Happy Birthday Marcia!

We interrupt this challenge to wish Marcia a very Happy Birthday!

Her birthday is November 29th and I sure hope all you crazy women will send good wishes her way.

Marcia… we hope you can join us soon on an outing so everyone can get to meet you!  Have a wonderful birthday!

Happy Birthday Marcia

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Autumn Challenge: Entry #2 Through Four Doors

Sometimes Tess has difficulty making decisions.  She will send me something and then I will get a frantic e-mail saying… “Lala, I have changed my mind!”  So this is what she had to say about the autumn challenge…

“Final answer!  This is my fall challenge.  I thought it would be so easy, but as always I was wrong.  Why is it that it’s so hard to decide?  I have been messing up with the photoshop aside from being lazy today, to try to at least finalize my picture, but I gave up.  So this is it… “Through Four Doors”.

I’m always fascinated with doors.  It is the first thing that you see when you look at a house which makes it the focal point.  There is something in it that signifies transition into something that lies beyond.   This image doesn’t have just one but, rather,  four doors that frame the horse.”

Yes… there really is a straw horse beyond the last door!

Through 4 Doors
(Photo by Tess)

Autumn Challenge: Entry #1 Autumn Oak

Autumn… that glorious time of year.  A time of transition from the stifling summer heat to cool breezes and brisk temperatures.  These are the days when leaves change color, plants go to seed or simply die away and even our food choices change in response to the season.  Pumpkins take on funny faces and we once again celebrate a change in seasons.  This is your challenge to photograph.

Our first entry will be from Donna:

“I knew I had to submit a picture of a tree, leaves and the changing season.  I shot many trees in my back yard without success.  As I was driving to work the other day I saw a tree and knew I had to come back and shoot it! I also thought to myself, I need to have my camera with me at all times, like our fearless leader!!  I like this shot because it represents the oak tree’s new beginning and the end of a season!”

Autumn Oak
(Photo by Donna)

Rockwall Rib Run BBQ

It was a chilly overcast day threatening rain when Donna and I met at the Rockwall Rib Run BBQ.  By the time we arrived in the morning, the smokers were fired up and you could smell the meat cooking and we started shooting.  Several times we were offered bits of BBQ to taste as the meat was done and awaiting judging.  What a tasty way to shoot!

Cookin’ Pot
(Photo by Lala)

Texas BBQ
(Photo by Lala)

Burning Brightly
(Photo by Lala)

Coming Up to Temperature
(Photo by Donna)

We had fun talking to some of the people who entered the BBQ  and many put a lot of money into their rigs and enter many BBQ competitions to win big cash prizes.  Larry and Julie Newberry are regulars at the cookoff and would like to welcome the Crazy Women to their BBQ place in Royse City.  We must go and have lunch there some day soon.  To read about Larry and his heartfelt donation when a tornado struck Royse City this year… http://roysecityheraldbanner.com/local/x164320538/Newberry-opens-heart-restaurant-to-tornado-victims-workers

Bootleg BBQ
(Photo by Lala)

Submitting BBQ to the Judges
(Photo by Donna)

Mmmmmmm… Good!
(Photo by Donna)

Ready!
(Photo by Lala)

Even the kids were having fun!

Little Piggy on a Scooter
(Photo by Lala)

OK… so I was not going to put this photo in but after Donna’s comment about her favorite picture of me and the cowboy, I decided to add it.  So here it is Donna!

Lala and the Oklahoma Cowboy
(Photo by Donna)

And a fun time was had by all!

The Dallas Arboretum revisited…

A few more photos from the Dallas Arboretum before we begin the next challenge.  These photos are from Debbie (a.k.a. Abstract), but no, these are not abstracts.

Flowers for you…
(Photo by Debbie)

And now on a more whimsical note, she sent this one from the Pumpkin Village…

Pumpkin Pyramid
(Photo by Debbie)

Debbie was fortunate to catch a dragonfly perched on this water lily…

Dragonfly on Water Lily
(Photo by Debbie)

Tess sent me two of her images and I thought it would be appropriate to put them in a dyptich to present them in showing her work in photoshop.

Working together…

The best thing about going on outings is the chance to work together to learn new techniques as we learn our camera settings.  Of course, one of the first things to learn is how our shutter speed will effect our images and to have the ability to picture in our minds how we want that image to appear.  And so it was as we stood next to the stream of water rushing over the rocks.  We took shots with a fast shutter speed and then with a slow shutter speed.

The fast shutter speed would freeze the action of the water but the slow shutter speed would give that beautiful soft, blurred flow.  Merrie got this shot and I thought it was so good because the stones and the leaf are so sharp in comparison to the rushing water and I loved to see Merrie so excited when she realized what she had captured!

When I brought this image into LR to check her settings, the shutter speed was 1/40sec, f 5.6. ISO 125 @ 70mm.

Rushing Water
(Photo by Merrie)

While we are at this same location, let’s take a look at Merrie’s other photo of a large tree near the stream.  Trees are fascinating subjects as they can be used to frame objects or they can be the center of attention.  I have also seen photos of a particular tree photographed in all four seasons and then all seasons represented in a collage type photo.  This always makes for a very interesting presentation.

A Tree by the Stream
(Photo by Merrie)

Let me give my own thoughts on this tree and then I would like to hear your thoughts.  I realize that the tree is the subject here, but I personally feel that it would have been more effective to have the tree placed to the left of the frame cutting out the palm which seems to draw my eye away from the tree and by so doing, it would block out some of the distracting people seen through the trees.  Part of the beauty of the tree is that gnarly bark.  Perhaps by stepping a few feet to the right, the tree would have blocked the people and made for a better composition.  Just my personal opinion.  So… what do you think?

Merrie also shot one of the water lilies.  I will admit, I am a sucker for water lilies.  They are fun to shoot, especially if you happen to catch one with a dragonfly or if you are able to get a reflection in the water.

Purple Water Lily
(Photo by Merrie)

As I look at this, I want to see more of the water lily and less of the pale lily pads to the upper right corner of the image.  I find them a bit distracting.  Forgive me Merrie, but I am going to take the liberty of cropping your image.  Be aware that the software that comes with your camera should have a program to crop images and it can be a very simple yet effective tool for improving your image.  The cropped photo below, I feel brings more emphasis to that gorgeous purple water lily… and we know that purple is Merrie’s very favorite color!

Purple Water Lily (cropped image)
(Photo by Merrie)

So… which do you like better?  The original image or the cropped image?  I also tweaked the image slightly in Lightroom using the clarity slider as well as the vibrance.

Don’t do that!

How many times have we read the do’s and don’t’s of photography?  And many times they have to do with looking at the whole picture and realizing that what is in the background may be just as important as what is in the foreground.  And now with telephoto lenses, they have a way of compressing foreground and background.

We’re all aware of not shooting Uncle Henry with a tree growing out of his head or shooting a profile shot of little Jimmy in the garden with someone in the background using a hose.  And sometimes when in the process of shooting, we forget these basics and when it happens it can create a bit of laughter.

So if you happen to shoot one of these boo-boo’s… just run with it!  Photography is fun and sometimes the rules need to be thrown out the window!

Such was my experience when shooting “Mesquite Meander”.  This was the second year that I have shot this presentation.  It takes place in a Mesquite cemetery and the local theater actors dress-up as the locals who have died.  Much historic research goes into this presentation and each actor stands at that person’s gravesite in period costume and tells the story of the deceased.  It is very moving with both funny as well as poignant moments.

This photo was taken at the beginning of the evening as our docent lead us into the graveyard to hear these stories.  I quickly snapped a photo of her and it was not until I put it on the computer that I realized my boo-boo.  And it was just begging for a caption…

“Beware of Woman Carrying a Big Stick”
(Photo by Lala)

Now that’s a CRAZY woman!