June 2019

Jeanette Brinker

 We asked Jeanette to be our Photographer of the Month for June because of her committed and methodical approach to improving her bird photography. She shares her passion with us: 

I have been taking pictures off and on all my life but became interested in bird photography when we lived in the San Francisco Bay area.  Our neighborhood had both palm trees and sycamores that were home to Orioles.  When I put out our hummingbird feeder, I noticed that the Orioles would hang out and try to drink from them.  I soon got a couple Oriole feeders and over the years their population grew as they imprinted on our backyard.  They arrived in March and left in August after fledging two sets of young.  They were fun to watch but when we planned to move to SaddleBrooke, I thought it would be nice to photograph them.  Since they are very timid birds, my husband built a bird blind, and I borrowed a Canon Zoom camera from work for a few weeks.  We probably had 20 Orioles in our backyard at any one time.  Photographing them got me started on more serious bird photography.

Since then, I have purchased my own Canon camera with a 400 zoom lens, as well as two off camera flashes.  I also spray painted a canvas background to use as a backdrop.  The folks in the Photography Club helped me decide what equipment was instrumental for bird photography.

After moving to SaddleBrooke, my interest has turned to photographing hummingbirds and other colorful birds such as the Elegant Trogons.  They each have their unique challenges.  We planted hummingbird flowering bushes in our backyard and I use the backdrop and flashes to capture the male’s iridescent color while trying to eliminate the view of the brick back wall.  It takes patience to photograph them in the bushes rather than against the feeders.  And another challenge is that they move so fast!  After purchasing a small place in Pinetop to escape the summer heat, we now go to the Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area for their annual High Country Hummingbird Festival during the fall migration at the end of July.  We have photographed Broadtails, Rufous, Calliope, and Annas during this time.

Photographing the Elegant Trogons has also turned into a passion. The northern range of this species is the sky islands of southern Arizona.  I saw and photographed my first Trogon at Patagonia Lake State Park about 3 years ago.  Since then, my husband and I have visited Cave Creek, Huachuca Canyon, Garden Canyon, and Madera Canyon in search of the Trogons.  Sometimes it takes several visits to get the right lighting or photograph them without a tangle of branches.  I have been fortunate this year for the first time to see and photograph young Trogons at Madera Canyon.

The SaddleBrook Photography Club has had several birding fieldtrips, including Bosque Del Apache in New Mexico to photograph Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese, Sweetwater Wetlands and Gilbert Water Ranch.  All are excellent locations for bird photography. 

We are fortunate to live in Arizona where wildlife is so abundant.  My goal is to continue photographing wildlife locally.  A recent day trip to the lakes within the White Mountains allowed my husband and I to enjoy seeing Bald Eagles, Mountain Bluebirds, Great Blue Herons, Pronghorn Antelope, Elk, and Bighorn Sheep.  There is never a lack of photographic opportunities!


May 2019

Joe Tomasello

Joe Tomasello has been taking photos and telling visual stories since he was 12 years old with a Kodak Instamatic. In high school he was the yearbook photographer and built his own dark room. By college he was entering contests and winning awards. Over the years Joe photographed friends, family and special events. Joe worked in commercial banking for 37 years in the Chicago area. After early retirement, he moved to Arizona and joined the Saddlebrooke Photography Club 18 months ago. 

Joe’s life as a photographer was transformed when he converted to digital photography. He says:  

“The option to take an infinite number of photos [like 3,000 on our trip to Italy]

and see immediate results was astounding!”

 Currently Joe is shooting with a DSLR Nikon D810. He has discovered his passion. Photographing wildlife! Joe and his wife have visited numerous National Parks and are hooked on the natural beauty and uniqueness of each region. The combination of digital photography and his experiences in the National Parks motivated Joe to participate in professionally guided photo workshops and trips. 

Joe shares these thrilling adventures with his long-time college friend. Together they have explored Yellowstone Lamar Valley in the frigid winter, humpback and killer whales in Monterey, CA and the annual sandhill crane migration in Kearney Nebraska. Oftentimes, he is traveling and shooting alongside professional wildlife photographers.

This month Joe  presented to the Club, his most recent trip, to Haines, Alaska. This March, Joe won a Second Place and Honorable Mention for his Eagles in Alaska in the Arizona Camera Club Council Spring Round-up. He joined professional photographer, Matt Shetzer, on his  Bald Eagle Photography Workshop. Here is how Joe described this amazing experience:

“My overall impression was that Alaska is truly the ‘last frontier’…The eagles that migrate to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve must be protected from interference in their annual migration at all costs. It is essential to preserve their existence for future generations to witness these magnificent creatures. The eagles were exciting to observe and photograph and allowed me to broaden my knowledge of this rare population of raptors.” 

Future trips for Joe include the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to capture images of condors. This year he will return to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons and next year he is headed to Vero Beach, Florida for action shots of osprey. Joe believes that traveling to these amazing locations with a professional photographer tour guide has enhanced and improved the quality of his photography. The Saddlebrooke Photography Club is honored to present the talented, Joe Tomasello, as our May Photographer of the Month. 

April 2019

Andrea Gray

Andrea started photographing almost 40 years ago after taking a  community college course on photography. But it wasn’t until she moved to Saddlebrooke 18 years ago that she became completely involved in photography.  This was when she also started to travel the world. Andrea says that she has  an “eye” for photography and often looks at a scene with or without her camera to find an interesting image. 

Her travels and eye  for an interesting image are a great match up. She loves taking pictures on her travels and making photoshows to show friends, family and fellow travelers. Andrea is the official photographer for the MPWGA (MountainView Preserve 18 holers) and makes photoshows for all their special tournaments. She has also done photoshows for weddings and family reunions.

Andrea’s travels have taken her to Australia/New Zealand, Peru, Spain and Portugal, Vietnam, Africa, Patagonia South America, Costa Rica, Russia, the Balkans, the Netherlands, Greece and Japan. Most of her land travels have been with Odysseys Unlimited tours. The most recent trip in September was a two week tour in Japan. She describes Japan as an extremely clean, organized and polite country. Tokyo is New York City on steroids. Her favorite story that depicts Japan perfectly was when her husband decided to cross the street against the light when there were no cars in his path. Suddenly a police car flashed its lights and an officer spoke harshly in Japanese to my husband. After a few moments, the police car drove away as the officer, in English, shouted to my husband, “That is not the Japanese way!”