Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ken Crites takes August DOF Challenge with "Monopoly Horse"

What is it, this term "Depth of Field"?  An artform?  A technical term describing that part of the field of view, in photographic terms, that is considered to be in focus?  Based on Ken's submission for the August challenge, we agreed it's an artform.  Ken was able to completely elevate his subject (a gold monopoly piece) above the remainder of the frame by opening up his lens and then compensating for the full-open lens by shooting the image at a much slower shutter speed than would normally be required, if the lens had been set to a more "average" aperture, or lens opening size.

The resulting image has a very narrow distance from the lens at which the subject will be in focus.  Ken was able to get that distance to be precisely the location of his subject, resulting in the winning image this month.  Congratulations, Ken!

September Challenge:  Abstract & Patterns
Technical Topic:  Selections

Abstract photography is very much an artform.  The September Challenge seeks those photos in which the photographer has recorded repetition, structure, or texture in something that occurs naturally or is man-made.  Entries must be posted to the Club's Flikr site by the start of the next meeting, scheduled for 6:30 pm on Thursday evening, September 23rd.

The next technical topic will be led by Ken Crites.  "Selection" is the process by which the photographer carefully removes a part of a photograph from the rest, either for use in another piece of work, or for the purpose of applying a special effect.  Examples include the selection and removal of a building from a beach scene, or similarly, removal of a gray and lifeless sky with and replacement with a vibrant, blue sky with bright puffy clouds.


Friday, July 23, 2010

"Fireworks" and "Supersonic" take July Challenge Titles

By Larry Rogers

Mark Prince and family took a hot July trip to St. Louis, and while there they attended a holiday fireworks celebration.  Where Mark goes, so goes the Nikon.  As he described his fireworks technique to us at the July gathering, Mark set his Nikon D40 on "bulb," the continuous-open shutter position.  Using an aperture of f-8 to f-11, Mark then used a remote shutter release to open and close the shutter when he thought there had been an aerial activity worthy of capture.  Mark told us he believes the shutter was open from two to six seconds at a time.  Here is Mark's winning entry, "Fireworks," in the challenge category "Summer Celebrations." 

Blind Squirrel finds a Nut!

Every once in a long while, opportunity and preparation meet.  We call that "luck" in this business.  I attended the Dayton Air Show on Sunday, July 18th along with members Mark Prince and Ken Crites.  Rising at 4:30 a.m. on a non-work day in the summer is something so unnatural to me that even I am amazed that it happened.  However, by the end of the day, even I felt it had been worth the early rising, the relentless heat, and even the 45-minute delay in the Navy Blue Angels show.  The image to the right is my winning entry in the special "Air Show" category this month.  When I first looked at my pictures back at home, I did not expect to find a shot like this one.  I had not noticed the shock wave "vapor flash" which is the signature of a jet approaching and then exceeded the speed of sound (768 mph).  But just as I saw this image in my Adobe Lightroom film strip, I knew that a special moment had occurred that day.  I may change my mind on this one some day, but for now, I believe this is the shot of my life - so far.

Technical details:  Shot with a Nikon D3, Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8 VR zoom lens, panning hand held, in NEF (raw) mode.  Post-processing included Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop CS5, and Topaz Labs "Adjust" plug-in. 

August Meeting Date > 8/26/2010 "Adobe Lightroom"

Next month's meeting will include an instructional topic, "Adobe Lightroom" led by Larry Rogers.  We will demonstrate Lightroom's "organize" functionality, which enables the photographer to categorize photos by quality for later elimination of those that are not saved, as well as Lightroom's "develop" functionality which now has many of the features also found in the more expensive big brother, Adobe Photoshop.  We will start promptly at 6:30 p.m. at MaxTrain in Mason, Ohio.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bosque del Apache in December?

I am contemplating a trip out there with the following workshops in mind. It is Dec 3-5 and includes some good sessions. Take a look and let me know if anyone else would be interested.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Challenge Reminder: Motion

May: Motion

Since we should all be outside more, this should be a good chance to find some subjects that are in motion. This can be blurred motion, sports or action, or implied motion. Some ideas for this challenge are
  • 2nd curtain flash to freeze action

  • Freezing action that still implies movement of the subject

  • Panning to blur the background

Good luck and see you at the meeting.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dayton Air Show 2010

The Dayton Air Show is going to be the weekend of July 17-18 this year and is going to feature the Blue Angels, my favorite. I am including the link to the photo pass form in case you might be interested. It was worth the money last year as the provide a ride to and from a special parking area, a sectioned off area for the photographers, and I believe water bottles. I am planning to go at least one of the days with my family and the other as a photographer. Anyone else interested?

Here is a link to my photos from last year

You should also take a look at Larry's!

Photo Pass Application

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Calling All Birders: Flight Planning for ONWR Trip

Anyone interested in participating in our Spring Birding Field Trip to the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (near Sandusky, Ohio) on the weekend of April 16-17, please contact either me ( or Ken Crites (

I have made several trips up there, and my recommendation is to enjoy this immense nature preserve on one of the monthly "auto tour" days.  Only on those days, will you be permitted to drive your car out onto the seemingly endless series of canals.  In the spring, you will see many varieties of migratory birds.  The bug population should be considerably lower now, compared to the coming months, which adds to the enjoyment of the place.

If you should decide to join us, plan to bring your longest lenses, at least one very stable tripod, and lots of data cards.  We will most likely depart our area on Friday evening, and get rooms in a motel near the refuge.  I will most likely shoot on Saturday from the early morning until late afternoon, and then head back home.  The auto tour is limited to Saturday only.

I hope many of you will be able to join us!

Ken Crites' Photo "Natural Light" takes March Challenge

Congratulations to Ken Crites for his inspiring photo, on winning the March Challenge in the category "natural light portraiture."  To view the winning photo, please click here.

The club's newest member, Ed Barkley, was the judge and jury this month.  Thanks, Ed, for making the selection of this month's best entry. 

The decision would have been unanimous, I am fairly certain.  Ken's photo used a technique called (I hope this is correct) "checker-boarding."  As you view photo, notice that the lighting in the background is reverse to the lighting on Ken's subject - his very patient son.  I have to try this out, now that I have seen it in practice.

Other Photo Clubs in Our Area - Events and Offerings

Eric Curby has forwarded a link to an April event hosted by the Hamilton County Park District, and put on by the Tri-state Photographic Society.  For more information, go to:

Another Club, the West Chester Photo Club, meets once per month on the fourth Tuesday.  I have attended the last two events of that club and I have found their meetings to be inspirational in terms of new ideas to get me to go out and shoot.  The WCPC typical meeting agenda is quite focused on photographic composition - members submit three photos to the club's coordinator a few days in advance of each meeting.  Like our monthly challenge series, WCPC opus photos must comply with pre-set themes.  For example, the theme for April is "red," and the rules are:  photos must be taken in the past 12 months, have the color "red" as a theme, and flowers are not allowed.  Anyone interested in hooking up for the next meeting of the WCPC, please contact me ( or Mark Prince ( for the location, date and time.

Why join more than one Photography Club?  From what I have seen so far, photography is such a broad and complex topic that it is seemingly endless in scope.  Those of you who have attended our meetings or field trips know that we tend to focus on technology topics, like equipment, software, and post-processing techniques.  The WCPC tends (in my experience only) toward artistic composition.  I am quite certain there are other clubs out there which have their own unique ways to contribute to the hobby/profession.

Let's get out and shoot this spring!

Photo Challenges for April-June

April: Green
Green as in spring time (plants or animals), your favorite car, or anything else that is or implies the color green. It should be interesting to see what interpretations we get from this challenge!

May: Motion
Since we should all be outside more, this should be a good chance to find some subjects that are in motion. This can be blurred motion, sports or action, or implied motion. Some ideas are 2nd curtain flash to freeze action or freezing action that still implies movement of the subject.

June: Animals
Well, this is pretty easy to interpret. There are plenty of options for this challenge, including pets, wildlife, or even zoo animals. The challenge will be to take a photo of an animal that is unique.

Once again, please post your entry to the Club group on Flickr before the start of the meeting for that month. Feel free to start a post on the Flickr site or a comment on the blog for questions or ideas.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Microsoft marks its own email as spam

Funny thing today. I get this email from Microsoft in my MSN hotmail account and the MSN spam filter supplied by Microsoft blocks it for my safety.

The filter suppressed the attachments, pictures and links in the email.

Finally, Microsoft asks me if I know the sender and asks if I should mark the sender "safe" or "junk".

What should I do? I'm confused.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rodel Aguilon Sweeps February Challenges

Congratulations go out to Rodel Aguilon, for sweeping both of the February Challenge categories.  His entries were "Still Life, Hong Kong" in the category "still life":

and, "Leland, Northern Michigan" in the category "travel":

Rodel was awarded a copy of "The Best of Photoshop User:  The 11th Year" from the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP).  Once again, congratulations, Rodel!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Strobist Meet-up

I was wondering if anyone was interested in a strobist meet-up in Northern Kentucky? It is in April and would be focused on shooting models with hot-shoe flashes. Here is the thread for more information:

Ohio Strobist Flickr Group

and the source of it all for a better idea of what all of this means:

February Challenge

I just wanted to remind everyone that the challenge for this month is Still Life and Travel.

Please post your entry pictures to the Flickr site before the meeting so that we can use that to show them all. It worked well to have a printed version last time as well, so feel free to do this as well.

For information on posting to the Flickr site ( take a look at the post on Oct 26, 2009.

Thanks - Ken

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 2010 Auto Tour Dates

For those who may not have experienced the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge near Sandusky, Ohio, we strongly recommend that you try a weekend when the "auto tour" is authorized.  Approximately one weekend per month, this sanctuary's seven miles of trails are open to travel by car.  Bring along your longest lenses, tripod, and gimbal head.  You will see shore birds, ducks, and hawks of all kinds.  Several club members are planning a trip there in March or April.  Be sure to mention your interest at an upcoming club meeting.  Here are ONWR auto tour dates for the next several months.

February 20, March 20, April 17, May 8 and 15, June 19, July 17.  For more information about the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, click here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Some useful sites

I am still wading through the 1732 photos I took during Eagle Weekend part two, but I thought I might add some links to sites that I find useful.

First is a new one that I just started looking at since it is new as well. Two great photographers with lots to teach, and they seem to be adding supporting bloggers from all areas of photography.

The second is a site from a British photo magazine that I read regularly. This site has tons of video tutorials and stuff for all levels.

And finally one for the person whoe wants to see what a ton of photo blogs are talking about, all at once!

Hope these help!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

January Challenge: Wildlife in Winter

January's challenge subject is "Wildlife in Winter."  Please post your entry (one please) on the club's photo sharing site:

In your photo caption, please include the words "January Challenge Entry for [your name]."

I have seen a number of hawks near my house this winter.  Ken tells me there are a number of cardinals near his house.  Let's get out with our cameras and grab some shots of the beautiful wildlife all around us!  To meet the intent of the challenge, your entry should depict both wildlife and a reference to the winter season (snow, leafless trees, frozen pond, etc).  The January winning entry will be determined by highest total votes in a blind vote by all members present at the meeting.

Regarding the monthly photo challenge series, we will have an agenda topic at this month's meeting (January 25) to get your ideas about using the winning photos in a fund-raising effort, like a calendar, coffee table book, or something along those lines.  Any profits could be used to pay for a booth at a fall craft fair - where club members could sell pictures.  Please bring your ideas to the next meeting!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Next Club Meeting Date: January 25

This is to confirm the next club meeting date of Thursday, January 25.  On the agenda:  2010 Challenge Series (monthly photo contest), and Fund Raising Possibilities (calendar, coffee table book, etc).  Please "comment" to this post if you have an idea for an agenda item.

This month, the meeting will be held in the break area at Max Train (there was a mix-up in room scheduling).  Next month, we return to our training room.

Second Eagle Trip in the Planning Stage

By Larry Rogers

Club members who particpated in the eagle trip this month (Ken, Larry, Eric) are already planning a return trip.  Our undestanding of the migration habits of the birds is that mid-February is the beginning of attrition in total numbers of birds.  Based on that understanding, we are thinking that the weekends of January 29, 30 and 31, or February 5, 6 and 7 are best.  February 7 is Super Bowl Sunday, just in case that is a factor in your decision to particpate.

Please contact me, Eric, or Ken, if you would like to join us.  As of now, the most likely weekend will be January 29-31.  The preferred hotel is the Super 8 in Le Claire, Iowa.  We will not reserve a block of rooms in advance for this trip - please call the hotel to book your room in advance.

We hope to see you there!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Eagles on the Mississippi: Day 2 Report

By Larry Rogers

My alarm was set for 6:30 am CST.  Last night, while dining at Sneeky Pete's in downtown LeClaire, we had all agreed to meet at 7:30 am for breakfast, and be ready to put the cars in "drive" at 8:00 am sharp.  For some unknown reason (could it be the Bald Eagles awaiting us?) my internal bat-signal went off early.  I used the extra time to make sure my batteries had completely re-charged overnight, double-check my camera settings, and just make sure I was ready.

Good thing I did all that.  What a day we were about to begin!  Why is it the sky is so much bluer in the winter?  One of you physics or astronomy buffs, please weigh in on that - I really do wonder about it.

I don't recall a prettier day - or a colder one, for that matter.  As I discussed in yesterday's post, the temperatures would lead a normal person to presume that it's simply too cold outside to get good photos.  But, to the contrary, cold weather also means no humidity to cloud the air and far smaller numbers of people at the Lock & Dam.

We only had about two and a half hours to shoot.  Checkout time was 11:00 am, and I still had to pack a few things, then load up the car for the drive back to Ohio.  The outside air temperature indicator read -13 degrees F.  When I say "I was not cold," I really mean it.  The key is preparation - and I was prepared.  My PolarTek thermals, Weatherproof outer coat, and air-activated heat pack in each shoe (just under the toes) and in each glove, really did the trick.  I did not even return to the car to warm up during the entire two and a half hours.

Eric found some discarded fish off to the side at the boat ramp - all of which were frozen solid.  At one point, Eric wondered if those frozen fish would attract any eagles.  The birds had all gone into the trees for rest, we guessed.  Eric tossed the first frozen treat into the river.  Suddenly, like black helicopters in a spy film, two eagles popped up from nowhere and took up the attack on the new target.  Dropping down to an altitude of about 10 (inches) just above the water, the first one suddenly went into a full stall with landing gear outstretched in front.  He sank his talons into the frozen filet and up he went - but no filet.  It must be difficult to grab.  Not far behind, the wing man takes aim, and "pow!" Water droplets spray from the impact.  Liftoff!  And, this time, success!

Success can be short-lived for the bird that makes the catch.  With his wing man nowhere in sight, this bird was under-equipped to defend his catch.  A few skillful maneuvers, though, and he was safely on his way to the tree line.  I watched him dine for a while on his delicacy.  It is not often that an Eagle finds fresh-frozen shad hand-served by the poparazzi.

Like moths to a flame, Bald Eagles everywhere!  I can't say for certain the number of birds overhead during the feeding frenzy - but I was able to count 12 right above me at one point.  Adding the 5 or six in the trees behind the parking lot, two more in the trees near the lock - I'd estimate at least twenty at once.  It was quite a show, and I am certain I will go back again some day soon.