January Challenge: Your Best Shot… Entry #7 Beauty in Pink

It seems I have thrown Tess a curve ball making her decide on just one photo to send.

“The first time you told us if what is going to be this month’s challenge, I find it so hard to decide. I have changed my mind so many times, but chose the Beauty in Pink in the end; although, I wanted to change it again. LOL! The reason I like this picture is how natural it came up without even trying hard. I did not even notice it until I downloaded it in the computer. I wish I can submit more than one. LMAO.”

Beauty in Pink (Photo by Tess)

Beauty in Pink
(Photo by Tess)


January Challenge: Your Best Shot… Entry #6 Made in the Mist

It’s good to have Donna joining in again with the challenges!

“Of all the pictures I took when my Mom and I visited Niagara Falls last year, this picture was my best photo!
This was taken when we were on our own tour of the boat following behind us. There were so many seagulls and the mist made a great background to silhouette  this classic Niagara Falls tourist attraction.”

Made in the Mist (Photo by Donna)

Made in the Mist
(Photo by Donna)

Did You Hear the News?

We interrupt this challenge to wish CrAzY woman, Lily, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Lily, though I know you are at a distance, I hope you will join in the challenges again to help us all learn from your expertise! Hope you have a wonderful day!

Happy Birthday Lily!

Happy Birthday Lily!

January Challenge: Your Best Shot… Entry #4 Archer

This next photo is submitted by one of our newest members, Venus. It was nice to get to meet Venus at the January meeting and I am so pleased to have you as a member of the club.

Venus sent this comment… “I was in the right place at the right time for this one.”

I very much agree and this statue is one of my favorites at Fair Park! I have taken photos of this statue but yours has retained the rich colors that I like.

Archer (Photo by Venus)

(Photo by Venus)

As I had said at the beginning of the year at our first actual meeting, this year we are going to concentrate more on learning and with this in mind, I encourage everyone to feel free to offer suggestions if there is something that you feel could improve a photo so that we all may learn and discuss our photography. Our meetings will focus on specific lessons that we will be applying to our photos. So… with that in mind, I would like to take the liberty of reviewing what I like and also what I might like to change about this image.

The lighting of this statue is superb! It is beautifully exposed and I see in reviewing the properties that you underexposed by 1/3 stop which really makes the colors pop and prevents the statue itself from being overexposed. The focus is very sharp and the colors are excellent but my only complaint is the white matte edge and the bits of building intruding into the photo. My eye keeps being distracted by these, taking me away from the statue itself, so I took the liberty of playing with your photo to see what it would look like without those diversions by cropping a bit from all sides.

Cropped Image

Cropped Image

I may be off base and if so, please tell me so. I am interested in hearing everyone’s viewpoint on this. Should this image be cropped or should it not?

January Challenge: Your Best Shot… Entry #3 Afternoon Snack

This next entry is from Linda. She is an avid gardener so it does not surprise me that she talks with the critters she finds out there!

“The squirrels in my yard and I do enthusiastic battle over my flower beds. I plant flowers; they dig them up to hide pecans. I scold them, but it doesn’t seem to help. When they aren’t digging and are just watching me work in the yard, I talk to them. They always seem very interested in what I have to say. So, you can see I have a hate/love relationship with these little creatures. Last summer I saw one walk the fence and reach down to have a snack of crape myrtle blooms. First time I had seen that. I took a series of shots because the squirrel didn’t mind at all, but I’m only sending two of them. Aren’t you glad?”

Afternoon Snack (Photo by Linda)

Afternoon Snack
(Photo by Linda)

January Challenge: Your Best Shot… Entry #2 Sweeter Than Sugar

Liz has submitted this as her best shot…

“The American Kestral, the smallest American falcon;  Scarlett is her name.   I love this beautiful creation of God.  I loved the opportunity to see it up close and personal at the BPRC and  appreciate what they do for our wildlife.

My 50mm prime was the right choice to get the falcon as the focal point with the
softness around it, showing off that sweet as sugar expression. That’s what I wanted and it turned out okay!”

Sweeter Than Sugar American Kestral (Photo by Liz)

Sweeter Than Sugar
American Kestral
(Photo by Liz)

January Challenge: Your Best Shot… Entry #1 La Tourell Falls

Our CrAzY friend Sassy in the great Northwest was the one who suggested “Your Best Shot” for our January 2015 challenge, so I thought it only appropriate to begin our challenge with her entry.
So… here is her e-mail and her entry:

“Holy Crappity, it’s already 2015!

I hope all you crazies had a wonderful holiday season. I did and now I am ready for springtime and photography. I think here in the Pacific N/W we can stick a fork in winter. I think it’s done and over with. We are having springtime temps, mid to high 50’s during the daytime instead of our normal mid 30’s to lower 40’s, very little snow up on the mountain, which could spell disastrous results for us come summer.

As for the January Challenge, pick your best shot of 2014. Looking forward to seeing what you gals choose. I had a hard time choosing as there were so many favorite shots last year, but I think I finally picked my favorite, soooo I’m gonna add it and get this off to Fay before I change my mind, which I’ve done 3 times already! Let’s not go for number 4. LOL!

This is the stream below LaTourell Falls in the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls area. I picked this as my favorite cause it’s one of my favorite areas to shoot, and this is my favorite picture from that area,,,, for now.”

Happy New Year All Ya Crazies!

La Tourell Falls  (Photo by Sassy)

La Tourell Falls
(Photo by Sassy)

White Rock Lake

We had a last minute impromptu meetup at White Rock Lake as Tess had emailed saying she had the day off and how about shooting somewhere.  I put a last minute memo out and Robin was able to join us.

For those of you who have never shot at White Rock Lake, I encourage you to do so.  Nature abounds and this is a great time of year to shoot the birds as pelicans, coots, ducks, geese, pigeons, herons, egrets and cormorants are plentiful and within easy shooting range.  And then there are other migrant birds that occasionally show up.  An eagle has also been spotted there.  You never know what you might find.

Birds, Birds Everywhere! (Photo by Fay-la-la)

Birds, Birds Everywhere!
(Photo by Fay-la-la)

Tess and I showed up and were thrilled to see lots of pelicans sitting on the logs preening and birds all over the place.  As we stood on the dock shooting, I struck up a conversation with another photographer and he was telling me about an incident that had occurred the end of November where a guy was caught shooting (with a gun!!) at the birds there at Sunset Bay, and from what he said, the guy was put in jail as he also had issues while on probation from previous issues.  This was most upsetting to think that anyone would shoot at these beautiful birds let alone have a gun at Sunset Bay! Fortunately the Dallas police patrol the lake frequently!

Before long, we changed position to get a little closer to the birds.  Shortly after that, Robin joined us and hid behind the tree to photograph the birds.

Who is that lurking behind the tree? (Photo by Tess)

Who is that lurking behind the tree?
(Photo by Tess)

So we are chatting and shooting and suddenly Tess calls out… “Lala!  That bird is bloody!”  I look to where she is pointing and indeed, there is a pelican with blood evident on it’s upper neck and smeared on it’s upper back.  Was this bird one of the ones that was shot at or did the injury come from something else?  It was so sad to see but the pelican otherwise acted like it was feeling OK as it preened and there was another pelican that stayed by it’s side.

Injured but Unbroken (Photo by Tess)

Injured but Unbroken
(Photo by Tess)

(Photo by Fay-la-la)

(Photo by Fay-la-la)

We continued to shoot a while and then as we were feeling chilled, we went to Pei Wei, the Asian diner just down the road, for some lunch and laughter!

Here is a slide show of some other photos from the day.

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Lessons learned:
Fellow photographers share good information.
Keep your eyes open for the unexpected.
Try to capture animal behavior whenever you can.
A fast shutterspeed will help freeze the action.
Pigeons are beautiful!
It’s fun to play with photos adding a frame, text or using selective coloring.
Try to get a catch-light in the eyes.
Keep the eyes in sharp focus.

(Photo by Fay-la-la)

(Photo by Fay-la-la)

December Challenge: Alphabetography… Entry #5 The Alphabet

This is the last of the alphabet annual challenge. For those of you who took the challenge, bravo! It was not the easiest thing to do but it certainly makes you look at things differently.

I initially had the idea to do “The Kitchen Alphabet” but soon gave up on that idea as I sat in the kitchen and was at a total block. I looked in the pantry, the refrigerator, the drawers and came up with a few things but that was proving harder than anticipated and I finally gave up on that idea. Out of total desperation, in the end I started to go through old photos looking for letters. Some are a bit of a stretch!

So the one day when I was watching the grandchildren after school, I was looking around my daughter’s house for letters. My grand-daughter Alaina asked what I was doing and I told her. Her immediate response was… “Lala! With all the things in your house, could you not find all the alphabet?” I was really feeling bad then! I told her I was really having difficulty finding the capital letter “R” and with that she struck a pose! Woohoo!! Thank you Alaina! Well done! Hahaha! Then we had fun looking for letters together.

(Photo by Fay-la-la)

(Photo by Fay-la-la)