Just a reminder that this Wednesday night (Nov 12th) is our next workshop. As usual, it begins at 7:00pm at the St. Albert Inn.
From Ralph ~ There is no specific topic for the workshop. We thought we’d try an open forum where we can discuss any concerns, issues, problems you might have. If you have any questions, concerns, etc. bring them to the meeting it’s your chance to get some great feedback. For those who sat in on the camera fundamentals workshop, save the photos you took for the homework assignment on a memory stick in jpeg format so we can review your work.
A reminder from Ken about our field trip to Rutherford House…Please let Ken know if you are planning to attend.
I have arranged a photo shoot at Rutherford House for Saturday, December 6 from 10:00am till noon.
Rutherford house is at 11153 Saskatchewan Drive. It is a provincial museum. There is a $5.00 admission fee. We will have the place to ourselves.
I suggest bringing a tripod.
If people are interested in going out for lunch afterwards they need to let me know they are coming so I can arrange a place.
If people can let me know if they are coming I can let them know how many to expect.
My email is:
Hey everyone, here’s a reminder from Ralph about our club’s workshops for this coming Wednesday (October 15).
- Jill will be facilitating a Family Photography workshop just in time to help you get some great Christmas photos of your family & friends. Bring your camera along.
- Wally & I will be presenting a Basic Camera Familiarity workshop.
- If you are still trying to figure out your camera, if you are still shooting in mostly Automatic mode or if you are just getting started in photography this workshop is for you.
- If you know someone who is interested in taking up the art, invite them out.
- Bring your camera & user manual.
One of our club’s experienced photographers is Al Popil. He has been in the business for many years now, and is a well-known name with the St. Albert Gazette. Tonight Al shared with us some tips about macro photography, along with a great presentation of some of his work.
When it comes to macro photography there is special equipment that is required. Let’s begin with magnification options.
- The cheapest option is a reversing ring. At around $15 they are the least expensive, but Al does not recommend this method.
- Moving on, we have close-up lenses, at about $40 a pop. They come in diopters of 1, 2 and 4. This can be a reasonable option for some, but keep in mind that the sharpness of your image may be compromised, especially when stacking them. Remmeber to keep the image in the centre of the frame to avoid poor image quality.
- Extension tubes work great on any lens. They are a little pricier but well worth the cost. Depending on the size of the lens, using extension tubes will drop the minimum focus from 10” to 5”, for example. Al uses his extension tubes regularly in his macro photography. In fact, he sometimes uses them with his macro lens as well.
- Bellows are a relatively inexpensive option, unless you go with a Novoflex which will run you about $700. The Novoflex bellows comes with a cable release so you can use a reverse mount. The downside to using bellows is they are very cumbersome.
- The next option Al discussed was using a third-party lens. These will not give you a true macro (1:1 ratio), but rather one-half to one-quarter.
- Of course there are macro lenses, which can be expensive depending on the focal length (60mm, 100mm and 160mm). The plus is they can also be used as a regular lens also. The 100mm macro lens is a great one to use for portraits.
There are other pieces of equipment Al uses helps to hone his macro masterpieces.
- The back side of reflectors or even black poster board can be used as backgrounds to help the subject stand out.
- Reflectors are obviously also used to direct light onto your subject, which is essential for macro photography.
- As light is so important, the use of any flash is recommended. Especially at night. Yes, macro photography can be shot any time of day if you have the right equipment. Regular flash, ring lights and other sources are great to use. Ring lights come with various bulbs and modes, and are great for portraits also.
Some general tips to keep in mind will help you get the most out of your macro photography.
- The minimum working distance for the different focal length on macro lenses is as follows: 180mm – 9.5” (best for moving images); 100mm – 6’; 60mm – 3.5’
- Adding your extension tubes to your macro lenses will bring you even closer to your subject.
- The proper way to install extension tubes is first the extender, then the extension tubes and finally the lens. If you put on the tubes first your image will not be sharply in focus.
- Crop factors: 1.6x crop – increases magnification by ½ again; 1.3x crop – increases magnification by about ¾; full frame – is a 1:1 ratio
- What time of day is best for macros? Any and all. It may just depend on your subject matter. It’s best to know your subject. Some insects (one of Al’s favorite subject matter) are more active at night and therefore you will need external light sources to work your magic. Many bugs are still dormant in the early morning or late evening. This means they won’t be moving as much and will offer more opportunities to photograph them.
- Al has spent lots of time with gophers, and one thing he’s learned is if there is an absence of gophers there is probably a resident snake or two. Be prepared.
- If you’re photographing bugs, try to get them in the act of something like munching on a leaf, or rolling dinner in webbing. Activity is crucial for an interesting photo.
- Shooting in RAW allows you to adjust your white balance and colour saturation.
- Al only ever shoots on Manual, and never uses auto focus with macro photography. As an example, focusing on something smaller than your focal point in your camera is very difficult to do on auto. Always use manual focus to get it right. Auto focus for macros is also too slow and unpredictable.
- You will want to somehow isolate your subject, whether using a background to block all other images out, or by surrounding your main subject with other things that will make it stand out. But be aware that sometimes backgrounds will change colours with a flash burst.
- Experiment with lighting. You don’t always need to depend on front lighting. Try illuminating your subject from the side and even the back to change the perspective.
- Keep your sensor clean. Dust spots are an unnecessary annoyance, and are more than avoidable.
- As you stop down your aperture, the light passing through your lens tends to diffract, reducing the sharpness, though the depth of field is increased.
- You may want to experiment with photo stacking, taking more than one shot of an image, to get a sharply in focused final photo.
Macro photography opens doors to learning more about your world, the tiny world we don’t normally pay much attention to. If you find “spittle” on a blade of grass you will no doubt find a spittle bug buried inside. Did you know goldenrod spiders will change their colour to match the flowers they’re on, so they can ambush their prey? There is so much to learn about the world we live in day to day. And macro photography is one door through which we can learn about it. Thank you, Al, for inviting us into your macro world.
We had a great start to our first submissions night of our new season. The theme was “Standing Out in a Crowd” and there were many interpretations and creative thoughts. That’s what we like to see.
Our winners tonight are (insert drumroll…)
1st – Queen Among Coins – Doug Petry
2nd – Autumn Leaf – Barry Ryziuk
3rd – Lily – Al Popil
1st – Tranquility in Iceland – Bill Adamosky
2nd – Aboriginal Dancer – Al Girard
3rd – Wolf Regalia – Al Popil
1st – Green with Envy – David Oman
2nd – Chasing the Pig – Al Popil
2nd – Red Rock – Don Durand
3rd – Ain’t Nobody Got Time – Eva Riley
3rd – Charlie Chaplin – Barry Ryziuk
3rd – Smirk – John Van Veen
Winners – You are reminded to send your winning photos to Tamara at firstname.lastname@example.org to be showcased in our Galleries tab.
Next month’s theme is “Street, Hipshot – No looking through the lens”.
Barry Ryziuk will be leading the Scott Kelby PhotoWalk in St. Albert this year. October is a great time for colour and autumn light. It should be a great time had by all.
October 11 @ 5pm Meet in front of St. Albert Place. Check out the link below, and be sure to sign up.
St. Albert Further Education provides after hours training in a wide variety of subjects, including photography. They offer three courses, two of which are quite basic and would be a good starting point for someone just getting into photography. “Beginner Digital Cameras” is conducted over two evenings with an objective to help attendees “Learn how to use your digital camera more effectively and efficiently!” The second course, “Beginner Photography” is slightly more advanced and is conducted over four evenings.
The third course offered by Further Education is “Night Photography” which is getting more advanced and might even be of interest to some of our more experienced club members.
St. Albert Further Education issues course calendars three times a year outlining all of their courses. These are distributed with the St. Albert Gazette and other outlets, including their web page. They can also be contacted by telephone at 780-460-2207 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Further information is also provided on their web page at www.stalbertfurthered.com.
If you are relatively new to photography, want to progress beyond shooting in Automatic mode or know someone who is, check them out.
Our first workshop of the year was presented by our own Sieg Koslowski. Sieg has been a part of the SAPC for over ten years, and has held some of the highest points in our competition/submission rankings. His skill at the craft is something many of us strive for, and through his humble manner, he shared some of his tips for motion photography, while wowing us with an array of photos in an interactive evening.
- Sieg uses shutter priority in order to freeze the action with the intent to show motion. The ISO is dialed up or down as needed, and a fast shutter speed is selected. Let the camera take care of the rest. 1/2000 second is not unusual for his shots.
- Or course, you can also show motion by slowing down the shutter speed, allowing for a flow and blur. This is great for plane propellers and waterfalls for instance.
- Wait for that moment when the motion peaks, like when a ball is tossed up and is just about to fall. The pause in the motion is what you are looking for. You can even use a shutter speed of about 1/60 second with a high ISO. Of course this will take practice to hit the moment perfectly.
- Watch for blur. Look at the extremities like fingers or the fringe of clothing. If there is still a blur in your image you may wish to increase your shutter speed.
- Sieg also takes advantage of rapid fire shooting, setting his camera to take five to seven shots per frame. This increases the chances of getting a perfectly frozen photograph with proper focus.
- Many times your subject may be still in the photo, but one aspect remains that shows movement. An example of this is a horse that is solid as stone in the frame but for his tail dancing in the motion of his gallop. Hair and the element of water will also give you more movement in a photo.
- The lenses Sieg uses are the 18-200mm and 50-500mm (Sigma) for the Nikon.
- Like all other photography, when shooting people and animals you want to focus on their eyes as much as possible. That’s where shooting with rapid fire comes in handy as it increases your chances of getting that bird’s eye in focus as it streaks through the sky before you.
- When you find yourself at a zoo or other facility with glassed in animals/subjects, shoot with your camera’s lens directly against the glass rather than from a distance. This reduces the possibility of glare. Another trick is to wear a black glove. Sieg uses his gloved hand to help shield possible glares from the sun or other light sources.
- Sieg showed a photo of a bear shaking water off his coat, not unlike a dog shaking off water after a swim. Some tips on achieving the perfect shot here is to have the light sources behind your subject. Begin adjusting your settings to shutter speed 1/1250 second, a low ISO and aperture f/5 (if going Manual). Even from a focal length of 270mm the focus is crisp.
- While we see Sieg’s photos as beautiful and inspiring, he points out that every picture can be improved upon. That is to say there is always something to try next time or to try working with in post-processing. For instance, if you saturate your photo 30% more, Sieg has found that it usually makes the image look better.
- Birds offer great opportunities to work with motion. Small birds especially flap their wings faster than larger birds. Using a shutter speed of about 1/4000 second stops the blur. Look at the outer fringes of their wings. If there is still a blurring happing, increase your speed. Remember to have a good and bright light source, like a sunny day.
- As noted above, water is a great way to introduce motion in your photos. Some ideas are the flow of a waterfall. Using a shutter speed of one to four seconds will blur the flow nicely, but you may need to use a neutral density filter for bright days. Oregon offers many of the world’s best waterfalls, according to Sieg.
- Sports offer a lot of motion. Even when you freeze the moments you can get more motion with rain or water on a sports field or splashing in a pool or lake. Freezing the motion of water from a drinking fountain is a fun way to show motion. Try using a shutter speed of 1/3200 second for this.
- Watching kids in a wedding party can inspire motion in an otherwise still environment. Catch that yawn, wiggle or giggle.
- Cliff diving offers many opportunities for motion shots, both in the jump and in the splash at the end. Again watch for that moment just before the jumper hits the water, and then shoot. Sieg has found that Twin Lakes by Invermere is a great place for cliff diving in the summer months.
- The Silver Skate Festival in February each year offers lots of movement. And if an indoor arena is more to your liking, the Ice Palace at West Edmonton Mall offers figure skating and hockey throughout the year.
- The Ice Palace also hosts many different competitions like cheerleading and martial arts, offering a plethora of motion potential.
- Many musicians provide a flurry of motion when they play, like a fiddler or drummer. This is a good place to fine tune your skills as a photographer. And don’t forget to watch the audience for more movement in your photos.
- “Every reflection is like an abstract painting.” Sieg reminds us that there is beautiful movement in the flow of water that shouldn’t be overlooked, even when it’s reflecting another object or simply colour. Add in the element of a bird or other object and you can introduce yet another magical element.
- Of course rodeos brings lots of activity. Some pointers to remember are to have all four feet of the horse off the ground for great motion. A cowboy hat that’s come off the rider’s head is another great way to bring in movement. And yes, water and mud on the ground also provide a fantastic way to show movement.
- Once you get to know how a certain sports game plays out, you can intuitively know the next progression of events. And if you’re correct in your hunch, you can be focused on the right area at the right moment and freeze a great motion moment. Catching that moment of conflict or contact will be a breeze.
- With races, whether people or animals, Sieg’s favourite spot is just after the first curve around the track. This is where you have the most action as they come around the corner in a fury.
- You can also merge four shots to create motion. Whether birds in flight or kids jumping off a wall, this composite shot can show motion in a clear and crisp manner.
Truly it was a pleasure to share in Sieg’s passion of motion photography. I know I have been inspired to pump up that shutter speed more.
Sieg, we wish you all the best with your new adventures in Calgary.
Doug Poon showed some of us what kite flying was all about. The names under the photos are all in sequence and depict Doug at his best. At the end of the day, we all knew that Doug had enjoyed himself tremendously. Richard Gagne, Allan Gosling and Don Durand were also in attendance at the event.
Hard at Work
Alls Under Control
Do I Hear Cheers
A Successful Day