Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Forecast: Cloudy Skies

Posting Twenty-nine

Forecast: Cloudy Skies. . .

One of my NECCC Conference presenters reminded me of something I had done some time ago. He was showing an image with a very bland sky and thought a more impressive one would add interest to it.

So into his folder of clouds, he came upon several that would enhance the original picture. He proceeded to cut and paste the main subject and drop it onto the new backdrop with white puffy clouds and a blue sky. What a difference the sky made to an average looking image.

I decided I needed to start my own folder of varying sky looks. So my new assignment is to watch the skies and when I see something interesting, go shoot it!

Several years ago I had come up with a summer assignment for members of my camera club, Hockomock Digital Photographers. I asked everyone to go out and shoot eight to ten images with a theme. When we returned in September, we would show what people shot over the summer. It was a huge success! One woman even wrote a poem to enhance her imagery.

So, I think I have this summer’s assignment – go out and shoot some skies. I will be killing two birds as I will have my summer assignment done and have started a folder of skies for future use.

Here are some storm clouds from last weekend’s squall. . . 

Storm Brewing

Threatening Skies

"I Can Hear the Rolling Thunder!"

Can you see the Mother Ship in these clouds?

Clearing Skies - Screened Shot

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

 Posting Twenty-eight

“Beyond the Camera Club”

This past weekend was the premier photo event in New England, the NECCCC Conference, which was held at UMASS Amherst. It was a potpourri of photography workshops with something for everyone - nature, digital processing, lighting, how-to workshops, model shooting, hi-jinx set-ups, etc. Several photo vendors filled the lower level of the Conference Center to fill your camera wish list. Lodging was provided on campus to any who needed it – I opted for the A/C dorms this year and was I ever glad I did! Rather than head off to find a restaurant or stand in line at the small food establishment in the Conference Center, I bought into the all-inclusive meal plan. For a modest fee, I had ample choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With the opening of the new cafeteria last year, the offerings were varied, healthy and tasty. But enough of all of that – what the conference did provide at no cost to those attending was the opportunity to talk shop with anyone and everyone.

As a member of two camera clubs, a meet-up photo group, and connections in others, this annual event provided golden opportunities to talk beyond the camera club setting where this is little time to shmoose. At mealtime, I managed to break bread with Bob (HDP) and Dave G. (SBCC). When I introduced them to each other, they told me about a “brief” encounter earlier that morning. Dan G. of SBCC was a frequent tablemate as well. Jim (HDP and SBCC) joined us a few times as well. Passing by the tables, I met up with Amy, Rick, Paul, Larry, and Ian of PDP as well as Maureen (HDP) and Linda (HDP Wannabe). Kevin from SSCC is always a pleasant conversationalist whether in the cafeteria or at pondside for the balloons. Charlie (PDP and WCCC) had set up his camera for the balloon event and was quite proud that his son had been chosen to attend as a student representative. HDP’s Jim continued to follow the shade while awaiting the balloon inflation. Speaking of hanging out by the pond, I returned early Sunday AM where Charlie B. (PSA, NECCC, and MVCC ) offered some suggestions about our image collecting system at HDP. Diane (SBCC) came by later.

Just prior to the start of many of the workshops I was able to catch up with Rich (HDP) and his wife, Marty (no camera club affiliation) and Kathy (SSCC) and her brother. At the end of the “Night Photography” session I met up briefly with Tony and Chuck C. A passing nod of the head was directed toward Adele (PDP and CCCC), whereas I walked to or from classes with Ellen (SBCC) and Janet and Pat (PDP). I managed to catch up with Ken W. (SBCC) in the corridors of Thompson.

Milling about the vendor area I spoke with Stony Brook’s Ray G., John F., and Mike D. SBCC members, Dan C. and Shiv, were asked to share their expertise with the rest of us. Shiv’s wife, Monica, was helping out at the NECCC Conference informational tables.

Party Central was located in the rear of Purple Lot #44 as Vicky E. (SBCC) brought her RV to be used as base camp. I was fortunate to be early for the Saturday gathering and had a great opportunity to talk with Vicky – my blog stalker! Soon, we were joined by other Stony Brook members - Rob, Carol, Chuck N., Vicki S., Phil, Henny, and Pamela R. Some of these faces I see at our Thursday meetings but never have the chance to talk. I did spend some time talking with Ron of SBCC who celebrated his 47th birthday on Sunday!

Special thanks to Dave M. of Stony Brook for the conversation on the long drive to and from UMASS Amherst.

I have already blocked off July 13th, 14th, and 15th of 2012 for the 67th Conference. Looking forward to meeting up with those who will also be in attendance. 

Special Saturday event involved hot-air balloons!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Posting Twenty-seven
50mm Challenge!

Every once in a while it is beneficial to our photographic growth to challenge ourselves. This 50mm Challenge was one that was simple to do, or so I thought it would be.

You see, I had intended to participate in a meet-up where we were only allowed to shoot with a 50mm lens or a lens that could be focused at the 50mm mark, but a scheduling conflict left me home with my camera equipment. With the Bridgewater Fourth of July parade looming, I thought it would provide me with the opportunity to shoot it with the 50mm focal length.

I affixed the prime to my Nikon and packed it in my backpack. I was overly concerned about missing a great shot with the prime-only lens so I pulled out my D200 and opted for my reliable 18-200mm – didn’t want to take any chances missing “the shot”. The 50mm prime was tucked into the bottom of the bag and we were off!

After a few shots at 50mm, I focused (pun intended) on “the shot” and not the challenge. Lesson learned, if you are trying a self-assignment, make sure you are not shooting an important event and you are able to concentrate on the task at hand.

I will revisit this challenge in the immediate future.

Let me know if you try this or any others.

Here are a few from the 50mm Challenge gone awry. . .

Parade Vendor
Shot at 50mm


                       Shot at 170mm


Fire Truck at 50mm

Fire Truck Rider at 170mm

Off to find an opportunity to shoot 50mm. . .