Today’s guest speaker was David Blecman, a local photographer out of Annapolis who started his photographic career fresh out of high school in 1978. Once deciding to do photography full-time he chose to focus mainly on the fashion industry, though he has done many other types of photography over the years including weddings, portraits, and commercial photography. He still trains and mentors both models and photographers. He started his business, Positive Negatives, in 1997 and is now an internationally recognized photographer and instructor, having taught in 13 countries over 3 continents. David offers a 25 hour one-on-one, in-the-field photography mentoring course to individuals geared to whatever type of photography you wish to learn and taught at whatever pace is convenient for you!
Today David spoke to our group about travel photography. He has traveled extensively and also offers several group travel workshops each year, both in the states and abroad. You can find him at http://www.posneg.com.
When doing travel photography David’s philosophy is as follows:
Know your camera! Get a good book if you do not already have one and study it. You need to know your camera and its features like the back of your hand! This eliminates a lot of wasted time and frustration when your out in the field trying to capture that perfect shot!
Know and understand the importance of the Exposure Triangle – Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Learning how each of these items works will help you to know what adjustments to make to your camera depending on the various light conditions present.
Know and understand Gray. Every time you aim your camera at something it is trying to give you gray. Knowing how to use a gray card will help to you to set your white balance so that the colors in your image are as accurate as possible.
Calibrate your computer moniters and LCD screen. Get some calibration software and calibrate on a regular basis. This is important so that you can see accurately what you are getting.
Know the climate of the area you’re visiting and how it fluctuates from morning to night.
Know the area. Know what’s around the place you’re going. There are often hidden gems on side roads so look at sites like Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Street Views, and Bing Bird’s Eye View. Look at Yelp and Tripadvisor.com. Also watch dash cam videos on YouTube. You can often see scenery along the road and potential places you may want to stop.
Remember all of your electrical needs such as camera battery chargers (David recommends having two), phone charger, power strips, computer related chargers & connectors, and if traveling abroad you will need the necessary electrical converter/adapter.
Camera Equipment including multiple camera bodies, multiple lens, multiple batteries, multiple small memory cards, rain protection, a Hoodman LCD Loupe, Color Checker Passport, a white balance target, filters, filter cleaning cloths, wireless remote controls, a sturdy tripod with extra plates, allen wrenches, gaffer’s tape, screwdriver set, and a speedlight.
Clothing – make sure you have the necessary climate appropriate apparel.
Pharmacy and cosmetic items including all prescription medications, allergy medication, insect repellent,and a first aid kit.
Paperwork including your passport, itineraries, flight information, hotel reservations, and transportation confirmations and emails. David recommends taking a photo of all important documents with your phone.
On Your Trip
Once you have arrived at your destination there are all types of photographs that you can take.
Street Photography – capture emotion, humor, color/shape, street performers, culinary creations, architecture, the locals.
Iconic Landmarks – find a different perspective than everyone before you had done. Capture it with a twist!
Sea and Sky
Landscapes – when shooting landscapes David recommends using a tripod and an aperture setting of f-16 and focusing one third of the way into the scene. This will give you a sharp image from corner to corner. Also, find the best perspective to block out any people or garbage that you do not want in the scene.
Textures and Patterns
Promotional – think about shots that businesses may be interested in using for promotions. Offering these photos to the business owners can sometimes earn you discounts or free access.
David also says, shoot in RAW and overexpose by 1/3 stop. Darkening an overexposed image is usually preferable to lightening an underexposed image which tends to result in increasing the noise in the image.
And lastly, learn to process! A RAW file is data stripped of everything. So post-processing is an important and necessary step in getting a great image.
The December photo theme was “Reflection”. The winners for this month were: 3rd Place by Anik Sales, 2nd Place by Jim Rogers, and 1st Place by Tammi Gorsak.
The January theme is “The Magic of Christmas”.
Our guest speakers today were club members, Karl Barth and Sandy Carr who gave us a presentation entitled “Shutter Speed: Getting More Creative”. The emphasis of this presentation was to get us to try something different. Karl explained that there are 6 ways to use shutter speed creatively:
1. Freezing the moment – this is accomplished by using a fast shutter speed therefore “freezing” something in motion.
2. Decisive Moment – an example of this would be a candid shot of something in motion such as an athlete in motion.
3. Low Light Exposure – This would involve using a low shutter speed and a tripod
4. Abstract and Blur – using movement to create a pattern of some sort.
5. Long Exposure – using a long exposure time to get a blurred or soft exposure such as of a waterfall, or spinning lights.
6. Panning – moving your camera along with the subject in motion therefore blurring the background.
Karl suggests using manual mode for these types of shots and gave us a chart of suggested shutter speeds which can be found at: https://kattermonran.com/photography-cheats/shutter-speed/
We then spent time photographing several different objects involving movement including: bouncing balls, objects dropped into water, a slinky moving down steps, and battery powered toy cars.
A slide show was given by Sandy Carr featuring photos from a trip she took to Cape Cod. The November photo assignment was “Black and White”. The winner for this month were: 1st place – Brenda Schillaci, 2nd Place – Gary Scribner, 3rd place – Brenda Schillaci. The December photo assignment is “Reflection”.
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 foliage.
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 photograph.
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.
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.
The September meeting of the Calvert Photography Club was held on September 18, 2016 at our new location at the College of Southern Maryland in Prince Frederick, MD.
Our guest speakers today were Terry and Belinda Kilby, who spoke to us about Drone Photography. Terry and Belinda began working with drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, in 2009 when Terry became interested in building them. At that time, since drones were still pretty expensive, building your own was really the only affordable option. Terry, who was a mobile software engineer, had always enjoyed tinkering with remote control cars and helicopters in his spare time. And Belinda, a visual art teacher and aspiring fine art painter, saw great potential in this new venture from an artistic standpoint. As their knowledge and experience grew, they were able to transform their hobby into a business and thus Elevated Element, Maryland’s premiere Aerial Imaging company, was founded.
Terry initially purchased a small lightweight digital camera known as a gum-stick camera and attached it to a small store bought remote control helicopter. After the Go-Pro camera was released, however, Terry began building his first custom tricopter prototype for mounting the Go-Pro. Once they realized the potential that lay in capturing images from an aerial perspective they began to look toward creating a custom built flying device that could carry a better quality camera and thus capture higher quality images. They sought information on the subject through the online community getting to know other multi-copter enthusiasts from all over the world. Through this online community they also became exposed to the Maker Movement, a subculture of do it yourself problem solvers and builders who apply their practical skills to creating new things.
Though the Go-Pro images were pleasing and inspired them to further pursue their interest, they found that the quality of the prints when enlarged were somewhat grainy. They began to learn more about photography including HDR and other post processing in Photoshop which eventually led to obtaining better cameras. They also say that the Smartphone has been a key ingredient in advancing the industry due to GPS and other applications that can be used to control the drone. Advancements in technology have made it possible to gain more control of their vehicles, making them easier to stabilize in the air and thus less subject to movement due to wind and weather conditions.
Early on in this endeavor they captured images of some of Baltimore’s iconic architecture, usually working in early mornings when there were fewer people and cars around. They soon found, however, that there are many uses for unmanned aerial vehicles other than artistic. They have been used for things such as infrastructure inspections of bridges, roofs, or other high structures, search and rescue operations, and even precision agriculture (flying over a field to see where more water or fertilizer may be needed.) Terry and Belinda have done video footage that was used in a commercial for the Maryland Board of Tourism. They have been published in other media outlets, as well, including National Geographic, CBS Sunday Morning, and Entrepreneur Magazine. They have worked for notable clients such as Nike, The U.S. Army, The State Department, and several TV and film productions often combining different technologies such as 3D animation, video, and still photographs.
Terry pilots the drone while Belinda controls the camera. They say that this 2 person system gives them the best control over the images they are able to capture. Battery time lasts only about 20 minutes so it is essential to make the most of the time you have in the air. Most of the camera functions can be controlled from the ground through an IPAD. There are a number of FAA regulations that must be followed when flying a drone, including keeping the vehicle within your line of sight. They are also limited to a height of 400 feet (except in certain instances such as an inspection.)
The services they offer include aerial photography, Cinematography, Photogrammetry (photographing a subject from many different perspectives, then stitching those flat 2D images into a 3D object using software algorithms), and software development. They have also been active in Outreach to educate the general public about the many capabilities of drones and their positive uses.
They have written two books on drone photography: Drone Art, Baltimore released in October 2013, and Make: Getting Started with Drones, released in October 2015.
You can find Elevated Element on the web at: http://elevatedelement.com/ You. can also view their work on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCszCsimT0AdBHH8RMJzOmVA/videos Or f.ollow them on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
The photo assignment for September was “Backlight and Silhouette”. The winners for this month were: 3rd Place by Beth Phifer, 2nd Place by Sandy Carr, and 1st Place by Tammi Gorsak.
Two slide shows were presented by Tammi Gorsak entitled “2016 Massachusetts” and “2016 MAFF Fireworks”. The October photography assignment is “Color, Color, and More Color”.
Nate began shooting photos fairly recently, purchasing his first DSLR camera in December 2012. He recently graduated from Salisbury University and presently works for South Moon Under as a photo retoucher. Nate, by his admission, started out knowing very little about cameras and settings. He began shooting automatic. However, after his half brother taught him some camera basics he switched to manual mode. Other than that he is largely self-taught, learning mostly through YouTube videos and tutorials along with experimentation. He knew early on that he wanted to make edgy photos and from that has developed his “creepy weird style” (his words!)
Nate started with a lot of photo manipulation using composites. He says “dark art” spoke to him and he wanted to get into more mysterious, artistic type of photography having been influenced in part by the 2001 psychological horror-science film, “Donnie Darko.” Knowledge of Photoshop helped him to make what he describes as “ok” photos into art.
Nate has tried some different photography techniques including long exposures, infrared photos using infrared filters, time lapse photography, and double exposures. Initially, he says his images had no real concept. He just set out to make “something cool.” Eventually, however, he transitioned into conceptual photography using concepts like “existence”, “living in the moment”, and “reflection.” He initially tried to copy the work of others just to see if he could do it. He also wanted to replicate the film look and got into making surreal photos and seeing how far he could take it. Nate says he has always loved silhouettes and also “fell in love with particles,” which he incorporates into a lot of his images. For this, he uses Adobe After Effects Particle World plugin. Many of Nate’s images are self-portraits and “floating portraits” have become an obsession with him.
While in school at Salisbury, Nate says he found his style and had a need to progress in his work. At one point he says he went through a “period of desolation” during which he spent a lot of time traveling around alone over a 15 week period working on a project for one of his classes. Since graduating, he has begun work on a film of the places he went during that time entitled “The Places I Go”.
Currently Nate has a makeshift studio in his basement where he shoots some of the self-portraits that he incorporates into his composites. He says he sees his work as 50% photography and 50% photo editing. Most of his images are “lucid” and begin with just a basic idea. He then plays with the image in Photoshop until he comes out with a final product that he likes, deciding what he wants to do as he goes along. You can find Nate’s work at http://natebittinger.format.com/ on F,lickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/natebittinger/ on Fa,cebook at https://www.facebook.com/NBittingerPhotography or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/natebittinger/ .
The July photo assignment was “Look Up”. We had some entries this month! The winning photos were from 3rd Place, Melissa Chin, 2nd Place – Sandy Carr, 1st Place – Jim Rogers. Congratulations to the winners. Your names have been added to the drawing for the end of the year prize of a boxed version of ProShow Producer, a $250 value.