“Are we there yet? How much longer? I am BORED!” These are all common phrases heard by most parents on any car trip longer than 30 minutes. While we commonly think that this is something that only children do, at a recent camera club meeting I felt like I was in that car with some of my fellow photographers. Phrases of “I hate winter… my images are so bland, It’s too cold outside; there’s nothing for me to photograph, I’m so tired of shooting the same old stuff!” These comments took me back to the days of creatively entertaining my three daughters on a road trip. I felt like there had to be a way to be creative and inspire others during a magical time of year – Christmas.
While obviously not my creation, an internet search revealed a 365 photo-a-day project as well as a photo of the month project. These projects presented a topic or subject to be captured each day and received a new subject the next day. The subjects presented were so simple or so common and with very little creative thought; I felt like our new members were craving knowledge as well as inspiration. Armed with a slew of ideas from different photo-a-day programs, my plan was born. I decided to create and implement the “31 Days of Christmas.” With input from the board of directors and Camera Club President, Helga Skinner the project came to life. Each day was to be a different theme. There were no rules, except to be creative and look at the topic through the eyes of a photographer. The topics were very broad such as “together” or “looking up” to allow maximum creative exploration but there were also educational topics such as bokeh (intentionally adding blur to a background or image), macros or close-ups, landscapes and reflections.
When you hear the ‘honk, honk’ of high flying birds, and see birds flying in a V formation, you might think “there goes the Canadian Geese”. The high flyers will most likely be Sandhill Cranes, either returning to their wintering ground just north of Chattanooga, or flying North to their m ating grounds. It is estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 Sandhill cranes spend around two months in the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Tennessee. The refuge is located on about 6,000 acres of land, around the confluence of the Tennessee and Hiwassee Rivers, north of Chattanooga, near the town of Birchwood, Tennessee. Birds come to the Hiwassee Refuge because of the combination of shallow water feeding and roosting habitat, with wet grasslands, marshes, and grain fields. They are omnivorous animals, eating seeds, berries, cultivated grains, insects and small mammals. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource agency encourages their yearly return by planting corn and other grains in the fields around the area. As a photographer it’s exciting to hear the cranes fling overhead and to know they will be available for a couple of months for picture taking.
I am a novice photographer and I enjoy being a member of the Cookeville Camera Club. I have learned a lot from other members who are eager to share their expertise.
Photography can be an expensive undertaking, be it as a hobby or a profession. For me it is a hobby and not an expensive one because I have an entry level DSL camera and no special lens. I feel challenged to take pictures that have unusual lighting, vivid colors, and contrasting textures and I find my camera to be quite adequate.
I’ve had a camera several years now. I sometimes haven’t touched it for several weeks at a time. Eventually, I realized my pictures all looked the same. I wanted to make my images look better, but I didn’t know how. What to do? I joined the Cookeville Camera Club earlier this year. The club meets monthly in Cookeville. The members have widely varied photography skills, from beginners to master photographers, so I fit right in. Everyone in the club is generous with their time and more than willing to answer questions from newcomers like me.
I first attended a meeting of the Cookeville Camera Club in 2013. Eagerness to meet new people with similar interests, and owning a digital camera that I never really got around to learning, were my motivations. From my first visit, I was encouraged to join classes and attend photo events with other members where we shared ideas and learned ways to improve our photographic skills.
When I moved away from my family in south eastern Ohio, and came here to Tennessee I found this area to be the most beautiful and enchanting place. I wanted to share it with my friends and family back home, so I went out with my little camera and did my best to capture some of that beauty and send it back to them so they could see just why I fell in love with this area. I shared my photos with anyone and everyone. Over time folks started telling me that I had an eye for it or that I was able to show them something in a way they hadn’t seen before. It made me feel proud and I loved it so I just kept on.
I joined the Cookeville Camera Club three years ago and it opened up a whole new world for me. I had purchased a new camera and didn’t understand what it could do, but the club had a class that helped immensely. Most of the class participants had DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras and I didn’t, but the members were very eager and willing to help me with my particular low-end camera. There continues to be an attitude of helping other members improve their photography, whether it be lighting, composition, or editing. This has been invaluable to me as the owner-designer of a small web design company.
When you go on a trip or take a vacation this year, along with taking pictures of family and friends, don’t forget to keep an eye out for nice landscape shots. Here are just a few of the many hints about taking
Notice what the sky looks like. Usually early morning or late afternoon will give you the best lighting and
colors for landscapes, especially when the sky has color. On the other hand, big, fluffy white clouds look
good in scenic pictures also. Try not to get the sun in the picture except for about an hour after sunrise and an hour or less before sunset. Bright sun can damage the sensor inside your camera. Some of the most dramatic scenic images are taken just before or just after stormy weather. If you have a ‘blah’ sky, consider either not including the sky in the image, or just catch a little of the sky. For waterfall pictures, you might consider how much sunlight is on the water and use a polarizer filter on the lens to help prevent overexposure and reduce the water’s glare. A polarizer can also darken the blue of the sky. To be most effective, the polarizer needs to be at a 45 to 80 degree angle from the sun. Circular polarizers must be turned until you obtain the look you want. Point and shoot cameras should have a setting such as water, or waterfalls that helps. Continue reading →