Creating the Droste Effect

Jeff Smallwood

Have you ever pointed a video camera at the monitor where the live image is being displayed. Have you ever pointed your webcam at your computer screen and witnessed the screen in a screen in a screen ad infinitum? I know I used to do that all the time as a kid, always with a twinge of guilt that somehow the infinity point might break the screen.

Read the full article to learn an easy way you can create images with the Droste effect and to see examples of it in action.

DSLR Basics and Beyond

Megan Snider

The October meeting of the Calvert Photography Club found members learning some tricks old and new, hearing about some exciting potential projects and sharing night photography photos from our most recent assignment!

President Guy Stephens opened up our meeting by discussing a recent gathering with the local Rotary Club. After completing some photos with one of the Rotary Club’s members, Guy was invited to discuss the club and introduce information about our group to new folks.

Guy has also discussed the possibility of an upcoming photo project with the College of Southern Maryland—loosely stated, a possible collaboration between CSM and the club would mean providing 11x14 prints of about 20 pictures for display at the college. The project is still in the works, so look for additional details down the road.

Interested in reviewing photography-related books for publishers? Guy mentioned the group’s growing collection of books members can borrow for recreation or education—just drop him a line if you’re interested in just reading one or reading a book for review.

Treasurer Bonnie Bryant gave an update on the club’s current balance, including a recent payment for our fun (and chilly!) picnic in Solomons Island. As of right now, we have 28 paid club members and a new (no fee) checking account.

Elections for CPC’s board will be coming up soon! Lisa Snider, a member of the election committee, announced that anyone interested in throwing their hat in the ring for the roles of president, vice president, treasurer or secretary should contact either she, Jerry or Greg to be put on the ballot.

Guy photo by Megan SniderGuy led our discussion of DSLR Basics and Beyond, going over many important facets of taking a great picture. Exposure is at the top of necessary tools. Guy talked about exposure compensation, which means adjusting the exposure value (EV) up or down to achieve the desired effect.

“The camera can get things wrong,” Guy explained.

Adjusting the EV can compensate for a lack of light—or overabundance of light—and can be positive or negative. Each EV is equivalent to one stop, and the camera usually thinks “0” is correct.

Exposure bracketing means taking photos at various points on the spectrum (like -2, 0, +2), which is the component to prep for high dynamic range (HDR) photos. “The eye sees so much and makes out detail in highlights and shadows, but cameras don’t always see that,” Guy said. HDR helps to bridge the gap between what we truly see and what our lenses capture, though how far we push HDR photography is a matter of taste.

Focus modes were also explored and allow for different options.

  • AF-S/One shot AF—good for portraits—press the shutter halfway, focus, take shot or focus as the shutter is depressed fully.
  • AF-C/AI Servo AF—Predicts where subject will be based on estimates of subject velocity and continually focuses as you move the camera across a scene. Best for moving subjects (like sports).
  • AF-A/AI Focus AF—Switch automatically between one shot (focusing once) and AI Servo (continually focusing) if subject starts to move.
  • Manual—as needed or preferred.

Auto focus is influenced by light level, subject contrast and camera or subject motion. AF point selection locks focus on a single point and is ideal for still subjects. With manual focus, you’re in control and have the ability to recreate settings yourself. This can be useful for predefined set-ups, night and low contrast photography.

After Guy’s informative presentation, Megan led a discussion on selecting a camera bag. She shared what she likes about her small crossbody style, and group members contributed their likes and dislikes in a “show and tell” portion of the meeting. Most agree that padding, versatility and adaptability are your friend. And buy your bag with the biggest lens in mind, a member suggested.

A presentation on slideshow software Animoto was very interesting. Guy walked members through the free and paid options for the software, which can be a fun and simple way to create a dynamic slideshow of your photography.

Our next photo trip will be Saturday, Nov. 5 to Harper’s Ferry. See the planning page and check the Yahoo! group for more information as we plan our excursion.

Our next photography assignment will be Spooky, interpreted any way you choose! With Halloween right around the corner, the options should be abundant. Our next group meeting will be Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Fairview Library in Owings. Bring your photos and be ready to share!

All About Flickr - Web Meeting

Guy Stephens

If you missed last nights great web meeting the recording is now available online if you didn’t get a chance to participate and want to see it.

Flickr presentationWe covered some of the basics including photo uploading, tagging, organizing, geo-tagging, sharing, posting to groups and making/managing contacts.

We also addressed security and restricting access to your photos. This included ways you can post photos to Flickr and share with the club or your contacts w/o making them available to the public or anyone you don’t know.  Jeff also pointed out a few 3rd party tools and utilities that help make using Flickr easier.

If you aren’t already a Flickr user we encourage you to join up. You can use your existing Yahoo account or can join with your Google or Facebook account too. Our club has many active members on the site and we consistently post and share photos in the club’s Flickr Group.

Thanks Jeff for the great presentation!

Book Review: Your Camera Loves You learn to love it back

Robbin Haigler

Your Camera Loves You learn to love it back
Khara Plicanic
228 pages
Peachpit Press
1249 Eighth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
ISBN-13:    978-0-321-78410-0
ISBN-10:    0-321-78410-3

Khara Plicanic, the author of Your Camera Loves You, promises to teach the basics of photography and digital camera functions that can be applied to any camera, anywhere, any time.  Her goal is get you out of the ?Auto? zone to take advantage of your camera?s features and settings with the ultimate goal to shoot in ?M? (manual).  And she promises to do all this without using techno-babble!

Your Camera Loves YouThe book consists of four parts with the first one making up half of the book.  Here she delves into helping the reader understand the ?exposure triangle?, decipher the picturesque icons found on all cameras, conquer the functions in all digital cameras and explains the lowdown on lenses.  This section is wrapped up with real-world problem solving and the opportunity to put what was just learned into practice with four real life common photo challenges.

The second half of the book is split pretty evenly by the remaining 3 parts. Part 2 covers very basic information on file formats (Raw vs. JPG), explaining resolution and the effects of cropping.  Ms. Plicanic then shares her favorite tips on taking better photos in Part 3 and wraps up Part 4 discussing the importance of downloading, backing up, organizing, sharing and printing your (improved) images.

I found this book to deliver just what she promised in a very easy-to-read format without any techno-babble!  Her writing style has a gentle sense of humor, her examples for every simple explanation are very well done through pictures and tips and her personal enthusiasm for photography is conveyed on every page.  Each chapter is ended with a snapshot of the highlights just discussed and most probably learned. Her philosophy, to know your camera, is communicated all the way through the book.  As a new, first-time DSLR owner, I believe this book to be a very good resource for me and all those desiring more personal control - wanting to move beyond the ?Auto? mode and from snapshot to photograph.  I believe you?ll find the author has been quite successful in accomplishing the objective to make us all a lot more comfortable with the camera(s) we have.  After reading this book I am learning what I can do and loving my camera! 

Check out this link for more information.

Book Review: Why Photographs Work

Teddie Watts

Why Photographs WorkWhy Photographs Work
52 Great Images: Who Made Them, What Makes Them Special and Why

George Barr
Rocky Nook Inc.
Santa Barbara, CA
Print: December 2010
Pages 228
Distributed by O?Reilly Media
1005 Gravenstein Highway North
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Print ISBN: 978-1-933952-70-3
ISBN 10: 1-933952-70-9

The author, George Barr, states that this book is aimed at ?someone who simply wants to make or enjoy photographs.?  He says it is not a how-to-do-it book or even a how it was done book, but a practical book describing great photographs and why they work.

Mr. Barr researched photographs and also relied on his personal knowledge of outstanding photographs to write the book.  There is no claim of having done a comprehensive search for the ?best? photos; those included are his personal favorites.  The photographs are, indeed, stunning, unique, and extremely varied in subject matter.  They were taken between 1964 and 2009 ? most during the period from 2000 to 2009.

Each of the 52 photographs is the basis for a chapter in the book.  The chapters each contain four sections:

George?s Analysis ? This section contains a description of what George sees in the photograph and why he admires it.  His narratives are very helpful and they aid the reader in seeing what is special about the image.
The Photographer?s Perspective ? This section describes what the photographer was trying to capture and something about the subject/location.

Biography ? This section provides insight into the photographer as a person and how he/she developed their craft.  The life stories are fascinating and a small photo of the artist is included, as well.  Each also includes references to photographers who influenced him/her and where additional work of the artist has been published or can be found so the reader can delve more deeply into the work.

Technical ? Finally, the nuts and bolts of the camera used, medium (film/digital), printing specifics such as paper, coloring, digital image manipulation, etc. of the photograph are detailed.  This section is sometimes not for the amateur photographer, as some of it reads a bit like techno-speak gibberish (to the uninformed).

Of the 52 photographs and their photographers that are showcased few would be achievable by even a gifted amateur.  These photos are strictly fine art—not snapshots.  And while everyone can learn from studying great art, the subject matter and the treatment required to get many of the prints may be well above an amateur photographer?s interest level.

As a lover of art I found the book to be absolute eye-candy and I really enjoyed the artists? biographies.  But I don?t think I learned much as an amateur photographer.  I was overwhelmed by what it takes to produce that level of art.

Overall Rating: ??? 3 Star (3 out of 5)

Teddie Watts

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