Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Photowalk Wrap-up


The photowalk this past Saturday was fun. Michael from the Photography Guild was there plus a few others that I recognized from our meetings. Of course there were new people to meet as well. Ken Toney was the walk's leader. I hope to be able to go out on more photography trips with some of the people I met.

The weather was hot and humid with a bit of the typical haze we have this time of year. Sunscreen, hats and lots of water were the order of the day.

We all kind of broke up in to separate, smaller groups and went in different directions. I saw that most people made it from Spartan Photo Center where we started to Main street. There was a mix-up at the place we were supposed to meet back up together, so we all met back at the store.

The photograph above is Spartanburg's only downtown "highrise" tower. Downtown is on a large hill and this building can be seen from miles around if you're in the right places.

Scott Kelby posted group photographs from a lot of the participating cities around the world on his blog. Our group is there in the post. Follow this link to the post and scroll down to the "S" cities and we are the Spartanburg, SC group. I'm not saying which one I am in the photo though. ;-)

I hope to do this again next year. Maybe it will be earlier in the morning or towards the evening when it is not so hot.

Keep shooting.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Carolina Gallery Photography Invitational Winners

Post is a bit late today. I just forgot about it.

Carolina Gallery has posted the images of the winners from it's photography contest that I posted about earlier. This is the contest where I placed third in the Color category.

Here is the link. If you don't see the photographs at first, then click on the "Photography Invitational" link on the left.

Congratulations to all of the winners. There were some outstanding images entered in the contest.

Keep shooting.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Photowalk Reminder

It has been hot and humid and not fit for man nor beast to go outside during the day around here. In other words, a typical Southern summer. Thank goodness we have air conditioning this year, because we didn't last summer.

Anyway, just a reminder that Scott Kelby's 3rd Annual Worldwide Photowalk is this Saturday, July 24th. There are still a few spaces in the Spartanburg, SC photowalk if you are interested in joining us. It should be a lot of fun and I hope to meet some new people who enjoy the hobby in the area as well I do. Hope to see ya there!

Keep shooting.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

The Carolina Gallery Photography Invitational

Poinsett Bridge in Autumn

The Carolina Gallery, a local art gallery here in Spartanburg, held a photography contest recently. Last night was the opening reception for the gallery's show of the contest participants' entries. The show is scheduled to run from last night through August 4th.

The contest had two categories: Color and Black & White. More than 150 photographs were on display last night. Styles ran the entire gauntlet of photography from landscapes to fashion, from realistic to ultra-stylized. I was really impressed with the variety of images selected for the show. There are a lot of really good photographers who entered the contest from the local area, North Carolina, and even Georgia.

More after the jump.

Furman Lake at Twilight

You may recognize the two photographs that I posted today. I've posted them here before and these photographs were my entries in the competition. It was the first photography contest that I have entered and I wasn't really sure what to expect. As I said, there were lots of great images in the contest and such things always come down to the opinion of someone that you don't know. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that my Poinsett Bridge image was named the Third Place winner in the Color category.

I wasn't able to sleep very much last night for some reason. It wasn't as if I was jumping up and down all night. I was just too happy to be able to go to sleep. Maybe there is something in this photography stuff for me after all? My mind was spinning with the possibilities.

If you are in or passing through the Spartanburg area between now and August 4th, then stop by Carolina Gallery downtown. The photography show is on the third floor, but the other two floors are also filled with paintings, sculptures and local crafts you may also enjoy viewing.

Keep shooting.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Big Ball in the Sky!

Big Ball

When you are photographing using long shutter speeds, you can do things that you normally try to avoid doing in order to get some interesting effects. Usually, you try to keep the camera nice and still on the tripod so that you don't get a blurring image. However, if you are deliberate with your camera movements or adjustments, then you can get effects like the one above. This was taken by zooming my lens while the shutter was open. This caused the streaks streaming into the building as well as changing the apparent depth between the building and the fireworks. In this case it made the fireworks appear as a big ball and as though the fireworks were launched from in front of the building rather than from behind it.

Breaking the "rules" of photography can result in interesting images so long as you understand what you are changing and are careful with how you make those changes.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010



Photographing fireworks really is not too hard. In order to get the streaks as you see in this shot, you have to use a long shutter speed. This particular photograph was around 3 to 4 seconds long. Because the shutter speed is so long, you need to secure the camera which generally means using a tripod. I also use a cable release remote to trigger the shutter to further minimize any camera vibrations which could affect the image.

I set my camera in Manual mode (that is not as scary as most people thing it is) with the Aperture set to between f/5.7 to f/11 depending on how much I want in focus. Then I place the shutter speed in the "Bulb" setting. This allows me to hold the shutter open for as long as I want. While shooting fireworks, I try to open the shutter when I see the rocket streamers going up, and keep it open until the final bloom is finished. I will use the image on the LCD to gauge the exposure and adjust how long I keep the shutter open.

Holding the shutter open longer will capture more movement and more fireworks in a single frame. However, you can over expose the image if you keep the shutter open too long. In the end, it really just matters what you want to capture and what you want the images to look like. I don't even have may eye to the viewfinder for fireworks except for the initial framing. Once you have the camera set on your tripod, your framing won't change too much unless you really want to try different angles. Live View can be very useful in this situation as well which I did use a few times.

Photographing fireworks is one of those times when you can really play around with the camera and get some neat effects.

Keep shooting.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Red, White & Boom!

Fireworks over the Chapman Cultural Center

Our club meeting on July 3, was a big success. We had close to forty photographers present some of whom also brought their family. There was a meeting prior to the fireworks show to discuss how to photograph fireworks. Mike at Spartan Photo Center also had some "games" where he gave away some stuff. I got a small Nikon badged, Victorinox Swiss Army pocket knife, a National Geographic belt pouch, and a coupon for a free filter. We were set up right across from the Chapman Cultural Center in downtown Spartanburg which was great because the fireworks were launched from directly behind the center. Here is a slide show of my favorite shots from the evening. I'll post in more detail about some of them later this week.

Keep shooting.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th of July

Thunderbird History

This weekend is the 4th of July here in the US when we celebrate the nation's birth. I am planning on going to Spartanburg's fireworks show this year. We'll be having a photography club meeting just before the fireworks, and should have a good position for the show.

I have recently found a couple of websites / blogs I would like to point out.

First is Stuck in Customs. It is Trey Ratcliff's site which focuses on HDR (high-dynamic range imagery). Lot's of great photographs and tutorials on his site.

Next is another HDR centric site, but with something a twist due to current events. High Dynamic Range Imaging is Michael James' blog where it reviews HDR software, compares various cameras and equipment in regards to HDR usage. He is an architectural / real estate photograph on Florida's Gulf coast. This is the little twist I mentioned. Some of his recent posts detail how his business has been affected by the BP Oil Spill and how he has had to change his business to compensate for it.

Finally, a non-photography related site that I find really fascinating. I am a long time sci-fi reader and fan. Recently, I discovered Frederik Pohl's blog The Way the Future Blogs. Mr. Polh is one of the "old school" of sci-fi masters who has influenced a lot of today's writers, readers, and scientists. His blog features glimpses into science fiction's past with his memories of other writers he has known over the years. His insights in the the likes of Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clark, and Issac Asimov provide a unique look into the past of some of the people who have had profound influence on the science, fiction, and culture of today's world.

Have a safe and happy forth.

Keep shooting.

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