Monthly Archives: October 2014

Rutherford House Field Trip

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 peoruth2ple can let me know if they are coming I can let them know how many to expect.
  My email is:


October Submissions Night – Street, Hipshot, No looking through the lens

Another fine collection of photos was on display tonight. Ray kept the conversation going so we could all benefit from the feedback. We had some good discussions about settings and composition (and vignetting, which seemed to come up a lot)!

Everyone who submitted had a chance at three prize draws. We chose some great winning photos, including some from people who submitted for the first time! Winners – you are reminded to send your winning photos to Tamara at to be showcased in our Galleries tab.

1st – “Trust me you’re going to like it here” – Doug Petry
2nd – 124th Street – Barry Ryziuk
3rd – St. Albert Photowalk – Barry Ryziuk
3rd – Cuban Woman – Kelly Rombough
3rd – Hear the Music – Diana Gorski

1st – Venice Canal– Doug Petryk
2nd – Allstone Creek – Al Popil
3rd – Distant Travels – Catherine Page

1st – Look Into My Eyes – Barry Ryziuk
2nd – Down on the Corner, Out in the Street – Brent Bromilow
3rd – Between Flights – Catherine Page

Next month’s theme is “Opposites”.

Field trip to Aldon Auto in Lamont

Here is a group shot and a couple of others from our day at Aldon Auto in Lamont.  The club members that participated are making a donation of $84 to the charity “Haying in the ’30s”.  On the return trip, some us stopped at the bison compound and were able to get up close to a herd. Al Popil made a new friend, shown below, who even chewed on his shoe.
photo club junk yard

Aldon Auto

Aldon Auto

coyote chew tree


coyote scratchcoyote play dead

Wednesday’s Workshops

Hey everyone, here’s a reminder from Ralph about our club’s workshops for this coming Wednesday (October 15).

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Al’s Macro World

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.