The Founder’s District Photography Co-Chairs, Richard and Linda Daugherty, are responsible for photography at all District events, including Division speech contests, District conferences, DEC meetings, and LACE training, capturing photographs of as many presenters as possible, as well as candid shots of the attendees. I recently saw them at several Area and Division Tall Tales and Speech Evaluation Contests. Their images of District events, trophy winners at the speech contests, and newly-elected District officers at each Spring Conference, are sorted, processed, and the best photographs are then posted on the District’s website for all to see. http://www.foundersdistrict.org/home/photos
Linda enjoys her role as District Photographer because it has enabled her to meet many folks throughout the District that she might not have otherwise met, and she has learned a lot about other club cultures, as well as each club’s Area and Division. She says, “So many Toastmasters don’t get to see life beyond the club level – there’s a great big world out there!” Her goal is to always treat everyone the way in which she would like to be treated, and to always do her best, with no regrets. Toastmasters has reconfirmed for her the necessity of speaking to the point – being succinct – in both speaking and writing skills, which are skills she also uses in her job as an Executive Assistant.
Richard describes himself as an “emerging” Public Speaking Coach and Trainer, and professional photographer, but the truth is that he’s already well on his way as both. His more than 14 years of experience as a Toastmaster gives him significant insight into what the average person needs to become confident and effective as a public speaker.
Richard is the co-sponsor and current President, of Lensmasters, Club # 2982484, which meets from 10:00 am until noon, on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month, in the Community Room of the REI store, at 2962 El Camino Real, in the Tustin Marketplace (near Jamboree and I-5). This specialty club is first and foremost a Toastmasters club, but all speeches, tips and table topics must somehow relate to photography. There are also occasional offsite meetings, when the meeting room is being used by REI for co-op business, as well as other scheduled club outings, either to field locations for a photo-walk, or to a studio for hands-on instruction and practice with live models and professional photography equipment.
Richard credits the Lensmasters club co-founder, Daniel Cossack, with helping him gain a tremendous basic background in photography, but notes that Lensmasters continues that education process, sharing Lensmasters members’ extensive knowledge of photography with all the other members and guests. All levels of skill and interest in photography or Toastmasters are welcome at the Lensmasters meetings.
Lensmasters has a unique format for Table Topics. In advance of each meeting, club members receive a one or two word theme, and are challenged to create and submit to the Table Topics master prior to the meeting a photograph that somehow expresses that word or phrase. During Table Topics, every member has an opportunity to critique a photograph without knowing whose photograph it is. Club members then vote for both best Table Topics Speaker and best photograph. That photograph is then marked for inclusion in the printed club calendar for the coming year.
Richard’s education on photography and public speaking includes his recent reading of 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations, by Wayne Turmel, published by ASTD Press (ISBN 9781562867461), which details each step of the virtual presentation process, including identifying your learning objectives and outcomes, learning the virtual presentation platforms, planning the presentation, learning to work with others, building compelling content and good visuals, refining vocal skills, rehearsal, multitasking, using tools, and follow-up to learn from the process.
For artistic inspiration, Richard follows several talented contemporary photographers on the Google Plus social network, including Colby Brown, Catherine Hall, Thomas Hawk, Scott Kelby, Trey Ratcliff, and Rick Sammon, while Linda is drawn to black and white photography, and is a fan of Linda McCartney and Ansel Adams.
Richard’s own “best photo” (so far) is a shot taken one very cold January evening in Pasadena, California of the Colorado Street Bridge, which was built in 1913 and exemplifies the Beaux Arts style of architecture. Below is a rendering of this photograph in black-and-white, and whenever he views this he is instantly transported back to that evening. It perfectly captures the image of a bridge frequently featured in television and cinema; however, I’ve seen some spectacular other photographs on his Facebook page.
Richard notes that he has traveled by car across a large part of these United States, twice, once at age 10 and again at age 15, but his favorite state is probably Hawaii, which he loves so much that he cannot even look out the window when taking off to fly back home after visits there. His artistic bent may be inherited from his dad, who for a time was a trombone player with the famous big band orchestra “Spike Jones and his City Slickers”.
Gayle Larkin, Area G-5 Governor, and an artist who knows Richard and Linda both personally, and as a member of the Lensmasters club, praised both for their tireless spirit and support of Toastmasters, but emphasized that both are themselves very talented artists.
Linda has diverse interests. She is reading Rod, the autobiography of musician Rod Stewart, is a fan of Jane Austin’s works, and recently read Sky Dragons: Dragonriders of Pern, a science fiction novel by Anne and Todd McCaffery. Linda was once a decent downhill snow skier, but says that she gave that up after she broke her leg in three places and blew out her knee by doing the limbo. She wryly notes that she no longer does the limbo, but ever the Toastmaster, admits that, “Yes, I’ve given a speech on this event!” She’s always wanted to play the drums (so the featured entertainment at this year’s Founder’s District Fall Conference should be especially interesting), but she also has on her bucket wish list a desire to earn her private pilot’s license.
For all you aspiring photographers, Richard and Linda offer the following tips:
- It doesn’t matter whether you have a point-and-shoot camera or a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera, it’s what you do with your camera that counts.
- Pay close attention to everything in the frame of your picture – while our brains filter out what we don't want to see, the camera cannot do this. Be aware of any clutter in the background – keep it as simple as possible, and watch out for distracting backgrounds, like strong vertical or horizontal lines, and bright lights.
- Compose your photographs to clearly emphasize your subject. Since we naturally focus immediately on the brightest and/or most in-focus parts of a photograph, be sure that your subject is in those parts of the image.
- Take lots of photographs when shooting people. As Richard notes, we blink more that we realize, and our mouths make strange shapes when we speak. Taking a lot of pictures increases your chances of getting shots without these distractions. Linda also suggested that you get as close as you can (without being obnoxious) when taking pictures of people, and focus on the eyes – the eyes tell the story!
Work with your subjects and have fun capturing special moments in time with your own best photograph, and the next time that you are at a Founder’s District event, remember to give a warm welcome to our fabulous Founder’s District Photography Co-Chairs, Richard and Linda Daugherty.
Laura Scott, CC, CL, is a corporate lawyer who studied Linguistics at UCLA before graduating from UC Davis, King Hall School of Law. As the parent of a young adult with Asperger’s (who is now a graduate of UC Riverside and an aspiring actor), Laura has worked closely with speech therapists, counselors, and special education personnel to craft Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and is a frequent speaker about Asperger’s and the value of Toastmasters International’s programs. Past president of the President’s Distinguished Vineyard Journeys Toastmasters and the Psomas Pspeakers club, a past winner of the Founder’s District Evaluation Speech Contest, and the current Area F-4 Governor and Founder’s District APP Chair, you can connect with Laura on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Meetup.