The Genesis Connection

A Newsletter for Through the Lens Photography Club

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

March 2014 Edition

I'm guessing that it is safe to say that most of us are sick of winter. I know I am! If I had a dollar for every time I told my husband "I hate winter!", I could quit my job and do photography full-time! I cannot remember ever having such a long, brutal winter. In my opinion, spring cannot get here fast enough! I'm thankful that I have photography as my outlet for making winter somewhat bearable. I've tried to capture as many beautiful winter shots as I can in spite of the cold. Imagine what life would be like without that avenue for survival. I do believe I would have gone stir-crazy.

But hope is on the horizon. The robins have returned, and the skies are filling with ducks and geese that fly south for the winter. The days are getting longer, the sun's rays are feeling warmer, and temperatures are bound to start getting higher. We may not see a lot of color now, but before we know it, sprouts of green will begin to appear and soon we'll see the first shoots of the crocus and daffodil. It may not happen this week or next, but is WILL happen. Hold on to that hope as we endure these last remaining days of winter.

Next year...I'm leaving with the robins.

Photography Workshop Opportunity

The Wappello County Conservation Board is offering a unique opportunity for photography enthusiasts on Saturday, April 5 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. The cost for this workshop is only $15. More information regarding the workshop is posted below. Shari and I will be attending, and we would like you to join us as well. Registration deadline is March 31st. To register, please send an email indicating your interest to the following address: Payment can be sent to: WCCB; ATTN Photography Workshop; 1339 Hwy 63; Bloomfield, IA 52537.

April 5 – Photography Workshop Info

Matt Wetrich, professional photographer, will be presenting from 9:00 am to 12:00 (noon) to show us how to produce photos more like those in magazines. The type of camera is not all there is to it. This is your chance to become the nature photographer you have always wanted to be and produce a picture worthy of winning the annual photo contest. We will take a look at what makes attractive compositions, lighting, subject matter, equipment and more. You will leave with a whole new perspective when you look through your camera as well as a cheat sheet card to stick in your camera bag. Registration is required by March 31.We must have a minimum of 10 registrants to hold this workshop. The cost is $15 per person. Bring your camera.

Lens Lessons: Photography Tips & Tricks

How to Create Great Photos Without Leaving Home

Have you ever looked at someone else's photography website or portfolio and found yourself envious of all the beautiful locations he/she has visited in order to take such amazing photos? I know I have. It is easy to fall into the trap of second-guessing your ability because of you don't have amazing landscapes to photograph or an abundance of interesting people to shoot. But you don't have to leave home to take great photos. Sometimes the best photos are the ones you create from the comfort of your own home. In the following article, Brian Barthel gives great tips for taking great photos without leaving home.


As a new photographer it is incredibly tempting to photograph everything, and that’s a good thing as it will help you understand where your true passion lies. However, I am a firm believer that early success leads to more success.

Let me say that again – early success leads to more success.

As a new photographer there is no better feeling than capturing a truly excellent photo; and if you’re anything like me, time is very limited. Luckily with a simple understanding of light, your home is a great place to create stunning photos.


While there are no “essentials” to creating great photos with available light from a window, I always use a tripod and would highly recommend one. However, if you do not have a tripod, you’ll need to raise the ISO to increase your shutter speed if you plan to hand-hold your camera. A generic rule of thumb is you’ll need a shutter speed of 1 divided by the focal length of your lens. For example, I used a 100mm lens for the tulip, and shot it at f/16 and an 8 second exposure. If I did not have a tripod, I would have had to increase the ISO (and realistically open the aperture as well) until I had a shutter speed of 1/100 (because I was using a 100mm lens) to keep the image sharp; but since I was making use of a tripod, an 8 second exposure was no problem.

There are endless opportunities for photography with available window light. Again, you could certainly hold your camera if you raised the ISO, but I would suggest the following as rough guidelines for photographing next to a window:

  • Use a tripod, or raise your ISO until the shutter speed is 1 / the focal length of your lens
  • If using a tripod, set your ISO as low as possible
  • Set your camera to manual mode and the aperture to around f/11, then adjust the exposure via shutter speed from there

For a clean seamless background grab a cheap piece or poster board from the school or office supply aisle at your favorite box store.

What do you do once you’re bored shooting next to the window, or want to learn something more? Stay at home of course!


There’s plenty of room to grow with your photography in the house. After all, what’s the underlying foundation of photography? Light! Even if you don’t have a flash you can still learn about lighting at home. Don’t have an off camera flash? No problem, I bet you have a flashlight!

I would take a photo, look at it on the camera’s LCD, and then adjust the angle of light from there. So what if I spent an abnormal amount of time in a dark bathroom by myself, and got strange looks from my wife. I learned a lot about how the position of the light effects the look of the photo, and made a cool photo!

Bottom line, you don’t need a flash to learn lighting and take a great photo, all you need is a dark room (very dark, as in no light at all) and a flashlight.


So what about flash? I think using flash in photos is the key to creating photos that stand out from the rest. If you have a speedlite or other hot shoe flash, the best thing you can do to take your photography to the next level is learn to use it. After that, the next best thing you can do is take it off the camera when you use it. Once you understand about positioning and light fall off, you’ll be able to manipulate the light in such a way that creates great photos right in the camera.

The point being here, and something you’ll learn either in due time, or right now as I tell you, all great photos have one thing in common: great light. Whether you use light from a window, a flash, or light from something as simple as a flashlight – there are numerous ways you can get great light right in the comfort of your own home.

Once you create one photo with great light at home, I guarantee you will be hooked! Best of luck to you, now go shoot!

reprinted from Digital Photography School's "How to Create Great Photos Without Leaving Home"

Photographer of the Month

Darren Blaha

Darren, and his counterpart Melissa Douthart, joined Through the Lens Photography Club a year or so ago and has been a valuable addition ever since. He is 31 years old and has lived in Oskaloosa for 7 years. Darren works as a mechanical engineer at Ajinomoto USA in Eddyville and attended Iowa State University. Photography provides an outlet for his creative side, and he really enjoys the blend of art, science and technology that photography provides. Darren has 2 dogs Reggie and Gunner, and besides photography, enjoys going to the gym, DIY projects including woodworking and carpentry,computers, drawing, traveling and cooking. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know him and Melissa better, and his input during club sessions is very valuable and insightful. If you haven't had the change to get to know Darren, make it a point to do so. He doesn't currently have a fancy camera, but takes some pretty amazing photos from his phone. You can check out his fabulous work on his Flickr page.

Ideas to Inspire You


365 Project - It's Not Too Late to Join Us!

Two years ago I embarked on a year-long journey that changed my photography life forever. I joined the 365 Project, an on-line community of photographers from around the world. For 365 days, I took a photo-a-day and posted it to this photo-journal website. It was a challenge, but talk about a learning experience! In looking at my photos from the first of the year and comparing them to my photos at the end of the year, I saw TREMENDOUS growth. I connected with several amazing photographers from around the world, learned from them, learned from their critiquing, and learned a little about myself in the process.

I learned so much in my first year that I decided to give it a go once again. I challenge you to join me (and Shari, Ann, David, Katina, and Lynn) in this endeavor. I promise you will not be disappointed. Your life as a photographer will never be the same again. It is a journey worth taking, and worth taking with your friends.

The Go-To-Source

Photographers who desire to improve their photography skills spend time studying the works of other photographers and "listening" to what they have to say. In an attempt to help you broaden your knowledge base, each month I will introduce you to some fantastic photography sites. I will post the links to these sites here. If you find a site you especially enjoy, be sure to bookmark it for future reference.

Like many of my previous go-to-sources, I stumbled upon this month's source entirely by accident. DIY Photography is a great source to find inspiration, reviews, tutorials, DIY projects, and information regarding gear. Each of the pages on this website are filled with ideas and info for any photographer. Take the DIY page for example: one look at that page and you find yourself wondering why you never thought of some of the DIY projects highlighted there. They are not only simple, but affordable. The site not only includes written tips and tutorials, it includes a lot of video tutorials as well. I will definitely find my way back to this site time and time again.


Next Month's Meeting

Tuesday, April 8th, 7-8:30pm

Gateway Church of the Nazarene, Oskaloosa, IA

Contact Info

Through the Lens Photography Club is a Christian-based photography club open to anyone aged 16 and over, living in the Oskaloosa and surrounding areas, with a passion for the art of photography. The aim of this ministry is to unite, in Christian fellowship, those who share an interest in capturing the beauty of God's creation through the art of photography, and to provide educational opportunities to promote and encourage the advancement of its members in the knowledge and practice of photography.

Remember to Bring Your Camera to Each Meeting!