Atlanta Saint Patrick's Day Parade

This past Saturday was the Atlanta version of the St Patrick's Day parade. Pam and I went down to watch the parade as well as photograph the festivities, We arrived about an hour before the start and met up with a couple other photographer friends. The weather was a little foggy/drizzle at the start but things cleared up before the parade officially started.

I managed to get a number of decent shots. Here's a few of them:

A bagpiper warms up

Everybody Loves A Clown

Irish Princess

Is This Enough Green

Stained Street

Big Hat

Once again I really enjoyed using my Olympus OM-D E-M5. It's a lightweight camera that is fairly inconspicuous and it takes some good images. I was able to get a couple of shots with it that I might not have been able to get if I was using a larger camera.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Street Photography With The Rolleicord: City Cutz

Street photography is something I haven't done a lot of but I would like to get better at it. I like the idea of using my vintage Rolleicord to capture the scenes of the city. Yesterday was the 2nd anniversary Google Plus Photo Walk. Here in Atlanta, about 40 of us got together at Centennial Park and took a stroll through the Fairlie Poplar district. For this photowalk I brought my vintage Rolleicord Va as well as my T3i DSLR. I hoped that I could get some decent "street" photography using the Rolleicord.

I went through 2 twelve-exposure rolls of film during the walk. That yielded about 10 "keepers" that I am working through. Here is one of the first few that I managed to get scanned and processed:

Mark Sinderson: Rolleicord Va &emdash; City Cutz

This shot was a little hard for me to compose and shoot. The combination of the fixed focal length of the Rolleicord, the square format of the negative and a bunch of extraneous "stuff" to the right of the barber pole made placing the elements I wanted to include in the photograph a little challenging. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out the best position that would allow me to highlight the barber pole as well as get some of the entryway and reflections in the image.

In the end I chose the composition you see here. Unlike digital shooting film each exposure costs you real money (about 50 cents in this case), so I only took one exposure here. I think it came out pretty well.

Shooting film requires a different approach than shooting digital and that's one of the things I enjoy most about it.

Photographing The Fox Theatre And Other Benefits Of Photography Groups

I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my camera tomorrow. That's because I will be taking advantage of the opportunity to get some uninterrupted time (2 hours) in the  fabulous Fox Theatre, one of Atlanta's most prized possessions. I would have never been able to do something like this if I was just "on my own". I could just imagine the response I'd get from the management of the Fox if I called them up and said "Hi, i'm an amateur photographer and would like to have exclusive access to your lovely facility so I can take some pictures. When can I schedule that?" :-)  But since I'm a member of a couple of photography groups, this conversation never needed to take place. Instead, one of the other members (who has much more pull in the world of photography than I) was able to schedule a couple of 2-hour blocks of time for members of our group.

There will be some cost involved, $10 each, and we won't be able to use images from the shoot for commercial purposes or to promote our own photography business. Other than that, we are free to take as many images as we can and share the results with others.

Tripods are allowed and encouraged so I plan on taking advantage of that and hopefully getting some decent images that I'll share with all of you once I have time to process them.

The Benefits Of Joining A Photography Group

Like I said up above, gaining access to a historic venue like the Fox Theatre would never be possible on my own. But as a member of a larger photography group I will be able to test my photographic skills in this classic venue. In addition, I will be there with 12 other photographers who have a lot of experience that I can learn from.

I joined 2 local photography groups soon after I got back into photography last June and I am so glad I did. I've met some great people, made a few new friends and learned a lot about photography in the process. There are some very talented and experienced photographers in the groups and they are very willing to share their experiences and offer advice when asked. If I hadn't joined a group I'm sure that I would be much less proficient than I am (although I have a long ways to go).

So, for all of you aspiring photographers out there, no matter your experience or skill level, who don't belong to at least one photography club or group, join one today!! There are many resources to find a group that matches your interest. One of the best sources is Meetup. I used Meetup to find the 3 groups Pam and I belong to. All I did was type in "photography" in the search box on the Meetup site and Voila, I found a few groups that seemed worthwhile. There are groups all over the place so check them out and find a photography group near you.

Your camera will thank you.

Happy Shooting!





HDR Photograph: Pipe Corner Of The South

Happy 4th of July! As I hinted at in yesterday's post, I went ahead and purchased the "Complete Collection" from Nik Software. Here's my first image HDR photograph post-processed using the package, specifically HDR Efex Pro:

I took this photo on last Saturday's Google+ 1st anniversary Atlanta photowalk. There were about 40 of us wandering around the city taking photographs. We came upon this sign and I thought it would make a good HDR. I took 3 bracketed images (-2, 0, +2) and combined them in HDR Efex Pro. Since I'm brand new to using the software, I didn't try to get too fancy with it and instead used a more "natural" setting. I think it came out pretty well.

I plan on spending some time over the next few days trying out different HDR settings as well as familiarizing myself with all the other plugins in the package, including the much-praised Color Efex & Silver Efex Pro. I plan on putting together a little more comprehensive review of the plugins once I am familiar with them.

I am also finishing up my post that will "finalize" my HDR software review series. Look for that in the next couple of days.

PS If any of you have some preferred settings that work well for you with the various Nik plugins, feel free to share them with others in the comments!


Telephone Pole Closeup

Here is an image from my Atlanta photowalk back in October. It's of a much used telephone pole that was near the Fox Theatre. I'm pretty sure all the staples are from people posting concert or event posters. I know, a telephone pole isn't exactly exciting but I really liked the look of this up close. I thought it would be one of those images that makes you scratch your head and say "what is that...?". If you didn't know this was a telephone pole, I think it would be pretty hard to figure out what it is. I'm also going to post this photo over on Google+ under one of the many "Daily Photography Themes" that have sprung up. The daily themes are a great way to inspire you to use your camera more, and in more interesting ways. This one will be part of the #Whatever Wednesday theme. It will be interesting to see if people can figure out what it is. If you aren't part of Google + I'd suggest you check it out, especially if you are into photography. Here's my page. If you setup a Google+ account please be sure to add me to your circles! :-)



Friday Photo Share For October 14, 2011

Wow, it's already mid October. Time sure flies! I've been very busy this week with everything except photography. I still wanted to share an interesting photo with you. I guess the theme of this week's photo share is "keeping your eyes open" Here is an image I took during the Atlanta photowalk a couple of weeks ago: Friday Photo Share For October 14

 We were walking down a street on our way to the Barnes & Noble building when we passed this older building on our right side. Out of the 20 or so people in our group I think I was the only person who saw this. The thing that caught my attention was the alignment of the railing shadow through the frame of the window. If you look closely there's almost a perfect crossing of the shadow with the window frame, all the way through the window. I don't know what the odds are of this happening again but I figured I'd better get the image while I could :-)

I guess the moral of the story is that you always need to be looking around when you're out with your camera because you could just come across something at least a little unique.

Happy shooting!

Friday Photo Share For October 7, 2011

I hope everyone is having a good week and looking forward to the weekend as I am. For this week's Friday Photo Share I thought I would discuss a couple of photographs from last week's Atlanta Photowalk that I have submitted as entries in two different contests, one for a photography club and one for the photowalk itself.

Now, I am definitely not an expert photographer but I want to improve my skills and I think one of the ways to do that is to take photographs with a purpose in mind and then get feedback on them. I think if we want to improve as photographers it's important to get unbiased feedback on our photos. Entering contests or competitions is one way to get feedback.

This first image is the one I submitted to the photography club, The Southeastern Photographic Society. They have a number of get togethers and field trips as well as a monthly meeting. Each month has a theme for photographs that can be entered in a contest. Members can enter a print or digital image in the contest. During the meeting, the photos are displayed and critiqued and then the winners are picked. The theme for October's meeting (which I'm going to right after I post this) is "patterns and repetition". With that in mind I was on the hunt for images that could fit that definition. During the photowalk I found a few things that could qualify but I think this image is the best one I had:


 The thing that caught my eye with this image was the alternating shadows on the white metal window frame. I tried to frame the window as best I could to accentuate the shadows. It will be interesting to see what the person judging the photos has to say about this image. I don't really expect to win because there are some very talented photographers in the club but I'm sure I'll get some good feedback that I can use to improve my skills.
The next image is one that I submitted to the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk site as representative of the walk that we took that day. I think there is a winner from each photowalk and then those winners are entered in the "really big prize" contest. I took this as we were walking off the parking deck we visited. Everyone was getting into the elevator when I looked up and saw this:
The sunlight highlighting the white border of the roof immediately caught my eye. It was if the border was glowing. Once again, I don't think this will win a prize but I enjoy the challenge of trying to take photographs that are "good", which is really an objective thing.
We'll see what feedback I get on these photos. No matter what happens, I think that just the act of trying to find something specific to shoot has helped me improve as a photographer.
What are your thoughts on submitting photographs to be judged or critiqued? Do you think it has helped your photography or not? Let us know in the comments.
Also, I want to remind all of you that you can submit photos for an upcoming Friday Photo Share. If you do you won't have to keep looking at my photos all the time :-) Just send the image as a JPEG (no more than 600 pixels wide) to You can also send a link to an image that's on Flickr or some other photo sharing site.
Happy Shooting!



Atlanta Photowalk Followup

This past Saturday I took part in the Scott Kelby Worldwide PhotoWalk. I talked about the photowalk last week (here) and now I wanted to give you a summary of what the photowalk was like. Our walk started at 9AM. There were about 20 of us that took part in the walk. The walk was led by John Mason, a local photographer who spends a lot of time in the city, and was about 1.5 miles in length. I haven't done very much photography in urban environments so I was looking forward to getting whatever interesting shots I could of the various buildings and people along the route. I was also intent on finding "patterns or repetition" so I could submit a photo for our photography club's October competition.

We started and finished in front of the world famous Varsity restaurant, whose slogan is "What'll ya have!":

From there we headed out into the city to see what we could see. We started by going East on North Avenue where we came across this nifty building:


We then headed up West Peachtree Street NW and came across a cool older church that had some very nice stained glass. I didn't bring my tripod so I did the best I could:

We then headed up to Peachtree Street NE (you may notice that A LOT of streets in Atlanta have Peachtree in them) to see the Fox Theater, one of the classic theaters in the entire country. The Fox has some neat architecture and I tried to capture it as best I could but others in the group did a better job than me:

After the Fox, we headed over to part of the Georgia Tech campus where there's a cool building that houses a big Barnes & Noble. Here's a shot of the glass front of the Barnes & Noble building:

We then headed to the top of a parking deck to see what we could see and then started back towards the varsity. Along the way I came across an old building with some neat brickwork on it. John pointed it out to me and suggested I try a closeup shot to give a different perspective on it. Here's the result after I rotated it 90 degrees. To me it looks like a cityscape in miniature:

John took us to an alley near the Varsity with some neat graffiti on the wall:

And then we finished up the walk with a stop on the North Avenue bridge to take some photos of the city skyline through a hole in the chain-link fence (that was made by some photographer). This is one of the classic places to shoot the Atlanta Skyline:

We were hungry after the walk so we stopped in the Varsity, got some lunch and talked about photography. Here's what I had:

I really enjoyed the photowalk. It was a fun, and educational, morning. Being new to photography, I find it helpful to watch other, more experienced photographers. Photowalks give me that opportunity.

Here's a photo of me trying to take a decent photo. It was captured by another member of the photowalk: looking for patterns

Here's the Google map with the location of the photos, and the track from my Garmin GPS that includes all my wandering around. I'm still trying to figure out how to get images to show up on Google Maps. If anyone knows, please leave a comment.

View Atlanta Photowalk October 1st 2011 in a larger map