Earlier this month, I was at PPI winter convention in Des Moines. I have so much fun seeing my good photographer friends at this event! A personal challenge that I have taken on is working towards my Masters Degree with the Professional Photographers of America. This involves accumulating a certain number of educational merits and print competition merits. I already have plenty of educational merits – not too hard to do when you love learning more about a career you are passionate about! I am just over half-way to my goal of 13 print merits. This is not an easy process. It involves being far more picky about details than you would ever dream of “fixing” in an average portrait. I have participated in competition for several years now, primarily because it is making me a better photographer. But, now that I have my eye on the “prize” of achieving my Master’s, I am learning how to pay even more attention to certain details. This year I received a second place award for the “portrait of a man” category and I was a top 10 award winner for my print case entries. Now these images will go on to the regional and national competitions. The process is challenging & frustrating at times, but always exciting!