June Challenge: Crop Your Photo… Entry #5 Behind Closed Doors

This next entry is from Donna…

“On a recent trip to Texarkana I saw a church and wanted to shoot it because it
had a magnificent steeple and an eye catching red door. I asked my friend to please  drive me over to the church for a photo.

I proceeded to get out of the car and got into position as soon as I did the doors swung open and the parishioners  started filing out. I hurried back to the car without my shot, sad and pictureless.

We headed out of town. Low and behold a block or two away, another  beautiful church with another red door! My sweet friend hurried me over and I
came home with this shot titled ‘Behind Closed Doors’.”

Behind Closed Doors (Original) Photo by Donna

Behind Closed Doors
Photo by Donna

Behind Closed Doors (Cropped) Photo by Donna

Behind Closed Doors
Photo by Donna


June Challenge: Crop your Photo… Entry #4 Sienna

Our next entry is from Debbie…

“This is a picture of our dachshund, Sienna. She is not very cooperative
most of the time I attempt to photograph her. This particular day she was
fairly cooperative and very photogenic, I might add.”

Sienna (Original) Photo by Debbie

Sienna (Original)
Photo by Debbie


Sienna (cropped) Photo by Debbie

Sienna (cropped)
Photo by Debbie


June Challenge: Crop Your Photo… Entry #3 Little Ballerina

Marylin has been busy with dance photos of her grandniece…

“I chose to crop the original picture because both dancers were supposed to be
synchronized as a duo.  And, unfortunately they were not when I took the
shot.  On top of that, Marizel is my grandniece and I am partial to her
beautiful dancing moves.  As I have mentioned to you before, I use Marizel as
my ‘photography model’.   I point the camera at her and she just moves
naturally without having to give her any instructions.   She just turned 6
last Saturday, the day of the dance recital, and she has been dancing since
she was 3 years old.  A very proud grandaunt here!

Original Image (Photo by Marylin)

Original Image
(Photo by Marylin)

Cropped Image (Photo by Marylin)

Cropped Image
(Photo by Marylin)

By the way, I was sitting close to the back of the theater and I was using
an 80-400 lens with a tripod.  I was able to take some awesome action
pictures of the older and experienced dancers so it was a great photography
shooting practice for me.  It is extremely hard to work with the lighting in
a theater and the action that goes on around the stage.  But again, a great
experience for a professional photographer wannabe.” 🙂

June Challenge: Crop Your Photo… Entry #2 “Help me please!”

This next entry is from Robin (the other one)!

When I received her image, I remembered it well from when it appeared on Capture Dallas. .. definitely one of my favorite images of all time!  It just tugs at my heart strings and I loved the simplicity of it all,  as well as the subtle colors.  I also thought she had photoshopped the words but evidently it was how she found it!  Good eye and great capture, and made even better with the cropping.  This is a most instructive entry and I do appreciate your expertise Robin.  I think we all have a lot to learn from this!

“I do try to get my images well composed in the viewfinder, but it’s
not my primary intent.  I  shoot with an assumption of at least a
little cropping in post-processing, and I’m pretty certain that well
over half my final images have had some cropping applied.  So, it was
a perplexing decision selecting a single image for this challenge.

This image was taken at f8, 1/4000 th, 400 ISO, and 270mm which is
the maximum focal length of the lens.  Camera was a D5100 which is an
aps-c sensor.  There was a hideous gas meter at the bottom
right.  And, I’m terrible about making crooked images, like this one.

Original Image (Photo by Robin W.)

Original Image
(Photo by Robin W.)

I’m cheating a bit here, also showing an intermediate image.  It has
the meter removed and has been straightened.  It was what I had in
mind when I made the image, but in post processing it didn’t say what
I wanted.  With the final image I’ve cropped all but the story I
really wanted to tell.  The doggie appears to be so sad, wanting out,
not wanting a grooming at all.  “Help me, please!”

Intermediate Image (Photo by Robin W.)

Intermediate Image
(Photo by Robin W.)

Incidentally, another reason for cropping is that, if you print on a
standard paper size and don’t want to trim or have blank space,
you’ll have to crop the long edge.  This is because your sensor long
edge is longer than any standard paper long edge.  Compare the width
of the original and intermediate images with the final one which will
fit on standard paper.  This is a consideration for possibly shooting
a bit wide, so you don’t have to eliminate critical components when
printing, or having to paint in background where there was none (yuck). ”

Final Image (Photo by Robin W.)

Final Image
(Photo by Robin W.)

June Challenge: Crop Your Photo… Entry #1 Barcelona Beach

I got thinking about some basics as to how we can improve our images and something we have really not touched on is the ability to crop an image.

I find that I use cropping quite frequently as I have included too much in the frame taking away from the subject or I simply want to get in closer to focus on that subject.  Obviously when we crop, we must be aware of the fact that there is only so much cropping we can do before the image is degraded due to inadequate pixels or inadequate focusing but it can totally change our photos… in a good way.

We will kick off our latest challenge with photos from our newest member, Michelle.  As you may remember, Michelle likes to travel internationally and this beach shot was taken in Spain.

“Here is a shot I took on the beach in Barcelona….”

Barcelona Beach (original photo) Photo by Michelle

Barcelona Beach (original photo)
Photo by Michelle

Now when Michelle sent me this shot, I originally was concentrating on that strange structure on the beach and asked her about it and her response was…

Hey! So the structure was commissioned for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.  It is called L’Estrel Ferit ( The wounded star or injured comet.  It is a homage to the Barceloneta borough which used to be the sailors quarters. ( Looked that up).  Don’t know the deeper history.  The original was not so great but once I cropped,  I was able to focus more closely on the surprise captured.”

Surprise captured?  What is she talking about?  On the cropped image I saw the couple on the left cropped out.

And then she went on to say: “Fantastic people watching beach, clearly all sorts of sizes and shapes, clothed and naked!”  HUH?

And here is the cropped version!

Barcelona Beach (cropped) Photo by Michelle

Barcelona Beach
Photo by Michelle

(Click on image to see larger!)

Hahaha!  The joke’s on me!!!  I never noticed!  And who says Michelle isn’t a CrAzY woman????  Michelle… you fit right in!  And of course we like the cropped version better!  Hahaha!  Next time… don’t be bashful… zoom right in!!  Hahahahaha!

Thanks Michelle for the entry!  It’s great to have you in the club!

Macro Lens Capability without a Macro Lens

Hey all you crazies…

I just pulled a piece of equipment out of my gadget bag and thought I would bring it to your attention.  It is the Kenko Extension Tubes.  I’ve had it for ages but seldom use it but the other day I was going to my nature photo club meeting and decided to take my camera in case there might be something to shoot but did not feel like packing my long lens or my macro, so I threw the Kenko Extension Tubes in my bag.

The sole purpose of this lens extension is to move your main lens away from the camera body; thereby, magnifying your subject.  There is no glass in these extension tubes!  And here’s the good news… it costs about $199 as opposed to $1,000 for a macro lens.  Just imagine what you can do with the remaining $800! Yes… CrAzY women need to be frugal!!

Now I will admit, it takes a bit of getting used to.  I have used it with my 24-105 as well as my 100-400 lenses.  I have difficulty using the autofocus capability and make out much better on manual focus, positioning my body forward or backward until the subject comes in focus.  The only problem is… you must be very close to your subject so I do not think this would work well for shooting butterflies but would be ideal for flowers or for little bugs that are not skittish.

It is comprised of three different sized extension rings and you can use them one at a time or stack all three between your camera body and your lens.  They are lightweight and do not take up much room in your bag.

I have bought from B&H many times in the past and recommend them for camera equipment and  they have exhaustive reviews which are especially helpful when wanting to purchase new equipment.  Check it out…


You must be sure it is compatible with your camera and if in doubt, just shoot them an e-mail and they will be happy to help you.   Please be aware that they close down on Saturdays… even for ordering!

Watch this video to see how they work:

So… I did some test shots on the crepe myrtle tree to try to show you what happens with each different tele extender. All photos were taken at f9 and with a 50mm prime lens for consistency. I was using manual focus and moving my body back and forth to attain maximum magnification and focus. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing and I ended up picking the blossom off the tree and placing it in a more sheltered spot as the magnification increased. Each time you add a longer extender, your shutter speed will slow to make up for the loss of light. Or… you could compensate by changing your ISO or your aperture, but for this presentation, I simply wanted you to see the degree of magnification that you can get with an extender. And with each photo you can see the decrease in your depth of field.

I tried putting all 3 extenders on together but I was so close to the blossom in trying to gain focus that the lens shade was actually blocking the light. I changed my angle of view but it was so close and with such shallow depth of field that I would have had to use a tripod to get a half decent shot, but I think you get the idea.

Ribbet collage test shots

(Click on photo to enlarge)

If you are looking for a cheap alternative to a macro lens, you might be interested in a tele extender.

May Challenge: Wildflowers… Entry # 11 Indian Blanket

Thank you to everyone who entered the May challenge. So many beautiful wildflowers! I guess the thing that I like about wildflowers is the fact that they are brutally stubborn and grow in some inhospitable places… such as alongside the road and seem to survive in spite of our lack of adequate rainfall.

One of my favorite wildflowers is the Indian Blanket. This shot is really quite simple but then I decided to add a little texture using the Ribbet photo editing site as well as a humorous quote (in the negative space).

Indian Blanket (Photo by Fay)

Indian Blanket
(Photo by Fay)

And then I tried putting together a collage of several wildflowers found at White Rock Lake.

Texas Wildflowers (Photo by Fay)

Texas Wildflowers
(Photo by Fay)

(Click on each photo to see larger)

Check out this link for wildflower identification.

What a great job Gary Regner has done!

I have added the link to the right side of the blog under “Helpful Links”.


May Challenge: Wildflowers… Entry #10 Balsam Root and Lupines

I had no sooner sent out the Wildflower Challenge when I immediately got a submission from Sassy up in Oregon! Now I was going to post this first but decided to post it towards the end of the entries. This was Sassy’s e-mail:

“Wow! Talk about coincidence. I just got some really good shots of wildflowers up on the Columbia Gorge, Thursday. LOL!

This was taken Thursday morning up on the Central Columbia Gorge. Its kinda a transition zone, partly desert and still partly valley. This is a nature preserve called Tom McCall Nature Preserve, named after one of the governors of Oregon who during his time as governor introduced the bottle bill (nickle return on all soda bottles sold here in Oregon) as a way to clean up the state and our beaches.

He also spearheaded the cleanup of the Willamette River (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_River), passage of a law to maintain former Gov. Oswald West’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oswald_West) legacy of public ownership of the state’s beaches, and the first statewide land-use planning system, which introduced the urban growth boundary around the state’s cities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_growth_boundary).

There are several places around Oregon named after and dedicated in memory of the former governor.

Anyway, here is the photo I wish to dazzle ya’ll with, LOL! The yellow flowers are Balsam Root, very common in this part of the gorge.

Balsam Root (Photo by Sassy)

Balsam Root
(Photo by Sassy)

In the next photo you see more of that and the purplish flower is Lupine, also common in that area. Oh, and that white capped mountain in the second shot? Yeah, that’s Mt. Hood.”

(Photo by Sassy)

(Photo by Sassy)

(Be sure to click on photos to see larger!)