DVCC & N4C August Competition Results

Before we get to the results, let’s catch up on some news. First, I’m largely taking over the newsletter editor functions from Cathy Cooper though she’ll still contribute articles and answer my multitude of questions as I get used to WordPress. If you have any questions, catch any mistakes, or have an idea for an article, let me know at dvccnewsletter@gmail.com or at a meeting. I look forward to working with all of you!

Meet Our New Board!

Here’s this year’s group of volunteers to keep the club running smoothy. Thanks to all!
President – John Anunti
Vice Pres/N4C Rep – Lynn Oakleaf
Treasurer – Joe Crosby
Secretary/Web Master – Amory Donaldson
Newsletter Editor – Kathryn Stelljes
Projected Images Chair – Rick Calhoun
Print Chair – Lance Guelfo
Print Co-Chair – Irena Miles
Field Trip Chair – Chris Nelson
Judges – Sara Calhoun
Panoramic Images
Alan Moore gave a wonderful presentation at our 9/11 meeting, showing us the ins-and-outs of creating beautiful panoramas. Especially helpful were the list of equipment and the Photoshop instructions that simplified a complicated process.  His powerpoint presentation and list of steps to produce a panorama in Photoshop are on the DVCC RESOURCES page.
Here’s the raw panorama after all the separate images were merged:
raw panorama
And here’s the final image after Alan applied the “content aware” fill function of Photoshop:

finished panorama-correct any defects

DVCC August Competition

We had 79 images submitted into competition last month. Wayne Miller was our judge for the evening.

Congratulations goes out to Lance Guelfo and Irena Miles for receiving best in show awards.

Congratulations to Hugh Miles’s Beautiful Yacht, Unfortunate Opponent for being chosen as Editors Picture of the Month. Thanks for the timely combination of San Francisco yacht racing and bridges!

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To view all the winning entries please visit our competition website.

Keep in mind that our judges comments are their own personal opinion and if your images don’t place in this month’s competition, you can always resubmit it into another months competition with a different judge.

Best in Show

Congratulations goes out to Irena Miles for her projected image titled Barrio door, Tucson, Arizona

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and Lance Guelfo for his color print titled The top of the balloon.

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N4C August Competition Results

Three of our DVCC members placed in the N4C monthly competition with a total of five winning images. Congratulations to Cathy Cooper for her 1st place Creative image.  Also to Lance Guelfo and Euclides Viegas for winning two awards each with their great images.

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To see a list of all the N4C winners visit the N4C website.  The results on the DVCC STANDINGS page have been updated to reflect these latest N4C results.

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DVCC & N4C March Competition Results

DVCC March Competition

We had 88 images submitted into competition last month. Chuck Hogan was our judge for the evening and provided some wonderful in-depth feedback on every image and several times had us turn the lights on and stop the competition judging to give us some valuable tips on how to improve our photography.

Congratulations goes out to Alan Moore, Jerome Larson, Betty Prange and Lynn Oakleaf for receiving best in show awards for their beautiful images.

Congratulations to Rick Calhoun’s Oak Tree Silhouette image for being chosen as Editors Picture of the Month.

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To view all the winning entries please visit our competition website.

Keep in mind that our judges comments are their own personal opinion and if your images don’t place in this month’s competition, you can always resubmit it into another months competition with a different judge.

Projected Images of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Alan Moore for his projected image titled “Young Vaquero in Kitchen, Baja California”

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and Betty Prange for her projected image titled “Cycles of Nature”

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 and Lynn Oakleaf for his projected image titled “Dancing Woman Checking The Score”

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Print of the Night
Congratulations goes out to Jerome Larson for his Monochrome print titled “Milan Cathedral Flying Buttresses Detail

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N4C March Competition Results

Six of our DVCC members placed in the N4C monthly competition with a total of seven winning images. Congratulations to Alan Moore for his 1st place Creative image and 5th place Journalism image.  Alan competes at the advanced level currently but is quickly approaching the Masters level. Congratulations also to Cathy Cooper, Jerome Larson, Chris Nelson and Lynn Oakleaf for their wining images.

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Creative Prints – Advanced
First Place

Dual receding mirrors on purple and beige walls
Alan Moore, F.

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Pictorial Projected Images – Intermediate
Third Place

Companions Draw Energy from the Sky-Joshua Tree NP
Lynn Oakleaf

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Travel Projected Images – Advanced
Fourth Place

Woman with purchase at the Otavalo Market, Ecuador.
Betty PrangeCNelson_Mono_N4C_5th

Monochrome Prints – Intermediate
Fifth Place
Leaf patterns in monochrome
Chris Nelson

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Nature Prints – Advanced
Honorable Mention

Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo Jamaicensis) Eating Ground Squirrel at San Luis National Wildlife Refuge.
Cathy Cooper

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Color Prints – Masters
Honorable Mention

Well, Well
Jerome Larson

To see a list of all the N4C winners visit the N4C website.  The results on the DVCC STANDINGS page have been updated to reflect these latest N4C results.

DVCC & N4C February Competition Results

DVCC February Competition

We had over 50 images submitted for competition last month. Leslie Crandall was a first time judge to our club. She was a delight to have judging our competition. She was upbeat, very honest and gave in-depth feedback on each image. She liked so many of our images that she awarded five Best in Show awards.

A special congratulations goes out to Cathy Cooper for receiving two Best in Show awards that night in Nature Projected Images and Pictorial Prints and Euclid Viegas for receiving two Best in Show awards for Pictorial Projected Images and Creative Prints. Congratulations also to Richard Fay for receiving a Best in Show award for his Monochrome PI image.

Congratulations for Editors Image of the Month goes out to Amory Donaldson for her image “Rapunzel Flies”. It can be seen on the top left side of our blog website.

To view all the winning entries please visit our competition website.

Keep in mind that our judges comments are their own personal opinion and if your images don’t place in this month’s competition, you can always resubmit it into another months competition and receive a different judges feedback.

Projected Images of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Cathy Cooper for her Nature Projected Image titled “Rare and Endangered California Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris obsoletus) Makes a Rare Public Appearance to Bathe at Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve”.

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and Richard Fay for his Monochrome Projected Image titled “Stairwell in the Dark“.

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and Euclid Viegas for his Pictorial Projected image titled “Delicate Petals of a Rose“.

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Prints of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Cathy Cooper for her Pictorial Print image titled “Lone Pine Arch”.

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Congratulations goes out to Euclid Viegas for his Creative Print image titled “Looking In……… “.

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N4C February Competition Results

Five of our DVCC members placed in the N4C monthly competition with a total of seven winning images. Congratulations to Irena Miles for her 1st place/Best in Show travel image. Congratulations also to Lance Guelfo and Betty Prange for their two winning images and Richard Fay and Jim Ludwig for their wining image.

To see a list of all the N4C winners visit the N4C website.  The results on the DVCC STANDINGS page have been updated to reflect these latest N4C results.

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Blossoming into a Passionate Photographer in Your Own Backyard

After belonging to numerous photography meetup groups and competing in monthly photo competitions at Diablo Valley Camera Club for several years, I have watched many photographers attend week-long fee based workshops and/or travel all over the world to capture their winning images. I have always wanted to be able to attend these workshops and/or travel far from home like many of my fellow photographer friends but for numerous reasons outside of my control, I can’t. I know there are many like me who for various reasons also can’t participate in fee based workshops and/or travel too far from home, so I thought I would share my story of how I blossomed into a passionate photographer in my own backyard.

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It was on a warm summer day on the beautiful island of Maui where I took my last trip in 2006 that my life forever changed. I was driving a rental car up the mountain to see the Haleakala Volcano. As I turned my head to look out at the breathtaking view as I was nearing the top at an elevation of over 10,000 ft., I experienced a sudden violent episode of spinning vertigo that left me unable to see anything while I was driving. If you have ever had vertigo, you know it isn’t something you want to experience while driving a moving vehicle with nowhere to pull over to let someone else take the wheel. Thankfully there was a pullout a few hundred yards further up the road and my daughters took over the driving for the rest of our vacation.

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I had planned this get-a-way vacation to be able to relax and recharge from a very stressful time in my life, but instead had a terrifying experience and returned home with a life changing disability that left me unable to work, drive, exercise or do many of the essential daily living activities that we all take for granted being able to do for ourselves each day. I am thankful that I didn’t accept the life altering medical diagnosis as a license to give up hope on living. I have always had a very persevering attitude. It was tested a few times during my adolescent years and many times in adulthood. This was just one more chapter in my life that taught me that unexpected storms in our lives can often help us see and experience things we never would have without them.

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My being housebound and dependent on others for three years was not a road I would wish on anyone, but it actually did provide me time to stop and smell the roses in my own yard along with picking up and using my DSLR camera I had bought a few years earlier but was too busy working and commuting 60 hours a week to ever use.

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I have always loved gardening and many years ago I planted several rose gardens and other various trees and plants in my yard. These provided me with some of my first subjects to photograph, along with my new grandson who lived with me, the backyard birds, beautiful sunsets, clouds and rainbows which I would see occasionally out my windows. I was pleased to have found such a wonderful hobby that I could do at my own pace that kept me from going completely stir crazy.

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I thankfully have made a lot of positive progress since 2006 with my health issues, but recently found myself once again housebound for the better part of four months. One can only stay inside while recovering from multiple surgeries for so long without losing their sanity; so once again I looked out my windows and realized I had many great subjects to photograph in my own backyard. An unexpected benefit of shooting in my own backyard this time was the extra money I had in the bank at the end of the month from not buying gas at $4 a gallon since I wasn’t driving all over this beautiful state in search of inspiring photos.

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I believe everyone can benefit from having passions in life and do recommend that you take time out of your busy life to stop and smell the roses in your own backyard whether you are a photographer or not. If you are a photographer, you may be surprised how your passion and creativity can blossom right in your own backyard and/or kitchen as this last image was created and photographed in. Happy shooting!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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DVCC January Competition

We started off our January 2013 competition with 58 images. Congratulation to Alan Moore for his five first place images. Rick Calhoun, Jim Ludgwig and Lori Espinosa each had two first place images. Sara Calhoun, Richard Fay Jerome Larson, Irena Miles, and Betty Prange each had one image place first.

To view all the winning entries please visit our competition website.

Keep in mind that our judges comments are their own personal opinion and if your images don’t place in this month’s competition, you can always resubmit it into another months competition with a different judge.

Projected Image of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Lori Espinosa for her projected image titled “Contemplation”

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Projected Image of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Irena Miles for her projected image titled “Market Day, My son, Vietnam”

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Print of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Jim Ludwig for his pictorial image titled “Jessup Path

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N4C January Competition Results

Six of our DVCC members placed in the N4C monthly competition with a total of eight winning images. Congratulations goes out to Cathy Cooper and Chris Nelson for their two winning images. Rick Calhoun, Richard Faye, Jermome Larson and Euclid Viegas each had one image place.

To see a list of all the N4C winners visit the N4C website.  The results on the DVCC STANDINGS page have been updated to reflect these latest N4C results.

ChrisNelson_Monchrome_N4C-1st CathyCooper_Creative_N4C2nd

N4C 2012 Annual Competition Results

N4C 2012 Annual Competition Results

On Sunday, February 10th, N4C held its annual luncheon and announced the results of the annual competition. DVCC had 13 members receive 17 awards.

We had two 1st place, one 2nd, two 3rd, three 5th and nine Honorable Mention awards. Congratulations to all the winners!

In order of the number of awards the winners were:

Chris Nelson – 3 images
Jerome Larson – 2 images
Betty Prange – 2 images

Richard Freeman, Lance Guelfo, Grant Kreinberg, James Prescott, Irena Miles, Alan Moore, Lynn Oakleaf, Mark Pemberton, Marilyn Verducci, and Euclid Viegas  all received one award.

Congratulations again to everyone for a great year!

Click here to view all N4C winners

1st Place Journalism Prints

Space Shuttle Endevour Meets Burning Man Lady By Jerome Larson
Space Shuttle Endevour Meets Burning Man Lady – All Rights Reserved by Jerome Larson

2nd Place Color Prints

ChrisNelson_N4CAnnual2nd_ColorPrints_2
Yellow ’32 Ford Fender and Light – All Rights Reserved by Chris Nelson

3rd Place Color Prints

Fall Morning in the Great Smokies - All Rights Reserved by Betty Prange
Fall Morning in the Great Smokies – All Rights Reserved by Betty Prange

Good Bye 2012, Hello 2013

Happy New Year DVCC members! I hope you all enjoyed your holidays with family and friends. I am looking forward to a new year and being able to get back out and photograph again after dealing with some health issues the past three months. I encourage you to come to tonight’s General Business meeting with fresh ideas for field trip locations for 2013. Our next competition is January 23. Deadline for photo submission to competition is Sunday, January 20th.

DVCC November Competition

We had 40-50 images submitted in November’s competition. Our judge for the evening was our own Mark Pemberton. Mark provided excellent feedback on our images and when it came time for judging he had a very tough job deciding on who to give 1st, 2nd, or 3rd to since there were so many great images submitted in our last competition for 2012.

Cathy Cooper and Jerome Larson who both compete in the Masters level had three of their images take first place. Below are two of their winning print images and coincidentally both contained lavender as their subject.

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CathyCooper_BeeLavender_1stPlacePrint

Rick Calhoun, Alan Moore, and Chris Nelson each had two first place images. Amory Donaldson, Richard Fay, Lance Guelfo, Bob McNutt, and Betty Prange each had one image place first. The two honorable mentions (HM) were given out by Mark for images he couldn’t give a first or second place to. Cathy Cooper received an HM for her “Burrowing Owl” print and Euclid Viegas for his “Sailing in Unison” print.

RickCalhoun_HeavenOnEarth_EditorsPick

AmoryDonaldson_BaldEagle_1stPlace

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Congratulations to everyone for making this last competition of the year one to remember with all of your high quality images!

To view all the winning entries please visit our competition website.

Keep in mind that our judges comments are their own personal opinion and if your images don’t place in this month’s competition, you can always resubmit it into another months competition with a different judge.

Projected Image of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Richard Fay for his projected image titled“Sidewalk Sale (Windy Day)”.

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Print of the Night
Congratulations goes out to Jerome Larson for his monochrome image titled “Arches”

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N4C November Competition Results

Six of our DVCC members placed in the N4C monthly competition with a total of eight winning images. Congratulations goes out to Bob McNutt and Betty Prange for their two winning images. Cathy Cooper, Jim Ludwig, Alan Moore, and Chris Nelson all had one image place.

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To see a list of all the N4C winners visit the N4C website.  The results on the DVCC STANDINGS page have been updated to reflect these latest N4C results.

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When the Storms Come – Keep Shooting

When the Storms Come – Keep Shooting

By Cathy Cooper

Storms are an inevitable part of life. Whether it’s a storm in your personal life or a weather related storm, they often come without much warning and our normal response when they do hit is to run and hide from them. I have encountered many storms in my life, as I am sure you have also.  I have challenged myself to embrace the moment and ride out the storm with anticipation of seeing what I can learn from them as I gain a new perspective in life.

American Kestrel Grizzly Island

I know many photographers who have the mindset that when a storm comes it is time to cancel all outdoor plans and stay home and relax next to a warm fire. Relaxing next to a warm fire does sound like a great plan, but I am going to challenge you to see stormy days as an opportunity to capture some very unique images to add to your portfolio. As you can see from these examples the colors become really saturated during rainy weather.

Spanish Flat Horse

Weather storms can include clouds, wind, rain, snow, lightening, and if you’re lucky you may get to see a rainbow. Many storms do bring rain and snow which aren’t good for your expensive camera equipment; but with a little bit of preparation you can be out shooting when the next storm arrives.

Cordelia Rainbow

First, you will need to protect yourself and your camera equipment from getting wet. I am normally inside my car most of the time when photographing in the rain/snow, but still use all the gear below since I roll down my window to shoot the scene and the rain does seem to make its way into my car.

Old Chevy Truck

I recommend being prepared with the following items when shooting in rainy or snowy conditions.

1. Clear UV filter (high quality). I have one attached to all my lenses for protection at all times. It even protects if you drop your lens. I have shattered filters but never the lens glass after accidentally dropping it.

2. Lens hood. This works to protect lens from rain and snow drops.

3. Rain sleeve or plastic bag secured with rubber band for your camera. I use a very inexpensive rainsleeve made by Optech. It can be purchased at http://optechusa.com/rainsleeve.html. They also have more expensive rain sleeves you can search for online.

4. Lens cloth or leather chamois to wipe off any water on your camera lens or filter.

5. Towel to dry camera body, tripod, and or inside of car when rain gets in.

6. Rain gear for yourself if you will be outdoors. A raincoat, rain poncho or waterproof jacket with hat and waterproof boots or shoes. You can use an umbrella but it’s hard to hold it and the camera at the same time. If you have a tripod or assistant to hold the umbrella that can work.

Cordelia Mustard Field

Now that you have yourself and your gear protected its time to find a subject and location to photograph. I shoot mostly landscape and wildlife, but you can also do portrait photography in the rain. My bird photos are the closest examples I have for portraits taken in the rain. Humans would probably be easier to photograph since they don’t spook and fly off when they see you, hopefully.

Snowy Egret Grizzly Island

More Tips for a successful storm shoot:

1. You can use any lens. I use a wide angle, macro or zoom lens depending on my subject. With my bird photos I used a Canon 100-400 mm lens. With most landscape scenes I use a Canon 15-85 mm lens or a Canon 70-200 mm lens. I use a Canon 100 mm macro lens for flowers and portraits.

2. I shoot normally in AV mode (aperture priority) and let the camera determine the shutter speed. You can also use the Manual setting if you aren’t shooting  fast moving subjects like birds or sports.

3. Use a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion of the rain or snow. I recommend 1/250 second to 1/500 second. Since the light will be low, you may have to increase your ISO to achieve a fast shutter speed, if not on a tripod. You can vary your aperture and shutter speeds to create different effects. Do experiment with your camera settings until you find a setting that works for you.

4. Shoot against a dark background if you want the rain drops to show up and your subjects colors to be more pronounced.

5. Use a tripod if you can. but I do most of my storm shots hand held.

6. Experiment with off or onboard flash. Be sure to have it protected from the rain.

7.  Move around and try various locations, subjects and backgrounds. When scouting out locations, you don’t actually have to go far from home. These were taken in my yard with a Canon 100mm macro lens. I used a tripod and on-board timer.

Orchid
Japanese Maple Leaf

Just after a snow storm has finished and the clouds begin to break apart can be a very beautiful time to photograph a winter wonderland location like Yosemite.

Yosemite After Snow Storm

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N4C October Competition Results

Five of our DVCC members placed in the N4C monthly competition with a total of seven winning images. Congratulations goes out to Alan Moore and Jerome for their first place wins along with each having another image place. Grant Kreinberg, Chris Nelson, Betty Prange each had winning images.

To see a list of all the N4C winners visit the N4C website.  The results on the DVCC STANDINGS page have been updated to reflect these latest N4C results.

DVCC October Competition

At our October competition we had 65 images submitted. Our judge for the evening was Dr. Stephen Weiss who always gives great feedback on our images. Keep in mind that our judges comments are their own personal opinion and if your images don’t place in this months competition, or at N4C, you can always resubmit it into another months competition with a different judge.

To view all the winning entries please visit our competition website.

 Projected Image of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Cathy Cooper for her image “Jockey and Horse Jumping High Hurdles at the Petaluma Equestrian Horse Jumping Competitions”.

 Print of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Jim Ludwig for his image “The Jenne Farm, Woodstock, Vermont”.

Editors Pick of the Month

Congratulations goes to Alan Moore!

Passion, Perseverance and a little Patience

A Journey into Bird Photography

By Cathy Cooper

Coots Taking Off – Yolo Basin Wildlife Area – 2012 Copyright Cathy Cooper

My passion for photographing fast moving subjects started 20+ years ago as I stood on the sidelines photographing my daughters as they ran up and down the soccer field.

Many of you probably remember in the early days of digital cameras there was a couple second delay from when you hit the shutter button until the photo was taken. This was very frustrating for many users but for me it provided a challenge that I wanted to conquer. After years of practice, I became really skilled at pressing the shutter button a few seconds before the action happened to be able capture photos at the peak of the action. Little did I know this skill would come in handy once I found myself in the medically retired chapter of life.

One warm fall afternoon in 2008, I noticed a large flock of black birds on the water while out fishing in a boat for largemouth bass in the Delta. My fishing friend was a wildlife biologist and informed me that they were American Coots (Fulica americana). As we would pull up anchor to go to our next fishing spot, we realized the birds took off each time we did this. Since we weren’t having much luck catching fish, we turned the need to move frequently to a new fishing spot into a team sport. I would get myself and my camera ready and as soon as I heard the sound of the engine, I would begin firing away as the flock of coots took off skimming across the water. Getting any bird in focus was quite challenging since the boat, birds and myself were all moving. Perseverance was something I had to develop if I was going to succeed in bird photography.

Coots Take Flight – Yolo Basin Wildlife Area – 2012 Copyright Cathy Cooper

My passion for bird photography did begin out on the water, but since I wasn’t able to get out in a boat very often, I had my daughter drive me around the marshlands near my home in Cordelia to look for birds to photograph. I soon discovered there were so many birds just minutes from my home. When I would see a hawk on a telephone pole she would quickly pull over so I could photograph it. I will never forget my first hawk photo out on Grizzly Island Rd and the look of fear on her face and the sound of panic in her voice as she let me know the red-tailed hawk was right above our heads on the telephone pole. I was filled with a mixture of nervousness and excitement as I tried to get off a shot or two before he flew away. I rolled down the window and hung out the car window with my long lens to capture my first raptor shot on a high voltage power line. Fortunately, this hawk nor any others have ever flown into my car.

Red-tailed Hawk – Grizzly Island Rd. – 2008 Copyright Cathy Cooper

It’s not too difficult to get a sharp photo of a bird that was perched on a pole after a few tries, but since I really like challenges,  I set out on a course to learn how to capture sharp birds in flight photos. I have learned a lot about specific bird behaviors and the best locations and times of year to find them. I also have researched and experimented with what the best settings in camera are for birds in flight photography.

Great Egret in Flight at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. 2012 Copyright Cathy Cooper

I had the passion and desire to persevere in capturing bird photos but there was one thing I wasn’t aware of needing to learn until after it had happened. First let me clarify a few things. I am not one of those bird photographers who gets up early, hides in a blind filled with wasps and waits for hours for a bird to arrive at a predicted location. I don’t dress in camouflaged gear nor do I use a tripod with an 800 mm long lens. I know I am breaking all the good bird photographer rules. I go mostly to places where I remain in my car and use it as a blind. They call them auto tour routes at the wildlife refuges. It works really nice for me since I have some mobility limitations and walking any distance isn’t something I can do without mobility equipment plus the birds would fly away the minute they saw me coming.

Snow Geese – Colusa National Wildlife Refuge – 2010 Copyright Cathy Cooper

I really never thought of bird photography as something that you have to be very patient with to succeed but looking back over my four year journey, I realize I have had to develop a little patience since I prefer capturing the bird in flight or doing some other behavior such as feeding a chick or doing a mating dance for their partner. For these type of action shots you do have to sometimes wait for the bird, but a lot of the times I just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Whether I waited for hours or just arrived, the action can happen in a split second, so getting my camera up and shooting as fast as I can is critical. Bird photography is not easy and requires lots of passion, perseverance, and of course you will have to learn to be a little bit patience with yourself and your subject to capture just the right photo.

Great Blue Heron taking Flight at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area – 2012 Copyright Cathy Cooper

To get started, I recommend going to a local park or zoo where there are ducks, geese and other birds that are comfortable being around people before heading out into the wildlife refuges where birds are not as comfortable around people, and are more likely to fly off when they see you and your long lens ready to shoot them. Once you’re up to the challenge of shooting wild birds, check out some of my favorite locations at the end of this article. 

To begin bird photography, I highly recommend:

  • A Pro-consumer DSLR camera – Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Sony all make good cameras. The frames per second (FPS) rating on your camera is an important feature to look for when purchasing a new camera body for bird photography. My current model camera is a Canon 7D and it shoots 8 FPS. Most pro-consumer cameras shoot around 3-8 FPS. Sony has a new camera that does 12 FPS.
  • A 300-400mm professional quality lens. You can use a 200mm lens with a 1.4x or 2.0x teleconverter. As for lenses, buy the best glass and fasted lens (f/2.8-5.6) you can afford. Cheap lenses do not typically produce good bird photos unless they are really close up and the light is just right.
  • As for settings to use in camera. I usually shoot birds in Aperture Priority Mode, Auto Focus, AI-Servo, AF Point Expansion, Evaluative Metering, High Speed Continuous, Auto ISO, Auto White Balance with Image Stabilization On. I mostly hand hold my 100-400mm lens when shooting, but occasionally will use a monopod to minimize arm fatigue from the weight of the camera and lens.
Osprey with Fish – Grizzly Island – 2010 Copyright Cathy Cooper
Great Horned Owl on Grizzly Island – 2012 Copyright Cathy Cooper
Osprey fighting over nest on Mare Island – 2012 Copyright Cathy Cooper

There are so many great places to photograph birds. Here are a few of my favorite local places.

  • Grizzly Island Marsh – along Highway 680 between Benicia and Cordelia.
  • Grizzly Island Rd. – off Highway 12 in Suisun. The first 10 miles of the road is open year round. The next 7 miles is open from Feb-July and two weeks in Sept. A DFG landpass is required or a fishing or hunting license to drive the last 7 miles. This is where I find most of my birds on Grizzly Island. http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/landpass/
  • Peyton Slough Marsh Complex – McNabney and Moorhen Marshes – Located off Highway 680 in Martinez. Check in at Mt. View Sanitary Districts administrative offices Monday- Friday. http://www.mvsd.org/
  • Lake Berryessa and Mare Island are great locations to find nesting Osprey.

*  One of my favorite birds to photograph are the sandhill cranes. They can be found in between Galt and Lodi, CA. They fly in late summer to early fall and stay through the winter months.

The 16th Annual 2012 Sandhill Crane Festival is being held November 2-4 in Lodi,CA. http://www.cranefestival.com/

They have some great tours that I highly recommend. Tour Registration here.

Sandhill Cranes take Flight on Staten Island – 2012 Copyright Cathy Cooper

Sandhill Cranes feeding on Staten Island. 2012 Copyright Cathy Cooper
Sandhill Cranes in Flight at Woodbridge Crane Reserve – 2010 Copyright Cathy Cooper

 N4C September Competition Results

Five of our DVCC members placed in the N4C monthly competition with a total of eight winning images. Congratulations goes out to Lance Guelfo, Chris Nelson and Betty Prange, who each had two images place at N4C. Alan Moore and Mark Pemberton had winning images also.

To see a list of all the N4C winners visit the N4C website.  The results on the DVCC STANDINGS page have been updated to reflect these latest N4C results.

DVCC September Competition

At our September competition we had 65 images submitted. Our judge for the evening was Randy Bates. He was new to judging at our club and brought a refreshingly positive and upbeat approach to judging. He showed great enthusiasm when viewing our images and provided very descriptive comments for our club members images. He was able to make the photographer feel good about their image even if he didn’t care for it. You were left feeling that he valued the hard work you put into your photography and with very descriptive reasons why he liked your image and on ways you could improve the image.  Keep in mind that our judges comments are their own personal opinion and if your images don’t place in this months competition, you can always resubmit it into another months competition with a different judge.

To view all the winning entries please visit our competition website.

Projected Image of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Cathy Cooper for her image “Disneyland Park Fireworks Show” in the Pictorial Projected Images Masters category. 

 Print of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Chris Nelson for his “Welder Preparing for Burning Man” Journalism Advanced Print.

DVCC’s First Public Show

“Our Natural World” Photography Exhibition and Competition opened its one month run at the aRt Cottage on October 3rd. Sponsored by the Diablo Valley Camera Club “Our Natural World” is a celebration of the world and animals that surround us. The show consists of 56 photographic prints representing 18 different artists with an astonishing array of subject matter. The show is also a competition with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes worth a total of $100. Two Honorable Mention ribbons were also awarded.

The show is being hosted by the aRt Cottage, a new art gallery in Concord. (http://www.artcottage.info/) Mark Pemberton is the show director, publicity was handled by Betty Prange and planning for the opening reception is being handled by Lori Espinosa. The hanging team consisting of Mike and Lori Espinosa, Grant Kreinberg, Betty Prange, Chris Nelson along with Mark and Cathy Pemberton spent about 3 hours working to assure that the images were displayed to their best potential. The end result was stunning.

Judging was conducted by well known local professional photographer Dick Hixson.

Dick received an AA deg from DVC and then enrolled in the two year trade school photography course at LaneyJunior College. He started his own commercial photography business and owned a studio in San Francisco for 16 years where he supplied photography to many advertising agencies in San Francisco and the peninsula. His clients included Apple, HP, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, Acer , and FedEx. He moved his studio to the Walnut Creek area and continued shooting for another 24 years.

Competition Winners

1st Place – Betty Prange’s “Yellowstone Morning”
2nd Place – “Alone on the Mountain” by Jim Ludwig
3rd Place –  “Winter at Cascade Creek” by Cathy Pemberton
HM – Lori Espinosa’a “Pre-flight”
HM – Lance Guelfo’s “A Delta Plant”

Judges Comments

“The images in this show are really, really good images. It is very difficult for me to choose.  Some of them I have seen before, which kind of has me eliminating them from the judging. I’m looking for something that is a little bit different, that I don’t normally see. There is a whole lot of creativity going on and points of view that are unique. And that is kind of what I’m looking for. In my opinion (good photography is) translating a visceral feeling into a 2 dimensional image that represents that (feeling). “

Review of the Winning Images

Yellowstone Morning by Betty Prange – 1st Place – “It’s my favorite. It’s the kind of place I want to wake up to in the morning. It is my contact with the environment, with nature, with the world. I think it is an absolutely gorgeous image. It just reeks of color and sensuality. I really, really like it.”

  Alone on the Mountain by Jim Ludwig – 2nd Place – “It’s an extremely powerful image. The wood, the character of the wood just jumps out from the stark    environment that it’s sitting in. Everything is horizontal and it’s vertical. It almost screams at you, especially with the light coming from behind it.”

Winter at Cascade Creek by Cathy Pemberton – 3rd Place – “The same thing. We go by it. We don’t pay any attention to it but it has a powerful design element in a monotoned environment. It’s clean, it’s simple. There is no degradation of the environment as well as the image so it just kind of pops.”

Pre-Flight by Lori Espinosa – Honorable Mention
“This is not the typical image of an animal. He shows power from his wings and blends in with the tones in the background. He’s kind of like the same context,
the same environment as the rocks he’s standing on. I like that.”

 A Delta Plant by Lance Guelfo – Honorable Mention
“This is something that we drive by every day that ee don’t pay a  lot of attention to. It’s simple and yet it’s elegant.”


Opening Reception

An opening Reception is planned for Saturday, October 6th from 2 to 5 pm at the aRt Cottage. Come and meet the artists and learn how they created their master works and about their worldly travels. There will be entertainment food and beverage so please come and enjoy this special occasion.

Take Better Photographs

Baffled by the world of digital photography? Have a new camera and not quite sure how to use it? Want to take better photos of your kids, dog, vacation? Have a question about how to use Photoshop? Stop by the aRt Cottage from 2 to 4 pm on Saturday October 20th and meet members of the Diablo Valley Camera Club. DVCCs seasoned photographers will be present to help you out. In addition, you can browse the gallery and enjoy the fabulous photographs on display.

Summer’s Almost Over but Fall is Just Around The Corner!

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”― Ansel Adams

Fall color in Eastern Sierra’s Bishop Creek Canyon Area by Cathy Cooper

As nature photographers we live for the seasons. The summer months have provided many of us some great photo opportunities with family vacations, graduations, sporting events, beautiful scenery and even some exciting lightning strikes during some rare summer thunderstorms for those who were brave enough to go and risk their lives shooting lightning.

As much as I love the warm summer days and nights, I look forward to the fall season when the days can still be warm but the nights are much cooler. Our trees begin to produce those vibrant fall colors so many of us love to photograph. We have all heard of how beautiful the fall colors can be in the Eastern parts of the United States but I have found some places in California that can be just as beautiful. The area I would like to share with you is the Eastern Sierra’s along Highway 395, which I was fortunate enough to be able to visit for the first time two years ago.

From the Bay Area, it is a five-hour drive (250 mi.) to Lee Vining near Mono Lake. There are many canyons, creeks and lakes in this area. My favorite areas near Lee Vining are Lundy Lake, which is just a few miles North of Lee Vining off Highway 395 or the June Lake Loop which is 5 miles south on Highway 395. You can take a passenger car to Lundy Lake but do expect it to get dirty. The ride can be a bit rough in some spots depending on whether there has been rain or not. June Lake Loop has four lakes along the loop and you will be driving on paved roads.

My all time favorite location is 80 miles South of Lee Vining which is home to some of the most beautiful lakes, streams and canyons I have ever seen. Most use the town of Bishop as a base camp and take day trips to Bishop Creek Canyon via Lake Sabrina Rd. 15 miles West of Bishop.

As with most landscape photography, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. The great thing about the Eastern Sierras is each of these areas is at different elevations ranging from 4,000-10,000 ft. So, if you miss the peak period for fall color at one location, you may be able to find it peaking at another nearby canyon or lake.

Fall color reports can be found online to keep you up to date on the progress of the fall color. I would recommend going when your schedule allows between the last week in September to the middle of October. Don’t worry that just because one report says the fall color is a week away from being at the peak or is past peak that there won’t be anything to shoot. I found out last year conditions can change very fast depending on the weather. I choose to postpone my trip and found out the Fall color had peaked overnight and missed it at one location but thankfully I was able to find another location nearby where the fall color was in abundance. Wind has been known to ruin some people’s plans to shoot fall color after the leaves all blew off, but I have found bare trees with fallen leaves on the ground can be just as beautiful.

This is just one area in California where fall colors explode. There are many other areas and they all peak at different times. Other locations similar to the Eastern Sierras are Hope Valley near Lake Tahoe, and Plumas County near Quincy. We also have our beautiful Napa and Sonoma Valley’s that peak late October through mid November.

What will you need for a successful trip.*

1.  Check Fall Color updates often

2.  Make reservations as soon as possible since there are few motels in the area and they book up very fast.

3.  Dress in layers. It can be very cold in the am, but warm in the afternoon.

4.  Bring camera, wide-angle, telephoto, macro lens, tripod, cable release or self timer (on camera), extra memory cards & batteries, polarizing filter, food and drink since there are no stores in most of these canyons.

5.  Laptop and external hard drives to review and back up images.

*Editors Note:  When shooting fall color I have my camera on a tripod (most of the time), use Raw format, bracket 3 exposures 2-stops apart, use Live View, Aperture Priority, f/8-f/11 and on occasion f/16-f/22, ISO 100, 2 second timer set in camera or cable release to prevent camera shake.

N4C August Competition Results

First Place
Journalism Projected Images – Masters
Motocross Rider Performs No Hands Stunt At CA State Fair
Cathy Cooper

Four DVCC members placed in the N4C monthly competition with a total of six winning images. Congratulations to Cathy Cooper for her first place in Journalism Projected Image Masters for her Motocross Rider Performs No Hands Stunt At CA State Fair image, Amory Donaldson for her 2nd place in Pictorial Projected Image Masters Encircle my heart with your Love! image, and Grant Kreinberg and Irena Miles for their winning images.

To see a list of all the N4C winners visit the N4C website.  The results on the DVCC STANDINGS page have been updated to reflect these latest N4C results.

Second Place
Pictorial Projected Images – Masters
Encircle my heart with your Love!
Amory Donaldson

Honorable Mention
Travel Projected Images – Intermediate
On a hot and humid afternoon, a vendor with freshly cut cooled pineapples
approaches a modern wedding party preparing for photos on the steps of Angkor Wat.

Irena Miles

DVCC August Judged Competition

At our August competition we had 55 images submitted. Our judge for the evening was John Goya, who was new to judging our clubs images. He provided some strong critiques in trying to help us become better photographers. Keep in mind that our judges comments are their own personal opinion and if your images don’t place in this months competition, you can always resubmit it into another months competition with a different judge.

To view all the winning entries please visit our competition website.

Projected Image of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Amory Donaldson for her  ” Elephant Seal Weaners Resting Together” nature image.

Best in Show
First Place

Nature Projected Images – Masters
Elephant seal weaners resting together M. angustirostris
Amory Donaldson

Print of the Night

Congratulations goes out to Chris Nelson for his “On The Western Range” pictorial image.