Discusson Group Notes July 3, 2009

Friday night on a Holiday weekend. Well, four of us showed up. It's a good thing it wasn't the 4th, last year we only had three.

Deborah showed off her "Ugly Duck," her "Ice Plant Blossoms," and her 2008 calendar. The duck photo was taken at Hart Park in Bakersfield a while back, though Vivian (I think) said that there are two of these at Apollo Park. The flowers were taken in our green porch, about two months before the outdoor plants bloomed. The calendar was somewhat a digital scrapbook and printed out at Staples. Lots of great photos, mostly of Julia, but the printing wasn't quite the best. Staples prints and binds these calendars each year, all you do is supply a dozen digital photos and money.

Mary brought in Issue 81 of "Digital Photographer." This one has an article on Technique/juxtaposition including size, color, shape, and 17 more. It also has some really nice articles on HDR, nature, continuous shooting, and much more. At $12.99 it's not for everyone but you may be able to borrow it or find it in the library. Speaking of which, the Lancaster library has a large selection of magazines, most of which have photos, and some are specific to photography. And it's air conditioned.

Vivian said that she wanted to take photos of fireworks and wondered what fair category they would go under. We kind of settled on Human Interest but it may also go into action or miscellaneous. She also wondered about what category a collage would go under. Dave said that it would probably depend on what the photos were of. He also recommended the use of layers for making a collage because of the ability to adjust each picture separately.

Dave told a tale of taking photos of a wild turkey in Tennessee where he got within 15 ft, too close to get the whole bird in with his lens.

Vivian told a tale of a guy who was hired to bring his hawk to Anacapa to scare the gulls so they wouldn't swoop the people. She also told a tale of a friend who got on the wrong end of a pigeon in Niagra Falls.

I described my luck with Googling "Backyard Photography." There are quite a few sites that talk about this in general. Most of them, though, focus on birds, perches, and feeders. One interesting one I found talked about teaching kids photography through the use of a backyard photography "scavenger" hunt where they have to get as many categories as they can in a limited amount of time. http://www.hp.com/united-states/consumer/digital_photography/take_better_photos/tips/scavenger-hunt.html

Deborah talked about our ideas for building light boxes. She wants to take photos of trophies, horse tack, beads, and such.

Dave described a photo that was taken in New York during the day with no people. The trick was to put a heavy filter on the camera and leave the shutter open for four hours. In this way everything that moves (people, cars, etc) don't stay in one place long enough to show up in the photo. Vivian talked of getting a photo at the Metro with moving people. From there we talked about how to get photos in busy places a) without people (long exposure), b) with the people stationary (fast exposure), c) people slightly blurred (medium exposure), and d) with everyone blurred except the one person standing still. This would make a great self-portrait, you in a crowd of ghosts.

I talked about not getting group pictures of Julia's class for the last three years. When I called Fox Studios they said that, unless you get one of the regular packages, you don't get the class photo. I didn't see this on their order envelope but now I know. I was just getting one 8x10. It's now costing me $12 each for the last two years. Her second grade pictures had already been placed in long-term storage by Fox.

We talked again about fireworks and Dave mentioned that his D300 has only the basic modes (Av, Tv, etc) while some of the Point & Shoots (P&Ss) have a mode called "Fireworks."

I talked about my trip to Hart Park and a possible similar photo trip along Elizabeth Lake Road, taking photos of the buffalo, llamas, and etc.

We talked about the upcoming flower workshop. I'll be driving back from Las Vegas so I won't be there but I heard that quite a few people had signed up. Deborah's work shedule makes it difficult for her to attend.

Dave told us the tale of how he got into digital photography. About 4 or 5 years ago he and Tylene had gone to a plant workshop on a Saturday. At the competition the following Tuesday Tylene won and Dave was still waiting for his film to come back from the processor. That's when he decided to go digital.

I said that our dragonflies are returning slowly but not in enough quantities or regular enough to invite folks over. Vivian told of her nephew who is doing a series on seasons. We talked of digital frames from photoshop. Dave mentioned Picasa, which is a Google product, and Deborah mentioned Gimp.

Dave told us a tale of the time (one of those "there I was..." stories) he was taking photos of a friend who never smiled. Well, he used Photoshop to put a smile on his friend which pleased the friend's wife. Things like this are not so easy so Dave gave some advice on Photoshop, learn a little at a time. Which reminds me of the old addage about "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

On the subject of learning, Mary said that the first time she tried reading her camera's manual it was all gibberish to her. I had the same problem and recommend, to everyone new to digital photography, that they get an after-market book that makes it as simple as possible.

I won't be there this next Friday, I'll be living it up in "Viva, Las Vegas." Actually I have family business to attend to and, while I hope to get in some photography I have no plans to even go into a casino. But that's OK, my sister buys good wine. I'll see everyone on the 17th.


If you can, please join us each Friday evening at Denny's at the corner of Ave K and 20th West. We begin at 6:30 PM and usually go to at least 8:30 PM. You can drop by at anytime and stay for as long as you like (you don't even have to buy anything).


Glenn Olson
Coordinator and Moderator

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