July is here!

Fireworks are one of the first things that come to mind when I think of Independence Day.  This year Hudson’s fireworks display will be at Lakefront Park on Sunday, July 2, at dusk.  It will cap off the Booster Days festivities that includes live music, a beer garden, carnival rides, and a parade and more.   Stillwater’s fireworks display will be on Tuesday, the 4th,  beginning at dusk (around 10:00 pm).

Shooting Fireworks

Here is a shot I got a couple years ago at Lakefront Park.  Fireworks are so bright that you want to keep the ISO low at 100.  Before the fireworks began, I focused on a distant spot at f/11 and put my camera on bulb mode.  When I heard the boom of the fireworks shooting skyward, I pressed the shutter release and held it, in this case, for 15 seconds.  Timing is everything and I’m happy to get one or two keepers.  (This was taken shortly after 10:00 pm, so apparently dusk in Hudson is at the same time as dusk in Stillwater!)  That’s my quick tip.

Everything you could possibly want to know about shooting fireworks is contained in this video by John Cornicello that he did for Creative Live.  It’s an hour long, but as I said, it includes everything, including making double exposures for getting more bang in one shot.

Important:  July Meeting Date

I’ll be making another blog post, but for now, please remember that we will be meeting on the second Wednesday, July 12, 6:30 pm, instead of July 5.

Calling All Creatives!

The Phipps is seeking submissions for the Members’ Spotlight.  Together, members of The Phipps are a creative network joined by the belief in the center’s mission to “celebrate the creative spirit.” All members are encouraged to share their unique creative talents in the 2017 Members’ Spotlight and connect with other members who have similar creative inclinations.

This year’s events include:

  • GALLERIES EXHIBIT | August 3-September 10
  • RECEPTION AND OPEN STAGE | Thursday, August 3, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • MEMBERS’ BASH | A ticketed event for ages 18+, Thursday, August 3, 8:00-10:00 p.m.

Submissions are being sought in any and all forms including photography.  Participants may submit one or two items to be shown in The Galleries exhibition

All participants must be at least 18 years old and a current member of The Phipps.  Not a member? Not a problem!  New members are encouraged to participate. Information about membership can be found by calling 715.386.2305, and donations may be enclosed with entry forms.  For more information, including a link for the entry forms, click hereEntry forms are due Friday, July 21.

 

Posted in Club Meeting Info, News

Photo Opportunities

Milky Way Photo Walk

Deer Park Milky Way

Yesterday we had a “new moon”, which means for a few days before and after, it’s a good time to capture the Milky Way.  We are still experiencing spring weather with lots of thunderstorms and rain, but according to the forecast, Monday night may be good.  If the skies are clear Bryan Leonard and I will go to one of our favorite places, the cemetery just south of Deer Park.  It’s a great place if you are just starting out, since it is relatively close to home.  It doesn’t compare to photos you can take in some of the national parks out west or along the Gunflint Trail, but I’ve been pretty satisfied with the images I’ve made closer to home.  Besides, it’s always fun to enjoy the wonder of the night sky and to do it with friends.  We need to wait until two hours after sunset to get a dark sky, so that means being on location by 10:30 or so.   If you are interested in joining us, please let me know by using the contact form and I’ll update you via email with more information as we get closer to clear skies.  Here is a Milky Way Primer that you can download.

 

 

Blooming Butterflies at Como Park

We go from capturing photos of our galaxy to capturing photos of some of the most beautiful small creatures, right here on earth.  I get the newsletter from Como Park and Conservatory but I didn’t take the plunge until Melissa Anderson gave me a nudge.  That’s one of the bonuses of belonging to this club!  Melissa and I visited the exhibit on its opening day, this past Tuesday.  I was overwhelmed with the number of butterflies and all the shooting opportunities.  I will go back soon.

Trip Tips

  • The conservatory and exhibit tent opens at 10:00 am. Get there at least 15 minutes early to get a good parking space.
  • Tripods are not allowed nor are backpacks.
  • Macro lenses are the way to go. I used a 180 mm macro to get in close, but many of the butterflies are only an arm’s length away.
  • For handheld, I used a higher ISO to guarantee a faster shutter speed.
  • Try to line up your shot so that the plane of the butterfly matches the plane of your camera.

Click this link or more information.  A donation of $3.00 is welcome. Continue reading »

Posted in News, Photowalks

June Special Mid-Month Meeting: Focus on Black and White

Michael Waterman

At the special meeting at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, June 14, Michael Waterman will demonstrate converting color photos to black and white.  Why black and white?  Let’s face it, some photos are all about color.  On the other hand black and white removes the distraction of color, making it easier for the viewer to appreciate form, values (lights and darks), and texture.  It is an art form deserving of study and practice.   It’s why I chose black and white as the assignment for the August salon.  Black and white is also a choice of many street photographers since it helps to focus on the story and also gives an aura of authenticity.

If you attended the May meeting you will remember that Alec Johnson was our judge.   Alec is a master of black and white and following the remarks on our images he made a presentation on the subject.  According to my notes, he had a few tips for us:

  • keep the scene simple
  • look for contrast
  • set a black point – (some really dark darks adds impact and carries the image)

For inspiration, check out one of Alec’s galleries here.

My heartfelt thanks to Michael Waterman for taking my place at this meeting.  Following his demonstration of black and white, he will also include a presentation of before and after simple improvements that can be made to images that will add impact.  And here is a before and after of one of his award-winning images in an N4C Black and White contest…a great illustration that answers the question, “why black and white?”

 

Posted in Club Meeting Info

June Meeting Information

What a great speaker we have coming up on June 7, 6:30 pm!  Dr. Mike Shaw will tell us “How to Plan and Execute Trophy Nightscapes and Time-Lapses”

Dr. Mike Shaw is “Your Nightscape Professor!” He is an award-winning night and nature photography book author, workshop leader and outreach educator based in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his B.S. from UC Berkeley, his M.S. from the Ohio State University, his Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara and completed a post-doctoral appointment at Cambridge University. Before his photography career took off, he worked as a physics and astronomy professor for over fifteen years, and an applied physics research scientist for over ten years. His research publications include topics in aerospace, electronics, biomaterials and renewable energy.

His new book, “The Complete Guide to Landscape Astrophotography –Understanding, Planning, Creating and Processing Nightscape Images,” Routledge/Focal Press. This groundbreaking work integrates astronomy, photography and planning methods to allow you to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment and knowledge to get your shot right the first time.

Mike has traveled with his camera to remote wilderness areas around the world. He is known for his friendly, down-to-earth teaching style and enjoys collaborating with others; he currently offers his online course, “Stars Trails and Night Photography,” through the Bryan Peterson School of Photography. His work has appeared on CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, Good Morning America, NASA, Minnesota Monthly, Destination Duluth, The World At Night (TWAN), PhotoPills, Space.com and in the US National Park Service.

Finally, you probably have seen his recent viral video, “Ice Bubbles,” shown on CNN,NBC, ABC and Good Morning America; and which has been viewed over a million times on CNN alone. You can view it again on his Facebook page.  And here is his website.

See you all then!

Posted in Club Meeting Info

Presidents, Pixels & Pines

The 61st annual N4C Convention will be held on Thursday September 21 to Sunday, September 24, 2017.  It will be hosted by the Black Hills Photography Club and will be in Rapid City, South Dakota.  I plan on attending and the only drawback is that there are so many great speakers and field trips that it will be hard to decide which ones to choose.  The great thing about the field trips is that they will be led by photographers who really know the area.  Let’s get a group together and go!

 

Quick Facts & Links

Posted in N4C, News

May 3 Meeting and Short Notice Photowalk

Photo by Alec Johnson

At the May 3 meeting, we will have a competition salon judged by Alec Johnson.  Alec is a fine art photographer, and has won national and international acclaim for his work.  He was Executive Producer and was Director of Photography for the documentary, “The Story of Winter:  Minnesota’s Most Iconic Season”.  He is widely known for being a dynamic and inspirational teacher, honing his teaching skills as a professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Saint Thomas and is a regular speaker and salon judge with Twin City area camera clubs.  I have always held Alec as a master of black and white photography and after the judging he will share a short program on the subject.  Here is where you can see Alec’s black and white photography on Lake Superior.  Everything he does has been touched with his unique style.

MN State Capitol Photo Walk

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Posted in Club Meeting Info, N4C, Photowalks

Coming Up!

Photography Basics

We will be having a very special meeting on Wednesday, April 19, 6:30 pm, with a couple of very special members.  Jeff Bucklew and Michael Huber will present a program, “Photography 101 Basics”, aimed at beginning photographers.  The digital camera can be a bit overwhelming for the beginner and even for those coming from years of using film cameras.  The goal of this program is to present the basics of digital photography for those moving beyond the traditional point-and-shoot cameras. There will be a cursory review of gear, settings, composition and light as well as post processing options. You will leave the class with a basic understanding of shutter speed, aperture and ISO and how to manipulate these to create a desired image. This program is a great first step in being able to use and see the camera as a tool that can help you capture your own artistic vision. Both Jeff and Michael are award-winning photographers.  You can see Jeff’s work at Seasons on St. Croix, right here in Hudson, and other galleries in Wisconsin, and on his web site.    Our club is familiar with some of Michael’s fabulous composites which is can be seen on his web site.

Save the Date!  Sign Up!

This week I met with Anastasia Shartin, Visual Arts Director at the Phipps, to firm up the details on our upcoming group exhibit.  The exhibit will begin on December 8, 2017, and will end on January, 14, 2018.  Our work will be on view in the Riverview Gallery, formerly known as the Commons Gallery, on the second floor.  A public reception for all the galleries will be held on Friday, December 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and the Phipps will provide punch and hors d’oeuvres.

This sounds like a long way off, but now is the time to start planning.  There will be a sign-up sheet at our meetings.

See you, soon, and enjoy the weekend!

Posted in Club Event, Club Meeting Info

Good-bye to March and Hello April

March was a busy month!  On Saturday, the 18th, we had a great turnout for the tabletop shoot.  Everyone had fun shooting flowers, creating reflections on black glass and playing with all the items I brought. In preparation for the day I had filled up my car with goodies but left my tripod home!  What kind of photographer does that?   The next day, Sunday, the 19th, we judged prints for N4C’s nature and black and white contests.  Thanks to Melissa Anderson, Naomi Belisle, Amanda Bierbaum, Betty Bryan, Steve Cole, Willie Gorham, Richard Hudson and Marilyn Rau for helping out.  With that many helpers we were able to have two sets of judges and were done in just a little over an hour.

Spring Break Wrap Up

Photo by Candiss DelCastillo

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Posted in Uncategorized

March Happenings

Photo by Michael Huber

John Gregor-March 1

March began with a bang, having John Gregor with us again on the first of the month.  I appreciate his simple approach to achieving his vision and his dedication to prints.  I am paraphrasing here, but what stuck with me was his statement about digital vs. prints: “Digital is temporary for places like Facebook, but prints are real.”  A print is an art form in itself.  To me, there is nothing better than holding a print in my hands.

Tabletop Hands-On Workshop-March 18

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Posted in Club Meeting Info, Meeting Summary, N4C, News

Upcoming Meeting and News

John Gregor Selfie

March 1 Meeting

At our March 1 meeting John Gregor will present his program “From Concept to Print”.  He will discuss the evolution of his recent work, his approach to the photographic medium, and how and why he does what he does. Over the last year he has transitioned from the traditional digital landscape photographer’s full frame DSLR camera to the Fujifilm X-T2 which features the smaller sized APS-C Xtrans sensor. He will take you through his entire process from capture to print and will discuss how and why he uses filters for his landscape images.  He will tell us why he chose the Fujifilm system, and he will discuss how his workflow has transitioned to the new mirrorless system.   He’ll also let us what he has liked and not liked about the new camera system. If you want to learn about a comprehensive photographic approach, or if you are considering a mirrorless system don’t miss this informative presentation.

John’s business is Coldsnap Photography where he leads nature and travel photography workshops, with his home base in Two Harbors, Minnesota.  This will be John’s second appearance at our club.  Last year’s program was “The Art of the Fine Art Print”, which was awesome.  I’m subscribed to his newsletter that comes out about once a month that includes information that interests me as a photographer.  He is also on Facebook.

As always, the meeting will begin at 6:30 pm in the River Room at the Phipps Center for the Arts.

Help Wanted!

On Sunday, March 19, at 2:00 pm, our club will be judging prints for N4C.  I expect there will be about 45 nature and black and white prints in total, so it shouldn’t take much more than an hour.  I could use three or four more people to help, mostly to record scores and comments and to handle the prints.  We will get started at 2:00 pm.  This is an opportunity to contribute that won’t take much of your time.  Please let me know if you can help.

Spring Break Program Update

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Posted in Club Meeting Info, N4C, News