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OLLI Photo Club – Speakers

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March 2018 – Jim Alper

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Past Speakers




January 2018 – Mike Whalen

The Mountains, Fjords and Magic of Norway

Back in June 2016 my wife, two friends and I spent 17 days touring the south-western fjord region of Norway. We stayed at 10 different locations traveling over 1000 miles, mostly by car. We experienced snow-covered mountains, crystal-clear fjords, icy lakes, thunderous waterfalls and the two largest cities, Oslo and Bergen. We hiked numerous trails, saw beautiful vistas and several glaciers; we rode ferries and other boats and even met a few trolls along the way!  In this slideshow you will see examples of all these places and things. I hope this slideshow conveys some of the excitement and beauty we experienced while in this wonderful country.

-Mike Whalen


Mike’s Bio

Mike, a former engineer, became interested in photography after retiring in 2002. As a teen, he learned a few basics from his father, a photographer and artist. However, it wasn’t until 2006 (when he purchased his first serious camera – a Canon “digital” SLR), that he realized the potential of this amazing technology.

In 2009, Mike became an active member of the Northern Virginia Photographic Society (NVPS), the DC area’s largest photo club. Here, he was exposed to many talented people, who were happy to share their knowledge. His skills began to grow. At NVPS, he served on many board positions including President in 2013. In addition to competing in over 50 monthly competitions, he received numerous NVPS annual awards including, “Photographer-of-the-Year”, “Color-Print-of-the-Year” and “Image-of-the-Year” at various times. Mike also scored three cover shots on the Spring edition of Washington Gardener Magazine in recent years and has also won “People’s Choice award in 2016 for his photo, “Charleston Plantation” at the annual “Nature Visions” photo expo. Mike donates his time regularly, as a pet photographer for the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and, volunteers as an event photographer for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s annual race-walk.

Since retiring, he and his wife travel as often as possible. This provides lots of opportunities to find new material to shoot. He loves to photograph all kinds of subjects and enjoys the entire photographic process from composing and taking the shot, to post-processing and printing the final images. His inspiration comes from seeing the great works of his peers as well as seeing images on popular photo websites.  He thanks you for inviting him to speak at OLLI and hopes you enjoy his presentation.

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February 2018 – Stan Schretter

Long-time OLLI member, photographer and trip tale torchbearer par excellence shares his experiences with post-processing in a mobile environment.

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February 2018 – Frank Ruggles (Cancelled)

Frank has been a professional Photographer since 1992, and has had some fantastic assignments over the years. He has worked for the Government at a contractor and as a Federal employee. His favorite assignment was 2007 through 2010, when he worked as an official photographer for the National Park Service. He got so see parts of America that very few people get to see. Every day after he finished his official photographer’s duties, he took advantage of his location and (with the permission of the Secretary of the Interior) started his own project of documenting the beauty of the National Parks.   He hiked a few thousand miles through the most beautiful places in the country. He was fortunate to have traveled to over 150 National Parks in all 50 US States, and can tell you….they really are “America’s Best Idea”.


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October 2017 – Kathy Trauss

Designer, photographer, creative coach, artist, and teacher, community leader— her motto is: “Live life, love life, paint life, and create life! I love showing people that as humans, we are innately creative & everyone’s an artist. I love sharing my passion of creativity, taking pictures, telling stories, and giving back. I’m an artist, photographer… I am a visual storyteller”.

The camera is an extension of how Kathy sees the world. She looks to connect her imagery to her viewer—showing a right brain person’s view of the world. From that simple blade of grass, to the stark graphic look of a building, to the sparkling eyes of the bride and groom, she captures beauty with her lens. She knows she’s done her job when a person looks at her photographs and they know they’ve “seen a story.”

After receiving her certification as a Creatively FitTM Coach, she shares her artist’s view of life through her creative classes, these classes help others to understand the importance of creative vision and perspective. Her students learn to bring creative thinking into their lives and workplace, tapping into their stores of innovation and enthusiasm for life.

She is also a member of the Arches Gallery Artists at the Workhouse Arts Center, where she serves as President and exhibits her work.

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November 2017 – Susan Bloom

Susan Ruddick Bloom is known for her fine art photography. She uses alternative photographic processes and digital manipulation. Sue has been involved in making art on the computer for over twenty-seven years. She holds an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Art History at McDaniel College, in Westminster, Maryland.

Her work spans the range of digital techniques. Recently that includes iPad and iPhone art. She is always experimenting with techniques and materials in an effort to make meaningful marks. She is considered one of the world leaders in digital fine art.

In addition to her college teaching, Sue conducts many workshops, including the Maine Photographic Workshop, Palm Beach Photographic Centre, Santa Fe Photo Workshop, Common Ground, and Common Ground – Scotland. She also leads photo tours throughout the world.

Sue’s book, Digital Collage and Painting, by Focal Press, was released June 1, 2006. It can be found at your local bookstore or A second edition of the book was released in October 2010. The second edition contains many new techniques, reflects changes in software and features the work of twenty new digital artists.

Sue’s  book, Digital Painting in Photoshop, by Focal Press, was released in February 2009, and shows techniques, within Photoshop, that mimic the traditional fine art mediums like pastels, watercolors, oil painting, charcoal sketches and ink wash techniques.

Sue also writes for numerous magazines and is a staff writer at the Australian quarterly, Better Photoshop Techniques. Media.

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December 2017 – Tuan Pham

Climbing a flight of stairs suddenly takes more time and effort. I know I need a new approach to continue enjoying photography for years to come–one that underscores visual intelligence and does not require traveling long distances, climbing mountains or waking up before sunrise. After studying several books and diving deep within. I learned there are two kinds of photos–photos of and photos about, like prose and poetry in literature–and how-to create space for them to come forward. They are hiding in plain sight waiting for an awakened eye.

A nature photographer, Tuan Pham keeps two cameras within reach most of the time. He joined the Northern Virginia Photographic Society (NVPS) in 2005 and later the GRC group (Getting it Right in the Camera) sponsored Joe Miller who has this to say about Tuan: “Your photography represents you well.”  Tuan’s other photography related interest is awareness of the breath—threshold between life and death, conscious and unconscious processes, and the inner and outer landscapes where nature looks and feels fresh and intriguing.


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