Vertical Panoramas - Try Looking Up and Down

Jeff Smallwood

I took a vertical panorama while on a photo trip a couple weeks ago and it got me thinking. Most people think of panoramas as looking along the horizon, but vertical panoramas can be creative and result in stunning views as well. If you find a scene that looks great from top to bottom you don’t need an expensive wide-angle or fish-eye to capture it. Read More

Lenses focus of July meeting

Megan Snider

The Calvert Photography Club was all about lenses when they welcomed new members at their July 16 meeting in Prince Frederick. After greeting many visitors joining us for the first time, President Guy Stephens discussed a brief history of the club and outlined how we are growing.

Spencer talks lensesOur club photo project at the Solomons Island Visitors Center is blossoming ? and it?s already time to start thinking about fall. Sift through your lovely photographs for images that would depict Calvert County in all its glory during our area?s autumn festivals. Photos to be featured could include images from Artsfest, the War of 1812 reenactment, farmers? markets, the Calvert County Fair and more. The deadline for consideration will be Aug. 20. Contact Guy with questions or to submit photos.

Also on the agenda? Our annual (well, second annual!) club picnic. Sandy has volunteered to coordinate ideas on where and how this event will take place. Drop her a line with thoughts on our picnic, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1.

Our first presentation came from member Spencer Johnson, who gave an informative look on what you should consider when investing in a new lens. Start by deciding what sort of photography you most like to do, Spencer said. Is it macro, nighttime, people shots? Or a little bit of everything?

Once you?ve nailed down what sort of shots you?ll likely be taking, think of whether you would like a prime or zoom lens. Primes have a single focal length, a lower F stop and are smaller in length. Zoom lenses have a range of focal length and sometimes a minimum F stop changes depending on the focal length. The downside of a zoom? Depending on the size, it can get quite large and heavy.

When choosing a new lens, also consider whether or not your new purchase will have image stabilization ? either in the lens or the camera itself. Keep in mind that compatibility could be an issue, too. You don?t have to stick to the manufacturer?s products when buying something new for your Nikon, Canon, Pentax or Sony ? but make sure that what you?re buying is compatible with the make and model of your camera . . . both physically and electronically.

Other types of lenses and lens products out there include macro; extension bellows; reverse adapters; plastic lenses; 360 degree view lenses; tilt/shift lenses and more. A pinhole lens, for example, has a high ISO and long shutter time and produces a dreamy, slightly distorted photo. Spencer gave great examples of the images you can produce with most types.

Our next segment had us bringing out our camera bags! Jeff led a discussion of the cool products or random items we might carry with us into the field. Among Jeff?s possessions are coffee filters to help set/correct white balance and a copy of the laws that ?explain your rights when stopped or confronted for photography.? Nick, Lisa, Sandy, Spencer and Bonnie also shared some of their bag?s contents.

Our next photo trip will take place at sunrise (around 6:15 a.m.) on Saturday, August 6 at Great Falls, between Maryland and Virginia. Check our Yahoo! group for more information as the date approaches, and contact Jeff with questions or concerns.
The photo assignment for August is urban decay ? or suburban decay. Look for deterioration, abandonment, changes . . . whatever strikes your fancy. Bring your prints to share with the group for talk and feedback at our next meeting on August 20 at the Prince Frederick Library, Prince Frederick. The subject will be people photography.

See you then!

Running Hare Vineyard Outing

Lisa Snider

On a very warm Tuesday evening, the Calvert Photography Club met at the Running Hare Vineyard, Prince Frederick, for a unique photography experience, right in Southern Maryland. Running Hare Vineyard is an 8-acre vineyard - home to 5,000 grape vines ? and the perfect venue for a photography shoot. Club Vice President Jeff Smallwood graciously arranged for our members to get up close and personal with the vines, meeting prior to sunset, in the hopes of capturing some of those ?golden hour? shots that we all covet.

Photo by Lisa SniderUpon arrival, we received a warm greeting from owners Barb, and later Mike Scarborough, and were then set free to wander the gently sloping hills of almost ripe grapes. With Italian opera music wafting through the thick, humid air, the sounds and sights of the Villa and vines told my senses that I was in Tuscany, even though I had ventured no further than Calvert County.

Seven members were in attendance - Guy, Jeff, Megan, Spencer, Lisa, Bonnie, and Sandy ? but were hardly visible, as we fanned out among the vines to set up our equipment for the right angle, and in anticipation of just the right light, to capture the vineyard.

It was an unusual summer evening, as the beautiful late-day sun we generally experience this time of year was overshadowed with clouds. That didn?t bother this group of die-hard photographers, however. Not the clouds, nor the heat or humidity could dampen any more than our clothes, as we ?clicked? away, capturing some interesting images. After all, how often do you get to wander through gently-rolling hillsides lined with grapevines, and in Southern Maryland, no less?

After sunset, the moon rose, which provided for some interesting shooting opportunities. We wound down the evening by reassembling as a group at the Pavilion, where we took a group shot to commemorate our trip. Our host, Mike, was kind enough to turn on a huge free- standing fan to cool off the group before we bid farewell for the evening.

Check out our Flickr site for group photos submitted by Guy, Lisa, and others. This shoot provided a wonderful opportunity to hone your HDR skills, as evidenced by the lovely pictures submitted by Guy. Great trip everyone ? looking forward to the next one!

The Lytro Light Field Camera - A Revolution?

Jeff Smallwood

If you haven’t read about it, there was a flurry of activity in the media the last couple weeks about the Lytro Light Field camera. I won’t rehash the details here, but in a nutshell it is a new type of camera designed to capture light from multiple directions at once (the light field), and uses software to create the photograph. The magic is that there is no focusing in the camera, you focus after you take the shot. In addition, you can refocus on different points over and over as you’re viewing it digitally. It sounds a little like science-fiction, but it really is true and based on real physics.

Read the full article about it. I embedded a sample image from Lytro that allows you to refocus the photo yourself to see how it works.