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photo by Mindy Cohan

September Photo Newsletter
Animal Friends

"Dogs are funny. Cats are not" ~ Elliott Erwitt, photographer

Dear Photographers,

Some of us love animals.  Some of us love pictures of animals.  And some of us love taking pictures of animals.  This month we  explore the technical challenges, the  creative possibilities - and the sheer fun - of photographing the animals that share our lives.  



Pet Pix

photo by Owen Biddle


Northwestern Stables
Get shots of these beautiful animals in this lovely setting. If you like horses, this is the trip for you! And even more exciting, this is the date of their horse show.  Should be plenty of actions shots!

Sunday, Sept 3  10:00 - 12:00


Providence Animal Center (SPCA)

The participants will not only be working on their photography skills, but will be doing their part to help find homes for the animals.  This animal shelter is always in need of high quality photos of dogs and cats and other pets to publicize their mission, and we will  create images to contribute to this goal. .  And a portion of our proceeds will be donated to the shelter.

Limited to 6 participants.  RSVP by email or phone (610) 626-7854.

Sunday,  Sept 24  1:00 - 3:00


Two-Session Photo Workshop:











Photo Field Trips

Philadelphia Zoo

This is a SUPER DEAL, as admission to the zoo is included in the cost.  Get shots of a variety of animals, from  reptiles and primates to the big cats and bears.  Special photographic opportunities are the aviary, where you will find exotic and colorful birds and the childrens' zoo, with the young farm animals and so much more.  Photo tips for dealing with challenges such as shooting through glass and less-than-optimal lighting are part of the instruction.

Thursday, Sept. 14  10:00 - 12:00

photo by Owen Biddle


Are you on a quest to capture that perfect pet portrait, but find the critter blurs in an instant of movement, or gets lost in a jumbled background, or is too dark or too light? This workshop is for you!  You will learn how to catch your cat mid-leap, how to handle a confusing background, how to deal with difficult lighting conditions and how to frame the shot that shows your animal's unique personality.  

First session:  discussion of equipment, technical issues and compositional tips 

Thursday, 9/21  7:00 - 8:30

Second session:  share your work from the intervening week -

Thursday,  9/28 7:00 - 8:30.


Not a photo but.....

 We are not the first to worship our cats and show our adoration in our art as is evident in this ancient Egyptian cat statuette intended to contain a mummified cat , Ptolemaic Period  (305 to 30 BC) The Metropolitan Museum of Art







Speaking of Animal Friends...

We just adopted a cat who is in the process of taking over our home and our hearts.  

Jitter Bug came to us through an amazing organization, Animal Friends of Lansdowne - a group of volunteers devoted to saving homeless animals, paying the bills to get them in good shape and then matching them with loving families.

They are always in need of support and

you can make a donation at: (for online donations)

Or mail to: P.O. Box 869, Lansdowne, PA 19050

You can also follow on Facebook and consider volunteering or fostering.


Photo Contest 

Animal Friends

Introducing our Photo-Contest-of-the Month!!  

Do you have the cutest or most handsome pet on the planet?  Here's your chance to prove it!  Send us a photo.  Things "the judges" really  like include  motion, color, strange pets, humor, black & white, classic portraits, and originality.   We'll choose  the best submission to be featured in  next month's newsletter. This time we're looking for photos of pets and/or farm animals (Another time we'll try wildlife).

How to enter:  Just email your pictures to


Rachel's pet baby snail.  photo by Rachel Zervas


French Postcards ~

Photos by Bill Patterson

Opening Reception 

Friday, September 15  5:00 - 7:00

Camellia Coffee House

20 N. Lansdowne Ave,

Lansdowne PA  19050


Check  Out....

William Wegman's Weimaraners 

for a very different concept in photographing pets.

DSLR and Mirrorless Fundamentals Tutorials

Below are descriptions of the basic units of our curriculum available to students ranging from beginner to advanced.  Most units are five lessons and include a set of assignments designed to give practice in targeted skills with opportunities to get feedback from the instructor so that you learn from your experiences.

Just give a call and  we can set up individual sessions to keep you moving forward with your photography.

 Call (610)-626-7854 for details.


​(click on links for more information)


Fundamentals 1:  Camera Operations   is for students who are just starting out, or want a good review of the basic camera functions. 

Fundamentals 2:  Applications  is for students who have some comfort with the camera and want to start applying their skills to expand their photographic range.

Fundamentals 3:  Composition  takes photography beyond the subject, and encourages you to see the artistic and compositional opportunities in everyday life. Here is a chance for your right brain to come out and play!


Fundamentals 4:  Lighting Across the Genres is for students who are  ready for the next critical step: lighting.  Explore sophisticated means of controlling both natural and artificial light for portraits, landscape and still life to get just the mood and effects you want.


Advanced Photography - Using self-generated assignments and in-depth critiques we will help you move forward in your work.

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Return of the

In-Person Photo Salon

(next date TBD)

These are very friendly, relaxed get-togethers at my apartment in Lansdowne. Photographers of all levels are welcome to share pictures, get photography tips, and discuss camera equipment. You can also get ideas for entering photography contests, submitting to photography magazines and having photo shows. Feedback from the group provides encouragement and inspiration to go out and take more pictures. These informal photography critiques offer an excellent opportunity to start identifying themes in your work and to get ideas for new directions. Group size is limited, so if you can come an RSVP is required by email or call (610) 626-7854. Cost is $10.  



Photographer of the Month

Mindy Cohan










Here is what Mindy has to say: "My interest in photography was not kindled until midlife, yet my passion for animals was inherent from the moment I was born. It was my love of animals and yearning to see those native to Africa that helped to foster my enthusiasm for photography. My two trips to Africa in 2014 and 2017 also helped me to develop a deep appreciation for birds.

     After shooting in Africa and for several subsequent years with a Nikon hybrid camera, I treated myself to a Sony A7iv one year ago with the hopes of capturing birds in flight and higher quality photos. I have found focusing through the viewfinder on shore birds and other various wildlife is an incredible distraction from the discomfort I experience with daily persistent headaches. Photography has not only brought me joy by allowing me to connect with animals in a new way, it has proven to be a more effective pain reliever than any doctor could ever prescribe."

Yes!  So many of us have discovered the healing effects of giving ourselves over to  beautiful or compelling  details in our vast visual world and using our cameras - and our intuitions - to capture those magical shots.  Once you achieve the "flow" all else seems to disappear.  And as Mindy's images show, the results can also bring pleasure, peace and inspiration to others. Thank you, Mindy for sharing these beautifully composed, and superbly timed meditations of birds and beasts.

Click on thumbnails to see full images.


Photo Tips:  Animal Pix

This month we invited  professional dog photographer par excellence, Bob Zwann to share some of his wisdom....

The “give me a paw” trick is one of the easiest to teach — almost any
dog can learn it. But you can take the photo even if the dog doesn’t
have the skill, as long as the dog is comfortable with its paw held. It
helps to use a wide-angle lens to get close enough to the dog while
his paw is in your hand.
 Use a wide-angle lens and focus on a close point that fits the dog into
the frame.
 The dog can be slightly off-center to create a leading line with the paw.
 Focus on the dog’s eyes while the lens blurs his paw.
 Leave a part of the human hand visible in the corner.


During every photo session, I usually take at least one close-up
portrait of the model’s face. To turn this image into an interesting
one, you should experiment with different backgrounds and
lighting. You can also try to capture facial expressions that will
make the photo unique.
 Get close so the dog’s head almost fills the frame.
 Take this shot from a standing point of view, looking down at the dog.
 Leave leading space in the direction the dog is looking.
 Soft light hitting the dog’s head with spots of sunlight and shadows
visible in the background adds contrast to the leaves on the ground.

Action photos without blur are always tricky, especially in low-light
situations. To make sure that you capture the right moment, take
the image several times, and use burst mode. This strategy will
increase your chances of capturing the perfect running photo.
 Get down to the dog’s level to bring the viewer into the photo and add
foreground depth.
 If the dog is running exactly towards you, place her in the middle of the
 If she is running a bit sideways, leave leading space towards that
 Very cloudy late autumn weather — use soft light with minimal
shadowing under the dog.


photo by Robert Zwaan


photo by Rober Zwaan


photo by Robert Zwaan

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