From Rio to the Rainforest - Second Stop: Rio de Janeiro

Teddie Watts

Our trip from Iguazú Falls to Rio was relatively uneventful.  Free-for-all boarding (instead of by seating zone) of the airplane is a bit unsettling, like musical chairs ? will I have a seat when the music stops??? 


Rio de Janeiro translates as “January River.”  Europeans first encountered Guanabara Bay on January 1, 1502.  The city was the capital of Brazil from 1763 to 1815 during the Portuguese colonial era. A later blog will have pictures of Petropolis, also known as the Imperial City of Brazil.  The Summer Palace of the second Brazilian Emperor is located there.  The population of the city of Rio de Janeiro is about 6,000,000.  Rio was Brazil’s capital until 1960, when Brasília took its place (a later blog will be on Brasília).  Residents of Rio are known as Cariocas.  Our local guide in Rio, Celso, was a good example of Cariocas.  He was always happy, interested, and quick to dish ?the gossip? about local people and places.




The city is divided into the historic downtown (Centro); the tourist-friendly and commercial South Zone with Rio?s famous beaches; the residential North Zone; and the West Zone.  There are large sand castles on each of the beaches.




Wall colors


Most flat surfaces in the city are covered with graffiti, and many buildings have security fences.

When we arrived at the hotel we met the rest of our group, as Iguazú Falls was a pre-trip excursion.  After lunch by the hotel pool we departed for the Urca district where we boarded cable cars to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.  The 360-degree view was fabulous.


The next morning we took a cog train ride through Tijuca Forest up Corcovado Mountain to the lookout where the towering statue of Christ the redeemer stands.  The Obamas had been there the day before.  I got a face-on picture of the statue, but I thought the one from behind was more interesting.

The view from the café near the statue was spectacular.

In the afternoon, after a fabulous lunch at the famous Cafeteria Colombo (with a table full of different desserts), we toured Colonial Rio.  I didn?t take many pictures of the Baroque architecture, but got a couple of good shots of local color.

According to Celso, the top apartment once belonged to Carmen Miranda.

Girls of Ipenema!

The interior of a city government building.

In the evening, there was an optional tour of Rio by Night that included dinner at a typical local Brazilian restaurant.  Along with an extensive buffet of side dishes, waiters bring skewers of a variety of grilled meats and slice them on your plate for as long as you can eat!

After dinner we went to the ?Plataforma 1? theater for a folklore and carnival show.  We got a real taste of what Carnival must be.  The costumes were fabulous.

I took a couple of shots from the balcony off of our room at the hotel.  Two are the beach the other is a slope to the left of the hotel covered with a shantytown, or favela.  According to Celso, working class Cariocas live in these towns, as rent in the city is prohibitively expensive.

Bye for now.  Our next stop is Petropolis, the Imperial City.

A focus on the Chesapeake Bay

Megan Snider

When the Calvert Photography Club met for their monthly meeting on May 21, they were pleased to welcome local photographer Mike Land, known locally for his stunning shots of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland.

Mike LandMike grew up in Virginia and gained an appreciation for the Bay as he grew older, culminating in his current passion for Bay-related photography. In an informative and entertaining presentation, Mike dispelled some myths about taking great shots and talked about his transition from a point-and-shoot camera to a Canon DSLR.

Among the wonderful lessons Mike shared were:

  • Early bird gets the worm. Don’t sleep in on your days off—get out and look for a lesser-known spot off the beaten path, where you can capture the early rays of sun. “Morning light is incredible,” Mike said.
  • Shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot some more. The only way to perfect your craft is to stick with it. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell writes, “It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything.”
  • Think before you shoot. In the age of digital, it’s easy to get carried away and “machine gun” capture something—but who wants to page through countless mediocre images in search of just one stellar shot? Do your own “one shot” challenge, where you try to capture the essence of a moment by taking one single frame.
  • Study photos. The best way to get inspired is to see what others are doing—then incorporate those ideas into your own style. Mike mentioned and as great places to see what others are doing.
  • Be willing to pause. In our fast-paced world, Mike said, photography is a welcome respite and chance to breathe. Capture the small moments—and be open to noticing them.
  • Get off the beaten path. Don’t tread where others have gone—get out and explore, choosing to visit new places instead of returning to the tried-and-true photo spots you usually favor.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try something different when shooting, and look for natural patterns, colors, etc.
  • Toss convention out the window. “The rule of thirds” is awesome, sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break from that when your personal tastes tell you otherwise. Do what appeals to you.
  • Don’t be afraid of a little weather. Gray days can be a wonderful opportunity to capture atmosphere, fog, snow, rain, etc.
  • Get low or high. Changing your viewpoint will dramatically alter your shot, so don’t be afraid to get eye level with something, sink to the ground or climb up high to change your view.
  • Be judicious. Not every shot is stellar or worth saving. Though no one will categorically delete images off their SD cards without thinking, sometimes it’s good to look at your images with a critical eye and delete what isn’t working. Personal shots are different, of course; if it means something to you, keep it. If not, scrap it.

See Mike Land’s stunning work at Mike Land Photography. Thank you, Mike!

After the presentation, Guy shared the results of our recent work toward exhibiting our work in Solomons Island. Five images were selected among the many submitted and will soon hang at the Solomons Island Visitors Center. Thanks to all who submitted—and keep an eye out for more opportunities soon, especially as autumn approaches.

Megan and Lisa Snider then shared a slideshow featuring images from their recent trip to Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales—and though no Guinness was had at the meeting, we all lived vicariously through the many pints shown on screen.

Group members shared photos from last month’s photography assignment, trees, and will prepare to bring pictures of the Chesapeake Bay to our next meeting on June 18. Our next photo trip will be to the National Arborteum on June 4 - check out our calendar for more details.

One Photo - Three Phases of Photography

Jeff Smallwood

Don't Wake Me, I'm Still Dreaming Scott’s blog entry is a short, but I think relatively accurate description of what people experience. The only real problem I had with his description was that for phase two, I think you can be in that learning phase yet still be relatively happy with a lot of your results, even if you haven’t progressed on to what he calls phase three. Just because your images don’t come out exactly as you expect doesn’t mean you’re necessarily disappointed.

His blog entry got me thinking about this photo I took a couple weeks ago. Where on the scale did my mind belong when I took this?

Read more to find out.

Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure lecture

Sandy Carr

Bryan Peterson, a well known photographer for 30 years and a teacher of photography for 20, gave a slide/lecture presentation at the Byrd Theater in Richmond, Va. First, though, a little history on this beautiful old fashion theater.Bryan PetersonThe theater was built in 1928. It was named after William Byrd who was one of the founders of Richmond. The first movie shown there was on Christmas Eve in 1928. It was a comedy called Waterfront and was a silent movie with sound added. At that time a matinee costs 25 cents and an evening show was only 50 cents. A dinner and movie in one night ? Wow !!

The Byrd Theater is listed as one of our nations Grand Movie Palaces, is a State and National Historic Landmark and to this day, the appearance of this theater is mostly unaltered. The Byrd is still an operating movie theater so on Fri., May 13th you can see “Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave” for only $5. Now back to our presentation.

On April 9th a few of our club members attended the lecture that Bryan Peterson gave. It started at 9 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. with an hour break for lunch. I avidly watched his presentation, listening to his every word as slide by slide was presented on the large screen in front of us. Such colors, so vivid and sometimes wild. I asked myself, “Just what kind of a camera do you need to catch the kind of life that Mr. Peterson was showing?” Why wasn’t I seeing these colors? Were there other photo enthusiasts who thought the same way ? But that was exactly what his talk was all about. Learning to see creatively and understanding exposure ! Angles, lines, thirds, light, or lack there of, rainy days, fog, reflections (my favorite),imagination and learning to see differently. I learned how to not center my subject and produce a better photo. Do not put the horizon in the middle of your picture ! Na, break the rules, Peterson said. Change things if you can. Zoom in on the subject. It will make for a more interesting photo. Experiment when possible. The Bryd TheatherHe showed us how to imply motion on stationary objects which produced not only an interesting photo but art. He also showed us how to use fill flash in various situations and the amazing effects one can achieve when using neutral-density filters. He discussed how to soften water and freeze action and the effects that a polarizing lens would have on photographs shot either on a sunny, cloudy or rainy day. Front light, side light and back lighting was discussed. Each technique that Bryan Peterson presented was accompanied by a beautiful and vivid photo. I took copious notes and was glad that he shared with the audience the F stop, shutter speed and lens used for each photo. 
More of the theatherDuring the lunch break we were able to purchase any of the numerous books that Bryan Peterson wrote on photography. I purchased 2 and had him autograph them.
By the end of the lecture I was feeling more confident with my own photography. I’m sure I was not alone. Now, armed with more info and quite a few examples, I just might produce a photograph that is worthy of a few oohs and awes. And I will try and take Bryan Peterson’s advice. Enjoy what you are doing, don’t give up and practice, practice, practice.

Thank you, Bryan Peterson, for the eye opening lecture and thanks to the Richmond Camera Club for hosting the lecture.

Bud Break and Running Hare Vineyard

Jeff Smallwood

I love visiting Running Hare Vineyard. They’ve got a wonderful location in Calvert Co. Maryland. If you’ve never been there I highly recommend it. They have a beautiful pavilion and now that the weather is warming up, it’s a great place to take a lunch or snack and share a bottle of wine.

In addition, like the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC, there’s an annual occurrence that you have to plan ahead for if you want to capture it in images. It’s called bud break. Read more about how I captured bud break in this article.