Sponsor Profile - Jeff Hirsch

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Jeff Hirsch - Photographer / Photo-educator / Adobe Certified Lightroom Expert / Camera Club Sponsor

I am a third generation photographer who picked up the craft from my father Bud when I was just a kid - just as he had learned from his father. We had a wet darkroom in our basement and I learned how to develop my own black and white film when I was about seven years old. I have been hooked on it ever since. 

My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic X-15 that came with cartridge film and flash cubes. It was my most prized possession at the time and I still treasure the photos I shot with it as a child. My first "real" camera was a Pentax K-1000 that I still own. In high school I was a photographer for both the newspaper and yearbook and that K-1000 sure got a lot of use. 

Starting in 1989, I ran a screen-printing business for almost a decade and during that time, honed my skills as a graphic artist and as a Photoshop jockey. In fact, I was a beta tester for the very first release of Photoshop (version 0.25). Before that I worked with primitive photo editing programs like Digital Darkroom and Studio/8 that were around in the years before we had Photoshop.

In 2008 I was introduced to Adobe's Lightroom software by a fellow photographer. I was immediately taken with the ease of use, high quality output, and the organizational tools it contained to help me get control of my ever-growing library of photos. I started teaching Lightroom professionally in 2009 when version 2.0 was released and I became an Adobe Certified Expert in 2011 upon the release of Lightroom version 3.0. These days, I teach Lightroom classes, workshops, and boot-camps year-round. I have both a beginners and and an advanced class starting this September. Each class runs for eight weeks and covers the entire workflow from start to finish. Details can be found on my website: www.jeffhirsch.com.

I have spent my entire professional career with one foot in the world of liberal arts and the other in the world of computer science. Because I speak both languages, I've become proficient at translating from geek to english and back again. As a teacher, this gives me a distinct advantage in helping photographers and other creative types to make the most of all of this amazing technology we have available. Not everybody with a camera is great with computers, so I try to explain things in plain english so they can take advantage of the creative possibilities and manage the basic housekeeping necessary for a digital photography workflow.

I enjoy every form of photography but am particularly passionate about travel, street photography, and architecture. I have a selection of about 24,000 images that are available for viewing on the photo sharing site flickr. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/heff/albums) These images have had over a million and a half unique views in the last ten years. 

I am also on a mission to teach people how to capture and process natural looking HDR (high dynamic range) images. With recent advances in the software we use to make HDRs, there's no reason high dynamic range images have to look fake and over-processed. I run a one-day workshop on HDR a couple of times a year and you can see many examples of my HDR work on flickr.

For the past decade, I have been working very closely with Stewart Halperin, a local professional who got his start photographing chimpanzees with Jane Goodall in Tanzania and who was later mentored by the great Ernst Haas. Stewart and I have been running workshops and photo trips together for many years now and I have learned so much studying at his side. The first workshops I did with him at the Shaw Nature Reserve have evolved over time into an ongoing curriculum of monthly photo offerings known as the Shaw Photography Series. Every couple of years, as part of this series, we have been able to bring in top photographers like Sam Abel, Jim Brandenberg, Arthur Meyerson, and more to give lectures and weekend workshops. You can find class listings on the Missouri Botanical Garden website.

Stewart and I have traveled around the world together and have taken photographers to such exotic locations as Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Italy, and Cuba. In January of 2018 I will be running a photo trip to Cuba and in November of 2018, Stewart and I will be running another photo trip to New Zealand at the height of their flower season. I want to take this opportunity to thank him for his ongoing mentorship and guidance over the years.

I am a proud sponsor of the St. Louis Camera Club and have been actively involved in it since the very first time I was asked to make a presentation there. In the years since I joined, I have served a number roles including chairman of the Mississippi Valley Salon, chairman of the Short and Long essay competitions, co-chair of the Spring Seminar (with my wife Donna Parrone), and now as chair of the projected image section. I have served on the print committee, as a board member, and as club secretary. I am also part of the Technical Advisory Board and have been a proud member of the projection team for the last several years. SLCC is an amazing asset to the St. Louis photographic community and I am glad to be a part of making it a resource that local shooters can rely on.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have a wife who shares my passion for photography. And luckily for all of us, Donna has jumped into camera club with great gusto. Since joining, she has served as a board member, chair of both photo journalism and photo travel sections, chair of the spring seminar, head of the projection team and has been the host of our annual awards ceremony and christmas gathering. She now serves as our club's vice president and chair of programming. Once a month, Donna and I run a photo salon where club members can bring images they'd like to discuss with other members in a non-competitive setting. Over the last three years we have looked at and discussed over a thousand images and the monthly gatherings have become one of our very favorite club activities.

Finally, I was asked to share something interesting that Camera Club members might not know about me, so here goes: In the early '80s, I got to be an extra for the film version of John Irving's "The World According to Garp" which was shot at my high school in upstate New York. The film starred Robin Williams, Glen Close, and John Lithgow and it was great fun to be part of a big Hollywood production even though my screen time consisted of three seconds of walking across the quadrangle away from the camera with dozens of other identical looking students. This was actually my second brush with the film industry. A few years earlier, while hiking the Grand Canyon from rim to rim, our group met Peter Fonda and Brook Shields while they were there filming a movie at the bottom of the canyon.

I look forward to another informative and entertaining camera club season and to seeing all of you at an upcoming meeting or in one of my classes, workshops, or lectures.

-Jeff Hirsch
August 2017



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