We are all so Blessed

Being new to anywhere is tough. There’s been many places I’ve wanted to go in life, but my courage just wouldn’t show up. Recently though my passion for this thing in my hand with a lens on it – that captures moments of life – has taken me over. When my camera is between my hands I just come alive, and I want to know more and I want to learn more, in fact as much as I can soak up. So a while back during one morning I began reading a devotion before my prayers, and the first line read “Decide what it is you want and need, then go to the person you need it from and ask for it.” The rest of it is awesome, but too long to write. When I read it I thought oh no! Now I have to find my courage. The definition of Courage to me is “Do It Scared”. So that’s what I did.

Over a year ago I contacted Scott Moore through Facebook. I never met him before in my life. Did not know the man. He met me at Starbucks, and I told him what I wanted to be. I wanted to photograph landscapes, and wildlife. He was so giving of his time, and his wisdom. He checked out my equipment, and he gave me pointers on what lenses I needed to buy. We met for at least 2 hours. I couldn’t believe a total stranger would do that – for me. So I did what he said although it took me some time to buy some of the the equipment. Then I saw him in the Wal-Mart parking lot this summer and he actually remembered me! He helped me again figure out what lens I would need to rent to take on a Everglades trip in a week or so. Such a nice guy. If he didn’t know the answer to any of my questions he always called Dawna – just like a man. LOL – Sorry Scott I couldn’t resist. Scott then contacted me to go on the photo walk. I always said I would do one of those so this time I “did it scared”. Scott was there though to ease my mind and help me out. I met Dawna and thanked her for letting me borrow Scott for all my photo questions. Photographing wildlife and portraits of humans is NOT the same!!

He kept telling me about this photography club, but I was scared to come to a group. Scared to bring my work out against so many accomplished photographers. Again, photographing nature and wildlife are so different than portraits. In the meantime, I saw a Facebook post about that club by Jimmie Stone. I ended up meeting Jimmie that day at the photo walk. I found Jimmie was the nicest guy. Since then, Jimmie has helped me with photographing birds in flight which is a big challenge I want to overcome. He’s given all kinds of tips and tricks. He’s taken me shooting twice and helped me with my computer. He’s lent me his long lens and extra camera since I am in the market for a long lens, and he wanted me to be able to try out different types. He’s a calm, patient teacher. So GIVING of his time.

I guess what I am really trying to say is how blessed we all are that we have each other. What one person doesn’t know then maybe the other one does and can share it with them. If we want something bad enough too, we shouldn’t deprive our self of it. Life’s too short to not live it well. Go for it whatever it is you want. I’d also like to thank Scott and Dawna for bringing those items to the meeting that they gave away. I thought that was way awful nice of them, and I actually got something I had never heard of or seen before. Looking forward to using it. So I hope I can help some of you someday as much as I have already been helped and been welcomed to your group. Jimmie thank you for taking over the group and saving friendships, and a lot of wisdom being shared among us.

Remember – We are ALL BLESSED!

A Great Start to a New Beginning for the Island Art Association Photography Group

The Island Art Association Photography Group (IAAPG), originally founded by Bill Raser with help from Pat Hocks, met on the third Thursday of September full of promise and excitement with new leadership and many new members. The full house of eager photography enthusiasts, both professional and amateur, included organization former coordinators Scott and Donna Moore and new IAAPG leader, Jimmie Stone. The casual meeting opened with group members sharing original photographs of a variety of subjects and locations, engendering an engaging conversation with many in the audience actively participating.

The fast-paced meeting soon moved to the evenings guest presenter and IAAPG member Jim Ekstrom covering his photo safari to the wilds of Nairobi. Jim came with a laptop computer full of dozens of photographs taken over the seventeen-day once in a lifetime opportunity to see, photograph, and to learn up close and personal about the wildlife that most of us will only view in a zoo. The photos, each one more dramatic than the one before, were accompanied by an entertaining and informative dialogue from Jim which also included a wonderfully wry sense of humor. As he spoke, Jim would periodically share how he captured the photo and the camera equipment deployed. The humor came in handy as Jim faced down a bull elephant which had decided to feed yards away from his tent and when the open-air land cruiser stopped feet away from a beautiful, but lethal cheetah. The photos of lions, rhinos, elephants, wildebeests, zebras, and Jim’s favorites, giraffes were spectacular and unique. The images were wonderfully composed and each came with an interesting back-story. Perhaps one of the best antidotes from Jim was his description and photos of the five-star food and camping accommodations he experienced during the safari. The luxury tents, designed for two people, were made even better for Jim when the second occupant scheduled to share the tent had to cancel at the last minute. Though each of Jim’s photos was dramatically compelling in their own way, it was his final photograph of a zebra which capped an all too brief photo-outline of his amazing journey. This was an award-winning image worthy of a National Geographic cover story.

Thanks to Jim Ekstrom for such an entertaining, informative,
and humor-filled presentation and for sharing his beautiful photographs with the other IAAPG members. Thanks, also, to the great questions and comments from the fully engaged audience.

The IAAPG meets again the third Thursday of the month,
October 17th, 7:00 PM, at the Island Art Association’s downtown
Fernandina Beach 2nd Street building with the promise of another
rapid-paced and fun evening. We’d love to have you join us!

3 Great Lenses for Sale

Steve Leimberg is offering 3 amazing lenses at exceptionally good prices. But if he doesn’t have offers from someone in our Amelia Island Photography Group, he’s going to sell them at significantly higher prices: Check out the “new” prices at B&H or Amazon or Adorama!

NEW: (Never out of the box!): Sigma 60-600mm for NIKON! $1,700.

Good to Excellent: 600 F4 MM Canon II – $8,700

Good to Excellent: 500 mm F. 4 Canon II – $5,700

Call Steve right away at 610 888 2650 or e-mail him at [email protected]

You can view his work with these lenses at http://www.UnSeenImages.Com and call him to arrange a no-obligation look and test of the 600 or 500 mm lens.

FREE Auto Image Editor! PhotoLemur 3

Although free, it will not be as robust as Lightroom or Capture One. It does, however, have an Artificial Intelligence Algorithm that corrects exposure, colors, contrast and more automatically. If you’re looking for something easy, no fuss and don’t want to go through the trouble of using more advanced editors, give this a try.


I received an offer for this software in my e-mail from Shutter Pulse and I had been thinking about it the past couple of days. Free image editor? Today I decided to check it out to see if it was for real.

It’s Real….!

Below is the text of the e-mail I received from Shutter Pulse. I simply clicked on the “Get it for Free” and was taken to their page where it asked for my name and e-mail. Within two minutes I had a License code in my Inbox! Meanwhile, in my browser, the software was still downloading 344 MB’s.

“Get an award-winning photo editor for free.
Limited time offer! Powered by Artificial Intelligence, Photolemur makes your photos
magnificent by automatically making complex adjustments.
Get it for Free The fast and effortless way to create remarkable photos Use the cutting-edge technology in Photolemur to remove
imperfections, improve colors, and apply styles in a click. Plus, you can enhance multiple images at once by simply dropping them into the
app. Get your fully licensed copy for free: Get it for Free

Installing

The install was pretty straightforward and took less than 3 minutes on my Windows PC. After installation to make mine a legal copy I just plugged in the e-mail I used to sign up on their site and used the License Key that was sent to that e-mail address.

Easy!

Without a doubt, this is the easiest image editor I have used. I just played around with it the first 15 minutes and was able to create my first image, and I think it turned out pretty well using the AI algorithms.

Original RAW file no edits
After opening and exporting in PhotoLemur 3

As you can see there quite an improvement from the original RAW file (yes you can use TIFF or JPG files as well). I made zero changes from what the AI software did, taking me about 2 minutes. On loading the image the software looks for skies, color, and exposure. On saving it adds contrast, noise reduction, and some sharpening.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a simple image editor that you can still tweak a little, you can’t beat this free software from Skylum. If you don’t want to subscribe to Adobe Lightroom or pay several hundred dollars for Capture 1, give this a try.

Photography as a Team Sport

Photography is often a solitary endeavor with the photographer behind the camera’s lens occupying a space on the fringe of the action, but rarely as an active player. Sports, group, and nature photography come to mind as examples of operating on or below what we find interesting enough to memorialize as an image. We’re on-station, but not on the field. My experience has been that learning how to take better pictures is much the same with copious amounts of trial and error mixed with how-to photo books and videos by Ken Rockwell and, of course, the obligatory YouTube offerings. Through it all, it’s largely an individual effort in a sink or swim environment where especially early in the process there’s more sinking than swimming. Thankfully, digitization allows us to take a thousand images with the hope that the blind-squirrel rule takes effect, but that soon gets a bit tedious. Fortunately for all of us as photographers at all levels, there’s a sea-change coming to Fernandina Beach in how we can learn to take better photographs and have more fun growing in the hobby or profession as part of a team effort. Perhaps the best part of the equation is it involves people helping people to learn photography from each other and from the images we all take. Some of us will be starting from scratch while others will be coming from an experts viewpoint. Either way, we all have something to offer and to learn. Why not do it in a casual open forum where the goal is to have fun and, maybe, learn something new that you can use as a photographer.

Jimmie Stone has worked tirelessly to continue the Island Art Association Photography Group (IAAPG) with the goal of providing an opportunity for photographers of all skill levels to improve their craft. It involves a casual meeting the third-Thursday of each month, beginning Thursday, September 19, at 7:00 PM, in the Education Center at the Amelia Island Art Association (AIAA). There will be opportunities to share images with the group and to hear presentations from a variety of island photographers. The topics will vary, but will all be designed for us to improve behind the camera. 

Each one-hour monthly meeting will cover something new and fresh with an impetus on making Amelia Island photography an enjoyable team sport after all.

Come Join Us next Thursday and be sure to visit https://aiphotographygroup.com.

OUR EVACUATION TO GAINESVILLE

Ah, hurricane Dorian, the non event….but Susie and I  will evacuate again if it is mandatory!  We thought of different places but decided on
Gainesville.   It is a little further
than necessary to avoid the storm but offered much more to see, do and
photograph.  If you are unfamiliar with
that area, here is two of our favorite spots.

Gainesville is a city of about 150,000 and home of the University
of Florida.  The city is on the edge of
an unusual geologic formation, Paynes Prairie, a sinkhole in a water shed 20
miles long and 8 miles wide.  At the
southern end on Hy 441, is the State Park with all the usual facilities.  A viewing stand is there and sometimes you
can see bison and wild horses on the prairie.

The La Chua Trail is on the norther side, almost on the city
edge.  The Gainesville-Hawthrone bike
trail runs by the entrance.  In the past,
there was a 1.5 mile trail  to an
observation tower.  The wild life was
abundant and diverse.  Unfortunately, the
prairie flooded several years ago and you cant go beyond the board walk.  This is a return to a previous state when
they had steam boats on the “lake.”  A
Ranger said it would be years before the water recedes.  The board walk goes out about 100 yards.

From the board walk we 
saw quite a few photo opportunities. 
The area is mostly covered by a dense growth of a water plant, one that
harbors snails, the primary diet of Limpkins. 
The name comes from the peculiar gait when walking.  A fairly large bird resembling a rail but the
skeletal structure is similar to a crane. 
The beak has a gap at the end which acts as tweezers, adapted for
removing snails from the shells, particularly apple snails.

The Limpkins were not skittish and often perched on a rail of the board walk even if we approached withing a few feet.  They didn’t seem to mind other birds, either, one perched on the same limb with an Anhinga.  Most, though, were in the water plants hunting the snails.

We saw seven Harrier Hawks, a bird I had not seen there before.  They were very active fishing and disputing who got to perch where on the dead trees.  Unfortunately, they were a quite a way from us and my 250mm lens wasn’t adequate to get clear images.

The La Chua trail was only one of the interesting places we visited.  The Kanapaha Gardens is in the city and worth the trip. It is divided into two parts with 1 ½ miles of interconnecting paved walkways.  There are gazebos to get out of the sun along the walk.  The two prime features are the state’s largest bamboo grove and the huge Victorian water lilies. 

If we have to evacuate again…..Gainesville will be our
choice.