Curves, masks, layers and more…

Megan Snider

Posted December 02, 2011 in: Meetings 

The Calvert Photography Club?s November meeting was all about digital editing and making our photos ?pop? with tools like curves.

President Guy Stephens led introductions of the group and welcomed two new members, bringing our assembled crowd to approximately 20 people. We were happy to see new faces and grateful for the delicious cupcakes provided by Lisa of Imagine It Iced!

Guy discussed our winter exhibit at the Solomons Island Welcome Center (now in the judging phase) and a new collaborative project with the College of Southern Maryland. Club members are invited to submit images following one (or both) of two themes: Southern Maryland in black and white or morning to night (anywhere ? not just in So. Md.). To participate, send low-resolution images to Guy before Dec. 5. A vote by the board will commence later this month, and those with photos selected will be asked to pay only for printing costs. The display will be hung at the College of Southern Maryland?s Prince Frederick campus, and the photographer will, of course, retain all rights to the image. After the display is complete, the print will be returned to you.

Guy also reminded us that books in the club?s personal library are available to be ?checked out? by members. We are also able to obtain review copies of many photography-related titles ? if you?re interested, drop Guy a line for more information. You?ll be asked to read and review the title for the publisher, and the book is then yours to keep.

Treasurer Bonnie Bryant gave a report of the club?s current finances, and we now have 31 paid members. As we?re reaching the end of 2011, membership fees are now prorated. An individual membership is $10 or $15 for families.

Elections are coming soon! Lisa, Jerry and Greg reported on the selection committee?s choices for president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. With the exception of Megan, who is making room for another member to fulfill the role of secretary, Guy, Jeff and Bonnie will remain in their current positions. Lisa Snider is running for secretary. Voting is happening now, and the results will be reported at an upcoming meeting.

JeffAfter taking care of business, Jeff Smallwood began his presentation on digital editing. Using a cool online demonstration, Jeff discussed curves in Photoshop. ?Curves? are the lightest to darkest areas of a photograph, and how you move a curve line affects how a photo is exposed. Manipulating this line allows the photographer much more control than simply adjusting contrast, which can often produce a similar result. An ?S? curve or reverse ?S? curve in Photoshop can affect midtones, shadows and highlights. For more photographs, small edits can have a large impact.

Jeff also discussed dynamic range, which is the amount of space between the brightest and darkest areas of a photograph. Increase your photo?s appeal by stretching out the histogram slightly to the left and right, which increases the depth of tones in a photo.

Masks were touched upon, too, as Jeff showed us a recent photograph from a trip to the Bahamas and how he could combine the best parts of two different pictures using Photoshop?s masks and layers. A ?mask? is an ability to slightly erase part of a top layer to reveal a larger one beneath ? like taking scissors and simply cutting out a portion you?d like to change. Masks also allow for blending and slight opacity changes. Through a live tutorial, Jeff demonstrated how one stellar photo could become phenomenal with these tools.

After the digital editing tutorial, Guy gave a presentation on Lensbaby, a manufacturer of creative optics. The company offers a variety of manual lenses with manual focus that help change your perspective and create a variety of effects. Reasonably priced in terms of photography gear, Lensbaby makes a variety of products to suit many photographers. We have a special club discount code, if interested; contact Guy or Megan for more information.

Our next club photo trip is Saturday, Dec. 3 to Annmarie Garden?s Garden In Lights celebration. The group will be meeting on the premises at 6 p.m., so bring your tripod and get ready for some fun!

Our December meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Prince Frederick Library. Bring your photos from this month?s assignment ? FLASH ? and join us all in celebrating the holidays!

About Megan Snider - Megan Snider is an amateur photographer from Waldorf, Md., who started taking photos after receiving a point-and-shoot camera just days before she left on an Italian vacation. Growing up in front of the lens, she now shares her passion for photography with her mother, Lisa, who is never without her Canon.


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