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May 2010 Newsletter

May 10th- 6:30-8:00 pm
South Montgomery County Community Center
2235 Lake Robbins Road
Speaker - Kathy Adams Clark - Macro Photography

Mercer Arboretum
Photo by Doug Wilson

I hope everyone has been enjoying the great weather and getting lots of opportunities to shoot photos while enjoying the outdoors. We have some interesting programs, instructive workshops, and fun field trips planned over the next few months that we hope will give many of our members - new & old - a chance to interact and learn from each other. You will get the most out of your club by participating in these events. Turnout has been rather low at recent field trips, so let your Board know if there are events we can plan or things we can do to generate more interest. Lets pack the meeting room for Kathy Adams Clark's presentation on Macro Photography on May 10! We also have a few slots still available for her June 19 Macro workshop - sign up now or at the meeting. You will be able to use your new skills right away for the July mini contest and the Fall contest. See you on May 10!

Don Rueter

Photography Tip -
The Camera Feature You Should Not Use (If Possible)

by Max Bachrach

You know that flash on the top of your camera?  Don't use it!  Well, not unless it's so dark that you don't have a choice.  If you look through some of your old photos, it will be readily apparent which ones were taken with an on-camera flash:  the light is flat and unflattering.  Some people's faces may be overexposed, others' underexposed, and the background typically a dark brown mass.  The pictures might be of some people and places you would like to remember, but they are often something you would not want to put on a wall.  And it doesn't matter if the camera was a cheap point-and-shoot or a more expensive SLR.  The simple fact of the matter is that pictures look a lot better if their subjects are lit from a source coming from somewhere other than the camera.

Last meeting, Houston photographer Robert Seale showed us a lot of pictures he took using off-camera lighting equipment that few of us have and many of us can't afford.  The presentation was a lot of fun, and there were some really cool shots.  But you don't need fancy gear to take a great picture. 

First, if there is sufficient light, turn off your flash.  Most point-and-shoot cameras (and SLRs in automatic mode) automatically fire the flash when the metered light is below a certain level.  But most also allow you to turn this feature off.  You'll often find that you get much better pictures if you turn off the automatic flash.  Granted, they might have more noise that what you'd otherwise get, but the tradeoff can be a good one.

Second, if there is a source of natural light in a room, such as a window, ask your subject to stand next to it.  If you stand next to the wall while taking the picture, chances are you'll get a great shot.  Try moving around to get shots from a few different angles.  And if your camera has different metering modes (e.g., spot, evaluative), try spot metering on the bright part of the subject for a more dramatic photo. 

Finally, if your camera allows you to use an external flash, try putting that flash on a tripod off to one side of the subject.  Depending on your equipment, this can be a lot more cumbersome than just using the on-camera flash, but if you have the time (and a willing subject) the effort will be worth it.  But even if you don't have an external flash, a bright lamp placed near the subject can also yield great results.  For the best color, remember to adjust your white balance (e.g., light bulb setting if you use a typical tungsten lamp; outside setting if you use window light as your primary source). 

You can find lots of lighting and portrait tips on the web, but like most other things in life, I've found that the best way to learn is to just take lots of pictures and try something new whenever possible.

Why Enter a Mini-Contest?

Some have asked about low participation in our monthly mini-contests. Some have responded - "Why should I enter the WPC mini-contest?" "I am a fairly new member and I am just learning photography." "I'd never win, only those with more experience and skill than I will win." That is an unfortunate response since most join a club for the love of photography and desire to improve one's skills. The WPC monthly mini-contest is designed to do just that. It gives everyone an assignment, an excuse to go out, shoot and do something creative. There are no prizes, no certificates, just a simple sense of accomplishment for the effort. The best way to learn anything or get better at something is to try and fail, try some more, fail some more and eventually learn from past mistakes and then to improve and finally to excel. This is a great lesson, not only for photography skills but also in life.

Mini-Contest information is published in our monthly newsletter and also on the club's website.

Austin Photo Expo
May 15 & 16

This is Austin's largest gathering of photographic manufacturers in one place for two days only.
Check out the expo demo floor for all the new cameras, lenses, and accessories. Representatives
will be on hand to explain how their products work best for you.

And don't miss out on the FREE lectures. Each lecture should cost you at least $30, but this week-end all of them are free.

For more information please visit - http://www.austinphotoexpo.com/

Field Trip Information

May 22nd,2010
Noon to 2pm
9043 County Road 204, Plantersville, TX 77363
Cost - $15

We will be able to taste, tour, and photograph at our leisure from Noon till 2pm. Tripods are allowed and the winery is interested in our photographs for their use if anyone is interested in donating their best shots.

To sign up for upcoming field trips contact Doug Wilson


Macro Workshop
June 19th, 2010
South Montgomery County Community Center

Join Kathy Adams Clark for a day long, hands on Macro Workshop. A variety of work stations be set-up around the room. Some subjects will be supplied, but participants are encouraged to bring flowers, scarves, and small objects. All participants need to have a camera with adjustable f/stop and shutter speed along with a tripod. Additional equipment such as a flash, reflector, release/remote release, close-up diopter, and/or extension tubes make the workshop a lot more fun. Please bring camera manual, flash manual and extra batteries to the workshop. A $35 fee is payable in advance. Participation is limited to the first 20 paid WPC members only.

To sign up or for further information on field trips please contact: David Meine

Welcome New Members

Sonia Mazur, Dena Brewster, Alison Zimlich, Ping Sui ,Rodrigo Campos, Desiree Gonzalez


Doors and Windows

Digital or Print Photos (8x10) Please submit you pictures to Barry Dolton. The photos need to be resized to 1024x768 and submitted Friday prior to the meeting. There is a limit of 2 photos per person.

Members Slide Show

Have you been someplace interesting or just gotten some great shots? Each month a portion of the meeting will be devoted to seeing and talking about the creative experiences of our membership. Please share your shots with members by participating in members slide show. Submit your photos (limit 5) to Mike Guidry by the Friday prior to the monthly meetings.
All members are welcome to attend board meetings which are held from 6:30-8:00pm the last Wednesday of each month at Cafe Express in The Woodlands. For a complete listing and contact information of current board members please visit our website.

Club's Website