Dec 2013 President’s BLOG–Shooting from the Lip

The Gifts of Knowledge, Family, and Friends


As Christmas approaches, we are busy making our wish lists.  What are you asking for?  A new camera body, a new lens?  Maybe a new monitor?  (If you’re thinking about purchasing a new monitor, I suggest you wait until after Christmas.  One of our next FOCUS Night topics will be Color Managed Workflow and will include a list of recommended monitors.)

Instead of asking for a big-ticket item, consider asking for something to help you better use the photography tools you already have.  Ask for the gifts of knowledge or understanding…..

One concept I understand, but have difficulty applying, is that of depth of field and hyperfocal distance.  Given a certain focal length and aperture, focusing on a point at a certain distance will result in the foreground how far in front of me in focus…..?  Yes, somewhat confusing.  Eliminate the confusion by using the ExpoAperture2 Depth of Field Calculator.  This battery-free device consists of three plastic disks riveted together which provides the results of complex calculations within seconds. For less than $40, this is a great stocking stuffer.

There is also a depth of field app available for your Apple device or for your Android powered devices.

There are on-line videos and tutorials available to improve our photography knowledge and skills, but my preference is the traditional methods—books or classroom.  One source of classroom instruction I personally endorse is the Minneapolis Photo Center.  I’ve taken several courses there—the instructors were very knowledgeable and friendly, each student had a computer to practice the skills (Lightroom and Photoshop courses), and attending class was a great way to meet other photographers.  Gift certificates for MPC classes are available HERE.

Another potential gift, which can give all year, is a subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud for photographers.  The $9.99 per month subscription includes the latest versions of Photoshop Creative Cloud, Lightroom, and a Behance ProSite on-line gallery.  Deadline to subscribe at this price is Dec 31.

As winter approaches, our natural tendency is to hunker down inside and anxiously await the arrival of spring.  Don’t do it! Get out in the snow and cold to photograph!  Create the images that your snowbird friends in Florida and Arizona can’t get.

To start with, here is a tutorial from the Strobist website on how to capture holiday lights.

Next is from a photographer in Russia who creates fascinating images of snowflakes.  Let this be an inspiration to you.

On a personal note, I’d like to wish each of you a Blessed Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and a great New Year.  Please set aside your photography projects long enough to invest time in gifts that really matter—our families and friends.

Best Wishes,





Mark Naumann

MVPC President


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