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Welcome to the Ophthalmic Photographers' Society Blog! The posts on this blog are authored by a myriad of individuals in Ophthalmology. Posts are not always authored by those directly affiliated with the Ophthalmic Photographers' Society and opinions may not be those of the OPS; however, all posts are submitted to a review process and have been approved by the OPS before being posted. Comments are open to the public. New posts are added every Friday, so make sure to check back often!


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Photoshop and the Mid-Year Meeting

Posted By Lauren Welch, Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012


 (Sample of before / after images during workshop.  Photo Credit:  Richard Hackel, CRA, FOPS)


As Ophthalmic Photographers we all share a love for the eye and a love for photography.  It was a unique experience to embrace both at the Photoshop™ workshop at the Chapel Hill Midyear meeting.  Being in a room full of motivated beginner to advanced "Photoshoppers”, bright eyed and ready to soak in whatever Marshall Tyler and Richard Hackel could throw at us, was inspiring.  Everyone was ready to go, their faces illuminated by LED screens loaded up with the latest and greatest Adobe™ software.


  (Photo Courtesy of Rona Lyn Esquejo-Leon, CRA)

"There are 3 key things for good photography: the camera, lighting and ...Photoshop" - Tyra Banks.

Throughout the workshop we reviewed workflow, the importance of color (especially in the medical field), and how to calibrate your monitor.  We were then taken on a journey through a variety of images, both ophthalmic and non-ophthalmic.  We learned how to take stereo photographs and convert them into anaglyph images.  We learned how to combine images at different depths of focus.  We learned how to color correct and remove artifacts; how to adjust specific areas in a photograph without affecting the rest of the image.  The list goes on - and I'm sure could have kept going if we hadn't run out of time at the end of the workshop.



  (Photos Courtesy of Rona Lyn Esquejo-Leon, CRA)

The presentations were phenomenal, and the hands on experience were helpful and encouraging.  Everyone left with a new confidence in their Photoshop™ skills; brimming with new ideas for their personal and Ophthalmic Photography.  The Photoshop™ workshop is a definite 'must see' if you get the chance at an Ophthalmic Photographers Society meeting.  With Adobe™ consistently updating and improving their Photoshop™ software, it is important to keep up with the new advances in our field.  The tips and tricks I learned have definitely improved my workflow and added to my skill set in Photoshop.

After all, "You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” - Ansel Adam



Lauren Welch has been an Ophthalmic Photographer at Duke University Eye Center since graduating in 2008 with an AAS in Bio communications Photography from Randolph Community College in Asheboro, NC.  She has had several images published in EyeNet magazine's Blink, as well as a cover image for the journal of Glaucoma.

Tags:  blog  cute  education  Educational Meeting  Interactive  Meaningful Use  Mid-Year  PDC  Photoshop  school  Study  Tips 

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Facebook Challenge Schedule

Posted By Facebook Team, Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012

Did you know that each week, the Professional Development Committee's Facebook Team hosts a Challenge on Facebook?  These challenges are meant to encourage communication about ophthalmic imaging, allow us to share amazing and interesting images, and create a community among fellow imagers.   We have enjoyed getting to know our colleagues as we educate each other and have a little fun as well! 

As many of the Challenges work better when we receive images from other photographers to post, we wanted to share our Facebook Challenge Schedule with you so that you could prepare images for the Challenges ahead of time.  The list below indicates the Monday of the week the challenge will run (Monday-Friday), the topic of the challenge and the Facebook Team member responsible for hosting that Challenge.  If you have an image or comment that you think would be helpful for that Challenge, please email it to our address:


Oct 1    Artifacts Quiz (Rona)

Oct 8    Descriptive Interpretation of the FA (Sarah)

Oct 15  Name that Diagnosis (Elaine)

Oct 22  Show us your favorite EDI images (Jen)

Oct 29  Eye as Art with OCTs:  Sometimes when I do an OCT and it's an ERM, I see a little          monster face or weird sea creature.  (Elaine)

Nov 5   Favorite things about Chicago (Jen)

Nov 12  Something pertaining to what people learned at Academy this year (Rona)

Nov 19  Taking the week off for Turkey Day!!

Nov 26  Share your images from Academy (Sarah)

Dec 3   Introduce us to your coworkers (Jen)

Dec 10  Show us your B-scans or A-scans (Elaine)

Dec 17  Tell us about your mentor in the industry (Rona)


We’ll be taking time off for the Holidays.  We’ll pick things back up January 7th.

Thank you for participating in the OPS Facebook Challenges!

Your Facebook Team,

Laura Bufalini               

Rona Esquejo-Leon      

Elaine Lok                    

Sarah Moyer                

Jennifer Thomson 

PS.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Facebook page, here’s the link:

OR --> Download a free QR app and check us out...


 Be sure to "like” us!!

Tags:  blog  cute  education  Facebook  funny  Ice Breakers  Interactive  Meaningful Use  PDC  Professional Development Committee  Social Media 

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My Ride to the OPS Mid Year Meeting - 2012

Posted By Jim Soque, Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012

Come Hell or High Water… is what I told Mike Kelly, BOE, during our February 12, 2012 Board Meeting of the OPS on the fifth floor of the Biomedical Research Building at UNC, Chapel Hill, NC.   It was in response to him asking me, ‘Hey Jim, are you coming to the Mid-Year meeting?”  Of course one says ‘Yes” to Mike, and then figures out the rest later.  

I also had to entertain an invitation by Allen Katz, BOC to be one of the examiner/raters for the OPS’s CRA practical examination.  Of course, one cannot deny an invitation from Allen either, so, I knew I was heading to the midyear by early May.  

So I decided to ride my 2004 BMW R1150RT Motorcycle from Long Island, New York, to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  I estimated that it would be about 600+ miles each way, and so, I thought I would make it an adventurous ride down, but, one has to "prepare for the worse, and hope for the best.” 

My plan was to ride Thursday and Friday to make it down, and Saturday and Sunday to make it back home.



Day 1:

Thursday, June 7th, 2012, 7:45 am, I suited up on this gorgeous, but cold 50 degree morning, and departed Holbrook, NY onto Rte. 495 West, towards New York City.   Within 45 minutes, I was in an HOV lane and then, onto 278 West, Staten Island, and Rte 95 South.

I cleared Staten Island and into New Jersey for my run westward.  I headed West on Rte. 78 towards Tim and Jim’s in Hershey, PA.  

The temps rose in Pennsylvania.   Within 100 miles, it hit the 70’s.  By the time I cleared Hershey, PA, it was in the 80’s.   I even phoned in Jim Strong, and got his cell phone answering machine.  I left him a quick message saying I was passing by Rte 78, Exit 70, and was waving at him as I headed towards South into Virginia, and my planned overnight there. 

Crossing into Virginia, was like entering a time warp, and all the hills came alive, and the roads got twisty, and hillier.  I began to look for signs for Route 211 East, and Skyline Drive and The Shenandoah National Forest.   

Here is a short video of my ride from YouTube, taken as I was heading East on Rte 211, towards Skyline Drive in Virginia:  http://

I entered Shenandoah Valley with an ominous feeling, that soldiers had fought and died on this soil in the name of ‘slavery’, and ‘freedom’, and ‘independence’ in their hearts and souls.  I never knew if a town, or home, or fallen soldier had stood before me, and just took the moment to take it all in.

I arrived at Shenandoah National Forest via the Thornton Gap Entrance at 3:15 pm.   After paying a $5 entry fee for the length of Skyline Drive, I hit the twisties for the first time, 25 miles later was my first landmark, The Big Meadows Campground at 3360 feet.

By the time I reached Big Meadows Campground, it was 4 pm, and the sun was getting long in the sky.  I was assigned my campsite, and set up my tent and unwound.  Not bad for the first day, 423 miles at the end of day 1.  Here is a video segment as I approached the campgrounds on Skyline Drive, southbound, in Shenandoah National Forest:


Day 2:

Friday June 8th, 2012. 

I was all packed up, and out by 7:45 am, and had one objective in mind, "get to Allen” by 2:15 pm in Chapel Hill!   I can only say that Skyline Drive in Virginia was probably some of the most technically challenging riding I’ve done in the past 10 years.  I enjoyed every moment, and my visibility was better than 20 miles in all directions.

I stopped to read some of the placards that announced how famous the valley, or a wayward point of land had become, such as in this photo (below) of Massanutten, and its historical significance during the wars.  

When I cleared the Shenandoah Valley and Skyline Drive, it was 10:30 am.  I still had 145 miles to go until I reached 110 Mason Farms Road, UNC, and Chapel Hill.  Must stay focused!  

As I was weaving through the southern hills of Virginia’s Rte 86 and entering North Carolina for the first time…Want to hear the first thing I noticed: Winery’s !   Believe it or not, all of those tobacco growing farms from the turn of the century into the 20’s and 30’s, are now areas where there are prolific vineyards, and there are acres upon acres, of growing grape vines.  Little vineyards’ were dotted along the highways like a mini-Napa Valley, and too, the temperatures soared.  By mid-morning it was 91 degrees!  Gatorade and ice a must, I stopped for gas at small stations here and there, talked to local folk, tried boiled peanuts, and was welcomed by many an elder statesman, some of which were badly in need of an appointment with their local dentist.   

Within 30 miles of Chapel Hill, I began to send both Sarah Moyer and Allen Katz a txt message notifying them of my arrival.  My estimated time of arrival was still about 2 pm.

At UNC, I was happy to see everyone beginning to gather for the CRA Exam.  We tested individuals from 3 pm till 10 pm.   We even had time to help Tim unpack a van of home brew from the back of his Ford Explorer. 

After a few laughs were exchanged with Sarah, Bob, Mike, and Tim, and maneuvering bottled prizes down hallways and into storage reach in refrigerators, the evening of CRA performance exam progressed.  Friday evening was spent overnight at The Carolina Inn.


Day 3:

Saturday, June 9th, 2012, 8 am.

At the meetings I enjoyed greeting colleagues and sitting in on Neuro-Ophthalmology lectures from Dr Bhatti, learned about ophthalmic parasites from Richard Hackel, saw wonderful montages from the dream team of Hess and Hickey, and enjoyed the effervescence of our founder Johnny Justice who discussed the history of ophthalmic photography beginning with the smuggling in of the first Fluorescein Angiogram Camera from Germany in the late 1940’s.  The vendor support was immense with Topcon, Zeiss, Optovue, Genentec, and I-Optics, to name but just a few.  

All in all, it was a worthwhile mid-year event for me, despite that I had to hit the road at 4 pm, in order to begin making my way back up to New York by Sunday.  

By the late afternoon, 4 pm, I said a few brief goodbye’s and swapped updated contact information with colleagues, both old and new.  I then dressed for the road, and had wheels turning by 4:15 pm.    

I headed north towards Richmond, and then subsequently Rte 95 North.  I had great music on the headset and took a call from an old sailing friend up in Maine.  She was giving me the play-by-play on the "144th Running of The Belmont Stakes”.  Unfortunately, my horse didn’t come in that day…  

I arrived at my hotel at 8:45 pm, tired but happy.   With home on my mind, I hit the sack, and said that I would just let my body do what it wants to do, and not set an alarm clock this time.


Day 4:

Sunday, June 10th, 2012, 5:05 am.

"I awoke with a clammer…” I think that’s a line from one of my daughters story books back at home.  It really was 5:05 am!    By 5:30 I was dressed and back on 95 North, and within 20 minutes I was riding past the Potomac River and the Pentagon.   By 7:45 am though, I was crossing the DE River, and took my first break for a Starbucks and gas in NJ.  Here is a short youtube segment of that bridge crossing:

At 9 am, I was on the NJ turnpike.

By 10:15 am, I was crossing the George Washington Bridge… this was incredible! At 11:25 am, I was pulling into my driveway in Holbrook, NY; my wife and daughter already waiting patiently in the driveway.  It was a good feeling to pull into the garage and turn the key off.   I was so high from this ride, the feeling of elation stayed with me for nearly 3-4 days afterward.  

 As with any plan to attend one of our OPS meetings, you could come by plane, train, automobile or even by horse drawn buggy.  But in the summer of 2012, I completed one of the most memorable 1,292 mile rides on my BMW motorcycle from Long Island, New York, all the way down to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and back, all without a single incident.   

I did not go about this half-heartedly, and neither should you.  A ride such as this requires careful planning, and additional preparation, and support of your family and friends who believe in you.   

On the day of my departure, I will always remember these famous parting words by our colleague and fellow BMW rider Harry Kachadoorian, who said to me, "Jim,…just remember, enjoy the ride!”.  

I certainly did.


Jim Soque's career in ophthalmology began in Boston in 1983, as a research assistant and ophthalmic assistant with Dr Delia N. Sang.  His background in retina includes research in retinoblastoma tumors, and ROP disease at both, The Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary and The Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston.  In 1997 he joined Dr. Pamela A. Weber, in Shirley, NY.  He is a COA, CRA, and, an assistant in vitreo-retinal surgery.   He lectures for the OPS, and conducts SD-OCT workshops.  He serves as a member of the OPS Board Of Education, since 2010.

Tags:  blog  cute  Educational Meeting  funny  Ice Breakers  Mid-Year  PDC  Travel 

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Good-Bye Motor City Hello Music City

Posted By Elaine Lok, Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012

Around this time a year ago, my husband, Ben, and I were looking for a place to live in Nashville. We were saying good bye to Detroit, Michigan, a place we had both lived our entire adult lives.

Nashville. Not exactly a town that was ever on my radar when I frequently proclaimed to my fellow Michiganders, "I’m plotting my escape from Detroit.” In high school, I always joked that I was going to run away to Portland, Oregon, grow my hair out, add some dreadlocks, and live a green, hippy lifestyle, while coasting on a vintage cruiser.

But in actuality, Detroit is not as awful as the media makes it out to be. There are very picturesque neighborhoods and not-so picturesque, like any city. And of course the Detroit River and Lake St. Claire are terrific bodies of water.

My first gig as an ophthalmic imager was at Henry Ford Health System. My first day on the job, I was overwhelmed with mixed emotions. I remember thinking to myself as I watched a coworker draw up a fluorescein, "Just try to make it a year here - ok, try to make it six months here!” Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I would become interested in the field or survive working in it for longer than a few months. Previously I had thought if I were to going to utilize my BFA from College for Creative Studies in Biomedical Photography, it would be in a morgue where the deafening silence of the dead seemed more my wavelength.

Thankfully, through the passion of my coworkers at Henry Ford, I became more and more interested in ophthalmology. I learned all I could about OCTs, ICGs, FAFs, FAs, CRAs, IOLs, HVFs, AREDS, DARC, DRCR, to name a few acronyms. After my one year anniversary with the hospital rolled around, I was surprised at having made it that far and being completely head-over-heels for venipuncture and performing FAs. Learning that skill alone and being one heck of a shot, gave me more confidence in my professional and personal life.

(Photographer: Elaine Lok)

The winter of 2011 turned out to be terribly cold and snowy in Detroit. Ben and I were ready to say good-bye to three decades of Michigan winter and head either south or west. I started looking for ophthalmic imaging positions that June and saw Vanderbilt University Medical Center was hiring. After an interview and some time at the negotiating table, a deal was made. Nashville here we come.

"That’s a red state,” warned a friend when we shared the news that the LokMohlenhoff family, consisting of my husband, our two cats, Cosmo and Mr. Mao, and I, were moving to Tennessee.

So last August, we found a house on a top of a very large hill, about 15 minutes west of Vanderbilt. It’s as middle-of-no-where as you can get within the city limits of Nashville. Our house sits next to a pretty sizeable forest with hiking trails that meander towards the Harpeth River and is home to tall kinds of critters including deer and turkeys.

Moving to a completely new environment has been so eye-opening. I get to perform B-scans here, though it’s mostly through corneal opacities, dense cataracts and vitreous hemorrhages, not melanomas. But hopefully one day I will get the chance to measure intraocular tumors – a girl can dream, right?


(Photographer: Elaine Lok)

We also have a Heidelberg Spectralis here, which is my new best friend! The fast capture time along with the various imaging capabilities, make it the most interesting machine I’ve used in a long time! And the choroidal detail is just beautiful. Not to mention I get my own desk and work station. When I travel to offices outside of Nashville, I get paid for my commute!

After I had settled into my new home and office, I did start missing my friends, family and former coworkers. It’s especially hard after a trip home or when someone comes to visit.

My new coworkers are still getting used to my sense of humor. "I just dropped this patient,” informs a tech.

"Did it hurt?” I deadpan and receive only blank stares.

In addition to the new things I’m learning at Vanderbilt, I’ve been doing things that I never would have done in Michigan. So far, I’ve been hiking, kayaking, trapshooting, rowing, four-wheeling, wrecking a four-wheeler (which I’m still sore from), and horseback riding. Next month I’m going to become a certified yoga instructor. Also, a new Nashville friend has invited me to go to Portugal with her – I’ve never even been to Europe before!

It’s really been an adventure.



Elaine Lok is a native of Detroit, Michigan. She began her career as an ophthalmic photographer in 2007 at Henry Ford Health System. She is currently a photographer at the Eye Institute of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN.









(Photo by Laura Bufalini)

Tags:  blog  cute  funny  Ice Breakers  New Life  PDC  school  Travel 

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OPS Mid-Year and UNC Dorm Life Revisited

Posted By Lloyd Bell, Friday, August 3, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 3, 2012

Photo Credit:  Alexa Waters

We arrived at Taylor Hall at 6:30pm from Arlington, VA., took off for Pinehurst to visit with friends. I crashed on the bare mattress until 9:30.  I ventured down to the commons lounge for WIFI, and met summer intern, Anthony.  He hails from Washington, NC, my ex-hometown!  What were the odds of that?  Little Washington has a population equal to the number of students at UNC when I attended.  We talked until 2am.

Photo Credit:  Sarah Moyer, CRA, OCT-C

I’m up at 6am to unpack, etc.  My dorm accommodation (beyond bed, bureau, desk and chair) is one roll of toilet paper.  I knew to bring a sheet, pillow, towel and soap. 
The conference is a 20-minute walk away.  Halfway there I heard a kitten crying in the undergrowth.  I couldn’t stop.  I’m blown away by how the campus has exploded.  Gone are the woods and open spaces.  Buildings and more now accommodate 30,000 students, up from the 8,000 when I was there.
After lunch, I made the round trip to Taylor Hall with an extra Tuna and Bacon lunch bag.  I met the spooked kitten, and left a bit of the T&B for her, but she wouldn’t let me get close.  Lit’l Kit needed rescue, but could I pull it off?  No.  Animal Rescue was alerted to her plight. 
The barbeque dinner and Tim’s beer were outstanding.  (Allen, can I get a rain check to taste yours?)

Photo Credit:  Rona Lyn Esquejo-Leon, CRA

The Cornhole tournament was a disappointment because we lost, 22-7, in the first round.  JJ and I buried the hatchet after all these years.  (Very outstanding!)  The high points of this conference were old friends, good food, fun, tech talk and Drs. Asrani, Cousins and Baldwin.
No sign of Lit’l Kit in the walk back to the dorm, but Anne was waiting for me.  We dined on lunch leftovers in the commons lounge with Anthony before taking off on the Carolina, sentimental tour.  The Old Well, Arboretum, Silent Sam, Davie Popular and many other sites down memory lane were warmly enjoyed.  Anne found the boarding house where she lived one summer session as an exile from Hollins College.  After a leisurely walk up and down Franklin Street, and a beer at Pepper’s Pizza, we headed back to Taylor Hall.
Thanks, OPS, for a great conference and my reunion at UNC.

Photo Credit:  Sarah Moyer, CRA, OCT-C

Lloyd Bell
OPS member since 1973

Tags:  blog  cute  Educational Meeting  Ice Breakers  Mid-Year  PDC  Travel 

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