Will I Ever Take a Good Picture?

My journey trying to take good photos.

New England Camera Club Council Photography Conference

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Just signed up for the NECCC 2013 photography conference which is being held at University Of Massachusetts (Amhest) in July. I went last year for the first time and had a blast. It runs over 3 days (this year July 12-14) and is one of the best deals around for a conference. I signed up for all 3 days and a ‘traditional” (read no air conditioning) dorm all for $245.00. Add in travel and some food for another $100.00 and for about $400 I get to attend classes, attend a keynote address, and if you want borrow equipment from Canon, Nikon and a few other lens manufacturers. Last year I was impressed with the organization of this conference. I didn’t see any issues at all. The classes started on time and there were folks around if you had questions.

I thought being able to borrow equipment was pretty cool. I shoot Canon and had been thinking about getting a telephoto lens. I borrowed the Canon 300mm F4L IS USM lens. I forget the exact amount of time they let you have the equipment for but if was enough time for me to walk around the campus and take some pictures and get a feel for the lens. I really liked the lens! I wanted a longer lens for when I go on my walks at Hodges and after using the lens thought one a bit bigger then this would be better although I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to hand hold say a 400mm lens. I am still thinking of getting this lens. I have saved up the money but I just don’t know if it is something I want to spend that much money on ($1350.00!!). I do own one other L lens, my 100mm macro lens and it is my most used lens. Photography is not a cheap hobby.

Here are some pictures I took at last years conference. First the ones I took with the borrowed 300mm lens. While walking around with the lens I came across a squirrel. The squirrels at UMASS are very tame. They are used to people and I bet the students feed them since this guy seemed to be waiting for a handout. This picture is not cropped.

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One of the reasons I want a telephoto lens is for bird pictures. Well you need something bigger than 300mm.

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If you crop you can get a pretty good picture but I don’t think I could print this at more than 8×10 and that might be pushing it (this is cropped to 780×1171).

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Some more bird photos.

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A shot of a chipmunk.

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and my favorite bird picture of the day. This guy eating a bug.

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That is it for the pictures taken with the 300mm lens. I also wanted to borrow the EF 8-15mm F4L Fisheye USM lens. For some reason I couldn’t take if for a walkabout but they let me play with it at the Canon booth. This is my daughters dream lens and I was supposed to get pictures at the 8mm end but I forgot and none of my shots were taken at less than 11mm. Here is one I took at 11mm.

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One of the classes I took was on macro photography by Mike Moats. He also had a workshop you could attend to take pictures. Out of everything I did at the conference the workshop was a bit disappointing. The room it was in was to small. The conference folks did a great job making sure that the number of people in the room matched the number of photo setups. It was that the setups were to close together. Mike was in the room and would answer any questions which was very nice. Here is my best shot.

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Coming back from breakfast one morning I passed this scene. I only had my 100mm lens with me so I took a few shots (all handheld) and used PS Elements to create this. One of the few times I wish I had the 18-135mm lens I own with me on this trip.

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Here are some other random photos I took while attending the conference. A picture of graffiti.

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Some apples. I believe these were right outside the Durfee Conservatory.Image

Some stairs. This is actually a few photos stitched together in PS. I was in my “what can I do with panoramas in PS” mode last July. Again this was taken with my 100mm lens. If I had my 18-135mm lens I could have got the shot I wanted without the panarama. I was only carrying one lens around with me and I picked the 100mm. Why did I even want to take this picture? Both my kids went/go to UMASS and this is a picture of the stairs leading up to where my daughter stayed in her Freshman thru Junior years.

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Next to the Durfee Conservatory I saw this Ugly mushroom. Of course I had to take a picture.

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and since I had taken the Mike Moats macro class I had to get a closeup. No tripod (something that Mike stressed we should be using) so this is handheld.

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Two pictures of the stone beehive and that is it for NECCC 2012 pictures.

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For anyone looking for a great photo conference in Massachusetts I highly recommend the NECCC conference. If you sign up before June 21 you get a discount. if you see me say hi! Hopefully I won’t be carrying this much:) but unless I lose it I will have on my UMASS baseball hat. It is my “I sent my kids to college and all I got was a hat” hat.

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