Assignment Motion - Driving from Day to Night

Jeff Smallwood

The Calvert Photo Club’s January assignment/challenge was the term “motion”. Jeff has wanted to experiment with capturing motion in the car for quite a while but never got around to it. Having to produce something for the monthly challenge finally kicked him into action.

Jeff’s goal for this challenge was to create an image that represented motion, but also transitioned from day to night in a single scene. Read Jeff’s blog to see how he created the final shot for the monthly photo challenge.

Beware of the Oompa Loompa

Karl Barth

In reading the title of this blog you are probably asking yourself what the heck are you talking about Karl?  Well I’ll explain it to you.

My wife and I recently celebrated our 13 wedding anniversary.  If you are fan of my page (, you’ll know that I’ve been doing a 365 day project.  Anyway for my picture of the day, I wanted to take a picture of my wife and I under this tree that had some beautiful fall colors.  I setup my camera on a tripod and had my daughter take the picture with a wireless remote.  The picture looked great.

During post processing though, I edited the photo using Nik Color Efex Pro with minor adjustments from Lightroom.  I use Color Efex Pro for a majority of my photos.  When I posted the image on Facebook though, my wife’s face looked like a Oompa Loompa from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Her face was too orange.

Although it was a great shot and a lot of people loved it I was still bothered by the result.  I didn’t like the skin tone on my wife.  I decided to edit the original image using only Lightroom.  The results were much better.  My wife’s face wasn’t too orange.

So what happened?  Well first my white balance was set to cloudy.  Why?  It gives a sense of warmth to the image especially when doing portraits.  The skin tone won’t be so ghostly.  It doesn’t matter whether it is sunny or cloudy, the cloudy white balance will work.  

Secondly, during post processing with Color Efex I added a brilliant/warm filter completely forgetting that I had my white balance set to cloudy.  Plus I added a strong contrast filter.  As a result that created the Oompa Loompa look.

By Karl Barth

While I love Nik Color Efex the lesson I learned from this little gaffe is that it is not always necessary to use it for post processing.  Plus I should only use it for nature or landscape photography. That’s the thing I love and hate about photography.  You learn from your mistakes but you can also miss those golden moments. Oh well…lesson learned.  Thanks for reading. 

How to Fake a GND Filter by Combining Two Images

Jeff Smallwood

The technique is simple and involves opening the two images as layers and using a basic layer mask with a tight gradient. The video and explanation are done with Photoshop but the technique will also work in Photoshop Elements. Lightroom is not required either, although I use that in the demonstration to open the images as layers.

Read more and watch the video.

Carnival and Fair Photography

Jeff Smallwood

Long Exposure fair ride Carnivals and fairs offer such a wide variety of unique subjects, it really is one of the best opportunities to get different shots without having to travel too far from your home. From animals to people to the colorful rides themselves, take your tripod, wander the grounds and see what you can find.

If you check the photo exhibit, you might even find award winning entries by your fellow club members!

Read the full article here.

Lessons learned shooting engagement photos

Karl Barth

Last month I was asked to do an engagement shoot in Washington DC.  The bride-to-be saw my pictures on Facebook of the various monuments and buildings I shot and she wanted pictures taken around the monuments.

Photo by Karl BarthFor me this was a great honor but also a little nerve wracking.  This was my first customer and I didn’t want to mess up this opportunity.  I also had to plan the shoot.  What equipment would I need to bring with me?  Would I need my tripod?  The bride-to-be wanted to shoot around the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II memorial.  I also suggested shooting at Constitutional Gardens.  I’ve shot there numerous times and it’s a beautiful spot with views of the Washington Monument.

On the day of the shoot, Mother Nature was not cooperating.  It was cloudy and there were chances of rain throughout the day. The bride-to-be still wanted to do the shoot and I felt I might still get some good shots.

I got to the first site early, Constitutional Gardens, to scope out places to shoot along with determine what settings to use.  I always shoot in manual mode.  I decided to use go with a shutter speed of 200 and an ISO of 400.  I also kept the auto focus (AF-Area) set to the closet subject setting.

The shoot went well and I felt I got some good shots.  When I got home and starting looking at the pictures I saw several mistakes right away.  The biggest mistake I made was my focal area.  I should have set the focus area (or AF-Area) to the Single Area and not the closet subject.  There were quite a few pictures where the subject (bride-to-be) was out of focus because my camera was focusing on something else (i.e. a monument post) like the one below.

Another mistake was not bringing lens wipes with me.  We ran into some rain and despite my best efforts to protect my camera, I got a little bit of rain on the lens and I didn’t realize it until it was too late.  I also should have used a different shutter setting.  The pictures that did turn out came out darker than I liked.  While I was able to fix them in Lightroom, I would have preferred shoot it right with my camera. 

As I reflected upon the shoot, I was disappointed with how the pictures turned out but I learned from my mistakes.  The most important thing was the bride-to-be was pleased with some of the pictures.

Page 1 of 5