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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Jan. 16, 2017


Camera Club News

By: Rex Dolby


By Rex Dolby

An evening shot across Georgia's Lake Lanier, taken by Rex Dolby.

An evening shot across Georgia’s Lake Lanier, taken by Rex Dolby.

The Van Wert Area Photography Club is again inviting anyone in the community having questions about a new camera, using the camera on your smart phone, or questions about photography in general, to bring them to the club’s meeting this Thursday, January 12, 7 p.m. at 114 S. Race St.  Feel free to ask any question on these topics and there will be experienced photographers on hand to answer them or try to find an answer for you on the net.  This question and answer session is offered as a service to the community, so there will be no cost or obligation to those who participate.

One of the questions that may come up is, “How can I get a good sunrise or sunset picture?”  In no particular order, you have to consider location, timing, sky, and the foreground. Sometimes you’ll be out and about and come across an interesting scene. Ask yourself, “Would this be more impressive in a different season, time of day, or location?”  They are all tied together so you make a combined judgement based on what you want the outcome of the photo to be. If you’re facing east, it will be a morning shot or west, an evening shot.

A different location doesn’t mean go elsewhere, but rather to scout the area around where you plan to shoot to discover how you might include more interesting things in the foreground or open up the view to more sky.

Check the weather forecast.  A storm approaching or just passed may provide some dramatic cloud formations.  In such conditions the sky is more interesting and therefore 2/3 of your composition should be sky.  If a structure or growth is of more interest, then 2/3 of the composition should be the ground.

As for timing, particularly for a sunset, as the sun approaches the horizon, its illumination of the clouds increases.  Therefore don’t be too quick to pack up after the sun sets.  Many times the lower angle of the sun’s rays will produce an exceptional light show on the clouds.  However, once the sun has slipped behind a cloudbank the show is pretty much over, unless there’s a slit where it might reappear.

A graduated neutral density filter may come in handy to tone down the sky without changing the ground exposure if there is a great amount of difference between the brightness of the sky and the ground.



POSTED: 01/11/17 at 2:27 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News

By Rex Dolby

Trinity UM Church's Christmas Altar. (Photo by Rex Dolby.)

Trinity UM Church’s Christmas Altar. (Photo by Rex Dolby.)

As Christmas approaches, there are a number of neat places that just might have that special composition you are looking to capture.  Churches are a prime source for these pictures as well as the Brumback Library, the Children’s Garden at Smiley Park and the 4H Light Tour at the Fair Grounds.

Whether the church is the one you attend, or one someone has described to you, it is wise to call the church office and  identify yourself  before requesting permission to arrive at a specific time, stating what you’d like to photograph and how you plan to use the pictures.  Ask also if anyone is to be notified when you are ready to leave.

On the day of the shoot, start off by stopping at the office and introducing yourself in person.  Ask if there is anything you need to know prior to the session.  When you’re done, return to thank them for allowing you to shoot and offer to show them some of the pictures you took.  It is possible they might like copies of some of your work for future publication in their bulletins or newsletters.

The outdoor displays do not require prior notice to shoot, but you still  need to be considerate of others when deciding when and where you stop your car or set up your tripod.  Although this is the season of peace and good will, not everyone you meet has that mind set.  Your patience/kindness, however, may be just what they needed at the time of your encounter to improve their feelings.

The Van Wert Area Photography Club wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas!




POSTED: 12/21/16 at 3:17 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News

By Rex Dolby

Members of the Van Wert Area Photography Club met Thursday, December 8, at the Black Angus on Main restaurant for their annual Christmas dinner.  It was an enjoyable evening with good food, sparkling conversation, and even live piano background music.  It almost seems a shame to have to wait a year to do it again.

The club’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 12, at 7 p.m. at 214 S. Race St.  At that time the club is inviting any one having questions about their new camera, taking pictures with their cell phone, or about photography in general, to feel free to bring those questions, equipment, and owner’s manual to the meeting. Experienced photographers will be on hand to assist you with your inquiries.

The recent snow and Christmas lights should combine for some exceptional Christmas pictures.

Best wishes for a great one!

POSTED: 12/14/16 at 2:17 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News

By Rex Dolby

Christmas lights at Smiley Park.  (Photo by Rex Dolby.)

Christmas lights at Smiley Park.  (Photo by Rex Dolby.)

The Van Wert Area Photography Club’s Christmas Dinner has been set for Thursday, December 8, at 6 p.m.  The Black Angus on Main will be the dinner site.  Those planning to attend must call, text, leave a message, or Email secretary Dolby by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6, telling how many places you wish to reserve. This will assure you and your guest that you will have a seat at the table.  Dolby’s contact points include: 419.238.4545, 567.259.8951, and dolbys2@embarqmail.

More and more Christmas displays can be seen around town, so I decided to provide some tips for photographing them.  I’ll discuss outdoor displays this week and indoor displays a later time.

Some equipment to aid in capturing a sharp image include: a tripod, a remote way to trigger the shutter (some cameras have a timer to trip the shutter), a wide angle and/or standard lens, and extra batteries if it’s really cold.

Now you need to determine whether you wish to include the building the lights are on, or around, or just the lights. If the building is to be part of the composition, how much?  If it is high, start at sundown or a little before if the building is not in direct sunlight.  It will be dark enough that the lights will show up well and still light enough to get the background too.  Check your results and slow or speed up the shutter, or wait till it gets darker.

If the subject of the photo is to be the lights, you can wait until later in the evening to start.  Try several lens openings, shutter speeds, and ISO settings to get your desired results. ISO settings should probably be no more that 400 to 800.  Any higher risks noise in the dark areas.  If you’re forced to use the wide angle lens in order to capture the whole scene, remember that items at the extreme edges may bend into the picture. They can be straightened to some degree however, in post production. When possible, back up, use the 50mm lens for less distortion at 1/50th of a second and lens opening of  f/2.8 to f/4.6.  Again take multiple shots at different settings to get the best results.





POSTED: 11/30/16 at 3:10 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News

By Rex Dolby

Over the course of the past four months officers of the Van Wert Area Photography Club have worked to move the club’s assets from 114 S. Race St. so the Civic Theatre could use that space to store their props and set materials.  Club assets were offered to club members first and what was left was scattered around the community.  Most of the darkroom and office equipment went to the Council on Aging for their Buy-Way sales.  Photography books and slides of Van Wert and the nation went to the Brumback Library.  Other Van Wert slides went to the Van Wert Historical Society.  The remaining photography literature was taken to the book recycling stacks at the Van Wert Recycling Center.  Materials that we could not find a home for were disposed of by local refuse collection companies.

The only things that remained were related to studio photography.  Those items included backdrops, floodlights, strobe lights and stands, and various reflectors.  All of these items were moved by President Stuart Jewett and Secretary Rex Dolby to Stuart’s photography studio on the third floor at the southeast corner of Market and E. Main Streets.  Dolby documented all of the studio items by photographing them.  Club members still hope that one day they may have their own facility and establish their photography studio there.

The club’s next meeting will be its dinner meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 10.

POSTED: 11/30/16 at 3:05 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News

By Rex Dolby

Cheryl Knost's  winning fall photograph. (Photo submitted.)

Cheryl Knost’s  winning fall photograph. (Photo submitted.)

“Fall Scenes” was the theme of this month’s competition at the Van Wert Area Photography Club’s recent meeting Thursday, November 10.  Cheryl Knost was the winner with an impressive image taken along the river trail going toward the monument in the Fort Amanda Memorial Park.  The park is located southwest of Lima on St. Rt. 198.  Members voted to drop the dollar entry and no-show fees (at least for now) but will continue to keep the voting for the best image submitted.

Larry Dickerhoof brought an article concerning The Ohio Camera Collector’s Society, which is the oldest camera collectors club in the US.  They meet monthly in the Grandview Municipal Center in Grandview Heights, just 2.6 miles south of the OSU football stadium.  He suggested that it might be a possible field trip.

The club’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be on Thursday, December 10.  It is the annual Christmas Dinner.  RSVP to Secretary, Rex Dolby, at: or 419.238.4545 to attend our annual Christmas dinner that evening.

Previously we discussed the reasons for the causes of motion blur and how to avoid it.  This time the subject will be the reasons for motion blur and how to achieve it.

Probably the main reason is to show that something is in motion. This can be achieved in three ways, each depending on the purpose of  the photograph.  One is using a slower shutter speed that allows the subject to move to whatever degree (depending on the shutter speed) in or through the frame while the background remains in sharp focus.  The movement of the subject is the message of this photo.

A second method is called panning.  Using just a slightly slower shutter speed than you would use for freezing the subject, track the subject with your camera as it approaches and comes closer to you. Keep moving the camera to keep a good composition with more space in front of the subject than behind.  Panning should compensate for the slightly slower shutter speed to freeze and emphasize the subject and at the same time streak the background to where it may be only a suggestion of what is back there.  If you want the background to be more recognizable, still pan and use a little faster shutter speed.

The third situation is to use a slow shutter speed to capture a subject that is stationary while the background moves around or behind it.  This method will emphasize the subject as well as create the feeling that what’s around it may be frantic or busy.

In all three situations, use a tripod with a lockable but  smooth swivel head, select a position where the background will contrast with the subject to make it stand out, and take a lot of pictures at different shutter speeds and panning rates to achieve your desired results. You know the drill -“Practice makes Perfect!”





POSTED: 11/16/16 at 3:27 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News

By Rex Dolby

The Van Wert Area Photography Club will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting this Thursday, November 10, at 7 p.m., at 114 S. Race St. in Van Wert.  “Fall Scenes” will be the theme of the competition that evening. For $1, photographers may enter as many as four 4×6 prints, or slides on a jump drive to be projected.  Non-competitors will put a dollar in the No-Show cup. Be sure to be ready to tell about the camera settings and shooting conditions for each picture.

The business portion of the meeting will include a report on the efforts of the officers to relocate club assets at the request of the Civic Theatre, and plans for the club’s future and activities

POSTED: 11/09/16 at 3:00 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News

By Rex Dolby

Fall scene, by Rex Dolby.

Fall scene, by Rex Dolby.

The Van Wert Area Photography Club will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, November 10, at 7 p.m. The location will be 114 South Race St. in Van Wert.  Fall Scenes will be the theme of the competition that evening. Photographers may enter as many as 4, 4×6 prints, or slides on a jump drive to be projected, for $1.  Non competitors will put a dollar in the No-Show cup. Be sure to be ready to tell about the camera settings and shooting conditions for each picture.

The business portion of the meeting will include a report on the efforts of the officers to relocate club assets at the request of the Civic Theatre, and plans for the club’s future and activities.

Changing the subject, what comes to your mind when motion and photography are linked?   I would guess for some, it is a picture spoiled by camera shake, wind, or vibration of some sort.  None of which is a good thing.  On the other hand, it may be the wispy flow of water, movement of a bird’s wings while in flight, or the action during a sporting event.  All of which may be a good thing. Okay, let’s see what we can do to “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative”.

Some ways to reduce the chances of motion blur are: Make sure the camera’s image stabilization is on, you brace yourself and/or the camera against something rigid, use a tripod, select a shutter speed that is at least equal to the focal length of the lens, (An example of this would be setting the shutter no slower than 1/50th of a second when using a 50 mm lens) and timing the shot when the player is at the top of his jump shot, at the top of a spring for a dive, or a pitcher at the end of his wind up.  How fast the subject is traveling and at what angle to you it’s moving will also determine the choice of shutter speed. Shutter speeds can be slower for motion at an angle, but faster as the subject passes in front of you.

The website,, offers the following  action to shutter speed chart in seconds. Person walking is 1/125-1/250  Person running 1/500-1/1000    Sports 1/500-1/2000   Flying bird 1/800-1/2000   Car (30-35mph) 1/1000-1/2000 and Auto racing 1/1000-1/8000

We’ll talk about blurring motion next time.





POSTED: 11/02/16 at 2:33 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News

By Rex Dolby

It has been a while since our last photo competition, so we’ll refresh people’s memories concerning how it works.  Anyone may enter as many as four photos (either 4×6 prints or digital images on a flash drive for projection) for one dollar. Place your name on the back of each print; each digital file name should include the competition name, slide title, and the photographer’s name. Photos must have been taken in the last five years and may not have won first, second, or third in a previous competition.

Photo A: Illustrates the information about the picture recorded in the camera. (Photo submitted.)

Photo A: Illustrates the information about the picture recorded in the camera. (Photo submitted.)

Postproduction adjustments permitted are: cropping, resizing, color improvement, white balance changes, brightness and contrast.

To encourage members to submit entries, members attending that do not submit an entry will pay a $1 No Show fee, which will be split between the Slide and Print pools.

The number of places awarded will depend on the number of people entering.  How payouts are determined will be

Photo B: Illustrates the information about the pictures saved on your hard drive. (Photo submitted.)

Photo B: Illustrates the information about the pictures saved on your hard drive. (Photo submitted.)

announced at the competition.

Last week’s article talked about the list of information that will be given on each picture so we can learn how camera settings will help us to achieve similar successes.  President Jewett rightly commented that many of today’s cameras record that information on each picture.  Photo A illustrates the information available from a Canon PowerShot SX20 IS. Select your picture in the display window and push the display button again 1 or 2 times to see the information.

Photo B illustrates information that your camera may have recorded with your picture and is saved with the image. On some systems you may right click on the picture which will bring up a list.  Right click on Properties which will bring up a folder with a number of different tabs.  Left click on the Details to see the information.

Your camera and/or computer may be a little different from this.  If you’re having difficulty, bring your camera to our meeting November 10, 7 p.m., at 114 S. Race St. and we’ll try to help you out.


POSTED: 10/26/16 at 1:17 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News

By Rex Dolby

The group of members and friends of the Van Wert Area Photography Club who met Thursday, October 13, were united in their intent to maintain the club’s service to its members and to the community.  While they want to continue photo shoots scattered throughout the year, they also want to reinstate the monthly competitions, but with a twist.  They would like to see every submission documented with the information about how the picture was taken, thereby making each photo a teaching tool.

This would mean that the photographer would need to carry a note pad to record the camera’s settings:  ISO, aperture, shutter speed, the focal length of the lens used, exposure compensation (if any), focus (manual or auto), color compensation (if any),  filter used (if any), time of day and lighting conditions.

Such a list sounds more like work and could possibly diminish the enjoyment the experience, but in the age of computers, I would think that someone can create grid with these items printed on them that would be small enough to fit in your camera bag to make it quicker to record the information before or after the shot.  It could cause you to become a more thoughtful photographer by making you think about your settings before you shoot, in addition to enabling you to share with another photographer how your settings contributed to the shot.

Autumn Scenes will be the competition theme when the club next meets on Thursday, November 10, at 7 p.m. at 114 S. Race St. in Van Wert. Bring your notes on the shots too. More details on the competition will be discussed next week.

POSTED: 10/19/16 at 1:44 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News