f/8 and be there (at the November meeting that is)

Megan Snider

Posted November 24, 2010 in: Events  Meetings  Techniques 

November?s meeting of the Calvert Photography Club brought us a deeper understanding of aperture and exposure ? and a much deeper appreciation for filters, group member Spencer?s photographic weapon of choice.

Understanding ApertureAfter introducing ourselves to two new members who joined us on Nov. 20 in Owings, Md., Guy and Jeff began part two of their “Understanding Exposure” series ? this time with a focus on aperture. Correct exposure, Guy informed us, is a combination of proper shutter speed, ISO and aperture ? and the latter controls the amount of light reaching the image sensor of your camera. The smaller the aperture, the larger the opening . . . and the more light coming through. That opening also dictates depth of field, which is the amount of blurring present as you isolate a subject for a photograph.

Informative and interesting, Guy and Jeff?s presentation highlighted the many ways we can use aperture creatively: by playing with the exposure values; blurring backgrounds; telling a story; and showing and freezing action. A “storytelling” aperture, they explained, includes a sharp focus with a beginning, middle and end in the frame, and works well with landscapes. No subject is isolated, and a storytelling aperture would be about f/16 or f/22.

Singular-theme aperture involves focusing in one a singular subject ? like a person (for a portrait), flower or other item. Telephoto lenses work well for this sort of work, and an aperture achieving these results ? especially with a blurred background ? would be f/5.6 down to f/2.8.

The “Who cares?” aperture, Guy and Jeff described, is when the aperture isn?t much of an issue for a photograph - or just not a concern. The “sweet spot” there is f/8, or up to f/11. Many people “live” in this range and take great shots.

Following our first presentation, group members shared their photos from our October assignment: fall foliage. With prints ranging in size and texture, autumn leaves came to life on the tables of the Fairview Library?s meeting room. More than a dozen members set out photos and discussed others? work.

Spencer presentingAn avid proponent of filters, Spencer?s presentation was next. Showing plenty of before-and-after photos in line with our fall foliage assignment, Spencer demonstrated the effects filters can have on everyday shots. With choices like round versus square and the variety of solid color options to show contrast in black-and-white photos, Spencer walked the group through the process of finding a filter that could benefit all of us. He left us with some advice: if you?re going to buy just one filter, make it a neutral density one. The effects, especially on sky and clouds, can be impressive.

Following the presentations, the committee formed at October?s meeting to nominate potential board members for 2011 ? Megan, Spencer and Sandy ? put forth their recommendations, and the group discussed the nominees. Teddie expressed her wish to step down as president for the next year, allowing someone else an opportunity at the top.

As of November, the nominees for 2011’s board are:

President: Guy Stephens
Vice President: Jeff Smallwood
Treasurer: Sandy Carr; Bonnie Bryant
Secretary: Megan Snider

Additional nominees are still welcomed; please contact Guy Stephens with thoughts and nominations as soon as possible. Once nominees are finalized, Guy will email group members an online ballot through which to cast their vote. Stay tuned for more information.

Sandy also brought up an interesting opportunity: the chance to replace the aging photographs in the Fairview Library and Calvert County Visitor?s Center. As we try to move forward to the project, spear-headed by Sandy, please email her your favorite photos specifically of Calvert County - any subject within the county; black-and-white or color - as soon as possible. The entries will be examined and passed on for perusal by a county board and, if selected, displayed as part of a Calvert Photography Club exhibit. Each photographer will be credited.

With the many delicious holidays coming up, we should have plenty of opportunities to shoot Megan?s favorite of all subjects: food! Whip out your camera and document your Thanksgiving meal (or leftovers), the cookies baked for holiday swaps and the feasts prepared before Christmas. Our next group meeting is Saturday, Dec. 18 at the Prince Frederick Library, and bring your favorite food photos to share for our next assignment.

Meet up with the group at our next field trip, too ? this time to the Solomons Christmas Walk in Solomons Island at 3 p.m. Dec. 4. Take in the gorgeous lights and decorations near the boardwalk. More information is available here.

Happy holidays, and happy shooting!

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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