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Donna (Hi-Key)

Originally uploaded by bmthomas

I took a Beauty and Glamour workshop from Horizon Workshops up in Chesapeake City, Maryland. Steve Gottlieb is the driving force behind Horizon Workshops. The workshop was taught by Joe Edelman.

First of all this was a Beauty and Glamour workshop not a nude workshop. There is a difference.

The workshop started Friday night with a slide show and lecture and the opportunity to meet the other students. On Saturday we were supposed to have two models, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Unfortunately one didn’t show up in the afternoon. Luckily Donna agreed to stay all day.

We did a number of sets and outfits. We started with Donna wearing jeans and a sweater, then a yellow bikini, a white bikini, and finally lingerie. We did hi-key and low-key. We tried out one, two, and three light setups. We did portraits and three quarter body shots.

Saturday night we all went out for a late dinner and some socializing. We were joined by another class.

Sunday we had another model, Sarah. We did some natural light shorts of Sarah both by a window indoors and in the shade outdoors. We also did studio lighting shots of Sarah.

Donna and Sarah were very different models. Donna was curvaceous, blond, and tan. Sarah was not tan or curvaceous. She was very tall and lean and gorgeous long flowing hair.

Joe finished off Sunday by showing us the post processing he does to images. He was a wiz at Photoshop. He used liquify to make many small changes to thighs, waste, etc., smoothed skin, highlighted eyes, teeth, and lips, and he even straightened Donna’s belly button piercing.

Joe was a lot of fun. His attention to detail bordered on fanatic. He was also a little hyper. Combine the two and we had a lot of fun. Although very good at Photoshop, he very much pushed us to get the shot in camera. His business is model portfolios with model business counseling.

Chesapeake City is only a one and a half hour drive north. There are a few B&B’s in Chesapeake City and hotels nearby in Elkton.

All in all the workshop was a lot of fun and I would definitely take another one.

Published in the Bowie-Crofton Camera Club newsletter
"THE VIEWFINDER" May 2009

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Bobcat Artic Wolf

I discovered the Lakota Wolf preserve in 2007. It was featured in the Tamron Newsletter. The Lakota Wolf Preserve is in New Jersey near the Delaware Water Gap and is only a four hour drive away. You can find details at their web site www.lakotawolf.com. I went there in January 2007. It was bitter cold and had snowed the night before and was worth every second and dollar.

The compound consists of four large fenced in areas. In one area there were three Artic wolves. The Artic wolves were beautiful white wolves but they were very shy. The photographer that escorted us throughout the shoot used dog biscuits to lure the wolves closer. The other enclosures had packs of Timber and Tundra wolves. There was one additional much smaller enclosure that had bobcats and foxes.

For photographers they allow you inside the outer fence. They have hinged portals cut in the fence that allows photographers to photograph the wolves without having to focus through the fence. The enclosures were large enough to easily keep the fence out of the photos. Another nice thing is that you do not need a 600mm lens. I used a 200mm when I went.

They welcome photography clubs. I just looked on their site and a two hour session is $300. As I recall they had half day and all day sessions available but they are not currently listed on their web site. This is the time of year to go while the wolves have their full winter coats and if you time it right you can get a nice snowy background.

Originally Published in the Bowie-Crofton Camera Club newsletter “THE VIEWFINDER” March 2009

Fox

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Gels

For an upcoming photo contest at the Arundel Camera Club with the theme of Still Life, I created my own rendition of the traditional wine and cheese still life.

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I used a Metz48 behind and under the table to light the wine bottle and glasses by aiming it at a black background with white boarders on each end. I used a SB800 to light the cheese and grapes with a gobo to keep from lighting the wine bottle and glasses. Since I used Nikon CLS to remotely trigger the Metz and SB800 I also used another gobo to keep the on camera flash from lighting the wine bottle and glasses. Then I used colored gels to change the background color and thus the color of the wine bottle and glasses. I don’t like the red. The blue has an interesting effect of making the wine bottle nearly black.

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For a recent Camera Club Contest with the theme of Still Life, I created this photo.

I used a SB800 Camera right high though white umbrella with black backdrop triggered remotely via Nikon CLS.

I shot five shots focusing on first the teacup, then the flower, then the marmalade jar, then the top left and right corners of the frame. I used Helicon Focus to put all of these photos together into one phot where everything was in focus. This gave me much better depth of field.

I did have a minor problem where the top right of the frame was crooked. I used Photoshop to correct by Transform->skew.

Finally I converted to monochrome using Lightroom 2.

Here is the setup Shot.

Dundee Marmalade and Tea

I entered this in the Arundel Camera Club Unlimited Monochrome Still Life Competition on 02/11/2009 and won Fourth Place.

ACC 4th

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Viera Wetlands

Northern Harrier, originally uploaded by bmthomas.

Again based on a tip from Middleton Evans, we included a visit to the Viera Wetlands  during our vacation to Florida. We spent three hours in the morning and a couple hours at sunset at the Viera Wetlands.
The layout is great. You can drive around a number of man-made ponds.

We saw lots of Common Moorhens and Coots, a number of hawks that I think were Northern Harriers, Snowy Egrets, Anhigas were on every stump and tree, Great White Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Great Blue Herons, Greem Herons, White Ibis, Tricolored Herons, Black Vultures, Osprey, a few Ring-necked ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Blue winged Teal, a pair of Sandhill Cranes, Belted Kingfishers, Wood Stork. There were even a few alligators and armadillos.

We enjoyed Viera Wetlands much more than Merritt Island NWR. We would defeintely go back and would recommend a visit.

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Gatorland


Egret
Originally uploaded by bmthomas

Middleton Evans told me we should visit Gatorland this week while in Florida. Sure enough they had a “Dawn to Dusk” pass for around $30 that allowed entrance at 0730 in the morning well before the park opens at 0900 and we were able to stay until sunset well after the park closes. We spent most of the day in their rookery which is in the aligator breeding swamp area. Mike Godwin showed us around and really made us feel welcome. You can find his blog here. Turned out there are what seems like hundreds of Great White Egrets nesting there. At sunset thousands more fly in to roost including Little Blue Herons, Tricolored Herons, White Ibis, and Snowy Egrets. Well worth a day and the money. There were also lots of aligators and a couple of endagered American Crocodiles. We got to photograph the crocodiles mating which is a farely rare site.  This was definitely worth a visit.

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Great Horned Owl

Originally uploaded by bmthomas

Here are some photos from today’s photo shoot at Carrie Murray Nature Center. There were aa nummber of folks from the Arundel Camera Club and one from the Bowie-Crofton Camera Club. They started out with a couple of great horned owls, then a barred owl, followed by a barn owl. I had to leave before they brought out the screech owls, the red tailed hawk, or the turkey vulture. They always move the birds to photogenic perches based on suggestions from the photographers. They also strive to hide the leashes used to secure them to the trees. All of these birds are rescued.

Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl

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Peppers, originally uploaded by bmthomas.

To light the peppers I used a SB800 Camera right high though white umbrella full power. To light the background and turn it green I used a green gel on a Metz 48 at 1/2 power aimed at a black backdrop. Black backdrops seem to work better at reflecting the gel color. I sat the peppers on a sheet of black Plexiglas. Black plexi seems to work much better than glass on a black cloth. See the following photo for the setup shot.

Peppers

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Red Tailed Hawk
Originally uploaded by bmthomas

If you want a great opportunity to photograph raptors, and you live near Baltimore, this is your chance. The Carrie Murray Nature Center in Baltimore usually hosts raptor photo shoots twice a year. Once in the fall and once in the spring. For the first time ever they are going to host a winter photo shoot featuring resident birds of prey. In the past they have had a barn owl, a red tailed hawks, a great horned owl, a raven, a kite, screech owls, and a vulture.

Barn Owl

Screech Owl

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For more photos check out the Carrie Murray Nature Center Raptor Shoots

Saturday February 7, 2009

From 10 am- 3 pm

Cost is $20 for adults and $8 for children( 12 and under)

Dress for the weather! The photo shoot will take place rain or shine. No pet Please.

Please Pre-register by calling:

Lloyd Tydings

phone: (410) 396-0808

fax: (410) 265-1085

Email: Lloyd.tydings@baltimorecity.gov

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I started playing around with HDR photography last year after Ferrell McCollough came and did a lecture at my camera club. Check out his book Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography.

So what is HDR? Well basically the range of light that a camera’s sensor can process is limited. The challenge is to get details in the the highlights and the darks without blowing out the highlights or turning the darks black. The classic example is to get details in the forground photographers often blow out the sky creating ugly white detail free skies. Often photographers can compensate with graduated filters to reduce the range of stops of lights in a scene.

Here is an example. I had to bracket my exposure in this scene of the Western Maryland Railroad. I took the following seven shots to create the above photo. Note that none of the photos alone capture the scene but combining the best of each, I was able to create the above.

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F7.1 Shutter 1/320 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias 0

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F7.1 Shutter 1/2500 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias -3 F7.1 Shutter 1/160 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias +1

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F7.1 Shutter 1/1250 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias -2 F7.1 Shutter 1/80 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias +2

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F7.1 Shutter 1/640 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias -1 F7.1 Shutter 1/40 sec ISO 200 24mm Exp Bias +3

I used Photomatix Pro to combine these seven exposures into the final image. You can download a trial but it will watermark your images. Look for a discount on the purchase of Photomatix Pro at Ferrell McCollough’s website.

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