Smoke Dancer: The Story Behind the Photo

By Lynne Rogers Harris

Smoke Dancer, a black-and-white photo by Lynne Rogers Harris

Smoke Dancer by Lynne Rogers Harris (f/8, 1/125, ISO 100)

I had been wanting to try my hand at shooting smoke as I had seen some really cool images. So, I bought some incense sticks, set up my black backdrop, used two flashes pointed at the smoke from the sides, and started shooting.

I learned quickly that too much of the flash was hitting the background but my setup just didn’t allow me any other options.

At any rate, I pulled the image into Photoshop and played a little and still wasn’t very happy with the result. I then “inverted” the colors and voila. Suddenly, to my eyes,
I saw a sketch of a dancer and fell in love with it. I hope you can see the dancer, too.

Time to Reflect: The Story Behind the Photo

By Terry Barnes

"Time to Reflect' sunset photograph of the National Memorial on the Murrah Federal Building site in Oklahoma City by Terry Barnes.

Time to Reflect by Terry Barnes (1/320, f/10, ISO 100)

This spring I learned the PhotoPills app can calculate the dates and times when the sun will be exactly centered down the east-west streets in New York City. I wondered if it could be done in Oklahoma City, specifically at the National Memorial.

The Memorial is located at the site of the former Murrah Federal Building. There is a block-long reflecting pool with “portals” on each end about 10-feet wide by 25- to 30-feet tall. I wanted to center myself on the east end of the pool and have the setting sun centered through the west portal with a reflection on the water.

PhotoPills gave me two possible evenings in September, so I entered the dates into my calendar and waited four months. On September 16, the clouds obstructed the sun, so I
only got a few planning shots.

I returned the next evening to a perfect sky. I set my camera to take a shot every 15 seconds, starting about 10 minutes prior to the “PhotoPills time” and continuing until the sun had crossed the portal. This picture was time stamped within a minute of the time the PhotoPills app had provided. What a smart app!

St. Olaf Stars: The Story Behind the Photo

By Bill Webb

Circular star trails behind St. Olaf Church; photo by Bill Webb

St. Olaf Stars by Bill Webb

This star trails image is a composite of 125 images taken using an intervalometer to trigger the camera every 16 seconds. The individual image exposures were 15 seconds long at f/2.8, ISO 1600, using a 14mm ultra-wide-angle lens. I positioned my camera to place the polar (North) star above the steeple.

Capturing the photos took about 30 minutes. In Photoshop I stacked the images to create the trails.

The light on the cemetery markers is caused by another photographer who turned on his car lights (a REAL no-no) while I was doing this. I have another version of this image that eliminated the lights (they were on for just two frames), but I kinda liked this one.

The location is St. Olaf Kirke (The Old Rock Church) in Cranfills Gap, Texas. Gates into the property are locked so you can’t just drive in.

Fuzzy Dice II: The Story Behind the Photo

By Darren Wiedman

Black-and-white photo of dice dancing on glass table top. Photo by Darren Wiedman

Fuzzy Dice II by Darren Wiedman

This shot was one of about three hundred that I took for our “Motion” competition many months ago.

One Saturday afternoon, to my wife’s delight, I spent several hours dropping dice on a glass table with my right hand while simultaneously pressing the shutter release cable with my left.

It took a while to get the lighting right and not have odd reflections on the glass. Timing was also a huge issue. I was trying to capture the dice in a way where some were still falling and others were bouncing back off the glass. But the dice would often ricochet out of the shot.

I included the wall in the background to give a sense of depth, but later I realized that the harsh line was a bit distracting. But it did help if one of the dice was crossing the line. That issue eliminated a lot of otherwise good images.

I wanted to give a sense of motion while still having the dice remain sharp, so I “dragged the shutter.” This is done by using a flash to freeze part of the action, while keeping the shutter open long enough to capture more of the subject with ambient light.

This was a lot of fun, and I could’ve done it much longer. But I ran out of daylight, and my wife ran out of patience.

Fuzzy Dice II by Darren Wiedman (f/4.5, 1/80, ISO 400, 78mm)

Just a Light Touch: Story Behind the Photo

By Bill Webb

photo of a great heron and its reflection in pond taken by Bill Webb

Just a Light Touch – by Bill Webb

 

This great heron was photographed at the Colleyville Nature Center as it flew above Angler’s Pond.

I had been watching this particular heron for quite a while and using it as practice for birds-in-flight photography.

I had come to recognize the signs that it would take flight, and I felt that it would fly over this pond and toward another one. That helped me anticipate where it would go.

Sure enough, almost on cue, it lifted off. With my shutter release set to continuous high-speed, 1/1600s, f/6.3 and ISO 1000, the camera clicked away, and I was able to capture the beauty of this heron’s flight as the wing tip barely grazed the surface of the pond.

I’m still practicing and learning how to capture birds in flight, and this is my favorite image so far in that quest.

Moon Over Cimarron Mountains: The Story Behind the Photo

tapc-2019-june-story-photo-2-Jay-Gosdin

By Jay Gosdin

Cimmaron Mountains at sunset photo by Jay Gosdin

Earlier Photo: This really shows that returning to the same location year after year produces new and exciting pictures and makes you more productive.

Both planning and luck come into play with landscape photos. This picture was one year in planning and shot outside of Ridgway, Colorado.

The previous year at the same exact time, I shot this at a different angle and won a ribbon at the club. (Photo at right)

One year later, I was not expecting the moon to be rising at the exact time of the sunset light on the distant Cimarron Mountains.

Getting the moon like this in camera without using a composite only occurs at rare times, thus, the luck in the picture. But I knew the strange maroon light on the mountains would be the same if shot at the same time of the year and at sunset.

Moon Over Cimarron Mountains by Jay Gosdin (f/11, 1/30, ISO 100, 100mm)

Patience Finally Pays Off: The Story Behind the Photo

By Jeanne Crockett

Patience Finally Pays Off photo by Jeanne Crockett

Patience Finally Pays Off by Jeanne Crockett

My passion for photography grew in my back yard, and the butterflies that come there have been one of my favorite subjects.

For years I have planted things specifically for the butterflies and have been able to photograph caterpillars and chrysalises as well as the adult butterflies. The one thing that eluded me was the moment a butterfly emerged from its chrysalis.

This fall there was a bumper crop of gulf fritillary chrysalises in my yard. At one point I counted 30! I determined that I would be there for the moment one of those butterflies emerged.

I spent several hours for a couple mornings cruising my back yard monitoring the chrysalises I knew about before this one began to emerge right in front of me. I was able to take pictures from the moment the chrysalis began to split until the butterfly flew away.

(f/10, 1/30, ISO 200, 105mm)