The judge for October is Stephen Hinchey

While I was in Junior High my older brother built a darkroom in the basement of our house and taught me to develop
black and white images. When I graduated from college I purchased my first new camera. I started shooting color
images, switching from prints to slides to save money. But I never took any classes.

I purchased my first digital camera about 15 years ago, and I started taking classes. I've taken a number of Nature Photography classes at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite (Summer, Winter and Spring). To conquer my fear of shooting people I signed up for shooting sessions with models. More recently I find myself more in the studio where I can experiment and create unique lighting situations.

When I look at an image I also check my own reaction. What am I reacting to in the image? Then I look for the story
the photographer is trying to tell. Did she convey her story to me in this image? Sometimes you need to tell people
what to do to take their image to the next level. But I think that it is more important to explain to everyone what each image maker did correctly.


 The judge for November is Len Cook

Len Cook is a career professional photographer with a photojournalism degree from San Jose State University, 1971. From magazines in Los Angeles, to newspapers in Omaha, NE (Len was on a Pulitzer prize-winning team there) and back to the SF Bay Area, Len focused on photojournalism, becoming chief photographer and director of photography managing the color film output of 13 staff photographers. During his film days, Len exposed and developed more
than a quarter-million of his own images. Len later migrated to information technology, managing the software and applications platform for 16,000 workstations at PeopleSoft in Pleasanton until 2006. Part of the job was managing
the Adobe relationship, so Len earned his Adobe Certified Instructor certificate for Photoshop.
He leveraged his film and digital careers as an instructor at Chabot College for 7 years teaching
silver- and digital-based photography, and Photoshop. Over a 25-year period Len also operated a commercial studio at 2 different locations in Fremont. From 2010 to 2017, prior to closing the studio, Len offered classes there through and had more than 2,000 members in his Meetup group. Len continues to teach a range of photo subjects to hundreds of students as young as 6 years old (!) to adults during 12 years of teaching and summer camps as a current employee of the City of Fremont Recreation Department.

Philosophy in judging: Images offered for critique or competition are postcards from journeys
into the love of photography. They mark a photographer’s progress on that journey and give
those who view them an opportunity to share the photographer’s viewpoint and to offer
appreciation and encouragement for the result. I wish to offer such encouragement, as well as
an informed but impartial comment on what I consider noteworthy about the image, for good or
ill, in content, composition, and technical execution. 

The judge for December is Charles Ginsburgh

 My name is Charlie Ginsburgh, and unlike many judges and club participants who have been taking images since dirt was first invented, I have only been actively involved in photography since 2011. I am a biochemist by trade, and as such have always been interested in nature, life and what makes living cells tick. One thing I enjoy is creating(design and manufacture) stained glass panels. I have done this off and on for over twenty years or so, and have given away much of my work to friends and family. In 2010 I sought to create a photographic catalog of my efforts, and proceeded to discover the joys and frustrations of photography. Fast forward to the present, and I am currently more involved in photography than in my stained glass endeavors.

When I look at many truly excellent examples of photography, I generally am familiar with how the image was
collected (technical aspects and the such) but am often struck with the thought that “I might not of seen that shot,
were I there”. My journeys through photography have taught me the value of “seeing” what is in front of you, and
how difficult it can be to do so. This represents a continuing challenge in my own photography which I find
immensely rewarding.

I am up to taking pictures of almost anything (and I do), but I have a special affinity for macrophotography. In that
disciple, I find that I focus (if you pardon the pun) upon “normal” life around me, showing a side of life which is
always there, but is rarely seen. I believe that this is but another manifestation of “seeing”. I can be in group of
master photographers at some truly mind-blowing scenic and/or iconic local, and darn if my eye isn’t caught by the
little weed buried in the dust next to my left foot. Oh well, to each their own. Examples of my photographic efforts can be viewed at my SmugMug site (

When I first view an image I “look” for the emotional content of the image, and how I am affected by the image.
There is nothing more satisfying than when an image (yours or another’s) is first viewed by a group, and hearing an
immediate, collective spontaneous gasp from the audience, a sure sign that some level of emotional connection has
been achieved. I next look for how effectively the image was “seen” by the maker, and only then do I focus upon the
more technical aspects (composition, capture and presentation) employed to capture the maker’s vision of the image.
In the end, with each image I am striving to comprehend the maker’s vision of the image, and how effectively this
vision was captured.

The judge for February is Mark Brueckman

I am an active member of my local camera club and make pictures almost everyday. I learn by experimenting,
attending webinars, watching educational videos and listening to the analyses at my camera club’s monthly
competitions. I have completed the N4C judges training and mentored with three judges. Currently, I am a board
member of both the N4C and my local camera club. I write a column (Notable Photographers and Their Images) for
the N4C monthly newsletter.
Judging Philosophy - A judge must be respectful of the presented images - this is necessary to encourage and
learn from each other. Additionally, it is important for me to continually manage my personal biases. We all have
some artistic, cultural and photographic biases (e.g. “I really like/don’t like x type of photography...”). As much as
possible, a judge must be aware of their biases and not favor a specific type or subject matter. For me, an image tells
a story - the components of that story are content, composition and title - the most compelling images are not only
well crafted, but have originality and an engaging subject.
"Way out people know the way out." - Bob Kaufmann


The judge for March is Jane Postiglione

 Jane Postiglione has been shooting images since she received her first Brownie camera at age 11. As an undergraduate student in Architectural Interior Design at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, Jane shot with a medium format 2 1⁄4 Minolta twin lens reflex camera and a hand held light meter, and learned to develop film and make black and white prints. After receiving her BFA from Pratt, Jane practiced design in New York City, travelled several times to Europe, and then moved west to study Instructional Technology and multimedia in graduate school at SF State. This lead to work in writing, shooting and editing instructional training videos for the Army and the Navy, as well as creating and delivering technology and management programs for the corporate world. Jane started using digital equipment in 2004.

Jane has won many club awards for her prints and digital images, and has been President of the Contra
Costa Camera Club (Pleasant Hill), and President of the Northern California Council of Camera Clubs
(N4C). In addition to being on the Board of CCCC and N4C, Jane was a past Board Member of the Alamo
Danville Artist Society, and past Director of their Rotating Gallery. She also filled in as Interim Director and
Curator at Sun Gallery in Hayward, Ca. She has shown and sold her work in group and individual shows at
local galleries and establishments. Most recently several of her images were published in the Best of Photography 2014 in Photographer’s Forum, a magazine for the emerging professional. In addition to her fine art photography, Jane shoots weddings and events with her photographer/musician husband. You can view Jane’s website at:

As a Photographer, I believe it is important to consciously select visually interesting subject matter with
appealing compositional elements, shoot at the best time of day to portray the image, use the best technical
parameters to capture the image, and tell the subject’s story,.... capture the subject’s essence,...all while
demonstrating a personal visual style or signature that sets your work apart from
the work of others. I acknowledge that evaluating and judging photography and art is subjective, yet I believe
there are certain universal aesthetic principles and guidelines, which apply to all artwork. For N4C judging I
follow the N4C and PSA rules and definitions.

The judge for April is Melanie Lewert

Melanie has been taking pictures since she received first camera in 1969, a Kodak Brownie Holiday; she became
enamored with capturing the world on film. In college she purchased my first 35mm camera—Minolta 370—and
found that she had a great eye for black and white. Until she moved onto a digital camera, years later, all of her
work was in black and white—enjoying the use of contrast and shadows to tell her story. Since going to digital, she
has found a photographic voice that is unique unto her own. She’s won a number of ribbons and has shown her
work in several shows. Photography is more than a hobby for her, it’s a passion—it’s the way she can capture and
celebrate life.
Melanie is an active member in the Milpitas Camera Club, filling several board positions at any one time. She
teaches photographic composition during the summer to beginners and experienced photographers alike. Melanie is
currently the Chairman of the Yerba Buena chapter of PSA.
When I look at a photograph I wonder why the photographer took the picture and what they wanted to say—
what’s the “story” behind the picture? There are a lot of photographs out there, but most don’t make you see or feel
what the photographer saw and felt when they took the photo—a good photo-graph does all that and more.

The judge for May is Becky Jaffe

A photographer, naturalist, and educator living in Oakland, California, Becky Jaffe is active in the Bay Area photography community, teaching Art of Seeing courses for advanced fine art photographers, curating group exhibits in galleries and greenhouses, and judging competitions at the Berkeley Camera Club, the Contra Costa Camera Club, and the Alameda Photographic Society. She is the 2019 Artist-in-Residence at the University of California’s Botanical Garden at Berkeley, where she has served as a docent for over a decade. She is fortunate to teach photography and art history internationally as a lecturer for Cal Discoveries Travel. In her dedicated photography practice, she uses in-camera techniques that stretch the photographic medium to create painterly effects, fusing an artist’s sensibility with a biologist’s curiosity in order to communicate reverence for the natural world. 

Her photographs have been recognized by the California Academy of Sciences, the Center for Fine Art Photography, the Entomological Society of America, the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco, and have been published in The Buddhist Poetry Review, Bay Nature Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and LensWork. She is represented by the Abrams Claghorn Gallery in Albany, California.

The Year-end judge is Jan Lightfoot

Bio: My love of photography began in the fourth grade with my Brownie camera during a field trip to a
California Mission. Capturing pictures on film, taking it to the drugstore and two weeks later, picking up

twelve blurry black and white photos with ragged edges was thrilling. Now, retired after 18 years of self-
employment, photography continues to fascinate me and has naturally evolved into my passion. It has

helped to define who I am today. Although never formally trained, I have always been involved with
photography in one form or another. Transitioning from my own darkroom in high school, I joined the
Idaho Statesman newspaper photography staff, and worked in custom color printing labs both in Idaho
and California. Later I became a Certified Photographic Counselor through PMA and manager of
Wentling’s Camera in Walnut Creek, CA while raising my two daughters. In 2012, I had my first solo
gallery showing at Viewpoint Photographic Gallery in Sacramento, CA and have received numerous
awards through competitions and juried shows.
Currently, I am the Organizer for Exploring Photography, an online photography Meetup group with
nearly 900 members. I am also a member of the Sierra Camera Club and the Gold Rush Chapter of PSA. I
have also been a judge for the 2013 Gold Rush International Exhibition in Sacramento and will be
judging Nature at the San Joaquin International in March of 2015. Examples of my photographic
portfolios can be seen at

Philosophy: My own images tend to reflect a long association with classic and traditional
compositions, having adopted a ‘less is more’ vision. I try to incorporate this philosophy into practically
everything I shoot. Searching for the essence of the subject, or that ephemeral quality that is not always
obvious, is what I strive to capture; and in doing so, to create that connection with the viewer that
touches them emotionally.
Based on this philosophy, I have had occasions to provide critiques and/or mentoring for photographers, which I
usually do one-on-one. My philosophy has always been to provide the maker of an image with honest, positive
feedback. I stress the importance that a critical, yet constructive analysis can be a valuable tool to learn to see
creatively, build a portfolio, or acquire a better understanding of photography. My ultimate goal in judging is to
help other photographers find expression through their own style of photography.

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