Wednesday, March 29, 2006

early bird special

Man, did anybody not have a good time at the kite festival!? That's what I thought. Thanks to everybody who came out and laughed/watched/made fun of Stephen/oh, and took pictures too!

This weekend is the leadership summit / 101, so we're gonna mix things up a bit. Those of us in leadership (man, that sounds way too cocky; let me rephrase that...) Anyone making feeble attempts to organize a small group at NCC is strongly encouraged to attend the summit at 9:00 o'clock at Ebenezers. Additionally, if you are interested in leading a small group, or if you just want to hear where NCC stands on small group ministry (they call it "Discipleship") I would encourage you to go to Leadership 101 at 2 PM @ Ebenezers. It's very casual, and it doesn't mean you have to lead a group. Check it out, maybe it'll spark something.

So in light of all that, we're goin' extreme this weekend. As much as I don't like the sound of the alarm clock at 5 something in the morning, we're gonna do a sunrise photo shoot this Saturday. Capitol Hill is the location of choice. If you have a better idea, fire away! This here fella only sees the sunrise if it's been a late night, in which case I am usually sitting at my computer. SO, I don't know the best places to shoot in the morning, although the couple times I have been in the city at sunrise, I thought the streets lined with row houses looked really sharp in the early morning light.

According to sunrise is at 5:54. The plan is to meet at Union Station (top of the escalators --shops exit) at 6 AM --ouch! We'll head out and do what we do best --yes, in addition to laughing at another one of Stephen's low-angle shots, we'll also take pictures =) Depending on how everybody's feelin' we might grab some breakfast afterward. I've heard Eastern Market has some mad pancakes. Whatever, we'll figure it out as we go. ...just like we always do.

Just a couple other things I want to put on your radar. Next Tuesday evening, say, 7:30 we'll do part 1 of 2 Photoshop lessons. Part 1 will be a broad overview of the program. We'll cover several tools, techniques, and workflows to give you a better idea of what can be done with Photoshop and hopefully help you start thinking about how you can manipulate the image after the fact. Part 2 will be the hands-on portion where we will get our hands dirty and make some sweet-awesome images in the process. Again, part 1 is this coming Tuesday (April 4th). Location is still TBD; if anybody is willing to open their house for the evening, lemme know!

Also, there are some rumors floating around about doing a possible potluck/movie night some time. If you all have any suggestions of time/place/theme/oatmeal throw 'em out there and let's talk it up!

Otay, I think that covers everything. Chances are I'll remember something else and add it later, but for now, it's there. Have a good one! See you dark and early this Saturday!

Yep, I remembered... We got another nod from Pastor Mark after the inaugural services at Ebenezers. ...and another. ...and another! ...and uh nuhther!! Great job everybody! All the camera commotion created an air of excitement at the services. ...okay maybe some people were annoyed too, but who really cares about them anyway?! =D j/k

Secondly, I was just browsing through some of our pictures again. Some of you have uploaded some new pictures since I last checked, and let me just say that I am blown away at some of the pictures you guys are taking!! Several weeks ago Kacey suggested setting up or own mini gallery/exhibit at Ebenezers as we come to the end of the semester, and now I'm totally jazzed about that idea! We'll talk more about it later, but keep up the great work everybody!

Friday, March 24, 2006

a tangled mass of kite string

Contrary to popular belief, I did not fall off the edge of the planet. I am still here and we will still get together tomorrow for some photographic fun! Funny story: (it definitely won't be as funny written here, just so you know) my sister and I were out doing some night photography several months back and this guy walked past us, noticed the camera equipment and said, "You take photography?" *insert short exchange. Then he comes around again --apparently he didn't know where he was going because he just walked around the same block. He sees us a second time, gets all excited, puts his hand in the air and with an Eastern European accent says, "Looks like you are having photographic fun!" The end.

Yeah, somebody's focused today... Anyway.

The Smithsonian Kite Festival is tomorrow and there seems to be a consensus among some of us that it will make for a swell photo shoot. I'm not quite sure what to expect, so we're gonna wing it this week --you're thinking, "And that's different from any other week, how??"

Okay so I just got off the phone with somebody from the Smithsonian, but not without first listening to the Beethoven music and the recorded voice telling me to "Please continue to hold. All operators are currently busy." From what I could gather, "There are going to be tons of people on the mall." Yeah, doesn't really narrow it down.

Here's what I'm thinking: let's meet at the top of the escalators at the Smithsonian metro stop at 11:00 o'clock. Depending on how things are going/feeling, we'll make decisions on location as to what to do next. If we decide to do lunch somewhere, I might ramble for a little bit about aperture and what it does (that's me trying to incorporate a "lesson" into an otherwise unorganized day).

Also, as Tuong mentioned there is a group of people going hiking tomorrow in the Shenandoahs. They will be leaving early in the morning and getting back in the evening, so it'll be an all day event. Of course you all are welcome to go, and I would encourage you to take your cameras. If you guys go maybe there could be like two groups this weekend, one going hiking, the other hitting up the Mall. Anyway, it's an option if you want to take it.

All righty, hope to see you all tomorrow! *sniffle I've missed you guys!!! =)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Feedback Follow-up

You guys are awesome.

Thanks for showing up despite the lack of "the Stephen" on Saturday, and for bringing photos to share. It takes a lot to submit photos for review by your peers. I hope you all found the feedback helpful.

For those who couldn't make it, or those who want to re-live it, here's the re-cap:

We gather around a table in the Books-A-Million cafe, look through photos. Stewart shows his photo and asks good questions. Stewart wins the award for most-improved, in the sense that he's really learning these photography techniques and has the photos to prove it. Rodney's slideshow begins. Rodney asks why the sky isn't blue in some of his photos...we try to answer. Rodney's photos overall are gorgeous, so we conclude that he should quit his day job. Marie Claire shows up and shares her creative cropping skillz with us, grabbing pieces of paper and showing us on-screen how she would re-crop some photos for added interest. Marie Claire adds much interest. Jenn is there, she has creative PhotoShop-ing suggestions. We jokingly conclude that every photo would benefit from a random PhotoShop-ed object in the corner. Rodney passes around a delicious oatmeal raisin cookie, which similarly to the "loaves and fishes" manages to feed us all. Stephanie takes a photo of the group, and I suggest that Stephen should be photoshop-ed into the pic. Tuang shows up, and we're ready to head to the next location. While waiting for those who are getting food, Laura and Jenn soak up some sun rays in chairs on the sidewalk. We gather together again, and head up to the design studio. We eat lunch in the conference room, and look through Tuang's photos and try to answer questions about flash and photos that are too dark. We break up from eating and Rodney scans some of his photos while Marie Claire does some funky re-coloring of her photos in PhotoShop. At this point, we unfortunately run out of time.

Saturday was fun for me because I loved seeing everyone's enthusiasm about each others photos. It was nice to just have a laid-back Saturday too. After this, I think we'll all be ready for whatever Stephen has in store for us next...


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

D.C. is for Dupont Circle

Sure, it has its share of interesting characters, and you won't fit in unless you've got your iPod out and your Pumas on...but Dupont Circle is the place to be this Saturday.

Since we've got a couple of good weeks of shooting under our belts, I suggest that we stage what I'll call a "feedback frenzy" this Saturday.

Every time I look at the Yahoo Photos site I am amazed at the stuff you guys have shot. I am looking forward to finally getting a chance to share what we like about those shots with each other.

Here is how it will play:

Pre-game Prep:
-Pick several photos that you think are your strongest so far. Then pick a few that you don't like as much, ones that demonstrate an area in which you want to improve. (Trust me, you'll want to bring down to the end.) Either upload them to the YahooPhotos site, burn them to CD or put them on a USB drive, or bring your prints to share.

Game Day:
-Grab your camera on Saturday morning and try to shoot on your way to Dupont Circle. Maybe tell the story of how you got from point A to point B. It is never too early to start shooting, and this is a good exercise to force us to use the camera even when we're not in the group. (Even if you've driving, you can get some pretty cool shots. See what Kacey did at our Eastern Market shoot.)

-Meet at the cafe in Books a Million around 11:00am. (11 Dupont Cir NW) for some discussion and to look at slideshows of the work we've brought. That's right...we're going multimedia this week. I will have a laptop set up so that we can all look at each others' photos.
(If you have any trouble getting there, or just feel like prank-calling us on Saturday, my cell # is 202.489.7125)

-Somewhere in there we will grab some grub. (I'll try to pack my lunch and bring it.) If the weather is nice enough, we can go to the benches at the circle and eat.

-When we've reached critical mass, or around 12:30, we head 2 blocks south on 19th St. to do a PhotoShop lesson. That's right, I've arranged for all of us to have some quality "computer time" at the design firm where I work. We'll hover around 3 or 4 workstations and teach each other a few tips and tricks in Photoshop. (A good scanner will also be available.) This is where those photos you brought come in really handy. At the end of the session, we can burn CDs to take home our finished peices...just like kids in kindergarten.

So, yeah. Get ready for a "Feedback Frenzy"...cuz while we've got each other, we might as well learn from each other. (But if no one brings photos to share, we'll just have to spend the entire morning pointing out the flaws in Stephen's pics on the Yahoo Photos site.)

Any questions? Email me or add a comment.


P.S. Stephen, my Dupont Circle could whoop your Crystal City's square-cement block any day.

P.P.S. For those who were expecting another side-splitting post from Stephen: I'm sorry. Assuming the group survives this Saturday, he'll be back next week.

Run and hide!!! Turn back now!!

To whom it may concern,

I will be at a wedding this Saturday and as such will not be able to lead the group. However, the (adjective) Laura has stepped up to the challenge. As far as I know, the place to be is Dupont Circle. ....hangin' in the gayborhood. (I couldn't resist =)

Now, I'm certain you all will miss my irresistable charm and wit. No doubt, it will feel as though the life has been sucked right out of the group, but try to give Laura a fair chance. Sure she's not a funny as I am, and of course she can't hold a candle to my photography, but that's no reason to back down!

And so I commission you all to venture out this glorious weekend and embrace the essence of photography!

sarcastically yours,
Oh! Wondrous Stephen

P.S. Take it easy on Laura the first time around. Impossible as it sounds, she might warm up to you eventually.

Monday, March 13, 2006

upload them photos!

'sup peeps!

If you took any photos that fit the description (below) for the bulletin pictures, please upload them today. Beth needs to send them to the designer first thing tomorrow morning. Thanks to all who helped with this!

-----original message-----
Pastor Mark wanted me to ask you if your photography small group would be able to help us with pictures for a bulletin redesign. Here are shots that we need:

Close up shots of groups of 4-5 people (need about 5-10 shots to choose from)

Shots of the Grand and Ballston theaters during a service (from back to front) (need about 10 shots to choose from)

Close up shots of individual faces, preferably NCCers (need about 20-25 shots to choose from)


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Rough outline

All right, the logistics have yet to be solidified, but here's an approximation of what we'll be doing this Saturday. Our photo shoot will be quite different from previous weeks. We're going to become event photographers for the evening as we capture the inaugural services at Ebenezer's.

We will meet at 4:30 either at the church offices or Ebenezer's (they're basically one in the same) and spend the first hour-ish talking about shutter speed, why it's important, and how to adjust it. The first service starts at 6:00 o'clock and goes 'til approximately 7:30. There is a second service at 8:00 o'clock, but I'm not sure how that will shape up. I'm tentatively planning on sticking around for both services, but please don't feel obligated to stay for both. Two services, on top of meeting beforehand makes for a very long "small group" and I want to be respectful of everyone's schedules.

I still need to firm up some details with the church staff, but that's all I know for now. It should not be a problem if you don't have tickets to either service since we'll be "working" rather than attending --just don't expect to get a good seat if you get one at all.

Not only will we get to expand our portfolios, but we'll get experience shooting live events too! Lookin' forward to it! usual =)

-----New Thought-----

Has anybody tried using your bad hand as last week's excercise suggested? I would love to hear stories about you getting toothpaste all over your face, or how it took 4 minutes to dial a friend's number, or how you got fed up with that stupid excercise and resolutely resumed using your good hand. You know, anything like that.

Our exercise this week requires nothing more than intentional observation. In light of our discussion about composition last week, I encourage you to take a moment to consider the visual media we are bombarded with every day as an opportunity to learn something new.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Pictures for NCC bulletin

Hey gang, here is the email Beth Karrer sent me yesterday. Bring you camera to church if you're feelin' it. I'll be at Ballston this Sunday, and Union the next.

Pastor Mark wanted me to ask you if your photography small group would be able to help us with pictures for a bulletin redesign. Here are shots that we need:

Close up shots of groups of 4-5 people (need about 5-10 shots to choose from)

Shots of the Grand and Ballston theaters during a service (from back to front) (need about 10 shots to choose from)

Close up shots of individual faces, preferably NCCers (need about 20-25 shots to choose from)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Market of the East

Hey peeps, unfortunately I'll be busy in the evening (it's all about me =) so we're not gonna do the sunset shoot this week. Instead, we're gonna be on location at Eastern Market (blue line, southeast of the Capitol). Similar to last week, we'll talk shop from 11:00 - 12:30ish. We'll focus on composition and arranging elements in your scene. If it's anything like last week, we'll be all over the board talking about pretty much everything =) Feel free to bring anything you would like to talk about, share, or get some feedback on. We will grab some lunch somewhere around there.

I've not been to Eastern Market since October (way back in the day when the weather was nice) so I'm not sure what to expect of the farmer's market and the other vendors, but if they are out, I would love to take a few minutes and browse through the photographs of some of the artists down there. I think it will be a great extension of our discussion.

Of course after that (approx. 1 o'clock) we will do what we do best: run around like mad tourists taking pictures of everything! We might try incorporating a theme this week; we'll see how that works out.

I'm not extremely familiar with the area, so I don't yet know where we'll meet. If you have any suggestions (some place that's quiet enough that we can talk) please post a comment. You can always call me when you're on your way and I'll reel you in. Looking forward to it!

-Stephen 703.303.3131

Glen Echo Park - PhotoWorks

Hey NCC photographers extraordinaire,

For those who are interested in doing traditional photo printing, Glen Echo Park offers several classes that would give you that hands-on darkroom experience. The photography facilities are brand new and the Photo Works program is getting good reviews. They offer B/W and digital photography workshops as well as by-the-hour darkroom time.

If you've never been to Glen Echo I recommend checking out the place sometime. It is just a short bus ride away from the Friendship Heights and Bethesda metro stations.

They've got a juried exhibition of documentary photography on display at the moment, but my favorite part of the place is the funky old amusement park buildings and signage. Well, that and the cute old couples dancing in the "bumper cars" pavillion on weekend nights.

Just a random suggestion from Laura.