April Challenge: Lines… Entry #6 Forgotten Heroes

Our next entry is by Tess and she sends this poem in explanation…

FORGOTTEN HEROES

“As we refresh our memories
Of all the wars gone by,
Let each of us be grateful
For our “Heroes” you and I.

They gave their all that we may live
In a country good and free,
“Lest we Forget” They did it all
For the likes of you and me.

Remember the “Heroes”
Who fought our wars
And kept “Old Glory” Flying;
Those who gave their utmost
And saved us all from dying.”

Written by Richard Hemphill

Forgotten Heroes (Photo by Tess)

Forgotten Heroes
(Photo by Tess)

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April Challenge: Lines… Entry #5 No Place to Go

Our next entry is from Linda, our poet! I will be thinking up a challenge in the near future where she can share with us some of her poetry.

So Linda… tell us about your photo:

“Driving in the Hill Country, I spotted this old truck loaded with prickly pear parked in a pasture. Had to crop off the fence posts and most of the tree line, but the fence wires criss-cross horizontally and vertically. And, of course, there is the sign with two lines of text.”

No Place to Go (Photo by Linda)

No Place to Go
(Photo by Linda)

April Challenge: Lines… Entry # 4 Construction Lines

Today, I am posting a photo by Debbie. Ever since Debbie figured out how to shoot an abstract photo, she has been on a roll! The one thing that I like about a challenge is the fact that it will make you look for photos in places you might never have looked before.

So this is what Debbie has to say…

” I have been researching lines a lot. I was truly amazed at the things you can find when you are looking and we never pay attention to them. This picture caught my attention. It is a new construction they are doing in Greenville.”

Construction Lines (Photo by Debbie)

Construction Lines
(Photo by Debbie)

April Challenge: Lines… Entry #3 Bridge Lines

Today I will feature a photo by Marylin.
As you will remember, Marylin is our go-to techy guru.
If you did not see her post on wireless memory cards, go back in the archives and check it out.

Marylin sent me three photos as she could not decide which might be best. Obviously Marylin does not understand that I have difficulty in choosing a dozen doughnuts so I was faced with the pressure of choosing only one. There was a shot of a drain grate with a fern beneath and the other was water with linear reflections, but I chose this bridge as there are many lines to look at here.

Bridge Lines (Photo by Marylin)

Bridge Lines
(Photo by Marylin)

April Challenge: Lines… Entry #2 Gateway to Springtime

This next submission is from a new member to the club… Diana.
Look under “bios” to meet Diana!

Her e-mail started out “My first submission!”.
Needless to say I was thrilled to get her entry and intrigued by her title so I clicked on the link to her photo, but what came up was a photo that totally had a green tint to it. Now even though I was not there when she shot this, I knew that the colors were skewed for whatever reason. Was it from manipulation, or wrong white balance in the camera? I didn’t know, so I took her photo into Lightroom and with the adjustment of just a couple sliders, I color corrected the photo close to what I surmised would be more natural.

My next step was to e-mail the corrected image back to her to see if she might know what happened, and this is what she said… “something changed from one computer to the other. I know I was tweeking it on my laptop, but the color adjustments were obviously not good”. I also asked if I might post both images as a learning tool on the blog and she graciously said that would be OK.

So Diana… thanks for your involvement in the club and letting us all learn from this experience. This is what the club is all about. Women helping women to learn the ins and outs of photography. I think we have all had images where the color did not measure up for whatever reason but with digital, we can try to make corrections as needed.

And now… about the photo:

“I actually took this shot while I was in Atlanta over the weekend for a conference. It is of one of the gates into Centennial Olympic Park across from the CNN Center. I just liked the beautiful greenery and the abundant blooming flowers, and the gate and lamp post, but then realized that there are abundant lines as well!!! There are lines of the gate, both horizontal and vertical, as well as the various diagonal lines of the sidewalk blocks. I am calling it the Gateway to Springtime.”

First… let’s look at the photo with the skewed coloration:

Gateway to Springtime (Photo by Diana)

Gateway to Springtime
(Photo by Diana)

Here is the photo with the color correction:

Gateway to Springtime -with color correction- (Photo by Diana)

Gateway to Springtime
-with color correction-
(Photo by Diana)


I personally think there are many lines here… the strong vertical lines of the fence which might stop you from going in, highlighted by the vertical lamp post, but then the open gate and the pathway leads you into the garden. This is beautifully composed and certainly illustrates how lines can be a very important part of your image.

Well done Diana! So great to have you in the club… you crazy woman!

April Challenge: Lines… Entry #1 Silo Spur

A month before our monthly challenge is due, I announce the topic by e-mail to all the crazy women. Some challeenges are easier than others but the object is two-fold… to get you out shooting something that you might not otherwise shoot and to give you an assignment to perhaps see differently.
And so it is with this month’s challenge of “Lines”.

Lines in a photograph can lead your eye into the photo but they can also lead your eye out. There can be lines that are more tranquil and others that are more frenetic. I personally love diagonal lines in photos. In preparation for this challenge, I referred everyone to this article:
Working the Lines in Your Photography…
http://digital-photography-school.com/working-the-lines-in-your-photography
This is also listed on the right side of the blog under “Helpful Links”.

So let’s start with a story and a photo from Lorraine. We’ve gotten to know Lorraine’s style. She never gives less than 110% in finding her subject and taking the shot! Go for it Lorraine…

My story:
“When Fay mentioned that this assignment would be a “bit of a challenge”, I knew I had my work cut out for me!

Since I have a fascination with trains and railroad tracks, I decided to go this direction with photographing lines. I used google maps to follow railroad tracks near me to a place that looked like it had potential. I noticed that the tracks went through an interesting looking area of Royse City and it looked like I could find easy access to these tracks.

After arriving in Royse City and looking around a while, I came across a spot that I felt would work well. My goal was to use the tracks to lead
the viewer’s eyes to the silos. It was mid afternoon and the sun was pretty harsh but I managed to work with it. I took multiple shots and went back towards the car when I realized I probably didn’t have my lens stopped down enough to get the greater depth of field I needed. So back up on the tracks I went and paid closer attention to my aperture and shutter speed. I didn’t use a tripod as it would have been a little difficult for me to manage this on the tracks. So I tried to closely watch my settings and, last but not least, watch for oncoming trains!”

And to all you crazy women… please remember this…
no photo is worth getting run over by a train!
Always be safe, and then get your shot!

Silo Spur (Photo by Lorraine)

Silo Spur
(Photo by Lorraine)

Happy Birthday Diana!

It’s celebration time again!

Just wanted to wish one of our new members, Diana, a very happy birthday from all the crazy women out there!
Hope it is a fun day for you Diana and we are all looking forward to meeting you in the near future…

Happy Birthday Diana!

Happy Birthday Diana!

(Click on photo to enlarge)

And just a reminder to all you crazies… if you have a line photo to enter for the challenge, it is not too late… just e-mail it to me!

Wireless Secure Digital High Capacity Memory Cards (SDHC) for Photographers

Eye-Fi 16GB Card

Eye-Fi 16GB Card

I cannot tell you how thrilled I was when Marylin Rey shared with me her techy expertise because techy I am not.  There are buttons on my camera that I still need to learn to use.  So I asked Marylin if she would mind writing something for the blog as I know that a lot of you have gadgets that you like to use to share your photos. So let me have Marylin explain this technology to you. 
If you have questions, please address them to Marylin as I know she would be more than happy to help you in any way she can!

“JUST ASK MARYLIN”

Marylin

Marylin

There are a variety of wireless cards and transmitters out in the market for photographers who prefer to do wireless transfers of their photos and do not want to do the transfers by connecting their cameras to their computers or using other types of direct connections.

I personally use the Eye-Fi Pro X2 – 16GB SDHC Memory Card in my digital camera since I do not particularly like changing cards while I am shooting. Why do I prefer to use this wireless card to shoot my photos instead of using aregular SD card? Let me share with you the reasons:

1) Instant gratification! Within seconds of shooting, I can see the photos on my iPhone, iPad or laptop. Whichever “gadget” I choose in the settings. No wires needed!

2) No WiFi available where I am shooting? No problem. The Eye-Fi-Wi-Fi card inserted in the camera creates a WiFi bridge mode between the camera and the “gadget” selected in the settings. The “gadget” I use to transfer my photos in the field is a 64GB Apple iPad. The photos are transferred wireless from my camera to the iPad and I am able to instantly see what I am shooting right then and there. I like the fact that I am able to review the photos and then assess if I need to experiment a bit more with the camera settings, change lenses and/or capture a different angle. I think it is just awesome to get my camera and my iPad “talking” to each other while on the go without the need to have a WiFi hotspot and to be able to do the transfers without any wires or cables.

3) You may also choose to adjust the settings to automatically and wirelessly transfer the photos in your own WiFi home network. So when you get home, your camera can start “talking” to your computer and it will totally organize your pictures by the date of your shooting activities.

4) The Eye-Fi 8 and 16GB cards allow you to choose to shoot RAW formats as well as JPEG. The cards also come in a 4GB capacity; but this one does not have as many features and capabilities as the 8 and 16GB do. The 8 and 16GB cards also give you the capability of geotagging your photos allowing you to keep track the location of where you are shooting without the need to have GPS on your camera. The settings also provide you with free access to certain wireless hotspots.

5) Another great feature I like about these Eye-Fi cards is that the settings allow you to have an endless card. You can program it to erase the pictures from the card when it is getting full and when the pictures already have been automatically downloaded and have been transferred to the “gadget” you have chosen in the settings.

6) The Eye-Fi cards have many other cool features. It also allow you to transfer your pictures directly to a FTP site and/or to other popular sites like Picasa, Flicker or Facebook.

7) I find the card wireless settings for a home computer simple. In my opinion, the mobile settings need a bit more sophistication (which I am sure they are already working on those updates). I don’t mind the small glitches I experience sometimes (such as a short delay in loading) since I totally enjoy seeing the pictures as I am shooting them.

8) And, for iPhone and iPad iOS, Androids, and even for the Web…there is an app for that!

I did not pay the high price for the 16GB card that shows on Eye-Fi web page. I bought it on sale for much less. Let me know if you have any questions or want more information about these wireless cards. I would be happy to assist you with the settings if you opt to try one and if your camera is comparable with them. But most of all, let me know if you want to know more about them because you also like instant gratification when you are shooting your photos and because you also hate wires and cables as much as I do.

You may read more about these cards at: http://www.eye.fi/

So… anytime you crazy women have a technical question just “Ask Marylin”! Shoot me an e-mail and I will get in touch with Marylin to find an answer. We are so fortunate to have her as part of the club and now she is retired but I have the feeling she will be busier than ever and we will be seeing photos from all over the place!

Thanks Marylin for doing this entry to the blog… very much appreciate it and I am sure some of the gals will make good use of it!

Shoot and compare…

Thought I would share with you a project I am doing for the month of April. Those of you who know me, know that I have a bit of a love affair with food and have been trying to improve my food photography. I stumbled upon a food blog some time ago that I have been following: Learn Food Photography and Styling by Neel. When I saw that he was having a food challenge for the month of April to improve our food photography, I jumped on it. He was accepting only a limited number of active participants and we would receive a food challenge daily to shoot. I did not anticipate the time involved to complete the assignments. He might say it would take 15 minutes or 30 minutes and I would take a couple hours… or more!

We had to choose two foods that we would shoot for the month. I chose tomatoes and cheese. The day we went to the arboretum, I needed the tomatoes to shoot for that day so I sent my husband to the store to pick up some red tomatoes with stems attached and cherry tomatoes. Being the fussy shopper that he is, he hit 4 stores and came home with a glut of tomatoes, being afraid they might not meet my expectations. As a result, we have been eating tomatoes every day since. Who knew photography could dictate your eating habits?

We have been shooting our chosen food from different angles, different light, different backgrounds, and it has been an interesting challenge and I will share with you several things that I submitted. I found it easier to put the photos in a collage using photoshop as the site does not seem to present the photos very well without going to another screen which I find a bit bothersome and it is nice to see all the photos together for comparison.

This first shot was to take a food photo in different kinds of light.
So this is “A Light Lunch” (pun intended!)

A Light Lunch (Photo by Fay/Lala)

A Light Lunch
(Photo by Fay/Lala)

This next shot was to show the differences when you alter the white balance in your camera. If you are shooting in jpeg, you might want to do this. For instance if you are shooting indoors in tungsten light, set your white balance to tungsten and by doing that it will correct the color (remove much of the yellow cast) however if you have it on tungsten and you shoot in daylight, you can see that it will give you a funky color like it shows here. I normally shoot in RAW and keep my camera set on AWB (auto white balance) and if a color needs to be tweaked, I can do it in Lightroom.

White Balance (Photo by Fay/Lala)

White Balance
(Photo by Fay/Lala)


This last photo I will share with you is to show the same general subject but on different backgrounds. He said to sit down and take 10 minutes to look around for possible backgrounds you can use for your food. So I sat in the kitchen and was surprised at what I came up with that I probably never would have thought of using before.
Choose Different Backgrounds (Photo by Fay/Lala)

Choose Different Backgrounds
(Photo by Fay/Lala)

Learn Food Photography and Styling: http://www.learnfoodphotography.com/
This is also listed on the right side of this blog under Favorite Photo Sites.

Up Close and Personal

There are flowers popping up all over the place and now is the time to take advantage of this display before the heat of summer comes to Texas.

I like shooting on a cloudy day or in shade to avoid the harsh sunlight and deep shadows that can sometimes detract from your shots. And if you are finding that your flower photos are not what you had anticipated, try moving in closer and isolating just one flower or a small group of flowers. Sometimes an overall view of a garden is beautiful but the “wow factor” may not be prevalent until you focus on a single flower such as the ones taken by Debbie and Tess.

When you get closer to a flower be aware of what specifically you want in focus and also be aware of the background. A busy background can ruin a photo and by the same token, a soft muted background in a similar color or even a contrasting color can make an image pop. On the macro shot of the droplet of water on the purple flower, I placed purple on top of purple. Be aware of what is going on in the background. If you don’t like what you are seeing move your point of view or choose another flower. Also be aware, the closer you get to a blossom, the more evident any flaws will be. Avoid ragged petals or spotted petals and find a more pristine flower to shoot. For some reason, it is easy to miss this in the field but it will be quite evident when you put your photo on the computer. You will see an example of this in the last photo of mine that is posted. I did not see that less than perfect blossom until I posted it to the computer.

Learn to shoot in aperture priority and then go to your camera instruction book and find your depth-of-field preview button and experiment using this to better have an idea of how much of your photo is in focus as seen through the view finder. Be aware that when you do this, the lens will stop down to the settings you have set, so a higher f-stop (for example f-16 as opposed to f-5.6) would cause your view to darken when previewing the depth-of field. This will not indicate the exposure of the actual photo but will simply let you discern how much of your photo is in focus or not in focus. I have an example coming up where pretty much the only thing in focus are the stamens of the yellow columbine and I was able to see this when previewing the depth-of-field. Learn to use this. It will be your “friend”.

Also make use of cropping an image for better composition and this can also be helpful in removing distracting elements in your photo.  If you look at the following photos, be aware that some are rectangular (vertical and horizontal) and one is nearly square in dimensions.

Let me post some of the flowers I shot the day we visited the arboretum.

Purple Splendor (Photo by Fay/Lala)

Purple Splendor
(Photo by Fay/Lala)

Columbine (Photo by Fay/Lala)

Columbine
(Photo by Fay/Lala)

Pretty in Pink (Photo by Fay/Lala)

Pretty in Pink
(Photo by Fay/Lala)

Spring Bouquet (Photo by Fay/Lala)

Spring Bouquet
(Photo by Fay/Lala)


Now take your flower photography one step further. Check out the flower photography by Barbara Kile. I recently attended a slide presentation that she gave on shooting flowers and she brought out the “personality” and inspiration of shooting not necessarily the entire flower. This is something we need to experiment with. Check out her website which can also be found on the right side of the blog under Favorite Photo Sites.
http://www.barbarakilephoto.com/p700705864