November 14 Meeting, “Four Kinds of Light”

The November meeting of the Pagosa Springs Photography Club will be held on November 14, 6 PM, at the Community United Methodist Church fellowship hall. We will view and discuss a video lesson by National Geographic photographer Michael Melford, “Four Kinds of Light in Landscapes”. Melford will touch on a few concepts of composition in addition to discussing the effects of various kinds of light on landscape photos. What are your favorite types of light?

This will be our last regular meeting of the calendar year, so there will be some Club business to attend to as well.

Each member may bring up to 10 images on a flash drive to share. This month, consider bringing at least some photos that are “all about light”, in which the lighting (natural or artificial) is a major player in the image.

The gallery of photos from the Oct 1 Chama train chase has been updated with photos from more of the participants. So even if you already looked at it, check it out again. The gallery is on our Club web site: https://pagosaspringsphotoclub.org/2018/10/20/chama-train-chase/.

What’s Important in a Photograph, Oct. 10

Photograph © Gregg Heid

The Pagosa Springs Photography Club will hold its October meeting on Wednesday October 10, at The Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis Street.

Join us for socializing at 6 p.m., followed by a brief business meeting at 6:30 p.m. Experienced photographers and those just starting out are welcome.

The Photography Club normally meets the second Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in the fellowship room of the Methodist Church.

The October Photography Club Meeting will feature Gregg Heid. His presentation will be on “What’s important in a photograph”. He will discuss several qualities that help create photographs that grab your attention, including emotion, light, composition, and creativity. Heid is the current Vice President of the Photography Club and has been active in the club for several years.

Club members are invited to bring up to 10 photographs on a flash drive for sharing with the group. In recognition of the season, everyone is encourage to include at least some images on the theme of “haunted or hunted”. 

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us through our website pagosaspringsphotoclub.org.

Fall is Here!

Sneffles Range Dawn © Andy Butler, Nikon D7100, 85 mm, f/8, 1/125 sec

Happy Equinox day! Autumn is a favorite season for many photographers. Here in Southwest Colorado, the forests are alive with gold from Aspen, willows and cottonwoods. Although reds are not as common, look around and you’ll find many Autumn hues beyond gold. 

While it’s easy to find great color and take pleasing images, after awhile you’ll find many of your photos look good, but also look much the same as everyone else’s. So it’s worth spending some time thinking about ways to make your images both technically better, and also more creative. 

Here are eight tips for better Autumn shots, from Peter Baumgarten. I especially like his tip to not let the weather stop you!

https://www.creativeislandphoto.com/blog/8-tips-for-better-autumn-shots

Nasim Mansurov, at Photography Life, has several good Fall foliage tips. His article features several images from the Dallas Divide area, near Ridgway, where the photo above was taken. 

https://photographylife.com/fall-colors-photography-tips 

One of his suggestions is to use a polarizing filter. which can really help to reduce specular reflections from foliage, producing richer colors. Another is to do your research into good places (and times) for the best Autumn foliage photographs. Finally, and always important, Mansurov reminds us to always identify what, exactly, our subject is. 

Finally, Outdoor Photographer has ten great ideas for more creative fall color photography from Kurt Budliger, at https://www.outdoorphotographer.com/tips-techniques/nature-landscapes/techniques-for-fall-color/.  His tips include using backlight, long exposures, long lenses (to isolate color) and a variety of other techniques to give your images of fall color a more unique, creative look. Well worth a read. 

Personally, I’m going to spend part of the first day of fall photographing one of my favorite locations in the Pagosa Springs area, around Plumtaw Road, with other Photography Club members. I’m hoping for a few clouds to develop. Enjoy the fall color while it lasts! 

Tips for Photographing Star Trails

One of the topics I did not have time to discuss during last week’s presentation on photographing the Milky Way was making images of star trails. Ian Johnson has published some good tips and techniques for star trail photography over at Digital-Photography-School.com . It’s well worth a read if you are interested in this type of photography. Johnson discusses the basics of star trails, as well as composition, processing, light painting, and the effects of focal length and exposure times. It’s clear that this is an approach that is ripe for lots of experimentation and creativity.

I’ve learned one trick that works well for star trails if you don’t have an intervalometer, or like me, you are too lazy to use the one built into your camera. You do still need a cable release, though. Once you have your camera set up to capture the scene you want, set the camera’s shutter speed to the longest possible, without going into bulb mode. On my Nikon, this is 30 sec. Then, set the camera for high-speed continuous shooting. This is the mode that allows you to press the shutter button down and take photo after photo until you let up. Start the star trail sequence by locking the cable release to “on”. In this mode, the camera will take a 30 sec exposure, then another, and repeat until you unlock the cable release. The camera will fire away, shot after shot, until you stop it (or the battery dies). Using a wide angle lens, you probably want to let it go at least half an hour, and longer is often better. With a 50 mm or longer lens, a shorter time will give you good trails. Johnson walks you through the steps for combining the photos as layers, using the “lighten” blend mode in Adobe Photoshop. This will work in any software that uses layers and has the proper blend mode. I use a dedicated app called StarStax, which has several features such as gap filling (for the brief time between sequential images) and the ability to save out intermediate steps to create a time-lapse movie effect. StarStaX is free, but if you like it, the software’s author would appreciate some money for beer or coffee as a donation.

Another consideration is that you can control the apparent density of trails using the ISO setting on your camera. ISO 1000, for example, will give you many trails close together. ISO’s of 200 to 400 would give you fewer trails, mostly from the brighter stars. It’s another way to control the look of your image.

As with all nightscapes, knowing a little about the stars, planning for a foreground, and using some creativity will help you make great images.

January 2018 Program: Get it Right in Camera!, with Bob Green

Desert Dawn
Desert dawn captured in Arches National Park near Moab, UT. This image will be used as an example of the advantages of RAW processing. ©Robert B Green

The Pagosa Springs Photography Club will meet on Wednesday, January  10, at the Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St. Join us for socializing at 6 p.m., followed by a brief business meeting at 6:30 p.m. before our program. Tonight’s speaker will be club member Bob Green, presenting a program entitled Get it Right in Camera!

Continue reading “January 2018 Program: Get it Right in Camera!, with Bob Green”

Photo Club January Program

The Pagosa Springs Photography Club will resume its regular monthly meeting schedule Wednesday evening, January 14, 2015 in the Pinon Room of the Quality Resort. Join us for socializing at 6:00 PM (drinks and appetizers are available for purchase), followed by the program and short business meeting at 6:30 PM.

The January Photography Club program will be presented by Al Olson. Al is a long-time member and past-President of the Club. He will address the eight critical elements that influence the sharpness of an image, where the details assert their individuality and where each detail is separate and distinct. Some elements that can cause lack of sharpness are under direct control of the photographer while others are affected by the quality of equipment. Examples will be used to show how sharpness (as well as depth of field) varies with lens focal length and with changes in aperture. Tips will be provided on how to capture good “Bokeh” (a function of some lenses), and there will be a brief review of lens design and what to look for when purchasing a lens.

Members are encouraged to bring 10 – 15 photographs of recent photo opportunities on a flash drive or CD, for review and discussion following the program, as time permits.

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