February Challenge: Focus… Entry #4 Where is My Focus?

This next entry is from Venus, one of our newer members.

“Ok… on the first one, I think only one little berry is in focus. The wind was blowing and this is the best I could get.

F/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO 280, at 55mm (Photo by Venus)

F/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO 280, at 55mm
(Photo by Venus)

The second one has nothing important in focus. From his jacket down is good but the rest, no. I ended up going to f22 and it worked better but I did not have my tripod.”
F/4, 1/125 sec, ISO 100, at 55mm (Photo by Venus)

F/4, 1/125 sec, ISO 100, at 55mm
(Photo by Venus)


February Challenge: Focus… Entry #3 Niagara at Night

Thank you Donna for submitting these photos!

“Both of these photos were taken from our hotel room in Niagara Falls! The first evening we arrived I knew there would be a fireworks show but did not really prepare and did not have a tripod! So my thinking was, just put it on auto and all will be easier. Not the case. I think this is why most of my photos were blurry! The camera was in control and NOT me! So where I wanted to focus, the camera had it’s own idea. This photo challenge has been an “eye opener” for me! I did manage a couple of okay shots, so back to taking control of my photography!”

F/4.5, 0.6 sec., ISO 800 at 14mm. (Photo by Donna)

F/4.5, 0.6 sec., ISO 800 at 14mm.
(Photo by Donna)

F/4.5, 1/8 sec, ISO1600, at 15mm. (Photo by Donna)

F/4.5, 1/8 sec, ISO1600, at 15mm.
(Photo by Donna)

February Challenge: Focus… Entry #2 Goebel Porcelain Bird

Our next entry comes from Liz…

“Years ago I worked part-time at the Serendipity Shop in Dallas. Quite an upscale shop of beautiful things. It’s been out of business for a long time. I bought a few things there, of much lesser dollar value, than many items there. The bird is one and it was before East Germany was part of a whole Germany.

I guess I need to take it outside to get a good photo of it! I had difficulty getting decent shots of it. Maybe it’s the 50mm prime?

Anyway, I shot one to get a full range of focus but still not all of the bird (the base of it) was in focus. Hope we can talk about that in an upcoming meeting.”

Not Sharp Enough f/5.6, 1/20 sec, ISO 800, -1 exposure compensation (Photo by Liz)

Not Sharp Enough
f/5.6, 1/20 sec, ISO 800, -1 exposure compensation
(Photo by Liz)

Sharpest f/ll, 1/15 sec, ISO 2500, -1 exposure compensation (Photo by Liz)

f/ll, 1/15 sec, ISO 2500, -1 exposure compensation
(Photo by Liz)

February Challenge: Focus… Entry #1 Tuscany

Our first entry is from one of our new members, Lee.  Though she is new to the club, she is not in any way new to photography.  She gives us a valuable lesson in focus!  Why it works and why it doesn’t as well as framing of your view.

Here are my two images for February’s focusing exercise.

Strada di Valoresi, Val d’Orcia

Taken at 1/640, f8 and ISO 160.

My goal was to use the tree leaves above me to help frame the image and I wanted everything in sharp focus plus I didn’t want any graininess so I set my ISO to 160.   I think the leaves are out of focus because my depth of field wasn’t deep enough plus the wind was blowing.

I should have used  f16 or f22, increased my ISO to at least 400 or more.  I could have used 1/500 sec.  Even then, I may not have been able stop the leaves and I couldn’t move back far enough into the road to help with the sharpness.

Not an especially good photo but it illustrates the issues of framing techniques.

La Foce, Tuscany (Photo by Lee)

La Foce, Tuscany
(Photo by Lee)

Strada di Valoresi from La Foce

Shot at 1/640, f16 and ISO 400

I increased my depth of field to include the trees for my frame of the road across the valley.  Still using 1/640 as the winds were awful and have increased my ISO to help with the light at the smaller f16 aperture. I set my focus point to be about 1/3 of the way across the valley in both shots.

I use manual settings and shoot in raw so that I can manipulate my images in Lightroom and Photoshop.

This one was still pretty dark out of the camera. If I had shot it in jpeg, the camera would have compressed my image and tossed out about 25% of the pixels, leaving me with an image that I would have trashed.

La Foce Driveway (Photo by Lee)

La Foce Driveway
(Photo by Lee)

An American woman married an Italian and they lived at La Foce. They wanted a nice view across the valley, so he had this road built to enhance their view.  There’s some very interesting info on them and the villa at: http://www.montepulciano.net/la_foce_iris_origo.htm#.VMkQjcaRP8s

CWPC Meeting

On January 24, we had our first official CWPC meeting.  It was held at my place and we had a good turn out.  It was fun to get together and we started off by introducing ourselves to each other.  We generally talked about what our interests were as far as what we would like to learn from the club.  We have many talented photographers in the group and we look forward to learning from you.  I did ask the members to send me a list of some of the things they are specifically interested in and I will share them with you.  Vickie sent these suggestions my way and I thought they were quite comprehensive.

1. Lens…need versus wish list…
2. Photoshop…Lightroom…green screen…manipulation…
3. Best accessories…
4. Lighting…
5. Traveling With Your Camera…protection…what do you really need to take…etc.
6. Camera cards…
7. Things you can do with your pictures…presents…books…jewelry…etc..
8. Tips and tricks…everyone has them…maybe everyone could give one of theirs at each meeting…

Here  are a couple photos from the meeting.

The Crazy Women and Lucy (Photo by Fay-la-la)

The Crazy Women and Lucy
(Photo by Fay-la-la)

"We have two dollars, anybody bid three?  Threedollarcomefour,  anybodybidthree, anybodyanybody, do I hear two fifty,  twofiftycomethree, twofiftycomethree - Come on ladies!  Photo and commentary by Robin W.)

“We have two dollars, anybody bid three? Threedollarcomefour,
anybodybidthree, anybodyanybody, do I hear two fifty,
twofiftycomethree, twofiftycomethree – Come on ladies!”
(Photo and commentary by Robin W.)

That last photo was taken by Robin (the other Robin) as I was showing the gals my reusable shopping bags that I had printed at Walgreens using my own photos.  I often times pass on what I think are good deals in the marketplace to use your photos.  Evidently Vickie got a bunch of bags printed to hold  Christmas gifts this past year… a great idea! 

Robin went wild with captioning the above photo and I roared with laughter when she sent it to me!  Thanks Robin for your vivid imagination and photographic talent!

We will be discussing focus at the next meeting and that will tie in with our February challenge. Come learn about focusing points, auto focus, manual focus, back button focus and when to use different types of focusing. We will also discuss reasons why our photos may not be in focus. Though it may sound quite simple, I think most of us have come to realize that a photo that is not in proper focus is not a keeper.

Hope to see you at the next meeting… the 4th Saturday of the month at 2PM.

January Challenge: Your Best Shot… Entry #13 While the Iron is Hot

Our last entry for this challenge is from Robin (the other one!)…

“I met friends at Scarborough Faire in late May. Within five minutes I
stopped for a shot, lost track of time, and never saw my friends
again – ah well, better to make images than idle chit-chat.

I spent a couple hours wandering and got a few images I liked. I was
thinking of leaving when I came upon this blacksmith shop and knew
there was something wonderful in there, with all the dark grittiness
and bright hot fire. I set continuous shooting, hoping for an image
just as the hammer struck the metal and sparks flew. I didn’t quite
get that instant. Of 17 images, this was so close, the hammer had
just bounced from the metal, but sparks were there.

ISO 200 – probably should have been at least 800 but I had no time to
fiddle with the camera
F/8 – wanting the furnace to be in focus too, but bigger would have been better
1/80th – and under exposed. That mistake worked out okay, as I
increased the exposure in post processing. It added to the dirty
gritty feel in the image.”

While the Iron is Hot (Photo by Robin W.)

While the Iron is Hot
(Photo by Robin W.)

Top 10 Photo Blogs in India!


Gaurav Prabhu

Gaurav Prabhu

Before we finish this challenge, I would like to give a shout-out to my friend Gaurav. His photo blog has been named as one of the top 10 photo blogs in India! Bravo Gaurav!
I “met” Gaurav back when we did a month long food challenge on the internet. I can tell you he is very smart about the techy side of things and is very passionate about photography.

He also has been active in the 365 Project to post a photo a day and has been doing this for 3 years. Yes… you read that right… for 3 years!! An amazing accomplishment!

To visit Gaurav’s blog: https://shuttertux.wordpress.com/

Once again… CONGRATULATIONS Gaurav!  Job well done!

January Challenge: Your Best Shot… Entry #12 Stop Bugging Me!

This will be the next to the last entry in our January challenge. I am submitting this one.

It was taken at White Rock Lake… my “happy” place! I was wandering along East Lawther looking for something to shoot near the lake but I was not one bit inspired. I finally decided to head back to the car and explore another area. On the way, there was a gully with a little water in it and some reedy things growing. As I approached for a better look, something bright and shiny caught my eye. It almost looked like the sun reflecting off of chrome but when I got closer, I realized it was actually the stripe going down the side of a tree frog. You cannot imagine my surprise! I took a few hand-held shots but I was not very steady and went back to the car and got my tripod, in hopes that the frog would still be there.

When I got back with the tripod, the frog was not only there but there was also a little cucumber beetle on the leaf. By the time I set up the tripod, the little beetle started climbing onto the frog and that is when I got this photo. I call this my “best shot” because of the element of surprise resulting in an emotional attachment to the image and also because I recognized my shortcoming in hand-holding the shot and was able to get an in-focus shot of this unexpected activity between the beetle and the frog by using my tripod.

This was shot at 400mm, ISO 250, f/ 7.1, 1/800 sec, and minus 1/3 stop compensation.

Stop Bugging Me! (Photo by Fay-la-la)

Stop Bugging Me!
(Photo by Fay-la-la)