New(er) Year’s Resolutions

Many people have already given up on some of their new year’s resolutions. If that’s you, here are some new ideas to pursue instead. After all, why lose weight or quit smoking when you could be taking better pictures?

Photo by Daniel Cheung from Unsplash.com

Set a goal this year to win an award for your photography or to make money.

Start a photo blog. Look ahead to this year’s TAPC contest topics and start shooting (rather than pulling an old photo out of storage).

Take a road trip. There are many great photography destinations just a few hours away.

Stretch yourself. Try a new shooting technique or learn (and apply) something new in Photoshop or Lightroom.

Volunteer. Find a worthy cause looking for a free photographer.

Teach someone something about photography — often a great way to learn.
Start a personal project. Why not create something that has your signature all over it? Find something you have a passion for and give it your own personal spin.

Slow down. Take time to shoot the roses. What interesting subjects can you discover
on the way to your planned shoot?

Print more photos.

Photo by Daniel Cheung from Unsplash.com

Become a better critic. Now that we get to judge each other’s work every month for our People’s Choice awards, perhaps it’s time to get better at evaluating images. Review basic rules of composition and other aspects that are found in great photography. It will help yours.

Buy a new piece of gear. Or force yourself to use something you normally don’t.

Make time for photography. As the old saying goes: If it’s not scheduled, it’s not happening.
Whatever it is you want to do, put it on your calendar in advance. Then do it.

Take a field trip. Go online and soak up all the free articles and videos. If this newsletter is the only thing you read about photography, you are seriously missing out.

Photos by Daniel Cheung from Unsplash.com

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Vitruvian Park Field Trip – December 2018

Holiday Lights in Addison, Texas

December 11, 2018, gave us a beautiful but wind and chilly evening to shoot the holiday lights at Vitruvian Park in Addison, Texas. Here are a few shots from TAPC photographers who braved the cold and reaped the rewards.

Be sure you join us for a field trip this coming year.

Holiday lights Vitruvian Park TX photo by Nancy Abby

Photo by Nancy Abby

Holiday lights Vitruvian Park TX photo by Lynne Rogers Harris

Photo by Lynne Rogers Harris

Holiday lights Vitruvian Park TX photo by Nancy Abby

Photo by Nancy Abby

Holiday lights Vitruvian Park TX photo by Theresa Walker

Photo by Theresa Walker

Building a Winning Photograph: The Story Behind the Photo

There’s often more to creating a successful photograph than pressing a button. Here’s the story behind our holiday party print competition winner. (See 2nd place here.)

By Lana Macko

It was a beautiful fall day at my friend’s house at Possum Kingdom Lake. When I went into the guest room that I had been assigned for my girls’ weekend, I was immediately drawn to the open windows and the filmy curtains blowing in the breeze. Naturally, I started taking photos.

Photo by Lana Macko

Before photo by Lana Macko

When I got home I knew I wanted a large print but not something quite so “country” feeling. So using TAPC-member Jim Hamel’s amazing suggestions, I went to town with cloning. It was a cloning extravaganza to remove the bed and pictures and then replace part of the curtain, let me tell you. And then it looked too empty, so I added my Boston Terrier, Beanie. The finishing touch was a texture from Topaz Texture Effects.

Photo by Lana Macko

After photo by Lana Macko

On Guard: The Story Behind the Photo

Our holiday party print contest winner was Lana Macko (see post here), but the 2nd-place photo deserves a spot as well. So here’s the story behind this incredible shot.

On Guard photo of mama grizzy and baby on Katmai Peninsula, AK, by Norma Schafer

On Guard by Norma Schafer

By Norma Schafer

This picture was taken on the Katmai Peninsula south of Anchorage, Alaska, as part of a Grizzly Bear Viewing Photography tour. Our group included eight photographers plus a guide.

To reach our photography location, we waded across a creek wearing chest waders. On the first day in Geographic Harbor, we counted more than 20 bears feeding on the salmon within 100 yards of our location. We had several bears come as close as five or six feet from our group. But I was never afraid because the tour guide was extremely competent and made it clear what we needed to do to be safe.

This little cub caught my attention because she looked so sweet and dependent on her mom, who was obviously very protective. We shot the photos from a camera mounted on a tripod using a Nikon D7200 with an 80-400mm Nikon zoom lens.

Reunion Tower Field Trip – December 2018

TAPC Reunion Tower field trip DallasDallas, Texas

As say they, “If you want to take more interesting photographs, stand in front of more interesting things.” That also works if you stand above interesting things, like Dallas.

As you can see below, TAPC members got a lot of great shots at a recent field trip atop Reunion Tower in TAPC Reunion Tower field trip Dallasdowntown Dallas, too many to show them all here. See the Trinity Arts Photo Club Facebook page for more.

Thanks, Lynne Rogers, for providing photos of all who attended.

Dallas Texas downtown photo by Teresa Hughes

Photo by Teresa Hughes

Dallas Texas downtown photo by Janet Cunningham

Photo by Janet Cunningham

Dallas Texas downtown photo by Leanna Mendoza

Photo by Leanna Mendoza

Dallas Texas downtown photo by Nancy Abby

Photo by Nancy Abby

Dallas Texas downtown photo by Bruce Hutter

Photo by Bruce Hutter

 

Reflection: What Did You Do Right (and Wrong)?

Reflection

Baby, it’s cold outside, which makes it the perfect time to assess your photographs, figure out what you did right (and wrong), and set goals for 2019.

Review the “Rules”

Before you start evaluating the images you captured in 2018, think about what makes a great photo to begin with: the rule of thirds, symmetry, contrast, framing, etc. This exercise alone will help your future photographs.

Photo by Danica Liu from Unsplash.comReview your shots

Start with your favorites, i.e. the shots you did some post-processing on. If you made that effort, you must’ve thought the photo had some merit. But also take a look at your entire body of work. Analyze the duds to see what they lack. How’s the composition? Is it telling a story? Is there some contrast in color, or light, or subject matter? Are you shooting from an interesting angle or always at eye level?

Find your strengths

This can be difficult because we always tend to be our own worst critics. But you must be doing something right. Look for the things you always tend to nail. Then congratulate yourself for doing so well. You’ll need the ego boost for the next step.

Identify your weaknesses

Be ruthless or at least honest. It might help to take one aspect at a time. Review all the images just assessing the rule of thirds. Then go over them again to check focus. Then
contrast. Then look for distracting elements. Are interesting details too close to the edge? Where are the lines in the image leading your eye? Is your subject the brightest or sharpest part of the image? Remember, anything that doesn’t add to your composition is probably subtracting from it.

Ask another photographer

When reviewing a photograph, it’s easy to remember the original scene. You saw it in 3D, so your subconscious mind might be adding details that aren’t really there in the image.
Time alone has a way of helping with this, but getting a fresh pair of eyes to view your work will help you see the things that are missing.

Stay positive

If you’re new to this, you may find many issues to address. Don’t get discouraged. Everyone’s been there. Good photographers are just bad photographers who kept striving to improve.

Set some goals

They say the best goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound. So keep that in mind when creating yours. They also say that if you do anything 30 days in a row, it becomes a habit. That means 2019 gives you 12 chances to create 12 new habits. So, in January, take a new photo every day that contains something you normally overlook, say, leading lines. When the month is over, you should be seeing leading lines everywhere, even when you don’t have a camera. In February move on to the next thing. By December, you’ll be a master photographer, or at least a lot better than you are now.

After the Sprinkler: The Story Behind the Photo

By Janet Cunningham

After the Sprinkler, photograph by Janet Cunningham

After the Sprinkler by Janet Cunningham

After the sprinkler went off one morning, I noticed beautiful water droplets on my neighbor’s Gerber daisies. I wanted an unusual perspective, so I got down even with one of the flowers so I could capture the droplets sitting on top of the petals. Surprise…there was a flower behind the one I was photographing, and it was being reflected in the droplets!

I used a Sigma 105mm macro lens on a Canon 70D. Macro lenses have a shallow depth of field, so I took nine images focusing on nine different droplets, then combined the images in Photoshop.

To shoot these images I used a tripod, a cable release, and manual focus on the lens.

There are many tutorials on how to combine the images using the focus-stacking procedure. I found a Phlearn video helpful: “How To Do Focus Stacking in Photoshop.”