The Genesis Connection

A Newsletter for Through the Lens Photography Club

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

July 2013 Edition

This Month's Meeting: July 9th at 7:00 PM Gateway Church of the Nazarene

Summer is in full swing - although it sure took its time in getting here. For most of us, things have calmed down just a bit (the kids' ball games are likely over by now) and the hot summer days are bringing out the "lazy" in you. Summer is the time for family and picnics with fried chicken, fishing or relaxing under a shade tree, watching fireworks or catching fireflies. For many, vacation is over; for others the anticipation of its arrival is hovering near. No matter where you are, now is the time to do something just for YOU...time to do something you love...something like taking pictures of the world around you. I hope you will find the time to get your camera out and capture those summertime memories.

You Missed Out!

If you were not able to attend our June meeting, you missed out on a great adventure! I put our detective skills to the test by creating a series of clues that lead to specific places or objects in the city. Once all the clues were deciphered (and, of course, photographed) we closed the meeting with some tasty ice cream from Frosty Udder. It was a fun night for all!

Photographer of the Month

Ann Fender

Ann has been a vital part of Through the Lens Photography Club since its inception. After retiring from years of teaching in a special education classroom, Ann now has the free time to travel and explore. Many of her photos are taken from the seat of her car (hopefully while someone else is driving!) and from the air. She is very modest when it comes to her photography, yet her work speaks volumes. I have seen dramatic improvement in her work. This is especially evident in her 365 Project. She calls herself a "work in progress" and it definitely shows as her photos keep getting better and better. Keep up the great work, Ann! We love seeing the world through your lens!

Ideas to Inspire You

Lens Lessons: Photography Tips & Tricks

15 Tips for Successful Fireworks Photography

With summer's long-awaited arrival and different celebrations going on all around us you may have the opportunity to photograph some pretty cool fireworks. Capturing a fireworks display is not as easy as it may seem though, so here are a few tips to help you successfully photograph fireworks.

The biggest thing to remember is that it’s all about practice, experimentation, and the following mantra "Shoot - Review - Adjust - Repeat."

#1 Use a tripod and remote to fire the camera. Also, bring along and extra battery as long exposures tent to use them up quickly.

#2 Set your ISO low like 100 or 200. The higher the ISO you use, the more noise you’ll introduce into your images, so keep it low to prevent that. Noise also lives in blue areas of images and nighttime has a lot of blue so that compounds the issue. Long exposures also tend to increase noise so if you add it all up you get a lot of noise. Keeping the ISO low eliminates that variable.

#3 Turn OFF long exposure noise reduction. This setting, while it does a really good job of noise reduction, adds an extra complication you don’t need when doing photography of fireworks. The way it works is that if you take say a 10 second exposure, it takes a second one of equal length but just black (the shutter doesn’t open). Then it merges the two together and blends the blank one into the shadow areas of the first one which is where noise typically shows the most. The problem is that fireworks happen so fast you don’t want to have to wait 10 seconds to be able to see your image, make any adjustments and shoot again. I did this once my accident and it was very frustrating and I missed most of the show and did not get the results I wanted because I couldn’t review and correct.

#4 Do NOT use live view if your camera has it. This will eat up your battery really fast. Live view is really for shooting video and using the display screen so much uses a lot of power, as does making long exposures. Save your battery for actually shooting and set up your shot using the eyecup viewfinder.

#5 Set your camera on Manual for exposure and set your aperture to f 5.6 or f 8. Those apertures are pretty optimal for fireworks as the light streaks are controlled by the size of the aperture. Closing down more will make the light trails thinner, opening up more will make them wider and possibly too over exposed.

#6 Set your shutter speed to between two and ten seconds. Do a test shot before the show starts and see if the sky is too dark or too bright and adjust the exposure time accordingly. As long as you’re under 30 seconds you can let the camera time the shots for you. Or you can switch to Bulb and just open and close manually when you feel you’ve captured enough bursts in one image.

#7 Focus your lens ahead of time, and then turn off AF otherwise the camera will keep trying to refocus every shot and you may end up with missed images or blurry fireworks if the camera misses. Assuming you’re a fair distance away from the fireworks you shouldn’t have to refocus at all unless you change your angle of view or want to focus somewhere else, like the people in front of you.

#8 Use a neutral density filter to get a longer exposure if need be. If it’s not 100% dark out yet it (the sky still has some light) this will allow you to get a longer exposure and make sure the fireworks bursts have a nice arch. If your exposure is too short you’ll end up with short stubby looking bursts, not the nice umbrella shaped ones. If yours are too short, just make the exposure time longer. If you are getting too many bursts in one shot and it’s coming out over exposed, shorten the exposure time. Using the ND filter if it IS dark will also allow you to shoot longer exposures and capture more bursts per image. Play with that and try it with and without the filter if you have one. A polarizing filter will work to a lesser degree also.

#9 Shoot most of your shots at the start of the show to avoid the smoke/haze that appears a bit later. Eventually the sky will be filled with smoke and it’s not as pretty looking.

#10 Scout your location ahead of time and get there early to get a good spot, think about background (what’s behind the show) and if you want the people around and in front of you as part of the shot. In general the good viewing areas fill up sometimes 1-2 hours prior to the fireworks show. If you want a good spot with enough room for you and your tripod, go early and take a good book or something to entertain you while you wait.

#11 Make sure you leave enough room in your frame to anticipate the height of the opened bursts. Adjust as necessary if you miss on the first shot - it's a lot of trial and error and correcting. It's often hard to tell where the highest fireworks will end up in the sky, so you may want to try both horizontal and vertical compositions.

#12 It takes a bit of practice to time your shots when you hear the fireworks being released, so ideally you capture a few bursts. Do some testing to see how many bursts is just right for your taste. Try some with more, and some with less. Having too many may overexpose the overall image, so keep that in mind.

#13 Shoot into the eastern sky not facing west, if you want a darker sky. Try and find a vantage point that has you facing east when possible.

#14 Try some telephoto shots as well as the usual wide angle ones. Try close-ups zoomed in tighter for something more abstract. For this you will to aim basically into thin air and try to anticipate where the bursts will open.

#15 If you have a zoom lens, try zooming during the exposure and see what you get! If you're going to try this, make sure you have focused at the most zoomed in point of the lens. Try different techniques including counting 1/2 the exposure before you zoom, or zooming right away and the last 1/2 is zoomed out. Try zooming fast, then slow. Try more bursts or less. Get some city lights in the shot, too.

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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.

Coming in a close second to Digital Photography School, Digital Camera World is another favorite "Go-To Source" of mine. This site provides a wealth of information for every type of photography enthusiast. The site contains news, photography tips, help for beginners, tutorials, product reviews, videos, photo ideas, and a whole lot more. Just click on a link and you'll find yourself thirsting for more. Each of the articles is written in easy to understand language that even a beginner can understand.

If you have a Facebook account, I highly recommend that you "like" their FB page Digital Camera Magazine. The page is updated daily and draws your attention to their latest posts on the main website.

Along with a wealth of information and photographic examples, the site also contains a "Forum" where you will find discussion topics that might interest you.

Once you discover Digital Camera World, I'm certain you visit the site time and again. So be sure to check it out!!!!!


Next Month's Meeting

Tuesday, Aug. 13th 2013 at 7-9pm

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!