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)

Hand Challenge: Entry #2 This Hand

Tess presents us with her interpretation of hands…

“Hands that feed, feel, heal, cure, touch, pamper, spoil, comfort, give attention, coddle, indulge, cosset and pet, no matter who that hand belongs to, the purpose is the same.”

This Hand(Photo by Tess)

This Hand
(Photo by Tess)

Hand Challenge: Entry #1 Olivia’s Hands

The challenge for this month is to shoot hands. Our hands tell so much about who we are, yet we do not often shoot hands. We shoot portraits and candids but seldom focus solely on hands.

I would love to have a photo of my mom and my dad’s hands. I lost both my parents when I was quite young but I can vividly remember my dad’s hands as he did woodworking and also as I would sit on his lap as a young child and trace my fingers over the veins in his hands. I remember my mom’s cool hand on my feverish head when I was sick and in my mind I can see her rolling out pastry making my favorite pie. But I was a child and had no idea that these images would remain in my mind 60 years later.

It is with this in mind that I present you with our images of hands. Each image represents so much more than just a photograph as you will soon see. Thanks to each of you who submitted images to this challenge. All I can say is… you get it! Photography is powerful and your entries are proving it. You are shooting things you might never have before shot and I am seeing your intense caring through these photos.

We will begin our challenge by featuring a photo by Kristen P.. For those of you who know, Kristen, you are well aware how busy she has been working, going to school and raising a family… a daunting task to say the least. I was overwhelmed with joy when I found that she had found the time to enter this challenge and certainly hope that in the future she might find the time to also join us on some outings if she has a break in her hectic schedule.

Thank you Kristen for your delightful entry!  Not only is the subject of the photo… your daughter… so cute, but I love what you have done with selective coloring which is something we crazy women need to explore further.  Your processing is perfect for this photo!

Olivia's Hands(Photo by Kristen P.)

Olivia’s Hands
(Photo by Kristen P.)

 

Zoomania

We had a trip planned to visit the Fort Worth Zoo and originally had six members signed up to go but then as it came closer, four cancelled out due to work requirements. Honestly… you need to choose your priorities in life! Yes, I suppose work is a priority but I was disappointed as I know the crazy women would have had a great time and come home with lots of great shots. We will definitely be planning another trip to the FW Zoo.

So Tess and I headed out. She was excited because she recently bought the Canon EF 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens. She was anxious to use it and I was anxious to see how it worked as I was shooting with the Canon EF 70-200/4L IS USM and simply did not have the same reach for far away subjects.

We got out early and arrived to find the lot filled with mostly school buses but once in the park, there were no crowds and the weather was perfect! And we were shooting everything! Spent a lot of time shooting the monkeys as they were so comical and that was when I tried Tess’s lens and found the reach to be excellent. The lens is heavy but can still be hand held. (I will admit that Tess is stronger than I am.) I would have been worn out after two hours of toting it around, let alone, all day.

Let me share some of our favorite photos…

Bad Hair Day(Photo by Tess)

Bad Hair Day
(Photo by Tess)

Monkey Love(Photo by Lala)

Monkey Love
(Photo by Lala)

OK… this next one is a bit gross but hey… everybody’s got to eat and Tess nailed it!  Due to the lack of reach with my lens, I also got it but had to crop the image to get the close-up impact and Tess’s lens gave a lovely background to this hungry pair.

It's good to share!(Photo by Tess)

It’s good to share!
(Photo by Tess)

I think one important thing we learned today is to try to get as close as possible to the animals, use a shallow depth of field to blur the background  and to show the animals doing  something.  It definitely makes for a more interesting photo.

Oh please…
(Photo by Lala)

And I love this next shot.  Tess caught this lion in mid-yawn but rather than looking like a yawn… it makes him look really fierce!

Beware!(Photo by Tess)

Beware!
(Photo by Tess)

Of course the crazy women always break for lunch and it was no different at the zoo.  But the shooting does not stop!  As we entered this eating area, we were taken by the ceiling decoration and couldn’t help but shoot it!

Sunset in the Desert(Photo by Lala)

Sunset in the Desert
(Photo by Lala)

Life is Good(Photo by Lala)

Life is Good
(Photo by Lala)

The Floating Leaf(Photo by Tess)

The Floating Leaf
(Photo by Tess)

After lunch we continued to shoot and chose to shoot some scenics as well as animals.  I particularly liked how Tess was able to isolate this leaf on the water.  I was able to shoot the reflections with my lens but was unable to isolate to this degree.

Autumn Reflections
(Photo by Lala)

White Tiger(Photo by Tess)

White Tiger
(Photo by Tess)

All this shooting sure makes you thirsty!  And this is how the gorilla gets a drink!

Thirsty Gorilla(Photo by Tess)

Thirsty Gorilla
(Photo by Tess)

We hope you will be able to join us on our next trip to the Fort Worth Zoo.  There’s lots to shoot regardless of what lens you are using.  This last photo was one of my own personal favorites.

Tranquil Circles(Photo by Lala)

Tranquil Circles
(Photo by Lala)