Busy Saturday

I had a pretty busy day today. First I participated and did the group photos for my company's 5k walk at Bear Creek Park and then attended my friend's kid's first swim meet of the year. Fun stuff!


  • Camera | Nikon D90
  • Exposure | 1/1250  ~  Aperture | f/8
  • Focal Length | 100 mm  ~  ISO Speed | 200
  • Flash off – No Tripod 
  • Complete EXIF Data 
  • Post – LightRoom


Instagram shots from today -


“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” -Robert Capa

Worldwide Instameet–Houston

Yesterday I attended the Worldwide Instameet in Houston. The meet up was organized by Imelda Bettinger (@Imelda) and took place at Cafe Brasil. After introductions and lunch, Mario Hernandez (@iwasframed) raffled off a cool Instagram shot on canvas. Then it was off to explore the Midtown area to take photos. It was a very fun event!


Some of my shots -


All photos taken by the group


Additional Information/Links

League City Photography Meet Up – 05.05.11


The May 2011 League City Photography Meet up took place on 5/5/11. Below are my notes.


The Art Alliance of Clear Lake (TAACCL) is accepting "ready to hang' submissions. Deadline is 5/21/11.

Upcoming Events


Topic – Shutter Speed

David gave a great presentation on shutter speed.

Shutter speed is basically the amount of time the shutter is open.

Exposure Triangle - ISO > Shutter Speed > Aperture


A shutter speed below 1/60 makes it difficult to hand hold the camera - tripod becomes important.

For something like fireworks, you really need a tripod and a cable-release, so you can control the amount of time the shutter is open.

On a 70-300mm lens, you should not go under 1/300 for shutter speed.


Additional Information & Links

Photos from the Group



“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

2011 MS 150–Photos


I had been wanting to practice panning and motion blur shots, so at the last minute, I decided I wanted to photograph the MS 150 start on Saturday morning (4/16). The MS 150 is a charity bike ride for Multiple Sclerosis that goes from Houston to Austin over a two day period. Hundreds of people on bikes is definitely good practice for panning.



2011 MS 150 – Start –- on Picasa


“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” -Dorothea Lange

League City Photography Meet Up – 04.07.11

lcPhoto The April 2011 League City Photography Meet up took place on 4/7/11. Below are my notes.


Upcoming Events


Topic – What is Raw Mode?

David did a great job of summarizing a tutorial/article on using RAW. The below has been taken from this article on Luminous Landscape.

What is Raw Mode?

When a digital camera makes an exposure the imaging chip (whether it's CCD or CMOS) records the amount of light that has hit each pixel, or photo site. This is recorded as a voltage level. The camera's analog to digital circuitry now changes this analog voltage signal into a digital representation. Depending on the camera's circuitry either 12 or 14 bits of data are recorded. Incidentally, if the camera records 12 bits of data then each pixel can handle 4,096 brightness levels (2^12), and if 14 bit then it can record 16,384 different brightness levels (2^14). (To my knowledge no current imaging chip records a true 16 bits worth of data).

Of course what happens after you've taken the photograph depends on whether you have the camera set to save images to the memory card as raw files or JPGs.

If you've saved the file in raw mode when it is subsequently loaded into a raw conversion program and then saved to a TIFF or .PSD format file it can be exported in 16 bit mode. The 12 or 14 bits recorded by the camera are then spread over the full 16 bit workspace. If you've saved the file in-camera as a JPG than it is converted by the camera's software to 8 bit mode and you will only ever have 256 brightness levels to work with.

I took away from this that unless you are going straight to print or web, you should refrain from saving and re-saving to JPEG files. The tutorial contains quite a bit more information on using RAW files, so I suggest giving the entire article a read.


Additional Information & Links

Photos from the Group



"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” -Aaron Siskind

League City Photography Meet Up – 03.03.11


The March 2011 League City Photography Meet up took place on 3/3/11. Below are my notes.


Theme for March ‘11 is Circles and Squares.

Upcoming Events


Topic – Aperture

Mike did a great job defining and explaining Aperture. Below are the high points I took away.

    • Aperture is also known as a diaphragm
    • Standard aperture settings are f/1.8, 2.8, 3.5, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32
    • 1.8, 2.8, 3.5, 5.6 = "Isolation" apertures --> provides shallow Depth-of-Field
    • 8, 11 = "Who cares" apertures
    • 16, 22, 32 = "Story telling" apertures --> provides great Depth-of-Field
    • f/22 is the best for wide angle shots
    • The "sweet" spot is usually one stop down from wide open


Additional Information & Links

Photos from the Group



"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” -Aaron Siskind

RMSP Weekends - Day Two


I attended a weekend photography conference last weekend. This conference is called RMSP Weekends and it is put on by the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. I highly recommend checking it out if it comes to your area as I feel I learned a ton!

The sessions I attended for Day Two 

    • Composition – Designing a Great Photo
    • Photographing People
    • Critique Session

The notes I took

Composition: Designing A Great Photo

Instructor: Tony Rizzuto

When photography bugs (bees, butterflies, etc) - do so early in the morning, before they become active.

Bright tones are active (warm), Dark tones are passive (cool)

Eyes always need to be sharp

Fill the frame - move closer or zoom in

Focal Length

    • Wide angle - brings dominance to closer objects - makes a bumper look bigger to the boat in the background
    • Telephoto - subjects are compressed


    • Horizontal - restful, tranquil, grounding
    • Vertical - stable, static, powerful
    • Diagonal - active, feeling of depth
    • Intersecting
    • Leading Lines - active, leads viewers eye
    • Converging Lines - leads to something (railroad tracks)
    • S-Curves - elegant and calming
    • Arcs - graceful, make sure not to clip
    • Implied Lines
    • Shape - circle, square, triangle

An odd number of objects in a scene is better than even. (3 objects rather than 2 or 4)

Negative Space - area of the photo where your subject is not

Rule of Thirds - Left = comfort, Right = Tension


Power points

Balance - calming, easy to look at. Imbalance creates tension.

A-Symmetrical balance - equal weight, different places in the frame


Color - Red = active, Blue = calm

Recommended Photographers

Main goals of Composition

    • Create photos with a clarity of the subject
    • Think simplicity
    • Move the viewer through the image with intention
    • Keep your viewer in your photographs
    • Give your viewer a place to rest


Photographing People

Instructor: Tony Rizzuto

2 types of people photography

    • portrait
    • environmental portrait

Elements of a portrait - eyes, light, expression, background, fill frame, directness

Elements of an environmental portrait - quality of light, background, fill frame, clarity of idea/story

12-35mm wide-angle lens is ideal for an environmental portrait

50-100mm lens is ideal for a portrait

telephoto lens (70-300) - compresses space, so it takes in less background

RMSP Weekends - Day One


I attended a weekend photography conference last weekend. This conference is called RMSP Weekends and it is put on by the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. I highly recommend checking it out if it comes to your area as I feel I learned a ton!

The sessions I attended for Day One 

    • Understanding Exposure: Using the Zone System for Color
    • Workflow: Processing Your Images with Adobe® Lightroom®
    • Light: Creating Mood and Dimension
    • Keeping Your Photography Fresh

The notes I took

Understanding Exposure

Tim Cooper - Tim Cooper Photography

Reflected Meter

Middle Grey - Average Reflectance

Camera automatically turns white into a gray and black into a gray

Meter Types

    • Center-Weighted Meter
    • Partial Meter
    • Spot Meter
    • Evaluative/Matrix Meter (used in P-mode)

Exposure Meter is usually at the bottom or on the side of the frame

Auto-Bracketing (used for HDR)

Checking Exposure

    • Find average brightness
    • Zero out meter
    • Check highlights

Zone III - VII = 5 stops of latitude

Aperture priority mode - may need to use the exposure compensation dial in addition to all the normal setup. Need to try using Manual Mode as the norm



Processing Your Images With Adobe LightRoom

Tim Cooper - Tim Cooper Photography

Library Module

    • Loop Mode
    • Grid Mode


    • P - Pick
    • X - Reject

Library filter


Apply During Import

    • File Renaming
    • Presets
    • Meta Data Template

Note: This instructor strongly suggests putting LightRoom catalog and all photos on a large, external hard drive so you can work with them on any machine that has LR installed. Backup that device onto two other HD's. Something to consider.

Space bar, blows up a photo on the screen

Crop tool not only crops a photo, but you can apply a print size to it as well. (ie, 5x7, 8x10, etc)

Saving "Develop" presets.


Lighting: Creating Mood and Dimension

Tony Rizzuto

Brightness is defined as the amount of light in a scene

ISO,shutter speed and aperture affect the amount of light

Contrast is defined as the difference in brightness between the highlights and the shadows.

Really dark shadows (no detail) - blocked out

Really bright highlights (no detail) - blown out

The human eye can see 15 stops of brightness in a scene

stop = change in brightness (x2) => 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc

B&W negatives contain 10 stops

Contrast is created by 3 things: the direction of the light source, the size of the light source and the distance of the light source.

Types of light

    • Front light (0-45 degrees) is considered low contrast because there are no shadows.
    • Side light (45-90 degrees) is considered high contrast
    • Back light is considered low contrast.
    • Diffuse light - light falls on the subject from many directions.

Larger the light source, the lower the contrast

Farther the light source is, the higher the contrast. So while the Sun is very large, it is very far away, making it high contrast.

Tools for Modifying Contrast

    • Scrim or Diffuse disk (light source | scrim | subject)
    • Reflector (light source | subject | reflector) (silver=cool, gold=warm, white=neutral, black=absorbs - deepen shadows)
    • Fill flash

Flash and direction - bounce the flash (wall, ceiling, floor)

Using Fill Flash

    • Create exposure based on the ambient light
    • Make sure the shutter speed does not exceed the camera's sync speed

TTL - Through The Lens

White Balance

    • Cloudy - adds yellow to the scene
    • Open Shade - Adds yellow to the scene
    • Tungsten - adds blue to the scene
    • Daylight - No correction to color. Ideal for a sunny/cloudless day.

NOTE: Since the daylight WB makes no correction to color, it is great for sunset, sunrise and night photography.

NOTE: To get a starburst effect, close down to f/16

Caucasian skin tone is 1 stop brighter than normal.

Recommended flash - SB-600

Recommended gear - Gary Fong Puffer Pop up Flash Diffuser


See next post for Day Two

League City Photography Meet Up – 01.06.11


I attended the January 2011 League City Photography Meet up this past week.  There was a great turnout of over 30 attendees.



Theme for January is Black & White

Upcoming Events in January

4th Annual Sporting Clays Tournament – Jan 28th & 29th – at the American Shooting Center       (call 281-727-6786 with questions)


Topic – Night Photography

Al S. gave a great presentation on Night Photography. Below are the high points I gleaned.

The Mindful Eye is the site referenced throughout the presentation.

There are three Twilights

    • Civil - 1/2 hour prior to sunrise
    • Nautical – 1 hour prior to sunrise
    • Astronomical – 1 1/2 hours prior to sunrise

Required Supplies

    • DSLR with Bulb Mode
    • Wide Angle Lens
    • Tripod
    • Remote Release
    • Flashlights

High-Speed ISO Test

    • Set camera at the highest ISO
    • Aperture Prioity
    • Open lens all the way
    • Turn noise reduction off
    • Take shot
    • Check histogram - highlights need to be as far to the right as possible

ISO 3200/200 = 16    16 x 10 seconds = 160 seconds

ISO 3200 ISO 200
f/4.0 f/4.0
10 sec 160 sec

Almost same result between the two, but less noise.

Goal = perfect exposure @ the lowest ISO


    • Focus to infinity
    • Manual focus mode
    • Limit objects in the foreground


Additional Information & Links

Photos from the Group



"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” -Aaron Siskind

A Weekend to Remember Others


I spent some time at Houston National Cemetery this passed weekend. The Wreaths Across America event was on Sunday, December 19th; however, the placement of the wreaths on each and every grave occurred over the last couple of weeks. It was an awesome site to see.

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I lost my Mother in 1982 and I try to visit her grave site on her birthday each year. On Monday, December 20th, she would have been 74 years old. While I was there I shot a few photos of a chapel that I have been seeing my whole life each time I go out there.

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Here is a link to all the photos in my Not Forgotten Flickr Set.

It was an emotional weekend.


"Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past." -Bernice Abbott

League City Photography Meetup – 12.02.10


I attended the December 2010 League City Photography Meet up this past week.  There was a great turnout of about 35 attendees.



Upcoming Events in December

Topic – Various Tips

George McBroom informed us of the return of the Baytown Eagles and recommended we try to make it out to see them. Directions to the Eagle’s nest. Thanks George!

George also gave a great presentation on some sharpening methods in PhotoShop.

Trudy LeDoux and David Paulissen talked about their experience at Art Crawl Houston in November. They were invited to include their work at the event. [Photos]

Robin Binder talked about the services her company provides for other photographers.

I provided a handout containing an interesting article that I had run across earlier in the week titled 7 Tips for Better Architectural Photography.

Additional Information & Links


Photos from the Group



"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” -Aaron Siskind

League City Photography Meet up – 11.04.10


I attended the November 2010 League City Photography Meet up Group this past week.  There was a pretty good turnout of about 17 attendees.


Upcoming Events in November

Topic – Various Tips

David Paulissen reviews a couple of articles that go into various tips for photography.

The first article he reviewed was Five Tips for Better Wildlife Photos by Andrew Goodall.

The article goes into depth on the below tips -

    • Tip #1. Get to the subject's eye level.
    • Tip #2. It's All In The Eyes.
    • Tip #3. If The Background Doesn't Help, Get Rid Of It.
    • Tip #4. If Your Background Is Working For You, Use It Well.
    • Tip #5. Capture your subject in the best possible light.

The second article dealt with how to hold your camera. (could not find a link to that, but it was some good information.

The last article that David reviewed was 12 Ways to Never Miss a Photo Opportunity by Jim Goldstein.

There are several really good tips in the article.

    • Have a camera bag that enables you to easily and quickly access your camera
    • Be sure to have not just (1) one fully charged battery but (2) two
    • Be sure to clean the front and rear elements of your lens to minimize spots (optionally cleaning your camera sensor)
    • Before heading out make sure you have CF cards in your camera that are empty or have lots of free space
    • Pre-set your camera settings for the type of subject you’re aiming to photograph
    • If you have a camera with image stabilization or vibration reduction set your lens appropriately for the subject
    • Have needed filters on your lens or take filters off your lens as necessary before heading out.
    • It may sound obvious but take off your lens cap.
    • Head out with a notion of what you’d like to photograph and how, but always keep your eyes open for new subjects and the unexpected
    • Have your camera on and your hand on your camera bag
    • Stay focused
    • Don’t Chimp

Again, the article goes into detail on each point.

Additional Information

Another tip that was given was on White Balance. Try using the Cloudy WB setting when shooting outdoors. Also, if you shoot in RAW, you can batch fix any White Balance issues.

At the table I was sitting at, someone, Diego I think, mentioned that the Smithsonian was holding online photo contests. Below is the link I found.

The 8th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest


Photos from the Group



"A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into."  -Ansel Adams

Lie-Nielson Hand Tool Event

My husband attends the Lie-Nielson Hand Tool Event every year. This year I thought I would tag along and photograph the show. There were quite a few objects of interest, so I had a lot of fun taking photos.


 My Husband did a detailed write-up of the event and I have published it below

I attended the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event on Saturday October 23, 2010. The event was hosted in a large metal building by BC Woodwork in Houston, TX. Massive logs surrounded the building and filled the lot across the street. Inside the building were piles of stickered lumber, looks like they keep it in order as it was sliced from the log. If you are planning on building a large piece of furniture I would check this place out.


Back to the event. It was hosted by Lie-Nielsen who setup two workbenches with two representatives demonstrating their tools and giving everyone a chance to test drive any tool. The two reps were very knowledgeable and it was laid back with a friendly atmosphere; no pressure to buy anything. I test drove their small, medium and large shoulder planes and was pleased with the feel of the tools and results when put to wood.


Glen-Drake Toolworks had a bench setup and Kevin Drake was demonstrating his tools and let everyone give them a test drive. He has a unique way of cutting dovetails. I thought I had seen every technique but this was new to me. It involves a dovetail saw, Tite-Mark marking gauge, off-set feeler gauge and a kerf-starter that matches the kerf of the dovetail saw. I tried out his new saw and it worked as advertised. I was able to cut a straight line using the indention created by the Kerf-Starter.


Joe Slack from Homestead Heritage had a booth setup displaying some examples from his Guitar maker class. I did not see any demonstrations from Homestead Heritage this year. Last year Frank Strazza gave some excellent demonstrations. Maybe Frank will be back next year.

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I met Matt Adams who makes custom spoons and kitchen utensils. He is very passionate about woodworking and I think his favorite tool is the spokeshave. He showed me his spoons and wooden hand planes. He does very nice work.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the event and I think anyone interested in hand tools should attend one. I love hand tools and plan on going again next year.

My wife was kind enough to photograph the event and here is a link to her photos:

Video describing Hand Tool Events from Lie-Nielsen:

Offset-Layout Technique for Dovetails:

New Saw From Glen-Drake Toolworks:

Homestead Heritage:


“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” ~Dorothea Lange

Texas Photo Festival - 2010

Last weekend, I attended the Texas Photo Festival in Smithville, Texas. It is a yearly event that offers numerous photographic opportunities such as a marching band, skate park, dog park, dragsters and "small-town" sites in general. There was also a train ride through the historic district that provided even more photo ops.


There was also a PhotoShop class instructed by Suzette Allen that I was not able to attend.

My [Texas Photo Festival] Photo Set on Picasa

My [Texas Photo Festival - Smithville] Photo Set on Flickr

League City Photography Group [Texas Photo Festival in Smithville] Photo Set

From Houston, this was an easy day-trip. I will definitely make an effort to attend this event each year.


When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.  When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.  ~Ansel Adams

Photo Day at the Houston Zoo

We attended Photo Day at the Houston Zoo this past Saturday (9/25/2010). It was the first time I have done a Photo Day and I had a blast! It does cost to attend ($40/adult - non-member), but it was worth it to me. I was able to get some cool shots before the crowd started rolling in. It was awesome. They basically let you in the gate, give you a cup of coffee, kolache and run of the zoo grounds for two hours. Awesome!

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Full Houston Zoo Set on Flickr


"If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera."  ~Lewis Hine

2010 Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza

The Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza took place on September 11th and 18th at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in Lake Jackson, TX.  The events and booths were open from 8AM-Noon and offered some pretty cool photo opportunities. The area is a great habitat for birds, alligators and other reptiles. There was a booth where young hummingbirds were being banded. This was an amazing process to watch.

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Picasa Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza Set - Flickr Southern Brazoria County Set


"A good snapshot stops a moment from running away." -Eudora Welty

Pearland Little League Parade

The Pearland Little League Celebration Parade took place on Saturday, September 11, 2010. It started at 10:00 AM and followed a route down FM 518 from Pearland Parkway to City Hall on Liberty Drive. There was an outpouring of support for the team that made it all the way to the US Title Game of the 2010 Little League World Series.

Congratulations to the Pearland Little League Boys!

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Picasa Pearland Little League Parade Set


"A good snapshot stops a moment from running away." -Eudora Welty