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Club Picnic at Spider Hall Farm

Karl Barth

On October 6, the Calvert Photography Club held their annual club picnic on October 6 at Spider Hall farm.  The farm is located off of Route 231 in Prince Frederick near Hallowing Point Park.  Its family owned and stretches 362 acres including an 8 acre corn maze.

Photo by Karl BarthThe picnic was a great time to get together with fellow club members along with families, enjoy some great food, and of course take pictures.  I brought my family along to enjoy the fun activities like the corn maze, hay ride, and of course pick out a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.

Once everyone from club arrived some of the club members including myself went through the corn maze.  That’s when Mother Nature decided to be uncooperative.  It started to rain and I didn’t have my umbrella.  Thankfully my camera wasn’t damaged but getting out the maze quickly was a challenge.  It was still a lot of fun though.

Next we went on the hay ride to the pumpkin patch which was located near the rear of the farm which offered a beautiful scenic view of the rest of the farm including a view of the Chalk Point Power Plant.  The open pumpkin patch offered some great photo opportunities.  One of the shots I took showed the sun rays shining through the clouds.

After spending some at the pumpkin patch we went back to the picnic area to enjoy the wonderful food.  Once the picnic was over, I along with other club members walked back to the pumpkin patch to shoot the sunset.  It was absolutely gorgeous.

The picnic was a great event.  My family and I had a lot of fun.  The event couldn’t have been done without the hard work of Robbin Haigler.  Also, thanks to the staff of Spider Hall farm.


Photoshop Tips and Tricks in October

Lisa Snider

On Saturday, October 20, 2012, the Calvert Photography Club met for its monthly meeting, held at the Drum Point Club, in Drum Point, Maryland. CPC and Drum Point Club member Karrie Gonzalez arranged for this special opportunity to hold our meeting at this lovely, waterside location. President Guy Stephens opened the meeting by introducing Drum Point Club President Fran Borsh, who welcomed our members with a brief history of the area and formation of her club, as well as an invitation to enjoy our visit.

Next up was the first of two slideshows, presented by club member T.O. Galloway. His slideshow featured images of the Halloween adventures enjoyed by his neighborhood of Whispering Woods, timed to the rocking beat of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” It was the perfect Halloween treat.   

MugGuy then began the business portion of our meeting, recapping some recent events. The club’s picnic to Spider Hall Farm featured great food and great fun for everyone. Guy extended a special thanks to Robbin for organizing this event. We also recently held a very successful Photography Boot Camp. Thirty-five people participated, with 9 club members serving as staff/instructors. Guy thanked all of the instructors, who were each asked to stand, and be recognized. He also gifted each instructor with a CPC mug featuring the club’s logo, which was recently unveiled. 

The Calvert Photography Club has a new store, featuring tee shirts, mugs, tote bags, and the like for sale through the company Zazzle. There is a nice assortment of items which can be purchased featuring the club’s new logo, and more can be added, upon request. The web address for the store is http://www.zazzle.com/calvertphotography .

The CPC has been approached by the Calvert Library, wishing to partner with the club in presenting some free photography workshops as part of their “life-long learning series.” Both Guy and Jeff have agreed to teach a class, with Jeff teaching the first one on November 26. It will take place from 7:00-8:30 p.m., and those interested may register through the library. The class will feature many of the principles presented at the Photography Boot Camp, as well as some instruction on composition. Guy’s class will take place in early 2013.

The Solomon’s Island fall exhibit is now up, and club members are invited to go to the visitor’s center to see it. Guy will soon be soliciting for submissions for the winter exhibit, which should feature winter themes such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Club members should watch for Guy’s e-mail regarding the same.

Our club has grown to 62 members, which far exceeds the space available at all of our previous meeting spaces. After much investigation and some negotiation, Robbin has secured the club a new, permanent home. Guy was happy to announce that beginning with the November meeting, the CPC will be meeting at Trinity United Methodist Church, located at 90 Church Street, in Prince Frederick. The church is located next to the Calvert County Historical Society. A map with directions to this new location may be found on the club’s website. We thank Robbin for undertaking this huge project, and are happy with this wonderful location.

In other business, it is now time for the club to hold its annual elections. A nominating committee of Sharon Shifflett, Nick Iascone, and Lin Moos has been formed, and they are seeking nominations for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. It is hoped that two individuals will run for each position. Both Guy and Jeff have reached their term limits in their respective positions of President and Vice President. Candidates will be announced at the November meeting, and voting will take place in December. Anyone who is interested in running for office should add their name to the ballot through either Sharon, Nick or Lin.

Treasurer Bonnie Bryant provided her report next. We currently have 62 paid members, and had a busy financial month with dues coming in from a number of new members, and outgoing expenditures for the Boot Camp and meat trays for the recent picnic. The current balance in our account is $467.38. Bonnie maintains the snack sheet – she is looking for volunteers to bring something beginning with the January, 2013 meeting (the November and December meetings are covered).

We closed out the business portion of our meeting with Spencer providing an update on our lending Library. Last month’s guest speaker, Cameron Davidson, was kind enough to not only contribute a copy of his brand-new book to our library, but he also cleaned out his personal photography library, and donated many titles to our club. Spencer brought a few books in to the meeting today, for members to see and possibly borrow. Those with borrowed books outstanding are reminded to return them as soon as possible.
   
Also, club members are reminded that free new books are available for only the cost of writing a review of the book for our club’s blog. New books are available from the club’s partners, Peach Pit and O’Reilly Presses.

Jeff SmallwoodJeff Smallwood then presented today’s program, “Photoshop Tips and Tricks.” He began his presentation with an introduction into some of the differences between Lightroom and the similar software, Aperture, Photoshop (PS) and Photoshop Elements (PSE). While he highlighted key differences, there are also wonderful matrixes on-line which list the programs side-by-side, and compare features.

A key difference to note is that neither Lightroom or Aperture are pixel level editors, allowing spot control of individual pixels. This level of manipulation is accomplished by using either PS or PSE, which are both very powerful editing tools. These types of edits are accomplished in either program by using layers and masking, which Jeff went on to demonstrate.

Jeff also demonstrated the “content aware” tool, found in PS, to remove objects, and the “liquefy” tool to make facial adjustments such as shortening a nose, which is a favorite technique used in fashion magazines. Jeff uses Lightroom for its outstanding organizational and cataloguing features, although he noted that PSE also has very good cataloguing features. 

Other PS tools Jeff discussed include the HDR and Panorama tools, the “oil paint” filter, “Puppetwork,” and the skin tone selector. Using the “Luminosity mask” in PS gives one a very powerful way to target adjustments in a photo – such as unwanted reflections.

While both PS and PSE handle Raw files, only PS handles 16-bit images for fine tune adjustments. PS also offers many other RAW tools not found in PSE, and the file format PSB (good for large files), which is not available in Photoshop Elements.

With the presentation concluded, the club took a 5-minute break to enjoy the pumpkin and cinnamon crunch muffins made by member Megan Snider, as well as other goodies and drinks.

After the break, Jeff treated the club to the second slideshow of the day, featuring his awe-inspiring collection of Black and White photos. 

Upcoming events were discussed next. Our Saturday, November 3 field trip will be led by Jeff and will feature an excursion to the Maryland-side of Great Falls. Meeting times and other details of the trip will be featured in upcoming e-mails, and on our web site.

Next month’s photo assignment is “Patterns,” and the next meeting topic will be “Plug-Ins,” to be discussed at our November 17 meeting in our new home, at Trinity United Methodist Church.

The last segment of the meeting featured 8 images taken by our club members depicting this month’s shooting assignment, “Nature.” Each image was allotted 3 minutes for the critique session, which was led today by three members of our critique team, Jeff Smallwood, Jim Rogers and Daniel Coughlin. They each cited 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 CPC members are reminded that they will be invited to submit their “Patterns” images (our next shooting assignment) for critique at our November meeting. Watch for an e-mail from Guy announcing the same.

Until next time, remember that “the virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking.” – Brooks Atkinson.


Lisa explores exposure at bootcamp

Lisa Snider

On Saturday, September 29, 2012, I had the privilege of attending the first Calvert Photography Club workshop entitled Photography Boot Camp: A Hands-on Exploration of Exposure. The workshop was a full day, from 9:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and was held at Annmarie Sculpture Park and Arts Center, in Dowell, Maryland.

Photo by Guy StephensDesigned to help photographers move past the auto modes on their cameras, the lessons presented delved into the principles of exposure. We began the day by checking in at the registration table, where we were greeted with a warm welcome, and a hefty folder of informational materials to use and later, take home with us. Included with the folder was our agenda, which was outlined by CPC President Guy Stephens. 

Our game plan for the day was to meet as a large group and be introduced to an exposure principle. Then, we would break out into pre-arranged smaller groups, to move through targeted exercises which demonstrated and reinforced the principle which was introduced. It was a beautiful fall day, as we moved into the great outdoors, to work in small groups with the experienced photographers who graciously volunteered to lead us.

Photo by Guy StephensAs a member of the CPC, I have been taking pictures successfully for many years. My goal in signing up for the course was to take it as a refresher/re-enforcement of the principles which are the foundation of photography. At the end of the day, I was well pleased with my experience. I found the boot camp to be well-organized, full of meaningful content, and appropriate for not only an experienced photographer, but also for a true beginner.

While a few of the participants were CPC club members, the vast majority were visitors, who came to the workshop as novice photographers. I had the privilege to talk with several throughout the day, who were excited to join us. One gal came with her husband’s Nikon camera as a “replacement ” for her husband, who originally paid to attend the workshop, but had to cancel at the last minute. She was a true beginner. As we moved through the exercises, I watched as her face lit up as she figured out the controls of her camera, and successfully took the practice shots.

Photo by Guy StephensEveryone seemed to agree that we received wonderful, one-on-one instruction, and so much for our money, not the least of which was the folder of informational materials. We also received a free Sigma tote bag and other Sigma goodies, a wonderful boxed lunch, afternoon snacks, and everyone went home with a door prize! Many photography vendors graciously provided free software, photography camera bags, books, gift certificates, and other photo-related items for our day.

It was a wonderful experience, and a great investment of both my time, and money.  I came away with a renewed sense of mastery of the basics of exposure, and took those principles to heart as I shot the splendors of fall, this past weekend.

The CPC does plan to offer additional workshop dates in the future. If you are interested in attending (and I highly recommend that you do), please add your name to the contact list by e-mailing Robbin Haigler at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


My experience at bootcamp

Karl Barth

Annmarie GardensAfter many months of planning and preparation, the Calvert Photograph Club held its first photography workshop on September 29, 2012.  The workshop was geared toward those who wanted to get learn more about their camera and how to shoot out of Auto mode.  The workshop was sold out and was held at the beautiful Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center on an absolutely beautiful day.

While I was pretty comfortable with my camera, my goal in attending this workshop was to walk out with more knowledge and techniques than I walked in with.  I’ve been shooting in Manual mode for almost two years.  I already knew how to change the ISO, exposure, and aperture.  However, I’ve struggled with the concept of the exposure triangle such as what setting to use and when.  I feel I take great pictures but there is room for improvement.  I was also interested in learning from more experienced photographers.

By Karl BarthBefore the workshop started, everyone registered and picked up their workshop folder.  The folder contained the instructional material but also had lots of great offers from photography companies like BorrowLenses and SmugMug.  I was also impressed by how many great prizes there were available for the raffle.  Two of the prizes in the raffle were backpacks from LowePro which are often not cheap.

Club president, Guy Stephens, opened the workshop and welcomed everyone.  He went over the agenda for the workshop and I immediately liked the way it was setup.  After each lesson we would go out into the field and practice what we just learned which was a great idea.  The lessons focused on the key areas: Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO.

Overall I really enjoyed the workshop.  It was a great event and I think everyone else walked out there feeling the same way.  I also really liked the way the workshop was setup.  The lessons were informative and the assignments really helped to understand the lesson.  I have a better understanding of exposure and the exposure triangle.  Hopefully this is just the first of many more workshops to come.