The February meeting of the Calvert Photography Club was held on February 20, 2016.
Our guest speaker was Rob Grant of Rob Grant Photography whose presentation was entitled “Wedding Photography and Beyond.” Rob Grant is an award-winning photographer with 25 years of professional experience and has photographed over 500 weddings. Although he specializes in wedding photography he has experience in sports, architectural, nature, and fine art photography as well. He was strongly influenced by both Ansel Adams (landscape photographer) and by the photo-journalism of the Vietnam War era while growing up. His pictures have appeared in national magazines and major newspapers such as the Washington Post, and have been exhibited in prestigious art galleries from Washington DC to Beverly Hills, CA. He also works for Nations Photo Lab.
Rob spoke to us about his philosophy when it comes to doing photography and what works for him both stylistically and technically. These are tips that can be applied to all types of photography:
1. Learn patience and perseverance! If you want that perfect sunrise or sunset shot, you may have to go out numerous days in a row, get up early, stay late! Sometimes you just have to wait it out to get the shot you want.
2. Don’t be lazy! Ask yourself how much you are willing to push yourself to get a shot.
3. Be enthusiastic! Especially when working with people. If you’re enthusiastic chances are they will be too.
4. Work the scene! Try every possible variation you can think of to get the most out of it.
5. Be weird! By this Rob means think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different.
6. Crop differently! Look at individual elements in the scene.
Stylistically, Rob says wedding photography incorporates every other style of photography. You have to be able to shoot strong portraits and know how to let your subjects be who they are. But you also have to know how to incorporate the landscape and architecture of the wedding venue. Macro photography may be used to photograph small details such as the wedding rings, other jewelry, or flowers. Experience in sports photography is helpful when capturing those dance floor shots or other spontaneous moments when you have only split seconds to get the shot.
Technically, Rob says invest in good lens. Also, when shooting wedding photography, it is extremely important to have multiple cameras, lens, flashes, and cards with you to avoid a disaster in case of malfunctioning equipment. Check the settings on the camera periodically to make sure nothing has been inadvertently changed. Also a camera with 2 card slots is preferable to having only 1, in the event of a card error.
Overall, Rob says shoot with your heart and your eye. The camera is just a tool. You can check out his work at http://www.robgrantphotography.com/
The photo theme for this month was Still Life Macro. The winners of this month’s competition were: 1st Place – Brenda Schillaci, 2nd Place – Tammi Gorsak, and 3rd Place – Anik Sales.
The photo theme for March is Pastel Tones.
A slide show entitled People, Places, and Things was presented by Debbie McIntosh.
Our February photo trip was to Conowingo Dam’s Fisherman’s Park in Darlington, MD, in search of bald eagles and other birds. Although the official meet up time was 10 a.m., I spent the previous evening in Havre De Grace with my husband and was going to spend that Saturday afternoon with him, as well. So I got up for sunrise at the dam – an extremely cold but lovely sunrise – and left before the other club members arrived.
Although I saw a total of 5 eagles, two of which were juveniles who flew quickly overhead, I was amazed at the sheer number of seagulls out over the water! There were also several vultures; apparently they are so aggressive and numerous that signs warn you to park at your own risk, in case of vulture damage to your car!
An older gentleman I spoke with is a regular at the dam. He has taken tons of pictures over the seasons he has been there, and even carries prints of his shots to give to people who may not see any eagles on a given day or just don’t get a good shot. He advised me to come back next year in November, at which time he says the parking lot is full and many people come to shoot the eagles “in season.” He then directed me to the visitors center, but that didn’t open until after I had to head back to Havre de Grace.
I didn’t get to see any of the other club members before I left, but I have since seen a couple wonderful photos that others had taken on that day. I asked for input about their experience from Debbie McIntosh and Sharon Shifflett.
Debbie had this to say about the trip: “So many things to like about this trip: Despite the cold, it was great to see such a good turnout from the club and their guests; it gave us all a chance to grow as a club and get to know each other and the important people in our lives. Being with other photographers from outside our club was enjoyable, too. Many were willing to help, point out an approaching bird in flight, and even let you check out their gear. I was lucky enough to chat with a photographer toting a 600mm F4 with a 2x teleconverter…She let me have a try with it and let me just say WOW! How close can you get! An added benefit of the trips is I’ve noticed that in the short time since our visit, I’ve developed a keener eye for birds in flight. On the way home from work this week, I spotted a Bald Eagle in flight and was thrilled! Had I only been able to cut across all lanes of traffic and grab my camera! But alas….safety first!”
Sharon shared with me: “I got a real adrenalin rush. I had been taking pictures of an eagle high up in the tree, waiting for him to fly. I got tired of waiting, folded up my tripod and started walking to my car (I was cold and hungry) when someone yelled “He is flying.” I turned around while yanking my camera off the tripod and managed to capture the eagle flying with a fish. I just bought a brand new lens a 150-600 mm that I did not know if I would be keeping. Guess what, I am keeping it. I am going back to the dam in a few months. I captured a pair of eagles so far away I did not realize they were mating until I got them on my computer. So I need to know when the babies are just about to fly from the nest so I can go back. I am definitely going the end of November when the eagles are migrating - 100’s are there. Wow.”