Thursday, April 30, 2009

Community Photo Challenge- Tranquility

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This week's Challenge-Tranquility. Find something that represents tranquility to you. For me it is the beach & water, what is yours??
Starts today & ends May 7th. All are welcome to join in.
Please follow the Guidelines posted on the right side of this blog.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Great Outdoors Challenge

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Here are our Great Outdoor Challenge Photos for this week.
I decided to post all, even though we had quite a few. Like I have said in the past, I will not be able to do this each challenge, I haven't figured out how to select a few to highlight.
Check out all images & blogs by CLICKING HERE to bring you to (the comment section) links to all blogs that joined in this challenge.


Florida Birding & Foto Festival - Day1

I began the festival with a relatively light day....and I'm glad that I did. It turns out that the anchor location, is over an hour away from my sister's house. That's going to make the days extra long, but I know every minute will be worth it.

Busy and I drove down to the Whitney Marine Labs for my 8:30 class on raw processing. So far, everything I know about photo editing has been self taught. It's a big undertaking to learn this sophisticated software and I've learned it needed. The instructor doled out a LOT of information on how to use Adobe Camera Raw and it was unbelievable what he was able to do with a few clicks of a mouse. Of course, he has the latest version (and I'm one behind) and some of the coolest tricks were done with the latest tools. Now, I have to start considering an upgrade.

I had four hours before my second lecture, so Busy and I found a very cute little restaurant and had brunch, then walked across the street to Flagler Beach for a nice stroll. It was an incredible day in Florida and the beach was beautiful! The water was so blue and there were very few people on the beach. We walked and talked and picked up shells and I took pictures. I didn't have any actual photo sessions scheduled, so I was glad to get a chance to take a few shorebird photos.

My afternoon session was called "Light Illuminates/Shadow Defines" and was taught by Chaz Glatzer. Frankly, I found his talk a little confusing, and I know others did too based on the questions that were asked. I don't know if anyone walked out of there confident they could put his information immediately to work, but I think with some practice...I can figure it out and benefit from what he had to say. He suggests that (when shooting in manual), you start from a baseline setting he called the "sunny 16", and teach yourself to be sensitive to relative quantities of light on the subject and adjust accordingly. You must also take into account the effect you wish to achieve (stop action, bokkah, etc) It was obviously second nature to him and he rattled off a lot of numbers (shutter speed, ISO, F/stop) and that's where the confusion set in. I'm going to start to try and put it into practice today at my field shoots. He is an award winning and extensively published photographer and the wildlife shots he brought along were breathtaking. He does use shadow and light to bring out every feather on a bird as well as every hair on a bear.

I'll be leaving shortly for my field shoot. I'm doing a before hours trip to the wood crane rookery at the Jacksonville Zoo. I'll have a four hour pass to the zoo and I'm looking forward to taking tons of pictures there. This evening, I'm going on an evening photoshoot at the beach. So lots of time with my camera when the light is magic.

Here are a couple of quick pics from yesterday at the beach. I was especially intrigued by the Caspian Terns. They are such funny looking birds. I'm still working on trying to specifically identify the sandpiper. If I can't put a name to it until I get back to NY....oh well.

Capsian Tern


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Adventures In Photography - Florida Birding & Foto Festival

We all catch the bug the same way. We pick up a camera, snap a few photos and low and behold...they're not that bad! I started developing my skill by studying images that appealed to me and trying to emulate what I saw that I liked. It got me a long way, but I've always felt that my technical understanding could use some honing. And like all photography fans, I welcome exploring somewhere new.

Last year, I visited my sister in Florida in mid April, and picked up some materials on the Florida Birding & Foto Festival. I'd missed it by a week....but I made a mental note that THIS was something I wanted to take advantage of. It's been a long year of waiting, but finally...tomorrow...I will get on a plane and head down for a week of family, and long weekend of workshops that will (hopefully) make me a better photographer.

The Festival is anchored in St. Augustine and takes advantage of the birding opportunities in the area. It is sponsored by both Audubon and Outdoor Photographer Magazine. There are four days of workshops and field trips led by some well known names in nature photography. I was able to schedule a nice mix of classroom sessions focusing on technical knowledge along with some field outings that I hope will provide outstanding photo opportunities.

I'm very excited to spend a few days with accomplished photographers and to get some insight into how they create their phenomenal images. It would be very tempting to fill the time with field outings as they are many and varied. But, I know I will benefit from attempting to expand my technical understanding. I joke that I "use the Force" to find my settings. It often works. However, when I consider what I have paid to put the latest high tech equipment in my hands, it seems foolish not to try and learn to use it to its full potential.

I'll be starting my adventure bright and early Thursday morning in a class on "The Power of Raw." I often shoot in raw, but I don't know how to make the very most of those humongous files. I'm looking forward to discovering what can be done with all that data. I'll be following that up with a 2 hour workshop entitled "Light Illuminates, Shadow Defines."

On Friday morning, I'll attend my first field outing. I'll be going to a "before hours" visit to the wood stork rookery at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens. I expect to see a wide range of birds at this location and it concerns me that I'll end up with more files than I'll be able to manage. I guess that's the one downside of digital....that you can take more photos than you can look at in a lifetime.

I'll be posting a synopsis of my adventures, along with photos both here and at my own photoblog "In My Dreams I Can Fly..." I look forward to sharing my experiences along with some tips and tidbits that I pick up along the way. In preperation for my trip, I've been spending a lot of time here on Long Island seeking out and photographing birds. I've been concentrating specifically on birds in flight and I've got some practice shots up on my journal. I hope you'll stop by...and please leave me a comment to let me know you've been there.

Now, I've got to finish packing!

A Little Help...

Hi, Kat, and everyone...I mentioned in the comments on Kat's entry that my normal method of reducing color cast didn't work on this photo. I'm sure it was because it's lighting that caused it...and after posting that, I went back into Photoshop to try something different. Here's the result of that attempt:

This is by no means perfect, but at least the wood of the guitar neck looks more natural. The biggest problem is that there's so much digital noise in the photo because of either high ISO or just plain darkness. All I did to this was apply a Filter...the Photo Filter. I applied the Cooling Filter (82) at about 50% density. It looks a bit magenta, but I think a bit more work would take that away. Kat...does this help at all???

Help Wanted....

As mentioned in the previous post, I am going to a photography workshop that I'm very excited about. I'll write a bit more about that next.

Before I go and generate countless new files, I'm trying to get through some overdue editing I'd like to get done.

I LOVE concert photography and take every opportunity I can get to photograph musicians. But, the ever changing light and color makes concert venues especially challenging. I usually try to find the most accommodating settings for the conditions to capture the maximum number of images. But, there are invariably images that need a lot of work with color cast and extreme shadows and highlights, and I'll admit...many are not salvagable.

The photo I'm posting is an example of the type of image I'm trying to rescue. I was wondering if anyone out there with some photoshop expertise could advise me on how to improve this type of photo. I'm not looking for all the concert ambiance to be eliminated, but I would like to bring out a little of the natural color in the skin tone and for the resulting image to be less monochromatic.

Knowledge of photo editing software is part and parcel of high quality digital imaging. Yes, ideally we'd all like the perfect image to come right out of the camera. But, we have the tools, I'd like to better know how to use them.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Changes in the Winds

Hi, Photo Challengers...

After a lot of discussion among the Photo Challenge team, we've decided that there will be some changes here in the Challenge Blog.

--We're taking a sabbatical from June through August. There won't be any challenges for those three months but we'll post our ideas for future challenges so you can keep them in mind while you're enjoying the summer--out and about with your cameras.

--Voting will be discontinued for our regular challenges. There may be an occasional contest challenge for those who would like to participate, but our regular challenge won't be judged or have polls.

--There will also be some feature articles about photo experiences and photography in general posted by our team members. We want to continue with the goals of this blog--sharing our passion for photography...learning...challenging ourselves. The team: Kat, Gina,Rob, Vicki and I will share our photographic journey. Others are invited to join in--just let Vicki or me know what ideas you have. Kat has a few wonderful ideas that we are considering, including: 1. Adventures in Photography and 2. Look What I Found! The first experience Kat will share is a bird Photography event in Florida that she'll be attending soon. We're really looking forward to 'seeing' the event through her eyes and learning new things.

--One thing we'd really like to request is that all our readers and participants make every effort to visit each blog and view the submissions. While there, leave a comment. We all know how good it feels when someone has visited our blogs. It's an easy thing to do--I do it for every challenge--and is such a wonderful way to show others that you enjoy the results of their efforts! This challenge is about sharing and supporting each other--and this is how we do it.

Please let us know what you think about these improvements and any ideas you have to make things even better!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Community Photo Challenge- THE GREAT OUTDOORS

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This weeks challenge is "The Great Outdoors".
Anything goes as long as it is taken outdoors. Starts today & ends Thursday April 23th at 9 PM EST. Remember to follow the GUIDELINES
All are welcome to join it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Time!


Here are our submissions for Spring. Thank you everyone for showing us your Spring!

EmmaRose's Spring

Krissy's Spring

Guido's Spring

Far Side of Fifty's Spring

EaglesBrother's Spring

Elisabeth's Spring

Shari's Spring


Marie's Spring

Apologies to Shari, her image was overlooked b/c of copying problems.
Thank you for informing me...;)
If I left anyone else out, please let me know.

All images are included in our GALLERY.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Community Photo Challenge- SPRING


This Week's Photo challenge is Spring....or the first sign of Spring. Here in NY we are just starting to see some flowers popping up through the ground. So lets see what Spring looks like by you. When posting your image, tell us where the photo was taken (include state &/or country) & when. You can use a file photo, but remember to give us a location & date.
Challenge starts today & ends April 9 @ 9PM EST
All are welcome to join in & .
Please follow Guidelines