We, and by we I mean my girlfriend and I, made it to the Fayetteville Arkansas square this year to see the lights. This first picture below was from last year. We were sitting in the car while it was pouring down rain and only managed to run under the awning once when it stopped for a brief moment. The second time we made it down it was so bitter cold that one could barely move. Yes, the first picture was from my camera phone with a neat little app called Instagram, but I seemed to enjoy the outcome. The rest of them are from this year when it was actually rather enjoyable. So, If you are ever in the NWA or Fayetteville Arkansas area, it is really a site to see. I would really recommend just driving through and having a look.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
How to Capture Thanksgiving with Your Camera
By NYIP Staff on April 27th, 2010Editor's note: This is the perfect year to put your photographic talents to work to make some family pictures for holiday gifts. This article is focused on the Thanksgiving dinner table shot and an outdoor family group portrait, but there's no reason you can't make a series of individual portraits of family members as well. You can try candid photographs, or pose people indoors near a window or other light source.
When the Pilgrims gathered in 1621 to give thanks for the blessing of the past year, the seeds of Thanksgiving were planted, and in 1789, President George Washington declared it a National Holiday. We've celebrated this uniquely American holiday every November since.
So much for history. What the day has come to mean for most of us is family gathering together over the traditional Thanksgiving dinner — turkey and all the trimmings. And that's the spirit you want to capture in your Thanksgiving photographs — the spirit of family and togetherness.
This is a wonderful opportunity for great family pictures. After all, this may be your only chance all year to photograph the entire family together from the newest baby to great grandmother. But if you want to transform your so-so snapshots into memorable Thanksgiving photographs for the family album, here are a few simple guidelines to follow.
The most important guideline is to know exactly what you want to be the subject of each picture. If it's Great Grandmother, when you look through the viewfinder make sure that she's the most important thing in the frame and try to eliminate anything that distracts from her. If the subject is the carved turkey, do the same for it.
The second key element to capture in your Thanksgiving photograph is the spirit of the occasion, and we have already defined the spirit of Thanksgiving as family and togetherness.
To capture that sense of family and togetherness, let's look in detail about how to set up two formal photographs — the "dining-room-table" shot and an outdoor family group portrait.
First, let's look at a basic "dining-room-table" shot. A picture of the carved turkey, by itself or with all the trimmings, is pretty dull. But you can add life to the photograph if you think of the classic Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting of the family gathered around the table as Father is poised to carve the turkey. That's the spirit you want to capture in your Thanksgiving photograph. And here's how you do it.
Position yourself and your camera at the far end of the table — directly opposite Dad (or Mom, or Uncle Bob, or whoever does the carving). Don't shoot from a seated level because the most important visible thing in your picture will be the clutter of dishes, silverware and napkins on the table and you don't want that.
What you do want to feature in your Thanksgiving photo are the family members, the elegant setting, and the turkey. So stand up. If possible (and you are steady on your feet) stand on a step stool. From this higher vantage you can get all the family in your picture, along with the turkey and the person poised to carve. That makes the people and the overall table setting the important subjects, not the dirty dishes.
Now don't make this a candid photo. Instead, direct everyone in what to do. Take one photo with them all holding up their glasses in a toast and looking toward the camera. Take another with everyone looking toward the about-to-be-carved turkey. Take one with them all talking to one another. And in every Thanksgiving photo, the "carver" be it Dad or Mom — should be holding the knife at the ready. Hint: Avoid catching people in the act of eating. They usually look awful.
Should you light this scene? If you camera has flash, use it. But the problem with built-in flash on many cameras is that it may be too weak to light up the far end of a long table. So, shoot some pictures without flash too, so that if the flash pictures are not well lit, the non-flash ones may be better. This way, you can take your choice. Another hint: For your non-flash shots, try to use a fast ISO, 400 or 800.
If you can't get everyone on your end of table in your shot, don't worry, you'll include everyone in the next formal picture, the family group photo.
Thanksgiving presents one other classic photo opportunity — a large group portrait. Since the extended family can amount to a small army that doesn't fit around one large table, get them all together for a special portrait. If additional friends and relatives will be dropping by for desert or an after-dinner cup of coffee, wait until they arrive as well.
Consider gathering the entire group outside, perhaps on the front porch. The key to a successful shot — the key to any successful group shot - is the way you arrange the subjects. Don't line them up like soldiers at attention. Rather, aim for a casual up-and-down arrangement. If the porch has steps, have some people sit on the steps, sit some on chairs above, have some stand while others lean against the railing. Don't forget the family pets (if they don't keep wandering away).
After you have everyone in place, check the scene in your viewfinder. Make sure you can see every face. If necessary, ask people to move closer together to close up any empty spaces. Remember, togetherness is the theme. Show this togetherness in your picture. Don't separate the family.
Since it's likely to be getting late in the day by the time you get everyone assembled after dinner, we suggest you use flash for this photograph so that everyone will be visible in the photograph.
Steady now. And we mean this. If you can use a tripod, do so. It's best for a large portrait. And, say something right before the shutter trips that will get them all smiling. "Say Cheese!" makes smiles look forced. Instead, we suggest having them say "Turkey." Try saying both words yourself. Feel the position of your lips and cheeks. "Cheese" leads to a smirk. "Turkey" (or as an alternative "honey" or "money") produces a smile.
Another good reason to use a tripod is so you can leave the camera in a set position if you need to step into the group to make some last minute adjustments in the pose. That way, you can help Aunt Molly move a little to her left, straighten little Joey's hat, and get the dog back into the photo without losing the framing that you've already established. And don't forget yourself. If your camera has a self-timer and it's on a tripod, you can hurry into the picture before the shutter clicks. If not, ask someone outside the family to snap the picture after you set it up.
Now the hard work is done. You've taken two great formal photographs that capture the spirit of Thanksgiving Day. Before you stop however, it's time to take some candids of the kids playing touch football, Uncle Max dozing on the sofa, and the "clean-up crew" at work in the kitchen. Here's a chance to concentrate on the individuals who make your family special and document the event. If you're feeling energetic, you could even shoot some family portraits.
But your Thanksgiving pictures should not end on Thanksgiving Day and be forgotten. Since family and togetherness is the theme, follow through. When you get back the prints, select the best ones and make prints. You can arrange to send copies to everyone in them — and don't forget to also send them to those who were invited but couldn't make it. If a picture is really good, consider sending blow-ups — 5x7 or 8x10.
There's no surer way to make yourself a hero in your family. Your Thanksgiving photo session can solve another holiday problem. Thanksgiving photos, slipped into a nice frame, can also make great Christmas presents.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Having lived in this area for about 3 years now, and have had some pretty brutal winters, we seemed to have skipped fall for the last few years. This year we actually got to make the transition from summer in fall, and somehow managed to keep winter on the back burner for awhile! This is probably the last nice weekend that we will have this year so I decided to take full advantage of it.
The picture above is rather out the ordinary for me...I does look rather off but I used a pretty cool bokeh brush I got from Brusheezy. I just needed to try something different. Sometimes I feel the need to step away from the ordinary light, the perfect settings, and the ordinary feel.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I would suppose that most would say that the time that they knew they wanted to be involved in the photographic process, was from the time that they first laid they eyes on their dad's Minolta. Well, my story is a bit different. Yes, my father had a Minolta, but it happen to be the most awkward pieces of equipment that I had ever used. It made its home in a worn brown leather bag that had an array of pockets, and several zippers that could barely hold it together. Oh, and you really can't forget that old shoulder strap that would squeak when you walked, and almost non existent hooks that held on to the bag for dear life.
Maybe it was some time in the transition from film to digital, or when the strap on the bag finally broke, or the frustration from carrying those endless amount of little black canisters that held the new rolls. I'm sure those are good for something.
I can't really pinpoint an exact day, all that I can say is that it happened over a period of time. I can distinctly remember my mother making several comments about her father never wanting to be photographed. To this day, I only have several photos to remember what he looked like. Oh, and might as well forget about trying to find a frame for them to go in, because I don't think it's possible. I think that for my junior or senior birthday present my parents got my first film Pentax camera, and I'm pretty sure if I looked long enough I would find it. I would just run just run around taking little snapshots of random things that I thought was interesting, just before I made my way to people. I stared taking pictures of family events, birthday parties, and moments where I thought I would be able to catch the most awkward situation. Then some time later I upgraded to a digital camera, and that might just be when this passion took hold. Of course, at that time I had no idea of the concept of photography, or what was better light, or how to pose. All that I knew way that I could get a really great picture, and all that I had to do was to keep erasing it until I liked it.
I remember sitting in my college counselor's office, being rather erratic because the only Photography 101 course only accepted about 20 people and it was full. BOOOO! So she directed me to a nearby technical school that offered a full blow degree. After thinking about this for a period of time, I decided that I would give it a try, and then at least. I might a good a use for this old brown camera bag. HA!
To make a long story short we got into the digital world, Photoshop, editing, and really began to learn how to "paint with light". I think that the rest is history, and that it has brought me where I am today. I suppose that it was the fascination of being able to stop a perfect moment in time, or the kind of emotion that you feel when you look at a 10 year old photograph of yourself, and think "why would anyone wear their hair like that!"
Just remember that each and everyone of us has a creative outlet. For some it is reading, and others it might be building something, or simply spending time with friends and family, but it is that creative outlet that eventually helps us ROAR!
And if you are curious, I took the above 2 photos with a point-and -shoot!
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
I have been toying with the idea of a photo project, but I haven't decided on what this should entail. I have read about dozens of photo projects that people try, but for the most part most of them seem out of my reach.
There is the ever popular 365 project: In all honesty this is a great idea, but I don not have the luxury of being able to carry a camera with me the entire day.
Then there is the 100 strangers project: The one where you approach 100 random strangers and ask if you can take a picture with them. Not really my idea of a good time, because most of them might be co-workers, and well that's usually all I see during the day.
Then you have the A-Z project: The only problem with this is that you either cram it all in at the beginning of your day, or you scramble to get it done by the end. (Oh, and please do share when you run into a zebra during your work day, usually when he is leaning up against the Xerox machine).
Rounding out is usually the photo that expresses some sort of emotion. (Catch me on a Monday, and I should find many sad faces)
After looking at each and every one of these I think that I will just try my own. Something that do not tend to interrupt the flow of my day! I will be sure to let you know how it turns out.
There did happen to be one called 52 walks, that I found very interesting. The only thing that this consisted of was taking a small walk once a week, and photographing interesting things that you see. This I can probably handle.
I think that I will just conclude to find some photo project that might be rather interesting, but does not seem to be such and interruption. Keep your eyes peeled, I post it here soon!
This is just a random pictures that I took several years ago during and snow storm that we had. It was just one of those moments where I thought that it might be something different, and out of the ordinary.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Please forgive me if I seem hooked on the Golden Oldies. There really is some modern country coming down the pipeline! In high school I could never work and listen to music at the same time, but now....I can't seem to work without it! So me question is what kind of music to you listen to?
This is rather late, but I did make it to the 2013 Bikes, Blues, and BBQ this year. This was only my second year going, but I had an absolute blast! Here is the info for next year: