Photographic Society of America (PSA) Conference 2014 in Albuquerque

David Wilkins
I have wanted to attend the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, and this year’s PSA conference provided the perfect excuse.  The conference itself was held from September 27 through October 3.  There were photo tours before the conference as well as the Balloon Fiesta after.

Nan Carder
The conference started off with the opening ceremony to welcome all the attendees and give out awards and recognition. Nan Carder, EPSA, was recognized for earning the EPSA distinction.  It takes 700 acceptances at PSA recognized exhibitions (documented by division stars) to earn the EPSA distinction.

Here is a list of all the awards for Lancaster Photography Association (LPA) and LPA members given at the conference:


Nan Carder
Each day was filled with a choice of three presentations one could choose from.  Larry Cowles, FPSA, GMPSA and Susan Cowles, APSA, EPSA from the Exploring Light Camera Club each gave a presentation at a session.  Some of my favorite sessions were the one on a South Africa Visual Safari and one on Indonesia.  There was also a session on how to photograph the Balloon Fiesta, including the sequence of events at the fiesta.  That session proved useful at the end of the week.  There were some practical sessions on shooting models, how to shoot birds in flight and how to shoot hummingbirds.

Each evening there was a featured presentation by a professional photographer and they were all very inspiring.  Tyler Stableford (Canon Explorer Of Light) gave a presentation on his work to create a gallery show on cowboys.  The next night Cole Thompson gave a presentation on black and white, which he uses almost exclusively.  Darrell Gulin (Canon Explorer Of Light) showed his travel and nature photos on a third night.  One common theme that ran through these three presentations is they do not follow the so-called rules of photography.  Following rules can stifle your creativity each of these professionals believes.

David Wilkins
There were a variety of tours offered before the conference started.  Chris and I went on the one to San Ildefonso Pueblo and Chimayo and also the tour to El Rancho de las Golondrinas and Santa Fe.  There were many photo opportunities.

Once the conference was over, it was time for the Balloon Fiesta.  A mass ascension was scheduled for the first two mornings.  At sunrise the balloons start taking the skies.  The bus left the hotel at 5AM, giving plenty of time to wander around and take in the sights before the balloons took flight.  The first day the weather cooperated and the balloons took off.  On the second day the wind was too strong and none flew.

Nan Carder
Each night they did a Glowdeo where some balloons inflate and light their burners in harmony as darkness falls.  The wind proved to be at the edge of allowing balloons to inflate.  There was a fireworks display at the end.

Chris and I had a good time and would recommend going.  Next year the PSA Annual Conference will be held in West Yellowstone.

By David and Chris Wilkins

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