You don't take a photograph, you make it. --Ansel Adams . . Owning a camera doesn't make you a photographer. --Photography Proverb

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Meeting Soon?

Wow, I still haven't posted anything about the Sedona trip last fall.  Sorry!  My business seems to have taken over my life.  I hope to have a meeting before heading to Virginia on a 5-week business/pleasure trip starting at the end of May.  Hold me to it, people!  And let me know what you'd like to talk about/do!


Monday, September 21, 2009

First Meeting Recap

Thanks to everyone who attended the first meeting of the Brown Dirt Photogs! And thank you for enduring my craziness that day...I was still amped from photographing a birth the night before. Don't worry, I'm not always that intense. ;o)

In summary, we discussed Ansel Adams' Zone System and how the histogram can help us achieve better exposures and use all desired "zones" for making more effective photographs. Homework was assigned: look up and study the Zone System (wikipedia has a pretty good write up on it). Look at some of Ansel Adams's photographs with a new understanding of his methods.
We planned a fieldtrip to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum for October 10th. Time TBA. A field trip to Oak Creek Canyon was discussed and I actually went to the specific trail we plan to visit to scope it out this past Saturday and YOU WILL LOVE IT! It's going to be great!
Here's a photo I made of some worm trails in wood in Oak Creek Canyon on Saturday. Thinking "Zone System," notice that I have the complete range of tones from black to white and every shade of gray in between. Sometimes you may want the complete range of tones, other times you may want to stay toward the less contrasty end of the zones to achieve a particular mood. The goal is to think about it before you shoot the image and then make it happen.

"Worm Trails" copyright sandi miller, Miller&Miller Photography

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Meeting Agenda

A couple people have asked what we'll be doing at the first meeting, so here it be.

I want to talk about Ansel Adams and his work (and one of his quotes...the one at the top of the page, actually). Many of his most famous photographs are of nature, but are they really "natural?" (Hint: NO!) We will briefly go over his Zone System and how it still applies today and can help us all make better pictures (and how the histogram helps with that).
Drama. It's all about the drama, baby!
So, until the 12th (for those of you who plan to attend), here's a photo I made last Saturday, applying the Zone System.
see you soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Meeting Rescheduled

In light of a recent tragedy in our neighborhood, the first meeting has been rescheduled to Saturday, September 12th at 9:00 a.m.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Field Trips

For our first local field trip, I thought it would be fun to go to Boyce Thompson Arboretum. There's lots there to photograph: trees, plants, flowers, bugs, rocks, cliffs, and each other if anyone wants to play with portraits.

Our first distance field trip will be to Sedona during "fall leaf" season. We'll hike the West Fork Oak Creek trail which provides ample opportunity for trees, leaves, color, rock and even water!

In the meantime, here's a photo of Bell Rock I took while in Sedona this past June.

copyright sandi miller, Miller&Miller Photography

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


That's right, there's a new photog club in town. the desert. Most meetings will be held in the Castlegate neighborhood at the corner of Ocotillo and Schnepf in San Tan Valley (that's east of Queen Creek, southeast of Mesa). We will do a little local travelling for photo shooting, and occasionally a little longer distance travelling (fall leaves in Sedona anyone?).

As of today, the frequency of meetings is once/month. That could change in either direction. You are welcome to join in as often or as seldom as you want. There are no fees.

Our aim is to seek and conquer.

Okay, really it's to learn and grow and have an outlet for our obsession. One challenge of living out here in the Brown Dirt is finding a gorgeous spot for portraits, so one of our goals will be seeking such places. ROAD TRIPS!

For more information, contact sandi or Adele.

of Miller&Miller Photography

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It Was a Little Bare Under Here

So here are some pix to fill in space while we're anxiously awaiting our first meeting!

I love macro photography. This echinacea flower was shot on a Nikon D300, 105mm micro lens (really more like 150mm on the D300, since it's a crop sensor). Of course, I could've gotten buttloads closer (and I did on other shots), but I liked this one best. And yes, I just said "buttloads." Rule number 2, remember?

I shot this senior portrait on my Nikon D700 (full frame sensor) with the same lens as above (it's my fave) at the Mesa Arts Center (MAC for short). Yes, EVERYONE and their mothers, daughters, sons and cousins shoot at the MAC, but this handsome senior lives not too far from it, so there we went. I just used a nice wide open aperture to cream out the background, making it more interesting (to me, at least).

If you've been to my website or photog blog, you've seen the pic below about 485 times, since it's one of my faves. It was actually shot out here in the Brown Dirt (in the little pecan grove outside of The Pecans [since we're banned from shooting inside The Pecans]). The grass was nice and tan (I have a thing for tan grass) and I decided to add some gold around the edges to compliment the tan grass and draw you into the bride.
Taken on Nikon D700, 24-70mm f/2.8, racked out.

People often ask me what actions I use in Photoshop. I *have* some actions (that I downloaded for free), but to be honest with ya, I very rarely use them. I'm kinda old school in that way. There's nothing an action can do that you can't learn to do better yourself. Sure, many of them save you time, but for me, I'm a total control freak and actions sort of "take over" and sometimes do stuff I end up changing in the end anyway. That said, my friend John is creating some cool actions. I'll pop the link up here when he gets them online so you can check them out.