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Shedding some natural light on things

Lisa Snider

On Saturday, July 21, 2012, the Calvert Photography Club met for its monthly meeting at the Calvert Library – Fairview in Owings, with a record 35 photo enthusiasts in attendance! As the group’s Flickr photos randomly displayed in the background, we began the meeting with club business, as presented by President Guy Stephens.

A Photography Boot Camp is being planned for the tentative date of September 29, 2012 at Annmarie Garden. The goal of the workshop is to provide participants with the knowledge and confidence to take full control of their camera and the ability to improve their photography.  Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of the exposure triangle and the practical knowledge to leverage it. Further details on this event will be released as plans are finalized.

The club is also in the process of securing a “permanent” home for its monthly meetings. An application is currently being prepared to submit to the board of Trinity United Methodist Church in Prince Frederick for use of its facilities. The church is centrally located, and is available at a low monthly cost, with ample meeting and parking space. If approved, it is hoped that we can begin meeting in our new space by October.

Club members should watch their e-mails for the next announcement for the call for entries for the Solomon’s Island fall exhibit, which will be on display from September through November.  Images submitted should be of Calvert County and should include fall scenes, such as fall festivals and fairs. Six images are generally selected out of those submitted.

ThinkTank Photo has been added to the list of vendors who are now providing a discount to our club members. When you purchase gear from Think Tank Photo they will donate 20% of your purchase to our club and you will get a select a gift to receive for free. Donations generated through this program support the education efforts of our club. Be sure to let others know about this special deal. For detailed information on this discount, as well as the other discounts currently being offered to club members, please visit the “Members Only” portion of the CPC website.

Keep “up to date” with the Calvert Photography Club by not only visiting our website, but also by visiting our Facebook page. New content is regularly added to the club’s page, and members may also share photography-related items here, too.

Next up was the Treasurer’s report as provided by Treasurer Bonnie Bryant. Currently there are 39 paid members as of her report. Bonnie continues to maintain the snack sign-up sheet and this month, provided name tags for all club members. Name tags should be returned to Bonnie at the end of each meeting, as she will be responsible for bringing them each month.

Finally, Library Coordinator Spencer Johnson provided an update on the club’s lending library, highlighting a new title available to borrow, “The Portrait Photography Course.” Club members should see Spencer if they are interested in borrowing this new book, and should visit the “club members’ only” section of our web site for other titles available to borrow.

Daniel and MeganToday’s meeting topic was “Natural Light,” presented by club member Daniel Couglin. His discussion focused on harnessing the power of existing light by the use of reflectors. A “4-in-1” reflector can be purchased in various sizes quite reasonably. White reflects the same color as the light; black subtracts light, making shadows deeper; silver projects more bright light (not diffused), and gold tends to eliminate shadows. A reflector can be held in the appropriate spot, and at the appropriate angle, by placing it in a purchased stand, asking an individual to hold it for the photographer, or by the photographer, if he/she is using a remote release or timer on the camera.

Reflectors are used in all types of photography, including portrait and macro work. In portraiture, the goal is to flatter the subject. Catch lights in the eyes bring the subject to life, and can be created with a mirror just off to one side. Soft, front lighting, or back lighting, creating a halo around the subject’s hair, is usually the most flattering. Side lighting tends to accentuate the nose and any blemishes on the face.

Light reflectors don’t have to be purchased. They can also be fashioned out of everyday objects, such as bed sheets, curtains, foam core board found at craft stores and mirrors, to name a few.

In closing, remember that the larger the light source, the softer and smoother the light; the smaller the light source, the harder and greater the shadows which are created.

After a snack break and a stretch, club members were treated to a slideshow by fellow club member Megan Snider. Megan and boyfriend Spencer visited Northern California in May, and took some inspiring pictures of such iconic locations as San Francisco and Yosemite National Park, which has been immortalized in the world-renown work of Ansel Adams. Club members wishing to also showcase their work may sign-up to present a slideshow at a future meeting. The slideshow sign-up sheet is maintained by Education Program Coordinator Robbin Haigler, who addressed the club next.

Robbin provided the following overview of the club’s upcoming events. Our next meeting is Saturday, August 18th, and will be again held at the Calvert Library – Fairview in Owings. The meeting topic for discussion will be HDR, as presented by Vice President Jeff Smallwood. The photo assignment for the August meeting is “Natural Light.” Get out with your cameras and shoot some natural light photos, using the tips provided at today’s meeting.

The August field trip is scheduled for Saturday, August 4th, when club members will shoot at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. As parking is expensive and at a premium, club members are encouraged to form carpools, or travel to the zoo via the Metro system. A sign up sheet for the zoo trip was circulated during the meeting. Those who are interested in going, but did not sign the sheet, should e-mail Robbin directly, so she will have an idea of who to look for at the zoo. Those who are interested may also meet club members at a designated time and place for lunch, with details to be circulated soon.

Finally, the September 15th meeting will be held at the College of Southern Maryland, and will feature guest speaker Cameron Davidson. Mr. Davidson is an acclaimed aerial photographer with a book out featuring his photography of the Chesapeake Bay. Those planning to attend this meeting (club members and non-members alike) should indicate their desire to attend by filling out the sign-up sheet, as seats are limited, and will be on a first-come, first serve basis, with club members given first preference.

The last segment of the meeting featured 6 images taken by our club members depicting this month’s shooting assignment, a “Taste of Summer.” The 6 images were provided by club volunteers, and were projected on a screen, with 4 minutes allotted to critique each image. Our critique team opened the session by citing what they liked about the image, as well as offering constructive criticism, when appropriate.  The rest of the club members were then invited to offer their critiques, until the allotted time was up. In closing out the meeting, all other club members were invited to share their “Taste of Summer” images.

Until we meet again, stay cool and keep shooting!


Using Burst Mode to Recreate the Motion

Jeff Smallwood

On a trip last November I took several burst series of photos as the ocean waves crashed on the cliffs in the Bahamas. The photos were all taken around midnight and used the full moon for illumination. I decided to use burst mode for the same reason I usually use it…I was trying to perfectly time a huge splash and was looking for a single shot. I recently went back to that series of photos and decided to try something different. I wanted to see if I could put the shots together and recreate the motion of the scene.

Read about the process I used and view the final results here.


New York City on 10 Miles a Day

Jeff Smallwood

As someone who’s first and favorite photographic subject is the natural world, I absolutely love living in the Southern Maryland area and being especially close to the Chesapeake Bay. However, I’ve been pushing myself to find opportunities to expand into other subjects and city, street, and urban photography are top on my list. I recently had an opportunity to put it to practice on a 3 day trip to New York City. My wife and I covered over 30 miles on foot through Manhattan and the Bronx and I blogged about the results of day one. It was a very rewarding trip. Read the article here.