year’s competition accepts entries in six categories: landscapes, nature, in the moment, still life/found object, elements of design, and water in all its forms.

“We will again be giving the special Charles Moore Excellence in Photography award,” the release said.

Charlotte Gibb, Truman Holtzclaw and Michael Phaling are three new judges participating in the 2018 contest.

“I spent my childhood romping around and exploring the wilderness areas in the mountains near my Northern California home,” Gibb said. “The youngest of nine children, our father was an avid mountain climber and nature lover, and he made sure his kids were instilled with his passion for the outdoors. After he died in a climbing accident when I was very young, our mother continued to promote spending time in nature, ensuring that our vacations were spent outdoors camping, hiking and exploring.

“When I was 16 years old, my older brother gave me my first SLR camera, a Pentax ME Super,” she continued. “I thought I wanted to be a journalist then, and my camera quickly became an extension of my arm. I studied journalism in college for two years and worked for my city’s newspaper, at which point I discovered that journalism wasn’t for me. I transferred to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and studied graphic design instead. I bought a used Beseler enlarger and turned my spare bedroom into a darkroom, where I spent countless hours in the dark, happily experimenting with printmaking. In the years following art school, I built a successful design business, got married, raised two wonderful sons and currently use my camera to tell stories of the natural world.”

Holtzclaw was a biology teacher by profession, and pursued photography as a passion after he retired in 2001.

“He blends these activities in his roles as past presidents of the Sacramento Audubon Society and the Sierra Camera Club,” the release says. “He also has worked as a park naturalist for the state of California.”

After 15 years taking photos, Holtzclaw acquired, and says he perfected, the skills to artfully blend his biology background with his love of nature to create a collection of about 80,000 images.

“Truman understands how life systems work and interact,” the release says. “He studies wildlife in the great outdoors, and social life in our society at large. His favorite subject matter is nature, but he enjoys most all forms of photography.”

He regularly attends and presents workshops, leads field trips, competes in local and international competitions, prepares and presents multimedia programs, evaluates photographic competitions, leads photo treks and photographs weddings, banquets, professional workshops and sporting events.

He has visited the Amazon River, the Andes, the Galapagos Islands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France and England, as well as Canada and the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

“Six weeks as an exchange teacher in southern Japan also added to his photographic files,” the release added. “Although his foreign travels were wonderful, his favorite area for photography is still the western United States,” where he captures nature subjects, especially landscapes. “His favorite images are those that show great texture and detail in the foreground and have strong impact in the background.”

Phaling was born in Richland, Wash., “a dry, desert region of the state,” he said. “My father, an engineer, was working there during World War II. After the war was over, our family moved back to my father’s hometown of Kansas City, Mo. My grandfather was a very avid photographer there and was president of the Kansas City Camera Club.”

Phaling’s grandfather had a large darkroom, and Phaling often watched him develop prints. Phaling’s father and uncle were avid photographers, too. At age 17, his father gave Phaling a Ciroflex camera.

“Ansel Adams, Edward and Brett Weston and other West Coast photographers were becoming popular,” Phaling said of the time. “Street photographers were making a mark. I wanted to do that as well. I attended San Francisco State University as a fine arts major with an emphasis in photography and modern art.”

“It was a new time for photography,” he continued, “a time when photography entered the fine art arena. After some ventures working as a studio photographer and wedding photographer, I concentrated solely on my personal photography projects, earning my living in Silicon Valley and then as a tennis instructor. Of course, the ‘’burbs’ were a vast wasteland for art types. I could not be inspired by the commercial world of photographing PC boards and nuts and bolts. I only wanted to do photography for myself. It was my art form. And that was that.”

Entries cost $35 for the first two images and $10 for each additional entry, and the deadline is 6 p.m. Jan. 22. For more on the InFocus Photography Competition and Exhibition, visit the website.

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