Happy New Year Crazy Women!

Lemon Drizzle Cake (Photo by Lala)

Lemon Drizzle Cake
(Photo by Lala)

What can I say? This past year has been crazy!

The CWPC came into existence in March of 2012 as the result of several of the nurses wanting to learn more about photography and the desire to buy cameras and since I had just retired, I thought perhaps I could help get them started. Out of this desire, came the CWPC and I can tell you it has been a labor of love.

We now have 29 members with four members being “virtual” members due to a distance factor. And yes, Lynda is from the UK so I guess that makes us international.

To better share information as well as our photos, the CWPC blog was started June 25, 2012 and that has been a big learning curve for me, but I have learned to navigate the glitches and there is a wealth of information now on the blog. I am pleased to say that the blog has been visited by 32 countries thus far! How exciting to have our photos seen around the world and to share our crazy experiences.

Our challenges have pushed us to shoot things we might not otherwise shoot and because of these challenges we are learning to critique each other’s photos in an attempt to better understand photography… what works and what doesn’t, and how we can improve our techniques.

The comraderie is incredible! I have never in my lifetime been out with a bunch of crazy women like you and had so much fun. We learn, we laugh, we shoot, we eat and then we laugh some more. By the end of the day, my smile muscles ache! And we cannot forget the craziness of the men’s auxillary.

And of course we love to see the Fed Ex guy come to our door with another goody! I cannot imagine how much money has been spent by the crazy women as you have been buying cameras, lenses, tripods, etc. And to think, only a few months ago, many of you had no idea what ISO, shutter speed and f-stop had to do with photography and now it is beginning to make sense.

We have learned that as crazy women we have the power to “move the sun” and we have grasped the concept of shooting an abstract image. We have shot sunsets, bugs and butterflies, animals, hot air balloons, bikers, pumpkins, water, food, BBQ competitions, hands, and the moon. We have made funny images as well as images that have a very emotional element to them. We have gone out of our comfort zone in shooting things we might not have otherwise shot. We have learned about the panning technique and several members have been dabbling in photoshop. And all of this has happened over only a 9 month period.

In March we will put together a hard-bound photography book filled with our bios, photos, challenges and stories about our adventures together.

As we begin a new year, I would like to thank all of you who have participated in the club. You are an incredible group of crazy women! Your enthusiasm is infectious and I am so thrilled to see you excel in your new found hobby and I can only hope that your love of photography will take you through the rest of your life. I love it when you send me photos just because you wanted to get out there and shoot. That’s what it is all about. And when that happens, I know photography is becoming an important part of your life. Over the last nine months I have seen your photography improve. And for those of you who have been watching from the sidelines, I encourage you to pick up your cameras and come out and join us. It does not matter what you are shooting with. The technology today is remarkable. Come join the fun and learn at the same time.

So I thank you all for making this club a reality and I look forward to a lot more fun times together. If you have suggestions for the upcoming year, please share your thoughts. This is your club and I want it to work for you.

Happy shooting…

Fay (a.k.a. Lala)

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Full Moon in December

Last night, anticipating a full moon, I went outside and looked up and saw nothing! Looked to be badly clouded over. This was probably about 19:30. It was cold out, I was tired and gave up on the thought of shooting the full moon.

So this morning when I checked my e-mails… there was a full moon to greet me, thanks to Lorraine, with the help of Mike… and it is spectacular!
And this is what Lorraine had to say…

I am so excited….here is my first moon shot!!!
Mike let me borrow his 300mm lens and he used a cheap 1000mm that he had to manually focus and they came out about the same.

I came in the house grumbling because I got so cold that I couldn’t
operate my camera with my fingers. I kept accidentally changing my
settings and couldn’t find my buttons with my hands being totally numb.
Also, I am new at using my tripod and had some difficulty getting my
camera in the right position. I didn’t know if I had captured anything
very good. Much to my suprise I found this!

If I may use your bumper sticker quote…….
“I am happy as a bird with a french fry”!!!!

Full Moon(Photo by Lorraine)

Full Moon
(Photo by Lorraine)

I think it is important to note why Lorraine had such success with her first moon shot.  She persevered!

At first she saw a clouded over sky but kept checking and by about 20:43PM those clouds started to lift giving her a clear image of the moon. 
She used a tripod to prevent any movement and these were her settings:
ISO 100, f10, at 1/125 second exposure using a 300 mm lens.

The moon really is quite bright as it reflects the sun and thereby requiring only an ISO of 100.  I assume that she used all manual settings to achieve her goal.

Something tells me that Lorraine will be out “howling at the moon” more frequently now!

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…

This year we received a light snow that certainly made it feel more like the winter holidays. I never could get used to wearing sandals in December down here in Texas. And it looks like the crazy women took advantage of it and I would like to share some of their photos with you.

If you look on the right side of the blog, you will notice that I have added the link to “Where’s Lucy?” This certainly goes along with crazy and therefore I thought it appropriate to add to the blog. And when I saw the snow falling, I just knew I had to get Lucy out there. I wanted a plain background so I took a kitchen stool across to my neighbor’s bush and then got Lucy dressed for the elements and carried her out to the stool. She absolutely loved it! She had never seen snow before and liked how it felt on her face.

Lucy in the Snow(Photo by Lala)

Lucy in the Snow
(Photo by Lala)

Tess was out with her macro lens and captured some beautiful photos of the season, so let me post my favorites…

Snow on the Berries(Photo by Tess)

Snow on the Berries
(Photo by Tess)

Melting Ice(Photo by Tess)

Melting Ice
(Photo by Tess)

Now I must tell you a funny story about Lorraine and Mike. Mike sent me an e-mail saying they have bats in the house and he attached a photo. So I am expecting to see a photo of a bat as we know that Mike loves nature photography. Instead, I get a photo of Lorraine hanging upside down on her contraption that is now set up in the living room. Honestly, I laughed ’til my sides hurt.

A little later in the day, I get an e-mail from Lorraine.

Subject: “Self portrait of me hanging in a tree”.

I open the image expecting once again to see Lorraine suspended upside down in a tree and instead she sends me a photo of a nut hanging in a tree! It’s getting to the point that I am afraid to open my e-mails for fear of what I might find!

At this point I am thinking that both Lorraine and Mike are certified crazy!

Nut Hanging in the Tree(Photo by Lorraine)

Nut Hanging in the Tree
(Photo by Lorraine)

Rosebush in the Cemetery(Photo by Lorraine)

Rosebush in the Cemetery
(Photo by Lorraine)

And this was my return e-mail to them:
“I am totally baffled by you guys! Mike sends me an e-mail about a bat in the  house.  I expect to see a bat and he sends me a photo of you hanging around on  that thing of yours.   You send me an e-mail of a self-portrait hanging from a tree… I am expecting a photo  of you hanging from some tree on your contraption and it is indeed a nut!   You guys certainly deserve each other.  You are both nuts!”

Hand Challenge: Entry #6 Mother and Son

In choosing my entry for this challenge, I was torn between two images I have taken. The one I chose not to enter was the hand of an organic farmer who regularly sells at the Rockwall Farmer’s Market holding a sugar snap pea that he had grown. His hands are dirt-stained and show cuts from hard labor. It is still a favorite image of mine; however, I think the nostalgia of the holidays… remembering happy times, caused me to choose this image.

This is a photo of my husband holding his mother’s hand. At the time she was in her late 80’s and living in assisted living in New Jersey. Each time we would go back to visit we would see her health gradually deteriorate. Now, the roles were reversed. She raised and cared for him and was always there for him. Now she needed him and the rest of the family for support in so many ways. She was no longer independent but she still had her pride.

We were preparing to leave to fly back to Texas and I knew that I needed to get a shot of my husband holding her hand. We never knew when it might be the last time we would see her. It was an impromptu shot. I took my black trenchcoat and laid it over his lap and had him hold his mom’s hand. This was taken in window light and as I remember, it was a cloudy day which gave a nice diffused light. I took three shots and this was the best of the three.

As I look at her hand, I remember all the holiday dinners she would make. And she would do it all! Everything was homemade and there were always three or four desserts… a pie, cake, cookies, and pudding. She showed her love to her family by cooking. I can never remember going to her house and not having something to eat. So it is in memory of my mother-in-law that I post this photo.

Mother and Son(Photo by Lala)

Mother and Son
(Photo by Lala)

Hand Challenge: Entry #5 Father, Mother and Child

As we approach Christmas and the holidays, I can think of no better image than this one symbolic of the season.
This image is by Debbie.

“When I found out about this challenge I immediately thought of our son-in-law, Jeremy, our daughter, Alicia, and our grandson, Lyndon.
The hands of your children are a precious thing. They are soft and caring.
I wanted my picture to be with the father, mother and child hands combined together to show unity.”

Father, Mother and Child
(Photo by Debbie)

Hand Challenge: Entry #4 Hand Grown

As we have come to learn, Lorraine does not simply go out and snap a picture. There is always a story to go with it.

My story:
“When I make my trips to visit family in Kansas, one of my favorite things to do is take in the beauty of nature at my fathers house.
My father is an avid gardener. From herbs, vegetables and grape vines to fruit and nut trees, if it can grow in Kansas soil, you will find it at my fathers house. My fathers house is located in the city, but you wouldn’t know it once you enter his backyard oasis. He has approx 2 acres. It’s a mixture of dense foliage, gardens, and many various fruit trees. When I visit, my father and I go on the tour and he shows me his pride and joy. Its a very relaxing and enjoyable experience!

On this last visit, I took my camera and was just casually taking pictures when my father, standing behind me, got my attention. I turned around to see he had pulled off a leaf from his ginkgo tree. He just kinda slapped it into his hand and held it out to show me. Seeing how this heart-shaped leaf was laying in his hand just appealed to me and I quickly obtained an image of it. I never really had thought about the appealing aspect of photographing hands until I joined the CWPC and Fay mentioned to me about obtaining images of family members hands before I went on my trip.
This image will always be very special to me!”

Hand Grown(Photo by Lorraine)

Hand Grown
(Photo by Lorraine)

Hand Challenge: Entry #3 Weekend Mechanic

Our next entry is from Donna and she has chosen to depict hands at “play/work”!

“These are my husbands hands.
He has recently purchased a new hobby… a ’66 Chevy Stepside.
He is rebuilding it working on the engine, welding, bonding and “YES” I have been recording it all in photographs! When the hand challenge came up it was a no-brainer shooting his newly acquired Mechanic hands!”

Weekend Mechanic (Photo by Donna)

Weekend Mechanic
(Photo by Donna)