Sharon’s love of photography started while documenting her family and friends lives. She made the leap to a DSLR shortly after her grandchildren were born when her current equipment couldn’t keep up with their fast movements. The DSLR gave her the ability to capture those candid shots, often in low light, where fast movements and expressions of joy and fun abound. Sharon believes that learning never stops and her work continues to evolve through her commitment to multiple learning outlets.
Sharon says, “A lot of people are afraid of flash…but sometimes, the light is just not there.” It is in those cases that you need a flash. She admits that she is not an expert, but has learned a lot on her own through both books and YouTube videos, as well as from other Photography club members. She plays it safe, using what she has found to work after much experimentation. (She even bought a mannequin head to practice on after her husband got tired of being her subject!) Sharon says you just have to practice!
Sharon advises when out shooting with a flash, especially if shooting a wedding or other special event where you won’t have the chance for a “re-do,” one of the most important things to do is to make sure that you have extra batteries, and that they work! Sharon uses a battery pack. It is also important, especially when shooting events where people are moving around, to have a flash that recycles quickly. For portraits, to get the right lighting you must often have multiple flashes, and that is where off-camera flash comes in. She has several flashes she uses but recommends Yongnuo Speedlite which are good flashes but are a fraction of the cost of either a Nikon or Canon flash. For portraits, she also uses diffuser umbrellas, and a remote control called a Wireless Cactus Flash Trigger.
Sharon shoots her flash images in manual mode because you have more control. When using fill-flash, you can either increase or decrease the flash exposure depending on the available light. She recommends bouncing the flash off of the wall behind or beside you as opposed to the ceiling which tends to give the subject “raccoon eyes.”
Sharon is a Canon user and recommends the book “Speedliters Handbook” by Syl Avena. She says “If I can do it, anybody can do it!” After some practice, it all comes together!
The April photo assignment was “Fairytale Moments”. The winners were: 1st place – Tammi Gorsak, 2nd place – Melissa Chin, 3rd place – Brenda Schillaci. For May the photo assignment is “Can You See Me?” A slide show entitled “April and Shane’s Wedding” was presented by Sharon Shifflett.
Our guest speaker today was Patty Hankins, a fine art floral photographer from Bethesda, Maryland. Patty says, “In 2002, after getting Master’s Degrees in Public Policy and History and working for several years as a grassroots activist, I acquired a new digital camera and rediscovered my love of photography. For me, the flexibility and freedom of digital photography means I can finally create the photographs I’ve always envisioned. I carefully edit and print every photo myself to ensure that each person who collects my art has an original piece that will last a lifetime.” Patty’s presentation today was entitled “Representing a 3D World in a 2D Image.”
Before you take a picture, says Patty, the first thing you want to do is think! What was it about a particular scene that caught your eye? What made you want to stop here? Was it a color? A shape? A line? Move around and explore the scene. Look at it from different angles. Next, you need to visualize the final image. To do this, define the subject and figure out what you want to include or exclude? How can you show the viewers what you were seeing and feeling at that moment? Patty says, “use a viewfinder,” some small frame that you can hold up to help you visualize the subject in 2D. (Patty uses a small frame cut from a piece of mat board but says that you can also just form a frame using your thumbs and forefingers.)
To represent the 3D world in a 2D image, it is necessary to show a sense of depth. While in the field capturing images look for things such as leading lines (rivers, roads, lines of light), converging lines (lines that meet in the distance), overlap (one element in front or back of another), and planes (a distinct foreground, middle ground, and background). Using depth of field can also show depth. With a shallow depth of field, the sharpest elements are the nearest while the out of focus elements are further away. Even with a greater depth of field, the sharper elements are the closest while; the more distance elements appear to fade.
Once you have your image, there are things you can do in post-processing to further add depth. Eliminate any distracting elements (with the clone tool, healing brush, crop tool, etc.) Lighten or brighten the subject or any elements you want to stand out from the background. Lightening an area tends to bring that area forward while darkening an area takes it back into the distance. Selectively sharpen areas that you want the viewer to focus on. Adjust colors. Cooler colors look farther away. Desaturating color also makes it recede into the background. Emphasize lines to separate elements and separate planes. Sometimes converting to black and white can also bring out depth, particularly when there is not a lot of color contrast. The History Brush can be used to add contrast by adding lines of definition and separation between sections of the image.
Patty is available for public speaking engagements as well as workshops and even private instruction. Her work can be found at http://www.beautifulflowerpictures.com Or f.ollow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
The photo theme for February was “Creative Composition”.
The winners were: 1st place (tie) – Melissa Chin and Jim Rogers, 2nd place – Tammi Gorsak, and
3rd place – Mike Jones.
Congratulations to the winners! Your names have been added to the drawing for the end of the
year prize of a boxed version of ProShow Producer. A $250 value. http://bit.ly/1UivwYo
The 1st Prize Winner will also be this month’s Facebook cover for the month.
The photo assignment for March is “Fairytale Moments.”
The January 2017 meeting of the Calvert Photography Club was called to order on Saturday, January 21st by our Vice President, Anik Sales.
Today’s guest speaker was club member Carl Occhipinti who demonstrated some of the functions of Photoshop’s Camera Raw. Carl advised that Camera Raw has changed dramatically from Photoshop CS6 to Photoshop CC 2017. The 2017 Camera Raw is exactly the same as the Lightroom develop module. You can do all basic processing of your images in Camera Raw without even going into Photoshop. Almost all changes made to Photoshop CC have been made to Camera Raw. At the top of the screen is the Toolbar. At the right of the screen are the Panels. Starting with the panels left to right:
Basic panel: This is where you can do all basic adjustments including exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, clarity, vibrance, saturation, temperature, and tint. Carl recommends that you first set the white and black points. This is done by holding down the Shift key and clicking on the each of the sliders entitled whites and blacks. Make other adjustments using the histogram as a guide to help you get the proper exposure. Clipping on either side of the histogram can be eliminated by adjusting the highlights and shadows. Clarity is good for bringing out detail.
Curves panel: Carl says this is not really needed anymore. These adjustments can be made with either the basic panel adjustments or the adjustment brush on the Tool Bar.
Details panel: This panel is for sharpening and noise reduction. The noise reduction on this panel should be done prior to any sharpening because if you sharpen first it brings out more noise. Carl says that the noise reduction here now works as well as most plug-ins. Once you have made the necessary noise adjustments the sharpening can then be done.
Under sharpening, Carl recommends that you hold down the Alt key and take the Masking slider to the right to eliminate any broad flat areas of the image where there is little contrast. An image with more detail will need less (or no) masking as opposed to something like a face where you may only want to sharpen the basic outlines like the hair, the eyes, the eyebrows, the outlines of the features. Carl says it usually works best to use a radius somewhere between 1.0 and 1.4. Sharpen as much as needed but not to the point where the image looks “crunchy”.
HSL Grayscale: This allows you to deal with individual colors. However, this changes everything in the image so if you just want to change adjust the color of a certain area you are better off using the adjustment brush on the Tool Bar. You can, however, convert the image to grayscale here just by checking the box at the top of the panel.
Lens Correction: This is used to fix any distortion that your lens may have caused. There is a lot more to this than we were able to cover today so this will be covered in future sessions.
Effects: This can be used to add grain if you want. Again there are other things that can be done here which will be covered in future sessions.
Presets: If you come up with a process that you like and would like to use repeatedly, click on the flyout menu here and save the settings.
Snapshots: For a single image you can save several versions and go back to the same photo later and see the different versions.
White Balance: White balance can be adjusted in several ways. One way is to just go to the dropdown menu at the top of the Basic Panel and try the different options there.
Another way is to use the White Balance tool located in the toolbar. But first start by holding down the Shift key and double-clicking on the white slider button. Then do the same on the black slider button. This gives you a starting point. Then, use the White Balance tool (3rd from the left on the toolbar) and click on something in the image that is18% or light gray. If the RGB numbers (at the top righthand side of the screen) are all the same, you have clicked on something that is 18% gray. Carl would argue, however, that this is a creative choice. So basically, click on different parts of the image until you find something that satisfies you!
Straighten Tool: (7th from the left on the Toolbar) can be used to straighten an image by dragging it along a straight line in the image that should be either straight across (horizontal) or straight up and down (vertical.)
Spot Removal Tool: (8th from the left on the Toolbar) can be used to remove spots or blemishes on the image. Make the circle only as big as needed to cover the spot to be removed (using the left and right brackets keys) and then click on the spot.
Batching: Another thing that can be done in Camera Raw is batch processing a group of photos. Say you have a group of photos that were all taken at the same time in the same kind of lighting and you will need the same basic adjustments to all of them. In Bridge, Ctrl-click on each image that you want to batch process to select it. Now open them in Camera Raw by either right clicking and selecting Open in Camera Raw or going up to File – Open in Camera Raw. At the top lefthand corner of the screen you can click on Select All, then click on Synchronize. A menu will appear and you can then check all of the boxes for the adjustments that you want to synchronize. Then make your adjustments. All of the selected photos will be adjusted!
Anik Sales, who handles our social media accounts, (Facebook and Instagram) urged those who would like to have their images featured on these sites to post them in Flickr. Also members who have a business that they would like to promote, please send your website link and information to Anik as well.
The January photo assignment was “The Magic of Christmas”. The winners were:
3rd place – Lisa Snider, 2nd place – Anik Sales, and 1st place – Mike Jones.
Congratulations to the winners! Your names have been added to the drawing for the end of the
year prize of a boxed version of ProShow Producer (a $250 value). The 1st Prize Winner will also be this month’s Facebook cover photo for the month.
The winner of the Pro-Show Producer for the 2016 photo assignments was Tammi Gorsak.
The February photo assignment is “Creative Composition”.
A slide show entitled “2016 Netherlands and Belgium” was presented by Melissa Chin.
Members and Visitors,
I hope the new year is treating you well. I hope this will be the first of many blogs I’ll be writing every month with club updates, news, tips, and suggestions, etc. So be sure to check out the website (http://calvertphotographyclub.com/) along with our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/calvertphotographyclub/). Not only will you find blogs, but you will also find information about upcoming meetings along with trips. You’ll also see great images from other photographers on our Facebook page.
The first month of my term as President of the Calvert Photography Club is complete. This year certainly has not started as I hoped on a personal level.
Don’t worry, no Trump jokes or comments.
For those who don’t know, I slipped on some ice in December and injured my leg. I underwent surgery a couple of weeks ago, to repair a torn tendon and I have a 3-month recovery ahead of me. I have to stay off my leg for eight weeks. It’s been a tough past couple of weeks. I just have to be patient. I will recover and will be walking again very soon.
When I agreed to run again as President my wife thought I was crazy. My first term as President in 2014 was rough because I didn’t know what to expect and was overwhelmed. It made me miserable and forced me to take a break from photography altogether for a couple of years. My inspiration suffered as well.
Our past president, T.O. Galloway was not running for President again. I felt motivated to run again because I wanted to get the love of photography back and feel inspired. Plus no one else was volunteering to run which I can’t blame anyone. This job can be tough and requires commitment.
I felt this time around; I would be better prepared and know what to expect. Not to mention, I have a great group of people willing to help especially with my injury.
One of my goals as President is to find ways to make the club better. The club continues to enjoy great success, but I feel there are areas where we can improve things. When I attended my first club meeting several years ago, I loved the comradery and friendliness of the group. There was also that willingness to share information amongst the members. To me that’s what makes our club successful is the great group of members we have.
The board and I are actively tossing around different ideas to make things better. We are also relying on the annual member survey to get ideas for meetings and trips. If you are a member and haven’t completed the survey, please do so. We need your input. You can also contact me with any ideas you have as well.
One of my long-term goals which I’ve brought up to the board is to improve our club website. It needs a design overhaul which may involve going with a different company to create a site. I feel the site should be a useful resource for our members and visitors. It should have photography tips as well as showing off the work of our club members. The current site doesn’t allow us to do that.
In the meantime, the board and I are actively putting together a list of trips and speakers for the rest of the year. Even though we are only one month into the year, I’m happy to be working with a great group of people and fellow photographers. I certainly don’t feel overwhelmed like I did the first time I was President.
Well, that’s all for now. As my favorite photographer, Bryan Peterson, says “You keep shooting!”
Calvert Photography Club
Today’s guest speaker was David Blecman, a local photographer out of Annapolis who started his photographic career fresh out of high school in 1978. Once deciding to do photography full-time he chose to focus mainly on the fashion industry, though he has done many other types of photography over the years including weddings, portraits, and commercial photography. He still trains and mentors both models and photographers. He started his business, Positive Negatives, in 1997 and is now an internationally recognized photographer and instructor, having taught in 13 countries over 3 continents. David offers a 25 hour one-on-one, in-the-field photography mentoring course to individuals geared to whatever type of photography you wish to learn and taught at whatever pace is convenient for you!
Today David spoke to our group about travel photography. He has traveled extensively and also offers several group travel workshops each year, both in the states and abroad. You can find him at http://www.posneg.com.
When doing travel photography David’s philosophy is as follows:
Know your camera! Get a good book if you do not already have one and study it. You need to know your camera and its features like the back of your hand! This eliminates a lot of wasted time and frustration when your out in the field trying to capture that perfect shot!
Know and understand the importance of the Exposure Triangle – Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Learning how each of these items works will help you to know what adjustments to make to your camera depending on the various light conditions present.
Know and understand Gray. Every time you aim your camera at something it is trying to give you gray. Knowing how to use a gray card will help to you to set your white balance so that the colors in your image are as accurate as possible.
Calibrate your computer moniters and LCD screen. Get some calibration software and calibrate on a regular basis. This is important so that you can see accurately what you are getting.
Know the climate of the area you’re visiting and how it fluctuates from morning to night.
Know the area. Know what’s around the place you’re going. There are often hidden gems on side roads so look at sites like Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Street Views, and Bing Bird’s Eye View. Look at Yelp and Tripadvisor.com. Also watch dash cam videos on YouTube. You can often see scenery along the road and potential places you may want to stop.
Remember all of your electrical needs such as camera battery chargers (David recommends having two), phone charger, power strips, computer related chargers & connectors, and if traveling abroad you will need the necessary electrical converter/adapter.
Camera Equipment including multiple camera bodies, multiple lens, multiple batteries, multiple small memory cards, rain protection, a Hoodman LCD Loupe, Color Checker Passport, a white balance target, filters, filter cleaning cloths, wireless remote controls, a sturdy tripod with extra plates, allen wrenches, gaffer’s tape, screwdriver set, and a speedlight.
Clothing – make sure you have the necessary climate appropriate apparel.
Pharmacy and cosmetic items including all prescription medications, allergy medication, insect repellent,and a first aid kit.
Paperwork including your passport, itineraries, flight information, hotel reservations, and transportation confirmations and emails. David recommends taking a photo of all important documents with your phone.
On Your Trip
Once you have arrived at your destination there are all types of photographs that you can take.
Street Photography – capture emotion, humor, color/shape, street performers, culinary creations, architecture, the locals.
Iconic Landmarks – find a different perspective than everyone before you had done. Capture it with a twist!
Sea and Sky
Landscapes – when shooting landscapes David recommends using a tripod and an aperture setting of f-16 and focusing one third of the way into the scene. This will give you a sharp image from corner to corner. Also, find the best perspective to block out any people or garbage that you do not want in the scene.
Textures and Patterns
Promotional – think about shots that businesses may be interested in using for promotions. Offering these photos to the business owners can sometimes earn you discounts or free access.
David also says, shoot in RAW and overexpose by 1/3 stop. Darkening an overexposed image is usually preferable to lightening an underexposed image which tends to result in increasing the noise in the image.
And lastly, learn to process! A RAW file is data stripped of everything. So post-processing is an important and necessary step in getting a great image.
The December photo theme was “Reflection”. The winners for this month were: 3rd Place by Anik Sales, 2nd Place by Jim Rogers, and 1st Place by Tammi Gorsak.
The January theme is “The Magic of Christmas”.