Tag Archives: meetup

A Wonderful Weekend

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Last weekend we finished our 3rd annual astrophotography and camping meetup at Spruce Knob, WV. Each year the event becomes a little more popular and this year I think was the best yet.

This shot was taken on the far side of the lake looking north. The exposures were a collection of 2 minute exposures that spanned a period of about an hour and 45 minutes. I would have preferred to let the exposures keep going for 2 or 3 hours, but I was also expecting to get up early for sunrise and unfortunately I’m the type of person that needs a fair amount of sleep. I usually use Photoshop to assemble my star trails but this time decided to try StarStax and really like the little comets on the end of the each point of light. So I think I’ll be using StarStax a little more often.

If you want to join us on our next camping trip or any of our Meetup adventures be sure to check out our group.

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Another Great Meetup

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This past weekend our meetup group visited East Broad Top Railroad in Pennsylvania. The East Broad Top was once a short line railroad that transported coal from the mines to another railroad for transport to the end users.

Mother Nature did not really cooperate and we had a fair amount of rain, but there was plenty to shoot indoors and everyone really enjoyed this location.

We are in the early stages of planning a return trip so be sure to join our meetup if you want to be notified of our next trip.

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It’s Almost That Time of Year Again! Cherry Blossoms!!

That’s right, it is nearly that time of year… Cherry Blossoms! You would think that Spring lasts for weeks, but really, in a Cherry Blossom’s life cycle, this period of time is brief and in fact, very elusive. Weather is the biggest factor, with varying degrees of impact. For example, last year:

  • The weather pattern resulted in blooms being nearly 3 weeks late.
  • Windy mornings near the water make it impossible to get a crisp shot.
  • Rain, very common during early spring in DC, knocks all the blooms off.
  • Late-March and early-April is generally frigid, making the experience less than pleasant.

But who’s listing! Capturing the elusive cherry blossom is what we, photographers, are all about. Suffering for that one stunning image! So get ready, because it coming… RRPT will hold a Meetup, so keep an eye on the Meetup page (click here), as the Meetup will be announced as the timing predictions get more accurate.

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Star Trails and More – Meetup

Star trails and more… RRPT is holding a Meetup at Spruce Knob Lake! June 12 – 14

It is a camping adventure. For more information, click here.

Last year the weather did not cooperate for star trails, but it did deliver some amazing skies and there are lots of other opportunities to shoot!

Images by Geff Bourke.

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Sharing the Experience

Shared experience, unique perspective.

Some people feel that going out to shoot with friends means that everyone will have the same image, so they avoid it. What I have found is that exactly the opposite happens. RRPT has been going strong for just over a year and thousands of shutter clicks later after dozens of Meetups and photo tours, I am still amazed and impressed at how differently we all see the world.

Each of us see the world differently. We focus on different things, different nuances of the same scene. We perceive what is around us differently and therefore, we capture different images, even when we are standing right next to each other. Geff’s creativity and unique vision challenge me, as mine do him. We are competitive, yet encouraging. We razz each other when the other gets the shot and one of doesn’t. We talk about camera settings to ensure that each of us has the best opportunity to make images. We make sure the other doesn’t miss out as well. Lastly, we process our images differently as well. We each experienced a different emotion and demonstrating that emotion in our process adds to differentiation in our work.

To demonstrate, here are some examples of images captured side by side.

Denise’s

Geff’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see full sets, for Geff click here and for mine set click here.

Moral to this story, shoot with friends. They help you, support you, encourage you, protect you (safety in numbers), and challenge you to do your very best work. If you are interested in shooting with us and others, click here and check out our Meetup Group.

How Did I get Here?

I was asked to share the original images that make up this composite:

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So here are the 9 original files, untouched, raw files. You can see that the images were taken in different times of day and lighting situations, from different perspectives, with different tones. The challenge to composite images is making the final image seem like a single shot, as impossible as it might seem to create.

 

I have by no means perfected this art form, but am definitely working on it. It takes, like all things you want to do well, lots of practice and patience. For those interested in learning the techniques that can be used for compositing and other adjustments, I am leading two workshops: one is on  Layers and Masks in Photoshop and the other is on Textures and Blending techniques. Click the titles to learn more.

 

Masks, Layers, Blending Images…

Do you have thousands of images hidden away on multiple external hard drives? Have you edited and shared the ones you loved the most? What about the others? What are all those little pixels doing, besides taking up space?

Well, here is an idea… use pieces and parts of those images to make an entirely unique image! That’s right… compositing images together to create something uniquely you.

This image was created using images from Iceland, Death Valley, Oregon, and DC. There are 10 unique images in this composites… well some part of 10 unique images. In each and every case, I had a friend standing right near me, shooting the same scene. But this image, this composite is uniquely my vision. Sure I shared images from each of those trips, but this work is a creation of my imagination and there will never be another like it, even if I tried to do it again, it would be different (different settings and adjustment layers, different mood).

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This image is a combination of 9 images; from Seattle, to the Palouse, WV, Iceland, and the Shenandoah. Because each image was its own full size raw file, the level of detail in each component of the composite is clear and can be explored for its detail. For example, the lady driving the car; dive in and check out the schmirk on her face!

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The possibilities are endless. Also, the pixels hidden away on those drives now have a totally new purpose!

Compositing takes practice and patience. In and of itself, it is actually not that difficult to do once you learn the techniques to separate parts and pieces of images and how to blend them together. You have to have Photoshop (Elements or higher) to composite, because you need to be able to use layers and masks.

If you are intrigued by the idea of compositing images or blending textures with your images, then you might want to join me for a couple of workshops. You can register for these workshops, and my Introduction to Lightroom workshop on the Road Runner Photoshop Tours Meetup.

Learn to use Photoshop layers and masks. There are so many ways to select and mask, each one has its upside and downside… learn how to decide which is best for your needs in my Introduction to Photoshop – Layers, Masks, and More. This workshop will be held on Saturday, Feb 28, 2015.

Learn to blend textures, as well as images (compositing). This workshop will focus on blending techniques. Workshop on Textures and Blending Techniques. This workshop will be held on Saturday, March 21, 2015.

The combination of the Photoshop workshop and the Texture/Blending workshop, will give you all the skills you need to take your art to the next level of creativity.

In Camera Overlays

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Last week we had a meet up for what seems to be the annual pilgrimage to Longwood Gardens to photograph the Blue Poppies. While working in a different area of the conservatory I remembered a technique that I had not used for a long time. It’s called an “In Camera Overlay”. While it could also be achieved using Photoshop, this feature has been in Nikon cameras for years. I’m under the impression that some cameras from other manufacturers may also have this feature.

 

The technique is quite simple. Take your first picture with the image in focus and as much depth of field as you wish. Take a second defocused image and be sure your aperture is set to wide open. If not, your second image will be in sharper focus than you intended. Next go to the “overlay” function on your camera’s menu. Choose the first sharp image, then choose your second defocused image. Tell the camera to “overlay” the images then you are done!

Corcoran Gallery of Art Meetup

We are pleased to announce that we have scheduled a private tour of the War/Photography Exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC. This Meetup will be held on Saturday 9/14/13 at 3:30PM.

For more information on the War/Photography Exhibit, click here.

After our tour, we will be doing a photo walk around The Mall to practice evening/low light and night photography.

For more details, click here to for the Meetup.

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Sunflowers, Poolesville, MD

We had our first of two Meetups at the sunflowers fields near Poolesville, MD. Great time, great group, definitely on the hotside! Here are some images from this evenings shoot.

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Reminder, we have another Meetup next Saturday evening, 6:30 PM. Check out our Meetup site for the details! logo