Thursday, July 9, 2009

this is a test

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How to Judge at EMCC

Reminder; There is a judging class November 20, 5:35 Posted for a preview/reminder are the clubs judging rules and how to use them.

Judging Rules (From EMCC Website)

Here is a description of how we judge images
at our competitions. Scores can number from 3 to 9 with
points from this criteria:

All of these factors are important to think about when composing a winning photograph, as well as when judging images in competition.

1 to 3 points for impact

Impact is what emotional response an image evokes in a viewer:

* Is a strong mood displayed?
* Has an old idea been presented in a new way?
* Has the photographer shown us unusual lighting, color or arrangement?
* Is the image creative?

These factors are important to make a winning photo with the judges.

1 to 3 points for composition

Composition is the word for how the photographer chose to design the image:

* Does the subject arrangement interest the viewer?
* Has the photographer used shape, lines, or color in a way that compliments the photo?
* Is the rule of thirds used appropriately?
* Is the viewers eye lead into the photograph
* Are there any distracting or unnecessary elements in the image.

Composition can have a big effect on impact.

1 to 3 points for technical

Technical means the photographer has used his/her camera correctly:

* Is the image in focus?
* Is the image free of distractions?
* Has the correct exposure been used?
* Has the photographer used the right combination of shutter speed, aperture for the image?
* For digitally optimized photos, has the image been rendered without digital artifacts (over-sharpening, obvious cloning, etc.)?
* In the case of creatively manipulated images in the digital projection format, have changes to sharpness, color, placement, or form of elements in the image been done in a technically competent manner?

All Eastern Maine Camera Club members are invited to take part in judging after they have had a judging class. It is a fun!

In PHOTOGRAPHY FOR THE JOY OF IT Freeman Paterson wrote; “For everybody, photography is an opportunity to discover personal paths and to follow those that promise excitement and pleasure. You can wander at your own pace, pause to appreciate a new discovery, and move on at will. Photography is a way to explore your world and yourself. You may answer the call of your own spirit. You are free. If you learn to see well and to use your tools effectively, your photographs will be unique personal expressions, images that bring you joy in the making – and in the sharing with other people.”

It is very important to remember how important it is to make pictures that satisfy you. In judging there are winners but not losers. Learning to judge might make you see how you can use your tools more effectively. Your photographs will still bring you and others joy.

Judging is split between Impact, composition and technical.

I look at a picture for a few seconds to ‘feel the impact.’ If I suck my breath in and say “wow” I know it has impact. Questions to ask yourself at this moment are…
* Is a strong mood displayed?
* Has an old idea been presented in a new way?
* Has the photographer shown us unusual lighting, color or arrangement?
* Is the image creative?

Give impact a rate from 1 to 3.

Composition is the design of the photograph. Freeman Paterson wrote “Good design lies down quietly and behaves itself.” Questions to ask are…

* Does the subject arrangement interest the viewer?
* Has the photographer used shape, lines, or color in a way that compliments the photo?
* Is the rule of thirds used appropriately? (And yes it can be broken.)
* Is the viewers eye lead into the photograph?
* Are there any distracting or unnecessary elements in the image.

Give composition a rate from 1 to 3.

To me this is the tough one! I climbed a tree and sat there in the rain for hours to get a picture of, say a rare bird, The bird came out for 1 second – I got the perfectly composed shot, in perfect light, but it is not sharp. What do I do? I have to give the picture a 1 for technical. It is not sharp.
Questions for technical are …

* Is the image in focus?
* Is the image free of of distractions? (Hot spots, distracting elements...)
* Has the correct exposure been used?
* Has the photographer used the right combination of shutter speed, aperture for the image?
* For digitally optimized photos, has the image been rendered without digital artifacts (over-sharpening, obvious cloning, etc.)?
* In the case of creatively manipulated images in the digital projection format, have changes to sharpness, color, placement, or form of elements in the image been done in a technically competent manner?

Give technical a rate from 1 to 3

Now add up the numbers.
1 –3 Impact, 1 –3 composition and 1-3 technical.
The lowest score can be no lower than 3. The highest can be 9.

Lets return to my rare bird. It will get a score of 3 for impact (great light), a 3 for composition (perfect) and a 1 for technical. It is out of focus! Maybe it is only a little out. Is that like being a little pregnant? I sometimes leave a picture on the counter so I can look at it everyday. I am hoping if I look at it enough it will become sharp!

It is not sharp! So for technical it gets a 1. 3+3+1 = 7.
If it is way out of focus the impact goes down so it gets a 1 for impact. 1+3+1=5

See you at 5:45 on Thursday the 20th November 2008 to explain it more

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here is the writeup:

Joel Holcomb attended his daughter's Fall Youth Soccer game in Brewer on
Saturday, October 4th, and saw local professional photographer Monty Rand in
action as he took team and individual photos of the players. Monty was the
recent speaker at EMCC at our October 2nd meeting, where he gave a very
informative talk on sports photography. Here are two photos of Monty
photographing the kids before the soccer game.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nature October 16

Nature: Images submitted in the nature category should not show any evidence of "the hand of man." This includes, but is not limited to, such things as cut grass, cultivated flowers, bird feeders, roads, buildings, or jet contrails in the sky. Exceptions are banded birds and animals whose natural habitat are man-made structures; e.g. barn swallows.

The Photography of Nature

This week our world has turned into a photo tour. The bogs are bright red. Some trees are in full color!

There’s a unique excitement of being in Maine for fall foliage. We are envied by all Nature photographers for living where the autumn color is. As a nature photographer we can look out our window to see color or we can travel a short distance and feel like we have been on a tour,

Freeman Paterson says “ To grow as a nature photographer you must be open and receptive to nature.” Look with fresh eyes at what is in our everyday world. Freeman suggests standing in one place and while turning find every photo available. You will realize the possibilities available while taking the time to just see.

Shooting Fall Foliage.

Polarizing Filter. Carry a polarizer and check if it helps. You can look through it on a cloudy or rainy day to see if it cuts the shine from flat surfaces such as leaves and wet rocks. On a sunny day try your polarizer on blueberry bushes. Get the right angle and the bushes will pop red.

Rain, Wind and Clouds

I hate the wind but it is a good time to photograph rocks and water. The rocks don’t move and the water moves anyway. Don’t try for leaves when they are blowing unless you want motion. Nothing is more frustrating then setting up at the perfect spot with perfect light and the wind starts to blow. Rain is another story. Fall color and rain is perfect. Polarize wet leaves and the color pops. Clouds work for landscapes. Nothing is better than big white puffy clouds with lots of fall color.


My goal for this very beautiful month is to take a picture everyday. This week I have looked at these beautiful yellow flowers on the side of the road. I admire them and think ‘Tomorrow I will bring my camera.” I even know what lens I will use to take them. But tomorrow I am busy and think the same thing as I drive by. I get all wrapped up in getting to work or getting home.

Today I took this picture of Bartlett's Farm. I drive past this farm twice a day and today I took a picture. I will try again from the same spot as the color continues to turn. Maybe I will do it everyday?

Our holiday program is photos of “Our Town” I wonder if I can be ready before fall color is over?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Okay. Maybe there were no tigers and the lion was a mountain lion, but what a great place to get some wildlife photos! I'm talking about the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine. A big thank you to Karen Littlefield, who shared information about the park a couple of meetings ago. Wanting to get some wildlife shots, I checked out the website at, called to make an appointment, and spent two wonderful hours in the rain on a Sunday morning getting some great pictures. The pass cost $50 an hour, but unlike other park visitors, you have a ranger who guides you around the park and drives you from site to site, lets you inside the pens (as long as you sign a waiver), and/or offers you a ladder to get up above the side of the pens. I opted not to enter the pens with the bears, large cats, or moose, but was still able to get some nice shots. I had no problem going into the fox pen or commiserating with the raccoon though. Most of the deer stayed hidden, but one buck, George, let me walk right up to him. Of course, because it was a rainy morning, he had no intention of getting up onto his feet and moving anyway! There is a huge assortment of birds at the park. One pen includes species not native to Maine that have been donated, but most of the birds are those that you would find locally. A really nice feature of the park is that the pens are large and offer the wildlife as natural a setting as possible. This makes the pictures seem much more natural than many other animal enclosures would allow. I highly recommend checking out their website and then visiting the park. Even if you don't get the photographer's pass but just walk around the park, I think you could still get some nice pictures. I will definitely be visiting again! By Carol Roderick

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Photographing Action

Blog Photo by Michael Alden

Spring and more snow! I am having a hard time to see the beauty of snow covered trees anymore.

March 29 was the first canoe race of the season. It was so cold there were icicles hanging off the thwarts 6 inches long. If any club members want to take action shots of canoe racers the canoe club MACKRO has a web site. It lists times, dates and locations for all the area races. Anyone at the start can tell you where to go for whitewater shots. Races are held every week into May. as a link to race photos by Michael Alden. He is local action photographer. His site is a good place to learn how to Michael frames and uses light in his action water shots. I always am wowed by his work.

Photographing Action

The most basic ingredient for success in action photography is having a plan for what you are going to do. For an example I will use canoe racing as an example but this works at a horse show, dog sled races, or a child ridding a bike. Where is the action? Where is the light? Where in the frame do you expect the action? How do you stop the action? And, do you want to stop the action or show movement.

Where is the action?

We all know the Kenduskeag. Most people head for 6 mile falls because that is where the TV sets up. It is a good spot and you see lots of swimmers. Another great spot is Shopping Cart where you can get very close to the racers. (Harlow Street after the last portage) The important message for any action is to have a plan about where you can be happy with the background and the light. Sometimes you have to learn to make do. Each shooting situation is slightly different, depending on the angle and intensity of the light and other factors. The following concepts can be used as guidelines.

1.) Know what your camera can not do. You can't shoot into the sun with glaring water. You can't stop action at 1/15 of a second. You won't get a closeup with a 20mm lens.

2.) How do you stop action? Action is stopped with shutter speed. Most of the time you read shutter speed in fractions. i.e. 4 in the shutter speed = 1/4 = 1 quarter of a second. It will then go into the 5 = 1/5 = one fifth of a second or 1"= one second or 15" = 15 seconds. To stop action you need to know how fast the subject is moving. Obviously you need more speed for a racing canoe than you do for grandma in her walker. (I have not judged properly photographing turtles and blurred their motion so with action/speed - more is better.)

3.) What setting should you use? If you have your camera on shutter priority and the light changes then the aperture would change. In the same way that if you had it set on Aperture priority and the light changed (i.e. sun ducking behind a dark cloud, etc.) then the shutter speed would change. The camera is reading the scene and deciding what the exposure should be. If you are in auto or program, the camera gets to set everything. If you are in Aperture or Shutter priority, you set one thing and the camera gets to set the other. If you are in manual, you have to do it all yourself. As a place to begin you will start to stop action higher than 1/200 of a second. More should be better. F stop needs to give you enough space to have the people in focus but you don't care about the water or rocks. (F8?)

4.) Should I use a tripod? With the popularity of image-stabilization lenses, we've seen a greater tendency among photographers to handhold their cameras and lenses, rather than to use their tripods. While this might seem sensible when shooting racing canoes that may require you actively following them about, I do not recommend it. Unless you are extremely steady, image stabilization can only do so much.

5.) What is a good practice plan? The Souadabscook is the river that runs under I95 south of the Hampden Rest Area. The best and simplest place for Action shots is on the Emerson Rd. Bridge. (1 mile behind Dysart's) The 9 am sprints will only see 20 boats soon after 9 am. The full Race will be under the bridge 40 or 50 minutes after the noon start. You will want to make a plan of where and how to shoot (check your Histogram) before the boats go down. Most boats will almost touch the tree on river left before the drop. (Now you have a plan)
Saturday, April 12 Souadabscook Stream Sprint 
Time: 9am
Location: Souadabscook Stream - (Emerson Mill Road Grange, Hampden)
Type: WW, 2 miles

Other info: Helmets are required. Race benefits Make-a-Wish Foundation

* * * *
Saturday, April 12 Souadabscook Stream Race
Time: 12:00pm
Location: Souadabscook Stream - (Emerson Mill Road Grange, Hampden)
Type: WW, 8 miles

Other info: Helmets are required. Race benefits Make-a-Wish Foundation
The Souadabscook will not have many swimmers but it has dramatic drops showing good experience and skill. Stay to the end if you want to catch many swimmers. They tend to be in the back of the pack. Have fun and stay warm.

The blog photo is of myself and my very good friend Cindy who lost her battle with Cancer. She came up with the Idea for Red Hats because we were Century Chicks. We were both over 50 and in the canoe world Century is a class with two combined ages over 100.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

February Viewfinder

In this Issue

Winter Birds
Flying with Batteries
Ask Tim Grey
Scott Kelby Training

Winter Birds

Mike and I have Phantom Parties. Clues in the morning tell us we were party animals last night. Empty Pizza boxes and a bill on our pay per view are a sure sign. Mike and I tend to hit the sack early and who knows what time the party begins? Last night I must have been late or the first party guy was early but we met in the kitchen. His name is Jon and he had been to Swan Lake Ice fishing all day. He told me Eagles were stealing fish and flying just over their heads. Sounds like a great photo. Next time he will call me.

Birds in the Yard

Feeder photography brings the subject to you and allows you to control the lighting, composition and background. The convenience of photography at home decreases your time commitment as you can do it on shot notice. I can wander out on my deck or backyard for a short time when the birds are feeding.

What do birds want?

If you're new to feeding birds, you might wonder what to offer. In short, offer seeds and water. Many of the birds we see in winter are seedeaters. They have to be: insects are hard to come by in Maine winters. However, the trees, grasses, and wild flowers have just finished their yearly production of seeds, and this is the main kind of food our wintering birds live on.

By setting up a bird feeding station, you're taking your cue from nature, offering the kind of nourishment that the birds are adapted to. You provide a generous, reliable, source of food, and the birds gladly come and help themselves, up close, where it's convenient for you to watch them.

Where to feed them for photos?

It is good to have the feeders out in the open making it quite easy to “separate” the bird and its stand from the background by using a minimum depth-of-field. Using selective depth-of-focus makes the bird appear to “jump out of the frame. Make a plan for the time of day you will be shooting and set up the feeders for the light.

Think Hollywood

I set up sets. I found a great piece of driftwood that I took the chainsaw too. Without much skill I was able to make an out of sight hole to place the seed in. My plan is have the birds land in a pre-focused spot and then get their feed. (I hope the birds are reading this.) I also do this with evergreen branches. The birds are suppose to land on the perch first and then jump to the feeder.

New Fridge

When I started this I had a big refrigerator box for blind that I fastened to the deck. I now have a little portable tent/blind from Len Rue. I try to put it out before I plan to shoot so the birds are use to it.

What lens

I’m using a 200-400 zoom telephoto lens, which seems to be ideal for the job. A shorter focal length would require me to move closer to the birds, which might disturb them but with a blind they are not too nervous The birds often spread their wings or turn around on their perches, and it’s easier to shorten the zoom than to shift position. Good nature photography demands that you not “clip off” bits of the subject with the image frame.

Pre Focus.

Set your lens for manual focus and pre focus on a perch you ‘want the bird to land on. Or Modern auto focus makes this kind of photography much easier. Using “back button” focus control means I won’t be forced to re-focus each time I depress the shutter release button after changing my composition or when the bird has moved slightly.


A polarizing filter on the front of the lens reduces or eliminates bright reflections on leaves in the background woods. On bright sunny days, these reflections can cause the de-focused leaves to appear almost like round “doughnuts” in the background, an effect similar to the ones caused by mirror lenses.


I’m using a tripod, not only for sharper shots, but also to permit me to hold my flash on an extension cable over my camera while I’m using a shutter-release cable to fire the camera. A flash is useful for filling in shadows on a bright day and providing those necessary highlights in the eyes on a dark Grey Mine winter days.


I’ve already discovered that using on-camera flash will cause “red-eye” in my bird photos. The flash is set for -1 f-stop of compensation, so that whatever the ambient light might be, the flash provides less light. One hazard, of course, is that on bright days, I might end up with two highlights in the eyes. No doubt about it; dark days provide the perfect light for this kind of photography and gives us something to shoot on grey days

Flying with Batteries

Effective January 1, 2008, you may not pack spare lithium batteries in your checked baggage – that is, the baggage you give to the airline for handling.

  • Spare batteries are the batteries you carry separately from the devices they power. When batteries are installed in a device, they are not considered spare batteries.
  • You may not pack a spare lithium battery in your checked baggage
  • You may pack spare lithium batteries in carry-on baggage – see our spare battery tipshow-to sections to find out how to pack spare batteries safely! and
For personal use, there is generally no restriction on the number of spare batteries allowed in carry-on baggage. That includes cell phone batteries, “hearing aid” button cells, and AA/AAA batteries available in retail stores, as well as almost all standard laptop computer batteries. However, you may carry no more than two larger batteries, in the range of 100 – 300 watt hour rating. These include some extended life laptop computer batteries, such as the “universal” lithium ion battery.

From Tim Gray

Tim Grey's Digital Darkroom Questions email has been providing answers to reader questions for the last six years. Send him your email to receive the free email.

Tim Gray
What's the best way to share photos with friends and family? I know there are a number of web sites but I am looking for ways for friends and family to look at pictures and slide shows and maybe decide to have printed what they want. It needs to be simple for not really computer literate people to access and use. We have a family website that can be used or we could use a commercial site.


In a general sense, I think the best method of sharing images with friends and family is indeed via one of the many websites available for this purpose. This assumes, of course, that all those you intend to share the images with are on email and comfortable going to a website to view images (I know this is something we take for granted, but there are many people who aren't comfortable with these technologies yet).

When it comes to selecting a particular site, I can assure you there are many to choose from. In my mind the key things you need are a good user experience, strong track record of providing good service, and options for your friends and family to purchase their own prints (or other photo-emblazoned items) directly.

In terms of a specific solution that I can recommend, I would suggest Shutterfly ( ). I've been using them for years, and have been very happy with the features they offer along with the ease-of-use for those who aren't particularly comfortable using a computer. I think you'll find it to be an excellent service. There are certainly others out there, but this is one I've used extensively and can strongly recommend.

Tried this online training

I read Photoshop how to books written by Scott Kelby. He has a fun way of making a dry subject have humor. From one of his books I learned about this Online training and gave it a try for free. Just passing along what I found.

Kelby Online Training

1) The Instructors

It all starts there. Our philosophy is this: hire the best instructors in the world and you'll get the best online training courses in the world. Go ahead and look through our instructor list and you'll see all of the top names are training for Kelby Training. This means you get the absolute best training out there.

2) The Content

Clear, concise, and real-world. That's what our courses deliver. And once you've got the best teachers in the world, that content comes naturally. See, our instructors aren't just the best at what they do on the computer or in the field. They're also the best at teaching it to you in an accessible way. This means that it doesn't take 8 hours of your day to learn from our courses. If you only have 5 minutes we guarantee you'll find plenty of 5 minute lessons to jump into, learn a thing or two, and get back to work.

3) The Students

That's you - our customers. We concentrate on one philosophy when it comes to our customers. Treat people like we like to be treated. We want you to learn what you need to learn in the amount of time you have to learn it. If you succeed in that, then we all succeed in the end.

Give it a test drive (free trial).