A Newsletter for Through the Lens Photography Club

The Genesis Connection

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

January 2014 Edition

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

Well, 2013 has come and gone, and a new year is already in full swing. I'm discovering that the older I get, the quicker time flies. It is during these times that I have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy each day - one at a time. Matthew 6: 34 reminds us "Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Easier said than done, I know. But as our faith builds, so too does our ability to take one day at a time. I pray you will take this verse to heart throughout 2014.

Not only has another busy year come and gone, but Through the Lens Photography Club is having its 2nd birthday. It hardly seems possible that two years of club meetings have taken place. I am so blessed to have made such amazing friends through the one thing that has stolen my passion --- photography. I thank God for each of you and value your friendship more than words can say.

Baby It's Cold Outside!

The Farmer's Almanac got it right once again! The almanac predicted a colder than usual winter this year and so far COLD is all we've seen! (and for those who do not know this fact about me...I HATE cold!) But don't let the cold winter air stop you from shooting some amazing photos!

There are, however, some very important factors you need to consider when shooting out in the cold. To enlighten you, I've included an article I found on the New York Institute of Photography's website in this publication. I hope you will find some new information to help with your winter photography.

Lens Lessons: Photography Tips & Tricks

Winter Photography Tips

No matter if you're traversing glaciers, skiing the slopes, sledding with the kids, or just trying to capture that first snowfall of the season there are some winter photography basics to keep in mind in order to get great winter pictures with your digital camera.

Be Prepared

The first thing you need to consider when shooting outdoors in the winter (or at least, in snow conditions) is the temperature. Sure, you're all bundled up, but what about your camera? The batteries in your digital camera don't react well to the cold, it reduces their output. That's why your mom always kept new batteries in the fridge, right? Keep your camera warm by carrying it under your coat, as close to your body's warmth as possible. And carry extra sets of batteries in a warm place too. I kept two extra sets of batteries stashed in my pants pockets anytime I took my camera out. I'd rotate the batteries to give them a chance to warm up again. Cold batteries act like dead batteries.

Don't be Snow Blind

Once you get past dealing with the cold, taking winter photos is a piece of cake, right? Nope. You've got all that shiny white stuff to deal with in winter photography. Snow presents all kinds of problems to the digital photographer. If you just "meter the scene" your camera's built-in light meter will read all that snow as an 18% gray tone. The snow will look gray and everything else in the picture darker than the snow will look black. A general rule of thumb is to compensate for the brightness by opening up one or two stops or over-exposing, to let in more light. If your camera has automatic exposure compensation try both a +1 and +2 and see which works best. Another solution, which we teach in the NYIP Complete Course in Professional Photography is to set exposure using a gray card.

Of course if you're trying to photograph the people in that snow scene and you use the above method, you run the risk of over-exposing them as well. You've got to choose which is the more important part of the subject, the people or the snow. If it's people you're after then the trick is to get right in their face (with your camera of course) and take a reading of the light that's hitting it. Set your camera accordingly and no matter where you shoot from you should have the proper exposure for the person's face. If you can't get a close-up reading, (for instance, someone zooming by on skis) take a reading of your own hand (minus the glove). As long as your skin tone and the amount of light is same as your subject's you should get an accurate exposure.

Timing is Everything

Another important digital photography tip for every photographer to know is that good lighting is the key to great pictures and the best time of day, lighting-wise when shooting outdoors is often early morning or late afternoon. That's especially true in snow. At a low angle the sun casts long shadows and adds contrast to your subject that otherwise might not be there if it were directly overhead. Knowing where the sun is in relation to your subject is important any time of day. Keep the sun at a right angle to your shot early or late in the day and behind you when it's high in the sky.

Winter Photography – Yes, it's All White, All Right

While the idea of capturing that pristine field of snow might sound appealing, it may lead to a boring photo. Look for objects that add color and contrast to your scene. Colorful ski clothes and dark contrasty shadows abound in winter. Use them to add emotional weight as well as interesting compositional devices to your pictures.

A Not Too Bright Suggestion

One of the things that I found most annoying on those cold days was not being able to compose my shot in the camera's LCD display. I just couldn't see because of all the glare. This was really a problem when I used a telephoto adapter attached to the camera and couldn't use the viewfinder. My camera had no way of attaching a hood to shade the screen, but I was able to get around the problem by calling on the photographer's (and the camper's) best friend: duct tape. I fashioned an improvised hood from the tape, just large enough to shade the display and allow me to see what it was I was shooting.

One last thing: When I was reviewing the photos I had taken, I was glad that I had decided to bracket many of the shots I had taken. While some of the images needed major color correcting in Photoshop, more times than not, I had some great raw material to work with right out of the camera. The key was taking a few different exposures whenever possible and deleting the files that were obviously over or under exposed but keeping all the rest.


Photographer of the Month

Melissa Douthart

Melissa has been an active member of Through the Lens Photography Club for about a year now. She is a quiet member, but an inspiring one. Her creative eye is evident in the composition of her photos. I love seeing the world through her lens because she always manages to find a new perspective - as evidenced by the photos in her Flickr photostream. At our last club meeting (December), I especially enjoyed watching Melissa set up and compose just the perfect bokeh shot. She obviously takes her work seriously and was quick to learn from her "mistakes" while trying to get the shot just right. Her passion for photography is just one small piece of what defines her though. Her love for Jesus shines through her life as well. If you haven't gotten to know her, you should! My life is richer because of her.

Ideas to Inspire You


365 Project

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.

After a year off, I've decided to give it a go once again. I challenge you to join me (and Shari) 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.

This month's go-to-source was introduced to me by my father. About five years ago my father, at the age of 74, got the unique opportunity to go on an African photography safari (can I just say that I was SO jealous but very excited for him!). The author of this go-to-source blog is Harsha Jreayawardena, from Mason City, Iowa. Harsha was my father's roommate on that trip and is now a life-long friend. He specializes in bird photographs and has some pretty amazing photos on his blog. Along with a beautiful assortment of photographs, Harsha includes tips and "how-to" tutorials he used to get these beautiful shots. I hope you will check out his work and learn from his experiences as a bird photographer. If you are into eagles, you'll love his eagle photos and tutorials! I have enough faith in my father to know that if he uses Harsha as a go-to-source, so shall I.


Next Month's Meeting

Tuesday, Feb. 11th 2014 at 7-8pm

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!