Discusson Group Notes November 13, 2009

Discussion Group

This Friday the 13th we had six of our usual suspects again.

I started off by showing my latest tabletop photo, "Ring Around the Rose'."  My setup was a PVC frame, about 24" on a side, with white paper background and bottom and a white bedsheet draped over the top.  My lighting was two 800 W photoflood lights, one on either side lighting up the sheet.  I'm not sure where the pastel blue in the background came from, it was there when I enhanced the colors in Photoshop.  But I liked it because it reminded me of a popular color for appliances in the 1950's giving the photo a "retro" look.  The dark shadow on the front of the bottle is from the black studio I have.

Bonnie talked a little about the surveys, how many had been received, and a little about what she was learning from them.  These surveys are very important to our members because they will have an impact on the direction that the club takes in the future.  For this reason we need as many people as possible to fill them out.

Terri talked about her scrapbooking group that she hosted at her house the previous weekend.  This is a really interesting use for photos and a good way to get social with friends.  Apparently it's popular enough that Photoshop Elements (PSE) 8 comes with a CD program for scrapbooking.  Terri says she likes "Memory Manager" better for scrapbooking because it's good for adding descriptions to the photos.

Terri said that she had a discount coupon for PSE 8 at Costco bringing the price down to about $50.  I couldn't remember if I had received my coupons (turns out I had) so she picked up a copy for me.  These coupons are good for up to five copies.  They're also good for starting fires in the fireplace.

Bonnie and Dwight are headed for Orlando, Florida, to visit Disney World, the Wild Animal Park, and much more.  We're all looking forward to seeing their photos when they return.

Terri talked about her trip to the Cayman Islands and feeding the stingrays.  Of course, we got onto the subject of Steve Irwin, the famous naturalist who was killed by a stingray, but Terri assured me that they were generally safe and docile.  Bonnie described her boat trip in 'gator country, critters that I know are not so docile.

Julia is enjoying being the subject in so many photos lately so I had her reading my "Digital Quick Guide on Posing Techniques for Digital Portraits" by Jeff Smith.  This is a great little handbook on posing.  It's full of pictures, is brief, and to the point.Julia talked about her upcoming science trip to Moro Bay called Camp KEEP (Kern Environmental Education Program).  Everyone told her that she needs to take lots of photos.  It was also suggested that she write up a story for the LPA newsletter.  Since she won't be returning until early December the earliest it could be included is January.

Bonnie gave us the details, as she knew them, about John Shedrick moving to Thailand.  He's been there a few times before and is looking forward to this.  I spent six months on the Thailand coast in 1972 and found it to be a very friendly, beautiful, and inexpensive place to be.  The downside for the LPA is that he'll be missed, not only for his friendly face and kind personality, but also for his hard work on the AV Fair competition.

Julia asked about how to download photos from cell phones and I told her that I haven't figured mine out yet.  I've only had it for about three years now.  Terri said that she can send hers to herself, connect her camera to her computer, or pull the mini-SD memory card and, with an adaptor, download the photos just like from a regular camera.  My cell phone battery is dying so I know that I'll have to buy a new phone before long but I want to learn a little about the cameras in them first.

Terri said that Photoshop CS5 is due out in March.  There seems to be a lot of web sites offering free Beta versions of CS5 but I didn't find anything on Adobe's web site about it, so those "free" versions may be pirated.  Adobe is offering their latest "Camera Raw 5.5 Update" for download.

We talked about RAW processing and Lee said that he prefers using UFRaw which is free and is described as "The Unidentified Flying Raw (UFRaw) is a utility to read and manipulate raw images from digital cameras. It can be used on its own or as a Gimp plug-in."

Terri recommended IRFAN View which is also free and described as "IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003 , 2008, Vista, Windows 7."  I'm thinking of trying this one out myself.

Lee showed me an ad for the 18-270 Tamron lens, though he hasn't checked it out yet.  I looked it up on the internet and it got a good review.  This lens sells for about $600.  He also described the Sigma 300-800 which is a "beast" in both size (12.7 lbs) and price ($6,000).  "Lenses 400mm and longer in focal length are usually called supertelephoto lenses. They are the holy grail of optical design and the enemy of your bank account."  I have the Sigma 170-500 for my Canon and, as I recall, it only cost about $500 at King's when I bought it a couple of years ago.  I like it and use it quite a bit.  The new version is the 150-500 which seems to be selling for about $1,000.

These telephoto lenses are great for taking photos of birds but, as Lee puts it, you can spend $10,000 on a lens to get a photo of a bird 50 ft away or $1 on day-old bread to get the bird to come to you so you can use the lens you already have.


If you can, please join us each Friday evening at Denny's at the corner of Ave K and 20th West. We begin about 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). Denny's has graciously provided us a section to ourselves and the service is great.

All photography related subjects are fair game and there's never a planned agenda. You can bring in your questions, your stories, your equipment, your photos (paper or digital), or even just yourself to sit, listen, and/or talk.

I would again like to extend a special invitation to both new members and the more expert members who would like to participate in these informal discussions.

You are welcome to visit the LPA forum and leave your comments......


Glenn Olson
Coordinator and Moderator

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