Photoshop Elements kicks off 2012

Lisa Snider

Happy New Year to all our CPC members! Our first meeting of the new year began with opening remarks by President Guy Stephens, providing an overview of the meeting and a welcome to several prospective new members. Next up was an inspiring slideshow of all of the black and white photographs submitted by our members in response to the recent call for entries. Ten photographs were selected for printing and framing, and are currently being exhibited in the main building of the College of Southern Maryland (CSM), at the Prince Frederick campus.

The Solomons Island Visitor Center winter exhibit is also currently on display, featuring photographs by our members. The next theme ? for images to be displayed from March through May - is ?spring.? Club members should search their archives for pictures featuring Calvert County spring activities, such as wine festivals, art shows, and the like. The deadline for submissions for the spring exhibit will be in February.

The results of the December survey of members are in. Eighteen people participated, offering many good ideas. Questions asked in the survey included ?What do you enjoy?? and ?What ideas do you have for upcoming topics?? Some member responses included their enjoyment of learning new skills, socializing, and gaining motivation to go out and shoot. Topic ideas included software suggestions, portrait and food photography topic interests. Field trip ideas were also made. The new Board will meet on Sunday, January 22, to discuss the results of the survey and prepare the calendar of events for 2012.

Guy reminded members that they may request books/ebooks from both O?Reilly and Peachpit presses, which books are theirs for the keeping, provided they are willing to write a review of the book(s) for our club blog. There are also books owned by the club, which members may borrow.

Treasurer Bonnie Bryant provided her financial report, indicating that $249.95 was collected, $126.00 was disbursed, and we have a current balance in our club account of $181.47. The club currently has 33 paid members. Dues for the 2012 year will be due in March.

Bob HallClub member Bob Hall presented our topic for today?s meeting, Photoshop Elements 9 (PSE9). Bob is a Nikon shooter, who shoots and edits his files in RAW. He showed club members the RAW interface, and showed the adjustments he typically makes to his RAW files. He also demonstrated the ?full edit? interface, and pointed out the auto adjustments which may be made in PSE9. He recommended use of the sharpening tool, rather than the unsharp mask, and showed that changes that are made to a photograph, prior to saving, may be reversed by using the ?undo history? feature of the program.

Bob also talked about the importance of adjusting curves in a photograph, demonstrated cropping, and introduced some of the brushes available for use. Finally, he introduced club members to the Organizer interface, where photos may be imported, categorized, and tagged. He closed his presentation with questions from club members, and an invitation for anyone to see him after the meeting for further discussion.

After a short break, the meeting resumed with a slideshow featuring of all of the entries submitted by our members in response to the recent call for entries in the category of ?Day to Night.? Ten photographs were also selected for printing and framing from this set of entries, and these are also currently exhibited in the main building of CSM, at the Prince Frederick campus. Guy indicated that there may be an opportunity for us to exhibit our work in other areas of the CSM campus in the future.

Looking ahead to next month, our meeting will be held at the CSM Prince Frederick campus, on Saturday, February 18th.  Our meeting topic will be ?Smartphone Photography.? The next shooting assignment for our club members is ?Frigid,? to be interpreted however you wish.

Prior to our next meeting, club members are invited to bring their cameras, and join us for our first field trip of the year. This trip will be to the Cove Point lighthouse, to shoot it at sunrise. The details are still being worked out ? watch our mailing list for all of our final plans. 

We closed our meeting by sharing our December shooting assignment ? the topic was ?Joy.? Members were invited to share their photographs and tell the story behind the images.

Until next month, stay warm and well and as always ?Happy Shooting.?

Secretary Lisa Snider

Book Review: The Digital Photography Books (Boxed Set)

Lin Moos

The Digital Photography Books Boxed Set
Scott Kelby
Volumes 1-3
ISBN-13:  978-0-321-67873-7
ISBN-10:      0-321-67873-7        

Digital PhotographyThe Digital Photography Books were written by Scott Kelby to show beginning photographers how to take professional quality shots.  The books are packaged in a 3 volume set with over 200 pages in each book.  The books are set up as if you are on a photo shoot with Scott Kelby and he is directing how to take each photo.  Most of the chapters focus on different photographic subjects - landscape, outdoors portrait, studio portrait, sports, travel, flash, lens, weddings, flowers/macro, and others.  For different photographic subjects Kelby tells you what lens to use, whether to set your aperture or shutter speed (and at what setting), how to set up your composition and position your camera, what ISO to use, etc.  Each page covers a single concept on how to make your photograph better.  The book is written in plain english.  It does not go into a technical explanation of why you should use your zoom lens and set your aperture at f/2.8 to take up a close up picture of a flower, it just says that the photograph will be best if shot at these settings.

The advice throughout the book is very specific and unambiguous.  The range of photography topics…. tips for obtaining sharp photos, studio portraits, weddings, landscape, sports, macro, travel, flash, outdoor portraits, flash, print tips, shooting concerts, shooting night scenes, and other topics cover everything a beginner could ask (and more).  Each successive volume brings more depth to the photographic areas discussed. Each book closes with a chapter on Photo Recipes to Help You Get “The Shot.”  In these chapters Kelby shows some of his shots and then gives the details for how to get a similar shot, including what type of equipment you?d need, what time to shoot (if it?s relevant), where to shoot it, where to set up your lights, tripod, etc.  In essence, he provides a recipe cookbook for how to take very specific photos. 

My favorite chapter in the three books was the Volume 3 chapter “The Truth About Lenses.”  The 25 pages answered so many questions that beginners have - it provided answers to questions I didn?t even know how to ask.  The books also recommend what accessories (flashes, filters, meters, studio equipment, etc.) will be the most useful depending on what photographic subjects you shoot.  The discussion helped identify items that I really don?t need (but thought might be neat) from photographic accessories that have the potential to make dramatic differences in the quality of the images I produce.

Overall I would give the books 5 stars for being comprehensive, straightforward and easy to understand, and full of quality photographs demonstrating the results of the techniques Kelby is recommending.

Historic St. Mary’s City on a spring like day

Lin Moos

The Calvert Photography Club planned to hold its January Field Trip at the Lexington Market in Baltimore.  I figured that the expected January weather and an indoor location with food, colorful vendors and an inviting atmosphere would be a pleasant January excursion.  Oh, and did I mention that the Market was known for its oysters - I imagined mouthwatering photographs of oysters on the half shell - and then eating the oysters.  Did I mention that I really like oysters?  So, when I called the Market late Friday afternoon to ask whether tripods were allowed and was informed that CAMERAS WEREN?T ALLOWED without a permit and it was much to late to obtain a permit for the next day - my dreams of artistic oyster photographs was shattered.  So was the Club?s trip to Lexington Market - at least for January. 

Historic St. Mary's City photo by E. Guy StephensSo in typical Club fashion, word spread through our list serve and alternate plans were quickly discussed.  We knew that our planned January Saturday was going to have incredible high 60 degree weather which opened many local photographic options.  Thankfully, Guy made a much needed Friday evening Executive Decision to relocate our photo adventure to St. Mary?s City the next morning.

A small group of us, Guy and his family,  Robbin Haigler,  Nick Lascone,  Ed and Sue Engel, and me (Lin Moos), met Saturday morning in St. Mary?s City.  The weather was a welcoming 60+ degrees, the sky was blue and it was a beautiful day.  The summer exhibits were stowed so the historic area was filled with empty skeletons of buildings and, unfortunately, the Dove had sailed to another port.  But, with cooperative weather the grounds were attractive; the church, graveyard and surrounding buildings were picturesque, and the river was mostly flat and reflective.  A beautiful day in a beautiful place.  After a few hours of strolling and digitally capturing the most interesting scenes we regrouped and decided to drive to Spinnakers Restaurant at Point Lookout Marina for lunch.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their lunch on the waterfront (but alas, no oysters on the half shell) . 

After lunch Guy and family decided to head home while the rest of us thought a quick side trip to Point Lookout Park would give us a late afternoon opportunity to photograph the lighthouse with the blue sky, and anything else of interest.  After paying the entry fee to the park, we were all disappointed to find that the “lighthouse” could be more aptly described as a “house with a light.”  lt was a large multi-story horizontal building with a small room with a light on the roof rather than a traditional light house.  It was also surrounded by an ugly chain link fence and seems to only be open one Saturday a month, during season.  Scratch this lighthouse off your bucket list! 

So, to sum up the day from my perspective.  Wonderful January weather, interesting scenes to photograph in St. Mary?s City, great photo companions, a good (but oyster-less) lunch, and a disappointing “lighthouse.”

Winter exhibit at the Solomons Island Visitors Center

Guy Stephens

The Calvert Photography Club is proud to announce the new winter exhibit at the Solomons Island Visitors Center.  The club continues to work with Joyce Baki, a Tourism Specialist with the Calvert County Department of Economic Development, to develop themed exhibits that displays photographs that highlight Calvert County.  The new exhibit is designed to promote the theme of winter in Calvert County.

The club held a contest earlier in the year to select shots for the exhibit.  Over 55 images were submitted by club members and it was a difficult process to select the 6 images that best represented the theme of the exhibit.  The photographs selected for the exhibit included:

Jeff Smallwood

Winter Gaze by Jeff Smallwood

Margo Shrieves

Winter on Back Creek by Margo Shrieves

Margo Shrieves

Winter Solitude by Margo Shrieves

Guy Stephens

Joy of Winter by E. Guy Stephens

Guy Stephens

Weathering the Storm by E. Guy Stephens

Nick Iascone

Fresh snow at Richfield Station by Nick Iascone

Below is a slideshow that features all of the shots submitted for the exhibit.  A very big thanks to all the club members that submitted photographs for this project - really a great selection of work!

The exhibit will be at the Solomons Island Visitors Center throughout the winter - I would encourage everyone to stop by and check it out.