Monday, September 28, 2009



What's Wrong with this Photo?

Ok, it's time for the weekly photo tip! First, I need to echo Patty's words, and what better way to echo than to plagiarize?

"Before I continue, let me say that our shootout is a blog is for both amateurs and professionals - and all you in-betweeners. I never personally judge a photo on our town shootouts. (Ok, I (Jen) sort of do. But not for technical stuff - I judge to put people in the spotlight.) I just enjoy seeing other places around the world. I know that goes for everyone. I love blurred photos, faraway photos, up-close and personal photos - I just love looking at photos.

Please know that we are not giving tips to make your photos better for us; we are giving them to make your photos better for you. People invest a lot of money in cameras these days. Time (and money for printing) goes into taking those family photos, and you certainly want your vacation photos to be the best they can be."

Ok, this is the second lesson, but Jen's first. :)

What's wrong with this photo?
Ok, technically there are a few things wrong with it. But, there is one glaring error that is easily corrected. Obviously, it isn't the 50/50 rule, although that is a problem here. That's the only hint I'm giving. Don't bother asking Patty, she and I are thicker than thieves. :)

I'll post the answer Friday...can't wait to read your thoughts!

My Favorite Place to... Photos of the Week

Let me start by saying, I honestly thought the animal one would be the hardest. This shoot out brought out the best in you, fellow photographers.

I had a list of ten - TEN photos I absolutely loved. I had to cut that list in half. Oh, it was hard. Well, here they are, the spotlight photos in no particular order:

I loved this one of Gigi's. The reflection, the composition, the subject...what a beautiful photo.

Doreen swears there was no altering...this looks as rich and true as an oil painting.

Denise's clouds reflected in the ocean are just breathtaking.

Shabby Girl - who had a plethora of amazing photos - captured this perfect shot of a pelican (?) in flight.

And, Barry, who originally I picked his canoe photo for the unique angle. But, when I looked again, it was the repetition in this photo that made me decide this one deserved the spotlight.

As difficult as this is, I love doing this. I love it because you all inspire me, and I love it because I get to every blog. :) Every one who participated this week got a comment from me. And, I love that. Great shoot out!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Photo Lesson 1 - 50/50 Horizon Photo Killer

Gosh. You guys were brutal. The photo is gray and flat but it was a gray day. It is a boring photo because I wanted to make the first lesson simple and not complicate it. This is photography 101, so this lesson was not how to produce a perfect photo. It was about framing.

Getting both boats in focus depends on your camera settings. To do that I would have had to change my camera settings. I shot this on auto, something I rarely ever use. Because I have to shoot in so many different types of light, I am a slave to manual shooting. However, most novices and many hobby shooters use auto, shutter, or aperture priority . They don't use manual.

I shot this as if I were a tourist getting out of the car looking at the pretty water and the boat coming in. I also liked the front of the boat so I left it for framing. We will get in to advanced framing later on.

I also used a normal lens. A lot of people can zoom with point and shoot cameras but many people have simpler cameras. I addressed this little lesson to those who don't have fancy zooms. This photo could even be taken with a cell phone. So, with limited tools, how could we make this photo better?

First of all, our eyes see things in a different way that the camera sees them. Anyone who wants to try for better photos must learn to think like a camera. That is a more advanced lesson.

Sandra Leigh. You are too funny. Why indeed? I think we can all go back into our old photos or the photos our parents took and wonder the same thing. Why did they take that photo? Again, it goes back to the eyes. Wanting to capture what we see on the camera and getting what we expected can be disappointing at times.

I did not crop the photo. It was a point and shoot photo; that is the way it came out of the camera. Nothing was done to it.

Rebecca is the winner. It was the horizon. They are photo killers. Never use a 50/50 horizon.

There are very rare occasions where professionals use the 50/50 horizon. There is method to their madness. But for 90% of us, and for me, the 50/50 horizon is a photo killer. When shooting outdoors, always give a little more sky or a little more ground. That depends on what you are shooting. Either Jen or me will give more lessons on that in the future.

Here is the original: You should click on photos to enlarge them. See how the simple shift of a horizon and possibly a crop (we all know how to crop) can change your photo?

The below photo is taken from the same spot on the same setting. I only lowered my camera and shifted it slightly to the left. The photo is certainly a trash bin photo but you can see how the photo is made better by getting rid of that 50/50 horizon line. Putting your horizon in the center of a photo confuses people, as they are not sure what you meant to photograph.

The below photo was cropped a little so that the sign to the right was not stuck out in the middle and so that I was able to remove that little speck of chrome you see in the left on the above photo. Little things like that tend to draw one's eye from the photo. For those of you who know how to use your photo editor I bumped up the contrast a tad.

This is same photo cropped to eliminate the foreground and go for the sky, something you might want to do if you have a beautiful sunset or spectacular clouds. I did bump up the contrast one notch. What we have here is a boat coming in to safe harbor after a hard day out on the water.

Jen is up for next weeks tip.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

October 2 Assignment

A Photo Study of a Building By: Town Blogger Team

I was getting a bit behind in letting you know the future topics. One of our few rules is that before we can use one of your suggestions you have to be an active participant. This rule is so that if you have questions or comments you can go to the blog of the one making the suggestion and talk directly with them...

Before I could go forward into October, I needed to compare our updated participant list and take off the suggestions from those who were MIA. You don't know how much I hated doing this. I have threatened to quit a couple of times, but NO ONE else can quit before the new year.... I hate it so much that I think there are a few that I didn't remove.... Maybe I am hoping they come back, but if not I will remove them before the November update. Okay?

I am sorry but the Bugs shootout was removed. Anyone who want to can ask me to put it or any others removed back as their own choice, I'll honor their wish. This moved several other topic up towards the top. In case you are wondering I only number up to 9 because number 10 goes to the top. As the topics are used, I update the list and list the top 9.

Future Topics:

October 9 - Silhouetes - by Carrie
October 16 - Sunrise / Sunsets - By Sherri
October 23 - Classics of Childhood - by Ellisa

One other change to note, in the place of another topic removed I put in a 'make your own', this is to give us a break, letting you pick a topic of your choice or just to do random stuff....

Friday, September 25, 2009


This past week there was a glitch in the member links. All names were lost. If your name is missing or your blog is the wrong one, please leave your blogspot address with a comment, here.

What's Wrong With This Photo?

“The photograph itself doesn't interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality.” ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Beginning Monday, Jen and I will be taking turns posting photo tips for members and non-members. I get a lot of emails from people wanting tips on how to take good photos. People inquire about what kind of cameras to buy, what kind of exposures to use, and some people want to know what all those little gadgets on their digital cameras really do.

Before I continue, let me say that our shootout is a blog is for both amateurs and professionals - and all you in-betweeners. I never personally judge a photo on our town shootouts. I just enjoy seeing other places around the world. I know that goes for everyone. I love blurred photos, faraway photos, up-close and personal photos - I just love looking at photos.

Please know that we are not giving tips to make your photos better for us; we are giving them to make your photos better for you. People invest a lot of money in cameras these days. Time (and money for printing) goes into taking those family photos, and you certainly want your vacation photos to be the best they can be.

So, here is my first lesson. A simple lesson. What's wrong with this photo? Jen, you can't chime in. I will post the answer on Monday. Actually, there are a lot of things wrong with it. But the major thing is - ????

Also, let us know if you have any particular questions about photography and either Jen or myself will be happy to address it in the future.

If anyone has any ideas on how to improve this site please deposit your two cents here.

Disclaimer: There may be some weeks we won't post a tip. We are all busy and don't want this to become a chore for anyone. We may also decide to stop the photo tips for something more interesting. This is an all volunteer site and we don't want to burn anyone out. We do want to keep this site fresh with ideas. Each shooter is a part of the big picture, so feel free to be a part of our team by sending in your thoughts and ideas.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Moment for Barry...

As all of our members know, Barry gave us some bad news on Saturday about his illness. Since we are a tight community - many of us have followed Barry for a long time - I thought I would post this photo I took while on assignment some time ago to let Barry know that we are all pulling for him. I ran upon it while filing photos (a never ending task), and thought about Barry.

Whatever your faith may be, I know that everyone's thoughts are with Barry, Linda, and their wonderful family in this trying time.

Barry has made us laugh, cry, ponder, amused and amazed us with his talent and most recently, his courage.

"There are more things in heaven and earth..." Barry, I am not one to have a lot of faith in doctors. I was talking to a friend yesterday who told me about his father who was in Hospice. The nurse taking care of him told my friend that he once went to care for an elderly woman who had only a few weeks to live. She went into remission, left Hospice, and lived another ten healthy years.

You are the kind of person who can beat your illness, Barry. Take those hands in the photo and multiply them many times over. They are the hands of your blogging friends wishing you well.

Buddha said, "I am the miracle." Barry, you be the miracle.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


I. Do you visit this blog weekly? If so, leave a comment, here.
I suspect that many have their own links to member blogs and very seldom come here. As you visit member blogs please ask them to come and participate in this survey.
II. What criteria should we use when considering dropping links of members?
We automatically drop members if they don't post for three weeks running without a sensible reason. Chef Elizabeth is doing a terrific job at documenting activity of our membership. Without her, we would be frustrated by visiting blog after blog with no weekly shootout posted.
III. Should we expect members to at least leave a post saying that they will not be participating on a particular week, or that their post will be late? These things seem to be common curteousy to me.
IV. Would you like for us to organize a group email list to send out info like this in the future?

I think frustrations have been reduced as many who were not seriously interested have been eliminated, but, we don't want to lose anyone. I consider this to be a group of worldwide close friends. Give us your general thoughts, without pointing fingers at anyone.
I apologize to anyone who has been dropped in error.
Chef Elizabeth, I'm sure this should be interesting. Let's try to form a plan for the future. Gordon

Friday, September 18, 2009

Domestic Animals - Photos of the Week

***oopsie! I went through blogs a bit too early! I kept track though, of who had posted and who had not, and I'll be visiting those who had not first next week - and on Saturday.
Time zones, who knew?

Sorry all - won't happen again.


Hello all!

I have to start by saying that this was nearly impossible. My heart melts for animals, and looking at all these amazing photos...well, choosing was tough.
I am proud to say I did visit every single blog listed on the member list. :) If you didn't have this week's theme posted yet, I made a note of it, and your blogs will be the first I visit next week.

With that, here are the spotlight photos, in no particular order:

Elaine, with Tucker who loves to drive:

Kate, who is getting married soon (congrats!) and went to an animal haven for her shoot out. This little guy needs a home! Isn't he sweet looking?

Kent, whose camel photo is laugh out loud funny:

Rebecca, whose cow with bell photo is truly spectacular:

And, last but not least, Scriptor with his cat who, from this photo I can hear the true Lion within roaring!

There were two quotes that jumped out at me, and I won't do this every week, just when something strikes my fancy.

On Sandy's blog: "Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies." Being a dog person, I couldn't agree more. I also think you could change "puppies" to any pet type. :)

And, on Sarah's blog, she had this on a photo of her dog, "Mama - you has treats?"

I'd also like to thank ChefE for the way cool camera button to link back to this site.

That's all folks, have a great weekend, and see you next week! :D

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I am pleased to announce that JEN has consented to join the My Town administrative team. She will be handling the pleasant responsibility of Photos of the Week. She is far more qualified for that task than I am.
Thank you, Jen, for sharing the load. Gordon
Patty, would you please list her as a contributor?


We would all like to go for a visit,
But first, please tell us, Whose town izit?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Growing Branches -

Okay Gordon - here we go. I know that October 2 is supposed to be bugs and things but as the one responsible for assignments, I am making an executive decision to shake up the routine a bit.

Drum Roll!

The Assignment for October 2 will be a photo study of building in your neighborhood. And by neighborhood I mean 'neck of the woods'. Your yard, your town, your state, your country. A building you've passed everyday on your way to work or to the kids ball game or one you saw on your vacation. Look at the angles, the light, the windows, doors, special features, its uses past and present. Use your imagination and your camera to tell us a story about your building. If you end up home bound that week don't panic, use your house, your church, your child's school. Lets see some fire, some passion for photography and our world. GingerV

Example : Private home - Adrian Michigan - Vacation June, 2009


Occasionally, I feel the need to share a few of my thoughts with the group. I receive emails, once in a while, with questions, ideas or concerns. I think when one member has a concern there are others that may have similar thoughts or feelings, but may keep them to themselves. I hope the following may be helpful to you.
First - Pace yourself in the time you put into weekly shoot-outs. Some weeks you have more time than others. This is supposed to be fun. If it becomes a chore, SLOW DOWN. Burnout is common with blogging in general. We have witnessed that.
Second - Many of you live in small towns. Don't feel like you are restricted to shooting only in your little town. That could become very boring for some of you. I love seeing vacation pics and shots of towns around you in your states. Just identify where they are. For those living in countries other than the U.S., feel free to branch out and share the exciting things around you. Patty would like to keep the my town theme alive, but, I'm sure she does not intend for you to be in photographic prison.
After all, there are no rules!
Third - Any of you that may want to contact me privately, my email is on my blog. It is It is a pleasure doing little things for our group. Just enjoy the experience, at a pace that will keep it enjoyable for you.
Thanks for your many kind word and encouragement to everyone. It means a lot.

Old & Weathered - Photos of the Week

Thanks to everyone who posted our terrific shots this week, and thanks especially, to Pauline for the very popular assignment.

Redlan fascinated us with his introduction of the earthen "tuba" jars.

We found Sara's "mum" and Fudge enjoying an old weathered tree "house" in Erddig Park.

Katheryn told of the weathered web and a determined spider.

Heather's sons had fun in a tepee.

Doreen captured a "punch buggy" showing its age.
Thanks to all of the many shooters who show your photographic talents, week after week. May God bless each of our members bravely facing ongoing health issues.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


In 1840 the Governor of New Zealand named the area of Ann's hometown in honor of George Eden, Earl of Auckland, a British Whig politician and Colonial Administrator.
Auckland is one of the oldest wine producing areas of New Zealand.
Congratulations, again, to Carrie for solving the mystery of Whose Town Izit?"

Look real close! The sky is clear!
It may be your town pictured, here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Windows and Doors - Photos of the Week

Thanks to all that posted this Friday. Participation was much greater than last week.

Jen posted this shot of her favorite house, ever.

Steve captured a rare view from a
dilapidated house into an overgrown yard.

GingerV gave us a glimpse of an
architecturally challenged hillside..

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Nice windows and doors!

One of our shooters lives near here.
Name the town and we'll all cheer.
Check comments to see if the town belongs to you.