Well, my concerns were well founded. Bianco's is closing as of February 28. This next Friday, the 27th, will be our last day at Bianco's and the search is on for a new venue. I already have a suggestion from John to move to Crazy Otto's on Ave I. Myself, I prefer the cafe atmosphere but in this economy any small business can close down with little or no notice. So, if anyone has any suggestions then please e-mail them to me or join us at Bianco's this next Friday for the discussion and selection of our new location.
Six regulars showed up and a new person, Janet. Janet shoots with a Nikon D-90 and enjoys taking candid photos of people, flowers, and more. I mentioned to her that I've had Julia taking "street photos" (forum post here) with some interesting results. Art, Bonnie, and I showed her our portfolios and told her of the upcoming workshops.
This meeting started out with Bonnie and Terri berating me (jokingly?) about my feeble attempts at injecting humor into these notes. Then Bonnie brought out her calibration targets, hotshoe bubble, and lens cleaning pen which looks like a good tool http://www.amazon.com/Sima-PLE-Lens-Pen/dp/B00004TJ0L.
We talked some more on custom white balance. Stokely, at King's Photo, had suggested to me that a simple white card would do. Bonnie said that she was told to use a three-shaded (white, gray, black) target. Bonnie also had a lens cap that smeared all the incoming light without going into gray or black so I don't know that it makes a lot of difference in terms of "white balance."
Jerry handed me some flyers on places he had talked about before. One was the LA City Japanese Garden which, to Jerry's consternation, is closed Fridays and Saturdays and "city" holidays http://losangeles.about.com/od/bestofla/tp/bestjapanesegardens.htm. He said that next to that were some wetlands that were open. The next was the South Coast Botanic Garden http://www.southcoastbotanicgarden.org/home.html which claims it's open 364 days a year. The next was the Bolsa Chica Conservancy http://www.bolsachica.org/. I had a problem similar to Jerry's when I tried to go to the Huntington http://www.huntington.org/. One time they were closed for a "holiday" and another time it was "free admission" day but you had to get your "e-tickets" online by the day before. The lesson is that you should call these places before you go because, as in the case of the Huntington, their web sites may not be completely clear (that one has since been clarified).
Bonnie was planning on going to the California Desperados Mounted Shooters on Saturday. Terri reminded us of Tylene's upcoming workshop. Bonnie and Jerry tried to talk Art into going to Hank Morris' workshop. Terri said that the Lancaster Museum and Art Gallery http://www.cityoflancasterca.org/Index.aspx?page=67 will be moving to the old Wells Fargo building on Lancaster Blvd as part of the city redevelopment plan.
Jerry said he had bought the PhotoMatrix http://www.hdrsoft.com/ HDR software which, with the LPA discount, is only $75. This site also has a "User Gallery" which has some really interesting examples, complete with information on how many and what kind of photos were used to make the final image. I'm tempted to buy it myself but, as they say, "So many tools, so little money."
Art asked about the difference between abstract and creative so we described the differences then went through his portfolio and showed him (some very good) examples of both and which he should enter into the upcoming competition. Art also showed us a nice photo of a church with the spring leaves being yellow rather than green. He said that, on some trees, the leaves are yellow when they first come out in the spring making for some unusual photos.