PTD Study Groups

Study Groups

Liz Rylan


Submit Images: January 14, March 14, May 14,
July 14, September 14, and November 14

The goal of the Photo Travel Division Study Groups is to provide PSA members who enjoy travel photography an opportunity to share and improve their knowledge and skills.

Each Round involves the submission and review of two (2) images by each participant in the Study Group during a 2-month period. There is no limitation on subject matter as long as it complies with the PSA Photo Travel definition. Each Group, acting independently, conducts its activites as a series of continuous Rounds, each spanning a two-month period. The Rounds begin on the fourteenth day of the odd months (January, March, May, July, September, and November) and have four parts:

  • Part one (Collection): Begins on the first day of the Round's first month and has a 14-day duration. During this time, the participants select, prepare and submit, on-line, two (2) images and related descriptors to the Webmaster for review.   
  • Part two (Distribution): Covers the time used by the Webmaster, during of the first month, to process all images and descriptors; then post them for review by the Study Group members. The images are posted as soon as possible, so any remaining time is added to the Review period (Part 3). 
  • Part three (Review): This is the essence of the program. It extends from the time the images and descriptors are posted to the second month's 24th day. The members use this period to analyze the images and record their comments and ratings. To do this, the reviewers use the image descriptor information, as well as the images themselves, to prepare and submit their observations and thoughts. At the same time, the reviewers are encouraged to download and modify, at least one image for each maker, which graphically illustrates the suggested improvements contained in their comments. The resulting image is referred to as "visual feedback." In this way, the Reviewer can more definitively express their suggestions for improvement. At the conclusion of their reviews and the preparation of any visual feedback files, they are returned online to the Webmaster for posting in the current Round's table on the Study Group home page. 
  • Part four (Consolidation): This time is used by the Secretary and Webmaster to consolidate the members' comments and scores and place them into individual review files for each maker, which are then posted for everyone's viewing. The Visual Feedback files are also posted during this time. The Round is concluded at that point.


All current PSA members may take part in the Photo Travel Division Study groups. This is a non-competitive activity. The program has been specifically designed to provide mutual assistance and support for all the participants on a continuing basis.

A typical Study Group may have between three (3) and seven (7) members, including a Secretary who also participates in the group's activities. It has been determined that this is the best composition, when considering the member cross-section of experience and preferences, the number of participants from Round to Round and the practical workload limits of the group's members. This latter factor is one of the primary reasons for spreading out the image and review submission dates. This is also the reason for some members to pass on a Round, on occasion.

In addition to more general groups, there are special themes such as "Scapes" and "People."

The Photo Travel Study Groups are password protected for the Group participants. Anyone interested in joining a Photo Travel Study Group should contact the Director. 

Photo Travel Definition

A Photo Travel image must express the feeling of a time and place, and portray a land, its distinctive features or culture in its natural state. There are no geographical limitations. Close-up pictures of people or objects must include distinguishable environment. Techniques that add to, relocate, replace or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping, are not permitted. All adjustments must appear natural. Conversion to full monochrome is acceptable. Derivations including infrared are unacceptable

Photo Travel Modification:
No elements may be moved, cloned, added, deleted, rearranged, combined or changed in any way that affects the integrity of the image content. No manipulation or modification is permitted except resizing, cropping, selective lightening or darkening, and restoration of original color of the scene. No special effect filters can be added or applied, and any sharpening must appear natural.

Image adjustments allowed in Photo Travel:
  1. Exposure adjustment
  2. White balance/color correction
  3. Adjust highlight and shadow detail
  4. Adjust contrast
  5. Adjust saturation
  6. Dust spot removal
  7. Noise removal
  8. Flare removal
  9. Cropping
  10. Sizing
  11. Straightening