Taunton River Watershed Alliance hosts annual photo contest for 2015 tidal calendar

TAUNTON — The Taunton River Watershed Alliance is sponsoring a digital photography contest for its 2015 annual tidal calendar. The contest is open to amateur and professional photographers, with a watershed-wide call for shots showcasing our area’s natural and seasonal beauty.The Taunton River Watershed consists of 43 communities in southeastern Massachusetts, and since 1988 has worked to see that water and related natural resources within the area are properly managed.Over the years, the TRWA has mobilized watershed residents to appreciate and do their best to protect and preserve the watershed through fun activities like canoe races and educational exercises such as shoreline surveys and river cleanups.Another source of community-wide engagement is the TRWA’s annual tide calendar.Jennifer O’Keefe, a member of the TRWA for 10 years, proposed the idea in 2011 after being inspired by a similar project put out by another Massachusetts watershed alliance.“Many people do not equate ‘scenic’ with the Taunton River,” O’Keefe said, though she and other like-minded members of the community are working diligently to change that misconception.In the first year of the competition, the TRWA received 40 photos for the calendar, 35 of which made the cut, and interest has only grown since then. For 2015, it has already received 200 images, and organizers are hoping to get many more.O’Keefe, who is an editor for the calendar, said “what I find exciting about coordinating (it) is working with the photographers who have a shared love for showing off the beauty of the watershed.”As an editor, O’Keefe is normally concerned with getting enough seasonal shots for the calendar, but this year she’s also hoping for something special.“For 2015, we’re hoping to see some shots of the not-so-resident wildlife that’s been in the news: the snowy owls or even the beluga whale that visited the lower Taunton River early this summer.”Photographers from any of the Taunton River Watershed communities are welcome to participate, whether they be young or old, amateur or professional. The deadline for the 2015 calendar contest is July 15.“If you would like to submit an image, we are looking for area digital photographs taken within the Taunton River watershed of wildlife, scenery, agriculture, evidence of the area’s archeological heritage or recreational activities on the river. Photographs must be taken within the last five years and must be the sole property of the submitting party.”Since this will be the TRWA’s fifth annual tide calendar, they are organizing a special celebration. The TRWA will be hosting a special retrospective exhibition with the Taunton Art Association at their Williams Street gallery on Saturday, Aug. 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Winning calendar photography will be on display, including 2015’s yet-to-be announced winners.Page 2 of 2 – For more submission information, guidelines and a complete list of watershed communities, visit savethetaunton.org/programs/calendar_contest.html or call the Taunton River Watershed Alliance at 508-828-1101.

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Photo Shoot Ride-along – Photographing Cocktails

A Post By: Mike Newton

In this article you are going to join me on a real client photo shoot photographing cocktails and learn how we created the final images. You can see a previous ride-along doing head shots on a white background here.

Client brief
The client is a 1960′s Tiki themed cocktail bar in downtown San Diego. They just revamped their cocktail menu and needed photos for advertising, marketing, social media, and PR.
Setting up
The bar is to the left of some foldable colored glass windows. I decided to open these windows to let in some natural light to the bar top. I didn’t get a photo with the windows open as I was in a rush, but here is the bar setup:

With these windows open there was nice soft, indirect lighting.  I decided quickly that I wanted to use the back of the bar as the background.
Selecting the aperture
I grabbed a glass with pineapple leaf garnishes for a quick test. I set my camera on the bar, selected aperture priority, set the glass in front of it, shot at f/20, and got this:

Meh. After seeing this I decided I didn’t want to see all the details in the background because it was competing with the glass. I dialled the aperture to f/3.5 and took another test shot:

Much better. The glass was being lit from the natural light coming through the windows to the right of the glass. The problem was that the back bar was too dark.
If I overexposed to get the background brighter then the glass would have been overblown. The solution? Use a strobe to light the background.
Lighting the background
Now that I had the cocktail the way I wanted it, I needed to throw some light on that background. I recomposed the photo and got this:

I grabbed an Alien Bee 800 strobe and popped on a 40 degree grid to keep the light beam tight.  I didn’t want the light to spread over the whole area, just the back bar. I placed the light on the far left side of the bar and popped the flash.  Note: I didn’t end up using that umbrella.

You can see the back bar was now lit up.

Much better! It wasn’t quite there yet, but we were getting closer.
The light from the strobe wasn’t evenly spread across the background. See the hot spot of highlights on the top left side in the photo above?  That needed to go.
I angled the strobe so the light would cast across the background instead of just the left side.  I grabbed another garnish glass and took a test shot:

Much better. Now I had the background the way I wanted it. From there it was simply a matter of composition.
Composition
I had been planning on filling the frame with each cocktail vertically until the client mentioned they wanted space to the side of each photo to write editorial content.
Instead of shooting with my 100mm f/2.8 macro lens I shot this all on a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

How cool is that garnish? A dolphin playing with a ball in its mouth – awesome. This left some room off to the right for editorial content.

I decided to switch this up and leave some space on the other side. This is helpful for magazines that alternate left and right pages.

Sometimes breaking the rules is fun.  Shooting this cocktail straight down the middle clearly makes it the focus but still leaves room off to the sides for editorial.

The “hero” shot
Sometimes shooting from a low angle and slightly angling the camera upward can give a cocktail a ‘big’ appearance.

 Wrapping up
All in all it was a pretty straight forward shoot. I had to do a little problem solving with balancing natural light and artificial light, as well as how to best compose the cocktails.
The client is happy with the images and so am I.
Did you find this helpful?
If so, let me know in the comments. I would love to take you on more client photo shoots with me and show you how they come together. Now I’m off to enjoy a nice Tiki cocktail!

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Six photography tips for taking stunning photos of 4th of July fireworks: http://on.wsj.com/ViEYyE  pic.twitter.com/TIth8lEUFt

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New Canon Rebel digital camera not rebellious enough

Kyle Looney, Reviewed.com
6:03 a.m. EDT July 5, 2014Canon’s new Rebel T5 camera is a decent value, but doesn’t differ enough from previous models.(Photo: Reviewed.com)The new Canon EOS Rebel T5 (MSRP $549.99 with kit lens) represents the bare necessities of a dslr in today’s world. The T5 is a much-needed successor to the ancient (in dslr years) EOS Rebel T3. We weren’t expecting to be blown away by the T5, but we would’ve liked to have seen something more than an incremental upgrade, since entry-level dslrs have gotten much better since Canon released the T3 in 2011.So what do you get for your money? Mostly, you get an easy to use entry-level camera that can do all the basics that an amateur photographer will need. Canon knows the formula for what a bare-minimum, entry-level camera needs to sell and has updated the new T5 to fill in the blanks. It will let you swap lenses and take much better photos than your average smartphone, but it doesn’t offer the breadth of features that other entry-level DSLRs are capable of these days.RELATED: 14 Avoidable Wedding DisastersDesign-wise, not many things have changed from the T3 to the T5. While some controls have shifted places, the biggest change may be a slightly more matte exterior compared to its glossier predecessor. Handling is still very fluid, with a simple menu system and controls that are snappy and responsive. Though beginners may be intimidated at first, it’s a control scheme that is easy to learn quickly. That said, if you’re completely new to advanced photography — or buying the T5 for someone who is — we recommend picking up a guide to help learn the basics.The Rebel T5 isn’t a bad camera by any means, but it has one big flaw: the kit lens. The T5’s 18-55mm lens is as bare-bones as it gets and doesn’t do the camera justice. If you do plan on getting this camera, we recommend getting it body-only and picking up the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens. The 50mm f/1.8 doesn’t zoom in and out, but it only costs about $100, sees basically what your eyes see, and is worlds better than any other kit lens on the market. Simply put, if you only use the kit lens with the T5 you’re paying for performance that you aren’t actually getting.The one area where Canon did step up its game was in video. Compared to the 720p HD video on the T3, the Canon T5’s 1080p video looks much better. However, subject motion, sharpness, and low-light sensitivity are all down when compared to the Canon T5i. These are all likely due to the subpar sharpness from the kit lens, so getting another lens is likely to help a bit.We also don’t recommend shooting sports or action with the T5, as it simply isn’t the camera’s strong suit. It focuses accurately on moving subjects like rambunctious kids, but it only shoots about three frames per second — slower than almost all of its competition. If we’re beginning to sound like a broken record, there’s a reason: The T5 is simply the bare minimum of what we expect from an entry-level camera these days. There’s no touch-screen, no Wi-Fi, no built-in interval shooting, and no time-lapse mode. For video shooters there’s now 1080p video, but there’s no flip-out screen for framing, no mike jack and no headphone jack.Other than a larger LCD and a new sensor, there’s simply not much here that jumps out at you. It’s affordable, but plenty of other, better entry-level cameras are the same price. The new 18-megapixel sensor is a massive upgrade from the 12-megapixel sensor of the T3, but our hunch is that it’s the same sensor found in the Canon Rebel T4i and T3i. It’s a fine sensor, but other companies have been improving by leaps and bounds while Canon is standing still.Canon has done little to update its Rebel cameras over the past few years. The Rebel T5i is essentially a re-badged T4i, which was already a tepid upgrade over the T3i, itself barely different from the T2i. While we were hoping that the T5 signaled Canon finally living up to its “Rebel” name and innovating once more, the T5 comes across as yet another half-hearted upgrade. There are some notable differences compared to the T3, but we’ve already seen a Canon DSLR with a 3-inch LCD, Digic 4 processor, and an 18-megapixel sensor — it was called the T2i, and it came out in 2010.MORE: See all cameras ranked and ratedUltimately, the T5 is a camera that someone who has never used a DSLR before can use to get into the action quickly, due to its ease of use. But even in that case we’re hard-pressed to recommend it. There are far better cameras in this price range, such as the Pentax K-50, Nikon D3300, and Sony A5000. And if you love Canon’s ease of use, just pick up a cheap T2i. We don’t think you’ll notice a difference.Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1lH35wo

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Sports Photography Tips

For those of you interested in Sports Photography, I have a couple of new articles online now. The first, is about using silhouettes as a way to turn an ordinary frame into a beautiful fine art print. Read the entire piece here. 

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Posted February 27, 2012 by Jamielyn & filed under Photography, Tips and Techniques, Tutorial.
Hello my friends! Hope you all had a wonderful…

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How To Snap Like A Pro This Summer With A Digital Camera

5 July 2014

Venice by David Fairman
So you are off on your summer holidays again. The trip is booked your bags are packed and you’re ready to enjoy that well earned break. And one thing you won’t forget is that camera.
And this year maybe you want to take some pictures like a pro. Last years photographs were fine, but maybe there are ways you could capture some even better snaps.
There are some really simple ways that you can really improve your holiday pictures. Firstly, have you got the right camera? For family pictures a small compact camera with a zoom will be fine.
If you wish to take more advanced shots then any of the dslrs out there would be great. Make sure you get a camera that you are happy to work with. A good zoom lens is invaluable on any digital camera.
1. Unify a picture by less colours.
In other words take photos of subjects that are mainly one colour. This is a very good technique for creating a sublime emotional feeling in your picture.
A mostly blue picture will seem restful and romantic, while a mostly red picture could result in a really exciting image. With a restricted number of colours your picture will have more impact.
2. Back or sidelight is best.
For almost all subjects, but especially portraits or group shots, sidelight or backlight will nearly always be best.
So mornings and afternoons are the most preferred times to shoot. If you are shooting at these times always take a reflector to fill in light in the shadows or use flash on your camera to do the same.
3. Shoot during the Golden Hour .
Ask any professional Photographer and he will tell you: the Golden Hour is the best. This is the last hour before the sun starts to go down when the light has a wonderfully soft glow.
This can only really be appreciated if the sun is out with very few clouds, but is the very best time to shoot anything, especially portraits of people or animals. But be prepared for this hour when it comes, as the light will very soon disappear.
4. Shooting very low for great perspective
Shooting very low, or almost on the ground and tilting the camera up can give you some really dramatic exaggerated perspectives.
Any different angles like these that we are not used to seeing will make your pictures that much more interesting.
Don’t be afraid to get your camera as low as possible. Showing the ceiling in interior pictures can add to the drama of your picture.
5. Shoot lots of shots quickly
Even in the days of expensive rolls of film and processing professionals would always shoot lots of pictures.
With digital cameras, even the amateur can shoot a large amount of images for no extra cost. Do not keep stopping after every picture to look at the results.
Look at the first two or three to check the look and the lighting, but then continue shooting without interruption.
You should give your sitter directions and encouragement, but just keep shooting very quickly – twelve, twenty or even thirty shots if you like. It is important that you have plenty of memory available on one card so you do not have to keep stopping to reload.
Due to your continuous and abundant shooting, your sitter should become relaxed. And for more control, place you camera on a tripod so that the framing remains the same. All professionals use a tripod on every shoot.
6. Moving your subject
If you are on location always look at ways to move your subject. People often get driven placing their subject against an already chosen backdrop, like the front of a famous monument, when the light falling on the subject is very flat.
Remember that where the light is falling is more important then what the background is. So for great pictures always move the camera and subject around to where the light is best, which is usually on the side or the back of the subject.
7.Photographing your children
With children you will need to shoot even more quickly as they very soon get bored. If you feel they are losing attention then quickly change the setup but keep taking pictures.
Do not stop the session for a rest as you might lose the child’s interest altogether. Just keep going.
These strategies are taken from David Fairman’s best selling book ‘Take Great Digital Pictures in 24 Hours’. Available from Amazon.
By award winning professional photographer David Fairman

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The bug that bites

Thanks to digital technology, the cost of being a shutterbug is a lot more manageable, and the number of photos you can take is only limited by how many memory cards you have. The digital age has ushered in a photographic renaissance that allows people to communicate visually with friends and family via social media. Nearly everyone gets in on the act daily with one of the technological advances that I would never have predicted, the camera phone. I grew up in the age of dial phones hardwired to the wall made of heavy, almost indestructible plastic. Combining that with a device sporting a lens and a chamber for film just wasn’t in the cards. digital photography and data transmission transformed all that and now everyone is a photographer. I think that’s great.

Photography was always one of my interests. Remember the Polaroid swinger? It was the everyman’s instant camera, a big, white plastic thing with a bright red and white shutter button. You loaded it with Polaroid film, and after each shot you pulled out one frame of film. The pulling action released photo chemicals onto a sandwiched piece of photo paper and when you peeled off the cover you could watch the photo develop before your eyes. It had a rather pungent odor, it made your eyes water, and the photos were of rather poor quality. I loved it. As a poor teenager I didn’t have enough money to take a lot of pictures, but I did have fun with it.

My first real camera was an East German Practika MTL5B 35mm film camera; look that one up under antiques! It was the cheapest 35mm camera I could find, and I used it constantly to photograph everything under the sun. I experimented with lighting, filters, night photography and anything else I could think of. I even photographed a couple of weddings. When our children came along I lavished film on them, mostly in the form of color slides. I still have most of those slides, and my oldest daughter has the Practika along with a couple of lenses, filters, and the cheap cardboard, cloth, and plastic camera bag. We had a nice Nikon viewfinder camera for a while, until it got broken on a school outing. Then I bought a used name brand Japanese 35mm camera for a trip to France and I don’t know which kid ended up with that one.

When I got my first digital camera I went for a Nikon SLR and bought several lenses for it. It changed everything, and came along just in time for Grandchildren. My fiancee now has my original Nikon digital, and it gets used constantly. My current Nikon digital isn’t a lot different from the original one, but it was a heck of a good deal so I figured it would allow me to pass the original on. I use it each and every week. Combine that with prolific use of Photoshop digital editing and photography remains one of the great joys of my life. While I’m no Ansel Adams, it makes me happy and I love to share images on social media. I am always open to learning better photography techniques, and nowadays I try to upgrade lenses whenever practical.

There are a number of really good local photographers whose work I enjoy seeing. Greg Worden of Brattleboro, Candace Caggiano of Putney, and Peter Manship of Ludlow are my favorites. Peter Manship is now doing field seminars and a lot of great night photography. Candace Caggiano’s work tends towards people and wildlife with some really nice scenery shots. Greg Worden’s photos in and around Brattleboro are a local treasure. Social media has made photographers such as these accessible to a much wider audience. It all adds up to the fact that we are living in great times for visual media. Has the bug bitten you yet?

Arlo Mudgett’s Morning Almanac has been heard over multiple radio stations in Vermont for nearly 30 years, and can be tuned in at 92.7 WKVT FM Monday through Saturday mornings at 8:35 a.m.

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25 More Tips for Mastering iPhone Photography – 100 Tip Series

I thought I’d celebrate my 100th article here on TMO, by rounding-up my promised set of One Hundred Tips for Mastering iPhone Photography. Actually, this article – containing the final twenty-five tips – will be the capstone to the previous three, which you can access via these links: 25 Tips for Mastering iPhone Photography, 25 More Tips for Mastering iPhone Photography, and Yet Another 25 Tips for Mastering iPhone Photography.

Without further ado, as they say… let’s jump right in.

76.) Always strive to tell a story with your iPhone photos. Try using an element of mystery – it’s the best way to tell a compelling story in your images. The best stories are already in the mind of the viewer, so if you create mystery, the viewer can fill in the blanks and create a story that’s uniquely theirs. Examples of mystery in photography are: using silhouettes, roads winding away in the distance, and shadows jutting out from around a corner; shadows not that of your subject.

There is mystery in this photo. What is at the end of the road? Dark clouds approaching.

77.) Activate the HDR Mode when shooting landscapes – particularly when the sky dominates the scene.

78.) After acquainting yourself fully with the default Camera app loaded onto your iPhone, consider exploring third-party “camera replacement” apps. There are several excellent ones, all of which provide additional functionality, flexibility and utility when shooting images with your iPhone. The one app that is a long-time favorite among most iPhoneographers, including yours truly, is the Camera+ app by tap tap tap. It’s an incredibly useful camera app, and it’s universal. For much more information on the capabilities of this app, visit the tap tap tap website.

79.) Back in tip #36, I mentioned that using your earphone’s remote volume buttons to trip the camera shutter is very instrumental in helping you achieve sharp iPhone photos, particularly in low-light conditions. But, did you know that using the remote is also quite helpful when taking selfies? Rather than juggling the iPhone with one hand, fumbling for the on-screen shutter release button, and risking a blurred shot, control the earphones remote in your other hand for smooth, firm, award-winning selfies.

Press the volume-up or -down on the earphones remote to snap an iPhone photo

80.) Speaking of using your earphones volume control as a remote release, use it to help you capture those very high-angle shots. Shooting by holding the iPhone over a crowd comes to mind. Extreme low-angle shots as well, such as shooting a pet down at floor level.

81.) Here’s one last but cool way to use your earphones as an aide to stealth iPhoneography and street photography: wear your iPhone-connected earphones in public. While you pretend to be talking on the phone or listening to music, you can actually be shooting pictures. As an added bonus, no camera shutter-release sound will be betraying your real intentions.

82.) Do you like capturing and processing extreme HDR (High Dynamic Range) images? You know, the ones that photography snobs and pixel-peepers say do not represent real photography? Don’t worry what others think; don’t allow them to intimidate and influence you. You’re not making these photographs for them. You make photographs according to your vision, how you express your art, your own photographic and artistic goals, and more importantly, because they make you happy and you love them.

Next: Fireworks, Children, Pets, and iPad

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