Bear Eating Eagles, Bales of Hay, Professional Models, and Exhausted Bicyclists

This is my friend, Scott.  He’s the leader of Photo Club.

Tragically, Scott doesn’t have a good of a sense of humor, like I do, and he struggles to keep up with my wit in The Blog.  Oftentimes, he thinks that what he reads here is fact.  Poor misguided soul.  Whenever he reads in The Blog that it takes me 30 minutes to compose a single picture, he thinks it’s truth and weeps in despair.  “I’ve taught her for a year and a half, and she still doesn’t get it?!”

The poor man is becoming increasingly depressed about my apparent lack of progress in photography.  You can tell from the picture.  Do you remember just a month ago, when he showed up at Photo Club all dapper in his nice pants and tie?  And now, this week, he didn’t bother to shave and wore a hat over his unwashed hair.  See the haunted look in his tired eyes?

This is my friend, Leah.  She is the newest member of Photo Club, today being her first meeting.

But look over her shoulder.  See The Eye?

This is part of a painting of Jesus.  It’s 5 feet tall and stays in the atrium of our church and is a really nice painting, painted by a local artist.  However, every single time I go home from Photo Club, I find The Eye peering over someone’s shoulder.  Sometimes it’s peering over Kevin’s shoulder, sometimes it’s peering over Gerhard’s…it doesn’t matter whose shoulder it is.  The Eye is always watching…

Back to the story.

Leah bought herself an Alex (Nikon D5100) and has grand photography plans.  You see, Leah is going on an Alaskan cruise next year.  She has wanted to go on this cruise for her entire life.  And she wants pictures to remember it by.

First, she said she wants a picture of a whale.  Then she said she also wants a bear picture.  Oh, and don’t forget the eagle.  And the Northern Lights.  And something about a dead seal.  Of course, all of the pictures must be National Geographic worthy.

We figure she’s got one shot at a National Geographic picture, so she’d better make the most of it.  By the end of Photo Club we’d determined that she needs a picture of a whale eating a seal, with an eagle flying by with a bear in its talons, while an iceberg is sheering off in the background and the Northern Lights are lighting the sky.  After I got home, Darling Husband added, “How about an oil spill in progress, off in the distance?”

In order for Leah to get this shot, she needs some serious photography lessons.  Which all falls on Scott’s shoulders.

Poor Scott.  Since he’s laboring under the delusion that I don’t know how to use my camera, and now Leah needs to learn photography from the ground up, today at Photo Club he pulled out The White Board.

Kevin and Gerhard are exempt from these grueling White Board lessons, so they entertained themselves.  Or maybe they’re napping.

After our classroom lesson, it was time to practice the White Board lesson.  Leah’s assignment was to play with creating a shallow depth of field and practice focusing on different things.  Here’s an example of shallow depth of field and focusing on different things: (it means that part of the picture is blurry, and when you focus on different things, different parts of the picture get blurry.)

Kevin is blurry, Leah is clear

Leah is blurry, Kevin is clear.

Leah arranged some glass acorns and started focusing on different acorns to compare their blurry/clear ratio.

But she was doing it wrong, obviously, and Scott told her, “Crouch down!”

There’s a lot of crouching in photography.  It’s good that Leah is learning this early on.  By the end of Photo Club, I was sitting on the floor, as usual, and Leah was, too, practicing taking my portrait.   (Look at this picture–it’ll only take you a second.)

Leah’ll get used to it, I’m sure.


On the way home from Photo Club, Gerhard showed me where there’s a field with newly baled hay.  You may remember that I’ve been wanting to take pictures of bales of hay in a field.

But before I went out to take pictures of the hay, I had to stop by at home because Kim and Michael were on their way to a wedding and they dropped off their son for us to watch.  They looked so dashing, that I pulled out Alex and without taking any longer than mere seconds I had lovely pictures of them.  See, Scott.  No fears.  I don’t really take a half hour to set up the shot.  I took these pictures in under 5 minutes–going from indoors in the Atruim, to outside in full sun, so there were a lot of settings to change.

Here’s Michael, preparing for the shot.  If you remember, he and Kim are part of the Official Happy Family of Gettysburg, and on the cover of the Gettysburg Magazine in Visitor Centers around the nation.  They’re professional models now.

Posing.  Look at that arm!


But this is where I broke the news to them that there were no lego sets as a reward for smiling nicely at the camera.  Not so happy anymore:


Then I headed out to the hay field and got these very lovely shots, plus a whole bunch more, but I’m running out of time so here are only a couple:

Yes, yes. I gave it the Orton treatment, but it really was begging. Please, please–make me bloomy and vibrant–pretty please!

Edna, do you see those clouds?! I got ’em!

And then!  Then!

As I was getting my hay shots, I noticed a van on the side of the road.  The van is part of Race Across America.  Race Across America is a bicycle race that starts in Oceanside, California and ends in Annapolis Maryland.  Click here for all the details.  

I asked the men inside the van (from team Flying Hosers) if I could take their picture and they said,  “Just a sec!  The cyclists are about to switch.”  This team has two cyclists who have been biking non-stop since last Saturday from California.  By the time I met them, they had about 70 more miles to go in their 3000 mile trip.  How lucky for me to happen upon them just as the cyclists were switching!

Here are various shots:

Joel is approaching, exhausted.

Getting closer…

Cara is ready to take over from Joel

I drove a little ahead and then pulled over, so I could get a picture of Cara cycling by.

I asked if I could get close up shots of Joel, who was the cyclist who had just arrived.  I asked him to stand by the back of the van by the bikes, and the poor man staggered around to the back.  I didn’t realize how exhausted he was until he staggered around, or I wouldn’t have bothered the poor man.

No, that’s not entirely true.  I would have still taken the picture, but I would have let him sit down for it.

Here he is:

And, yet again, I got the close ups of Joel in under 5 minutes.  Actually, it was under 3 minutes.  See, Scott–all those free lessons weren’t wasted.