Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Portraits from Digital Photography School

Christmas Portraits: How I Took It

Every Christmas I like to get the boys together and do a couple of quick snaps as their Christmas portrait.
IMG 6719a
It’s good to look back on and see how much they grow and change every year. When I say quick, I mean quick as they have been my test subjects for so long they get over photos very quickly, keeping kids attention during a portrait session is a whole different post all together!
This year I knew exactly what I wanted, but it was going to be a little challenging then normal. When I think of Christmas I think of decorations, but mainly Christmas lights, and what are Christmas lights good for? Bokeh! My 50mm 1.4 rarely comes off my camera these days, perfect for what I wanted to achieve in capturing some good bokeh.
IMG 6746a
So I found some old Christmas lights we weren’t using and set them up in the back yard, I had some colored lights hanging over our fence for the background of the shoot and also had some plain white lights in a circle on the ground for the boys to sit in for the shoot. Now as I wanted the lights to be the feature in the shoot, I had to expose for them first and foremost and for that to happen I had to wait for it to get darker if I wanted to shoot wide open.
IMG 6738a
But also in order to have the boys correctly exposed I needed my flash. Now when a flash is involved you are then limited in how fast you can set your shutter speed, any faster then 1/250th you will generally miss getting the flash as the shutter closes up again before the flash has any effect. When working with flashes and strobes I like to play it safe and set my shutter to 1/160th and set everything else accordingly. So with my shutter at 1/160th and aperture at 1.4, then the only other setting to adjust is ISO, which I was happy with the result I got setting it to 800.
IMG 6749a
Now everything is set, where to put the flash? I wanted a good silhouette around the boys as I like that look. So the flash needed to come from behind, so it sat on the ground behind the boys. And with the settings I had, it was easy for the flash to over power everything, so I had to set it to it’s lowest power setting possible. But with the flash giving the nice silhouette from behind I needed some sort of light source to light the boy’s faces, that’s when the wife comes in and holds my white reflector bouncing the light from the flash onto the boys faces, which I am very happy with the results.
So that’s the story behind a Christmassy shoot lit up by only Christmas lights, one speed lite and my boy’s smiles.
There is so many different ways to get creative with photography and you don’t need the latest and most fancy equipment, just learn the limits of what you have and maybe even push them.
Merry Christmas all!
Judd Green is a Photographer from Brisbane Australia. See more of his work

Monday, December 9, 2013

Today's Meeting - The Last for 2013

Hi Members, Another camera club year concluded today with our last meeting. We were looking at how to improve food pictures, we all do from time to time.
Diane took us through the points of Food Photography Tips
Then with the help of you, the members, we devised an approximate time table for next year's meetings. Not set in concrete and subject to changes as the dates get closer.

 Practical - Food Photography,
 Then members got down to hands-on photographing the various stations set up for that purpose

The lesson mentioned that some photographers use a light box to take their professional food shots. So Bill brought along his light box, he made especially for the lesson. The box simply consists of a cardboard box, painted white inside, with a curved white cardboard backing, lit by a OSRAM Daylight light bulb 18 W (Output 100W). The white walls and back reflect the light all around the inside, thus keeping shadows at a minimum.

The meeting over and most of us retired to the Springwood Coffee Club for a lunch and a bit of fellowship.

End of Term Lunch at the Coffee Club

Some had more fun than others

Well, that's it for the year. Hope to see most of you again in February.

The lesson notes are availavle on the right column of this blog. 

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the best for next Year.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Last Meeting - Monday 9 Dec 2013 - 11.00 at the Library

Hi members,

Get ready for the last meeting of the year. We'll start with the main topic, a lesson in Food Photography!

Then we'll sort out next year's program. Please tell us if you're researching or presenting a topic.

Then we'll get down to photograph some foods ourselves. We'll set up stations for you to practice on, so bring your cameras, lights, tripods and some foods to photograph, if you like.

Finally after the meeting at 1 o'clock, we have a booking at the Coffee Club for lunch, so please let us know if you're coming, so I can give them numbers.

Hope to see you all for this last meeting.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Today's Meeting

We had a packed meeting this morning, starting off with members' silhouette shots. We really have some talented photographers amongst us.

by Christine

by Kevin

The main topic, this morning was 'Creating Photo Books, presented by Wendy Allen. Wendy talked about one particular company she uses, namely The Photobook Club. They always have specials on offer.

Wendy showed us how to create a Photo Book
There are always specials on offer at The Photobook Club

And finally we discussed the future of the Logan U3A Camera Club.

Diane and Kathy led the Meeting

 In the absence of anyone coming forward to lead the club, it was decided that members would help in researching topics or subjects, help find guest speakers and come up with outing suggestions. Topics will then be presented by the member researching it, or by either Kathy or Diane.

Bill will continue to be the facillitator of the club, looking after attendances and the communication with members. Bill will also keep up with the Camera Club Blog.

At the next Meeting on the 9th December, our last meeting for the year, we will design a program for next year, so hopefully you, the members will be able to give us an indication of which topic or suggestion you have for next year..

This will be followed by our End of Year Lunch somewhere close.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Next Meeting, Monday 25 November, 11.00 AM - Logan North Library

Slide show of silhuette shots by members.

Sample from the internet
Then we have the Main Topic for the meeting. Photo Books, presented by member Wendy Allen

Sample from the internet

Then we'll have a discussion about the future direction of the Logan U3A Camera Club.

We hope to see a lot of members there for this event.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Today's Meeting

Hi members,

Again in Diane's absence, Kathy presented this week's topic Silhouette Photography

After the presentation, Kathy and Rosalind set up some figures for members to practice silhouette shots

Members had fun comparing and discussing their shots.

Once again, please email us your three silhouette pictures for the slideshow at the meeting on the 25th November.

Send to

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Next Meeting Monday 11 November - 11.00 - Logan North Library

Hi Members,

Diane is still away, so Kathy Roman will present the topic of 'Silhouette Photography' an increasingly popular photography subject.

Here are some samples:

Pic 1 by Carol-Ann Pickvance - MoMa New York and shows the connecting bridges across two separate galleries. It was shot using iPhone processed tilt shift generator. (Film processing App)
Pic 1
Pic 2 by Carol-Ann Pickvance - People at the Tate Modern in London
Pic 2
 Pic 3 - by Carol-Ann Pickvance - Your tutors in Ascona on the Lake Maggiore in southern Switzerland
Pic 3

But first we'll be starting with our slideshow of your pictures. We ask you to send us three pictures of any subject we've covered during this year. Pictures you would like the meeting to see.

I am going to Sydney on Friday morning and won't be back until late on Sunday night, so I need your photos before Thursday evening at the latest to be included in the slideshow.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Today's Meeting

Hi Members,

In Diane's absence, we had a guest presenter. John Rogers had organised Mark Meir of Andersons Camera Repairs. Mark explained to us how we should care for our cameras to avoid costly repairs, and a few things we shouldn't do, like put your lens cap in your pocket while you use the camera. Black plastic attracts dust particles which are then transferred to the lens when we put the cap back on.

Mark from Andersons tells the meeting how to treat our cameras

John Rogers had organised Mark to come and talk to us

We got to see the workings of a camera up close

After the coffee break, we viewed the slide show on monochrome images submitted by members. I apologise but the gremlins got into the system once again and I missed a few photos. These are now on the Photo blog for everyone to see. Click Here

 John then explained the intricacies of the Histogram and how we can use it to improve our photos.

The next meeting, still in Diane's absence will be conducted by Kathy Roman with the subject of Silhouette photography. Here are a few samples from the internet.

For the slideshow, we ask you to go through the photos you took this year and send us three you think are worth sharing with the group. Perhaps you could pick subjects we've discussed during the year.

Send them to and I'll give special attention to all to avoid another embarrassing moment.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Next Meeting Monday 28 October 11.00am Logan North Library

Hi Members,

Diane is in Los Angeles. John Rogers has kindly organised a guest speaker on a very interesting subject. Mark Meir of Andersons Camera Repairs will start off the meeting talking about camera maintenance and repairs. This is a subject dear to most of us as we all suffer glitches from time to time.

We hope to have a large number of members attending as Mark is a very busy man who has kindly agreed to donate his time to the club.

Then we have our slide show of black and white images, members have sent it, again we'll be seeing very interesting images. If you haven't already done so, please send me 3 of your best monochrome pictures., before Saturday night.

sample from the internet

Finally, John will explain to us how we can improve our photographs using the mysterious histogram.

Sounds like a great meeting, so hope to see many members.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Today's Meeting

Hi Members,

We saw some fabulous pictures submitted by members for our three slideshows this morning. After introducing our 3 newest members, Irene, Vivienne and Les, we started off with our first slideshow of  SFX photos. Here are some samples:

Then we showed the photos submitted following the Art in Aviation event at Heck airfield.

Our third slideshow was on the subject of flowers and plants following our visit to Roma Street Parklands recently
The lesson this morning was on Black and White photography. The lesson notes 'More Than Just 50 Shades of Grey' will be on this blog in a couple of days. We looked at ways of shooting B&W pictures by using the camera's setting or by post processing the images after we have taken them in colour. We looked briefly at NIK software Silver Efex Pro 2. The following three photos were processed using that software.

Paronella Park - Waterfall 1 by Bill
Paronella Park - Waterfall 2 by Bill
Paronella Park - Rain Forest by Bill
Now we all need to take some black and white shots for the next slide show on the 28th. Send us your three best shots.

As usual, send to before Saturday 27th please.