Truck Graveyard

Brenda Schillaci

Truck Graveyard, Columbia, VA

Our November Photo Club Trip on November 5, 2016, was to Columbia, VA, to photograph at the Truck Graveyard.  Although that sounded kind of cool to me, it turned out to be way better than I expected! 

The drive was about 3.5 hours with a lunch break and some small detours thrown in.  The weather was lovely and there was some pretty scenery on the drive up, including remaining areas of colorful by Brenda Schillaci

Twelve club members joined in this trip. We were appreciative of the owner allowing us to roam the grounds.  There were a few rules, such as being allowed to open any doors or hoods that opened easily, as long as we closed them when we were done, and, of course, respect the property.

There were many makes and models of trucks, tractors, farm machinery and fire trucks in various states of rust, decay, and peeling paint.  Many had plants growing in, through, and over them, and there were hood ornaments, cracked windows, and nameplates that provided tons of details to see and by Brenda Schillaci
I was pretty tired after about 3 hours of photography in the graveyard, then taking sunset photos of the farm across the street.  I was more than ready for our dinner at the Bella Sicilia restaurant in Goochland, VA.  A nice waitress and yummy food made it a good dinner choice for the eight club members that joined this part of the trip. Thanks to Lynn Thomas for the group photo from dinner.Photo by Lynn Thomas

The long drive each way was well worth it – some of us discussed doing this trip again next year, maybe, for those that missed out this time.

Kinetic Sculpture Race

Brenda Schillaci

Kinetic Sculpture Race – Baltimore, MD

May 7, 2016

Here is how the website defines a Kinetic Sculpture Race: “Kinetic Sculptures are amphibious, human powered works of art custom built for the race. Each May, the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) hosts the East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race Championship on the shore of Baltimore’s Harbor in central Maryland.  The eight-hour race covers 14 miles—mostly on pavement, but also including a trip into the Chesapeake Bay and through mud and sand.”

We arrived early in the morning to view and photograph the sculptures, the participants, and the viewers of the race. Everyone was invited to dress up, so costumes were seen everywhere, not just among the racers.  The sculptures ranged from fairly small and simple designs to large, elaborate floats.  All had wheels for the peddling, land based part of the race and lots of Styrofoam or recycled water bottle bases for the floating part of the by Brenda Schillaci

We had time to view all the sculptures, plus check out the views from Federal Hill, and view the various pieces of art around the museum, which is an amazing work of art in itself.

When the race began, participants started up on Federal Hill, then ran down to their sculptures, which were parked in parking spaces alongside the museum.  There was quite a traffic jam as the floats proceeded out of the parking lot, around the block, up and around Federal Hill, and back out onto the streets to head through the city to the water part of the by Brenda Schillaci

There were so many fun floats, it was hard to pick a single favorite.  I really liked The Bee’s Knees, Tick Tock Croc, Poe’s Toaster, and Kinetic Couch Reborn. All the floats can be seen at
I had to leave after this beginning part of the race.  The group took water taxis across the harbor, then I went off to Fell’s Point while Debbie, Gloria, and Karl continued on to the water aspect of the race.  Here is Debbie Mcintosh’s recap of the rest of their afternoon:

photo by Debbie McintoshThe club members headed for the nearest launch and boarded a water taxi to meet the race leaders at the water’s edge at Canton Waterpark.  There were already a few sculptures that couldn’t make it that far, but the favorites were all there:  Fifi, the Bees Knees, the Egyptian Mummy, and Tick Tock Croc.  Each sculpture had to enter the water and navigate past the pier to a cone and return on the other side of the pier.  Each sculpture was equipped with flotation and oars.
Spectators lined the edge of the waterway to get the best vantage point.  The crowd screamed as they watched the Pink Unicorn collapsing into itself while it was in the water!  Judges and volunteers had to fish several riders and part of the sculpture out of the drink!  But the race must go on, so the remainder of the sculpture with its team continued on its course around the pier in hopes it could still finish and head to the mud and sand pits.  The biggest splash had to be from Mobile Mobile.  That roller in the front kicked up quite a wave.  We watched and photographed the Egyptian Mummy open and billow smoke as it navigated the course, and Tic Toc Croc, probably the longest sculpture, navigated the course like a pro!photo by Debbie Mcintosh 

All in all, the weather held off, the members got to experience something new and by the time the water event concluded, they were ready to sit back and enjoy good food and each other’s company.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Brenda Schillaci

April 2, 2016

This trip started out on a chilly, drizzly morning.  It was hard to believe we might get clear skies later in the day to take pictures of the outside of this impressive Byzantine-Romanesque building.  While waiting and hoping for that, we had plenty of photo opportunities inside the Basilica, which is “the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and North America, and is one of the ten largest churches in the world,” and, also, “houses the largest collection of contemporary ecclesiastical art on earth,”  according to their by Brenda Schillaci

There is the smaller, but lovely, Crypt Church on the lower level, and the much larger Upper Church on the level above.  There are 70 small chapels and oratories throughout the structure. The Upper Church has section after section of high, vaulted ceilings, plus two domes, covered with art work including mosaics, stained glass, sculptures and polished stone carvings. 
Again, taken from their website: “Dominating the North Apse of the Great Upper Church is the Byzantine style mosaic Christ in Majesty. It is one of the largest mosaic images of Jesus Christ in the world and contains more than 4000 shades and colors.  Other mosaic images depict the Creation of the World, the Incarnation, Redemption, the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and the Last Judgment.”  I tried to take photographs of all these ceilings and mosaics. Sadly, I don’t think I did justice to the amazing colors of these art by Brenda Schillaci

I managed to find my way outside in between drizzles to discover a lovely garden with a fountain and sculptures of Mary, plus a gorgeous tulip bed on the lawn.  I managed to see parts of the outside of the Basilica before the rain drove me back inside.  By then, it was almost time to meet up with the group in the cafeteria to plan for the afternoon.  First, I browsed the bookstore.  There is also a gift shop, which I didn’t get a chance to enter.

The cafeteria had a choice of two entrees, plus a nice selection of sides and desserts for very reasonable prices.  There is a lighted (what I assume is a) stained glass rendition of the Basilica on the wall in the seating area that I especially liked.  After eating and chatting awhile, I took a quick trip outside to see that the sun was actually shining, and big, white clouds were in the sky.  I grabbed my stuff and headed back outside to get exterior shots of the Basilica, and the surrounding Catholic University by Brenda Schillaci
The only problem with photographing the outside of the Basilica is that every 10 to 20 feet the view changes.  A tower comes into view here, a carved sculpture on the building there, an arched opening onto a balcony the next little way around…each section as beautiful as the next, and I just had to keep stopping to take just “one more shot.” It is very hard to pick just one picture of the exterior to share for this blog!photo by Brenda Schillaci

The ladies I rode in with and I decided to leave the Basilica and head over to the Arboretum, if the weather stayed cooperative.  It did!  I enjoyed seeing it for the first time.  There is currently a Bonsai exhibit, an Ikebana exhibit, an herb garden, a group of columns on a hill that came from the U. S. Capitol when it was remodeled, and other wonderful sounding areas that I didn’t have time to see on this trip.
Every place we go on the club photo trips leaves me more impressed than I could have imagined.  I have gone to so many wonderful places I would never have seen without the influence of Calvert Photography Club.  If you haven’t participated in these trips, please consider joining in!

Monthly Photo Trip January 2016 - Hand On Workshop

Brenda Schillaci

Our monthly photo trip for January, 2016, was actually our annual hands-on workshop.  We met at the Fairview Library in Owings. The goal of our yearly workshop is to learn indoor photography options to entertain us during cold months where it might be hard to get outside for photo shooting.

Sandy guided us at a station for Macro Photography, where various flowers and plants, vases, light sources, glycerin, small objects such as shells and starfish, cut vegetables, and colorful backgrounds were available to inspire by Gloria Occhipinti

Karl had targets and instructions to learn how to use custom white balance to achieve more accurate color in our photos.  Even though I’ve learned custom white balance in the past, I learned I was doing a couple of extra, unnecessary steps with my camera, which will save me time in the future.

Rick had the always popular Lens Align target available to test and adjust the focusing accuracy of our lenses. I haven’t done this adjustment, personally, since my camera doesn’t have the necessary function for this process. photo by Gloria Occipinti

Tammi reviewed smart phone photo apps that she enjoys using to manipulate her photos with varying fun and beautiful results. I made note of several to try on my own later, such as Snapseed, Vapp, 1 SE, Distressed FX, Place My Face, and Light Meter.

T.O.’s amazing set up of speed lights, transceivers, laser triggers, and a tank of sand was used to help us understand freezing items in motion. It was fun but frustrating to properly time dropping a heavy metal ball into the sand and firing at the correct time to get the result we wanted, such as capturing the ball hovering in midair, or the ball just hitting the sand so particles of the sand are in midair in the by Gloria Occhipinti

Although winter has been kind enough to us so far that it hasn’t made outdoor shooting difficult, these ideas we tried at this workshop will certainly come in handy when the weather does turn on us. 

Thanks to Karl, Sandy, Tammi, Rick and T.O. for coming up with these ideas for us!

Thanks to Gloria Occhipinti for the photos used in this blog. See our group Flickr page for some of the Macro photography shots, plus others that may be shared there after the posting of this blog.

Mormon Temple - DC Festival of Lights

Anik Sales

photo by Anik SalesWith 650,000 lights around the temple grounds, no wonder the Annual Festival of Lights at the Mormon Temple is a must visit around this time of year! This is the place where you will see couples, families and friends enjoying the lights or experiencing the life-sized outdoor nativity.

photo by Anik SalesThis time around I wanted to enjoy the beautiful lights and not worry about a particular subject, but create something interesting with light and The Festival of Lights is absolutely perfect for this. Stacey Leece Vukelj a photographer located in New York City explains that “the beauty of night shooting is that when darkness dominates, a wonderful shot is awaiting anywhere light exists. Worry less about particular subjects, and simply shoot interesting lighting patterns or color arrays.”

Anik SalesNo matter if you view Christmas lights as a symbol of Christ’s eternal light, or a symbol of Christmas joy, or a symbol of hope and good in the world, don’t put down your camera when the light is scarce and make this a wonderful opportunity to capture the moment and make this into an annual opportunity to share a time of solidarity and joy with others as we prepare for the celebration of Christmas.

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