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demeatria's blog

My journey with photography……..

Before the fun begins…

FOREVER I’ve always wanted to photograph lighthouses. The last few years I’ve been wanting to visit Acadia National Park. Earlier this year I tried to make plans to make it to Acadia but the cards didn’t fall into the right places. 

To be honest I really don’t get into workshops. I have nothing against them; I like to go off the beaten path and shoot what people tend to forget. But sometimes you have to look at what you want to accomplish, your safety and take it from there. I’m glad I did.

I attended the Maine Lighthouse & Autumn Leaves at Portland Workshop, 10-14 October. This workshop (and a few others) are run by Robert “Bob” Fawcett, co-owner of Fawcett Photography (https://robertfawcett.smugmug.com). What was great about this workshop is that 1) I was able to shoot sunrises and sunsets, 2) I went to areas that I would have not gone to by myself, 3) learn new things techniques with photography, and 4) I was safe. 

Before the workshop began, I went up a day ahead to shoot with Bob. I’ve known Bob for over 20 years and we worked together for many of years. Not only did we shoot we caught up on old times and life. 

We went to shoot Nubble Lighthouse, which is located in Cape Neddick, York, Maine. This lighthouse is located close to 100’ offshore. It’s probably one of the few that you can’t go inside (but don’t quote me on that). I was able to photograph this lighthouse three times: late evening, sunset and sunrise. Not only was it fun to shoot but it was also fun talking with other photographers. 

Did I learn something from shooting the Nubble Lighthouse? Yes I did! Bob enjoys teaching photography and I enjoy mixing his knowledge and mine together. 

When you’ve been dying to go to a place to shoot and things just don’t line up, look into finding a photography buddy to shoot with or find a workshop. 

Gear used: Fujifilm X-T30, Fujifilm XF18-135mm f/3.5-6.5R LM OIS WR lens, URTH ND filters. 

Don’t forget to check out FAWCETT PHOTOGRAPHY: (https://robertfawcett.smugmug.com). Look under “Workshops”. 

Check out my website: www.dawndhester.com

HAPPY SHOOTING!! 😁😁

PROPERTY OF DAWN D. HESTER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
PROPERTY OF DAWN D. HESTER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
PROPERTY OF DAWN D. HESTER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
PROPERTY OF DAWN D. HESTER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
PROPERTY OF DAWN D. HESTER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

One Roll Left – Nikon F Film Camera

It’s a lot of fun growing up buying all the trinkets that you enjoy…especially if you work and can afford your “collections of life”. We all done it and if you haven’t yet you will.

I have two collections and started them both back in the early 90’s: music boxes and old cameras. Music boxes was planned and I had so much fun collecting them; all shapes and sizes.  Cameras were “being in the right place at the right time” collection. Houston, TX had some great pawn shops. Some I sold to get another piece of gear, some I bought because I knew exactly what they were and how special they were in the era they were built. My collections includes Mamiya, Nikon, Bronica, Canon, Rolleiflex, and Minolta. Then I have accessories like the Vivitar flash units, stroboframe camera and flash brackets and many other much needed accessories. 

But a few years ago I started reading these articles about downsizing. When you’re at the age of retirement (means you’re getting old) you began to look at things differently. Why do you want to continue to clean these things off to just look at? Will you use them again? Okay maybe every now and then but really? If you move again do you really want to pack all those things up and take them with you? 

I’ve been downsizing really hard this past year. My music boxes have a new home (not there yet) but I still have my cameras. Once in a while I talk film with some film photographers then I buy a few rolls and shoot. I get that out of my system and then I’m back to cleaning them off to look at. Cameras – it’s not that easy to just let go. I have to find the right person and/or people that I know will appreciate, take care, and shoot with them from time to time. It’s a special process. 

One day I had that urge to shoot film. I don’t own a light meter so I downloaded a free app to get me through my shoot. A photographer friend permanently loaned me one of her light meters…that’s big trust right there. 

One of my collections was a Nikon F film camera with three lenses. The coolest part was the manual. The manual was a hard copy – something I haven’t seen in ages. In today’s world its still a miracle if you get a manual with your camera. One thing for sure most likely it won’t be a hard copy. One day I walked past my collection and decided it was time to permanently loan my Nikon F to my photographer friend. This collection was purchased off a friend I met in Houston. He wasn’t using it and thought I would want it. So I bought it…and never really shot with it. I decided before I permanently loan it I had to shoot one roll, right? I went to the local Walgreens looking for film (I know trying to find film at Walgreens). I purchased Kodak ASA400 color film  (one pack left). Then I went on YouTube to figure out how to setup the camera. I sent it out to be processed and scanned.

It was a bright, bright mid morning to shoot. I didn’t care about too much sun, I was ready to shoot. I went to some favorite spots in Manassas. The light meter was very handy. The Nikon F has a depth of field preview button but I wanted to be sure. My last roll and I couldn’t screw it up. It was fun and great closure to a camera I’ve never used. It’s in good hands and that’s all I want.

Now if you’re wondering “will she permanently loan other camera gear”? The answer is yes. Then you ask all of it? No way. Two I will keep: Bronica ETRS and Canon TC-9000. Bronica was my favorite medium format camera. Canon belonged to a cousin who died unexpectedly. One of the things in his possession was the Canon TC-9000. 

Downsizing isn’t a bad thing. Everything we own is stuff and you can’t take it with you. If you know someone who you think will appreciate it  – gift them. It’s okay…. 🤷🏾‍♀️🤷🏾‍♀️

My website: www.dawndhester.com

HAPPY SHOOTING!! 😁😁

The Aftermath of Hurricane Ida – Great Falls MD

A few weeks ago I met a photography meetup group at Great Falls, MD. If you don’t know, Great Falls has two parts – one side on Virginia and the other Maryland. I haven’t been to the Maryland side over 10 years. The exit to the Maryland side isn’t far form Virginia….I just don’t go. So I thought it would be cool to hang out and meet new photographers. 

As far as photography is concerned, I enjoy shooting the Maryland side more than Virginia. There’s only one reason for that – one of the footbridges to walk over the falls is drop dead in the middle. I mean you’re up close and personal. The bad part is that if you want to shoot long exposures or just place your camera on a tripod…the footbridge has a little”play” in it where if anyone walks on it as you’re shooting, there’s a very good chance there will be some movement. To me the best time to shoot is very early morning before the crowds come along. Before I went on the bridge I had my camera on my tripod with the ND filter. Not much wiggle room to play around when you know soon a walker and/or jogger will be coming along. 

Not long after the meetup, along came Hurricane Ida. We received a LOT of RAIN. According to Wikipedia “ Hurricane Ida was a deadly and destructive Category 4 Atlantic hurricane that became the second-most damaging and intense hurricane to strike the U. S. State of Louisiana on record, behind Hurricane Katrina, and is tied for the strongest landfall in the state by maximum winds with Hurricane Laura a year before and the 1856 Last Island hurricane”.

Fast forward I wanted to go back and shoot because I was just “okay” with my images. I was okay because the filters I had I couldn’t use the “timer” mode and had to use the “bulb” mode….and I didn’t have a remote release 🤦🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️. So I winged it until the sun just took over. Because I couldn’t shoot the falls the way I wanted didn’t stop me for shooting. There were many of things to shoot and I enjoyed that as well. When I decided to go back I checked the park website first and they had some trails and parking places closed. I delayed it for another time. But I really wanted to go for a quick minute so I did just that last week. 

I really didn’t try to mimic what I shot before. I just knew where I was, what I tried to capture and let it go from there. Plus I had to be aware of walkers/joggers on the footbridges; no time to waste. Knowing before hand of the layout of the falls, it helped me a lot to get to a desire spot. Being that close to the falls was very interesting. It was full blast, brown, rumbling and tumbling.    I thought it would interesting to share the two visits together.

Gear used: Fujifilm X-T30, XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens, URTH 10 stopper ND filter.

Check out my webpage: www.dawndhester.com.

HAPPY SHOOTING!! 😁😁

anythinggoes newsletter September 2021

In September’s newsletter we have these features:

  1. Financial Matters
  2. Pet Care
  3. Seniors
  4. Take Care of Yourself
  5. Milli’s Simple Recipes – end of the summer goodies!!

And much much more!!

You can download the newsletter PDF and read at your pleasure. Or you can just “click on the below image” and the PDF will open. Click on the features on your left & it will take you to that article. Click on the article and it will take you to the “home Page”. If there’s a link inside and article click on it and you should be able to go to that website.

A Day With the Mamiya C220 Film Camera

Every now and then I want to take out one of my film cameras and shoot. This time I blew the dust (really wasn’t no dust)  off the Mamiya C220 TLR medium format camera with the 65mm f/3.5 lens. 

The Mamiya C220 camera was released in 1968 as part of the Mamiya C series which has interchangeable lenses for the Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) cameras. C220 takes either 120 or 220 film and gives you a 6×6 square frame. My C220 has the waist level finder. When I look down onto the focusing screen the images is flipped. TLR means you have two lenses. The top lens you focus and the bottom is actually used for capturing your image on film.

Now I’ve had my Mamiya over 30 years. To be honest I have no clue how many times I’ve actually took photographs with it….I just wanted one because it was one of the “it cameras” at that time. I purchased it from MSgt Turner ( R.I.P.) when we both were at the Air National Guard in WV. MSgt Turner started out in photography then transferred into video. Getting to know each other we talked cameras and that’s how the transaction happened. 

The C220 is no joke! Trying to compose my subject, everything is backwards, and trying to keep it straight was very challenging for me. I actually shared one/two of my “crooked”images. I’m quite sure people were passing by in their cars thinking I was doing a little do-si-do square dancing 😂😂 But it was a lot of fun. At that time I didn’t have a light meter but I downloaded a light meter app that did very well. I don’t process film anymore but I do send everything to TheDarkroom.com and they do a fantastic job. As much as I do hope my images are sharp, I look at the negatives see how well I did. I want to see proper exposures more than sharp negatives…that way I know I’m on track. 

On this dayI shot with the Ilford HP5 Plus ISO 400, 120 B&W film. There were some clouds which was nice. Once I downloaded my scanned negatives, I did crop a little and maybe added a little contrast. 

I am not done shooting with the Mamiya C220. I have a few more do-si-do square dancing steps left 💃🏾💃🏾 If a film photographer approaches you and ask if they can take your photograph – have some patience with them. When you see them out just shooting just give them a friendly nod. If you have a film camera get it out and shoot! You may have to get a refresher from YouTube (I did ); it will be worth each minute. 

HAPPY SHOOTING!! 😁😁

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Other Part of Great Falls VA

If you live in the DMV (Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia) and you haven’t been to Great Falls (MD or VA side) it’s really something to see. When you think of Great Falls the first thing comes to mind is the waterfalls. I call it a mini Niagara Falls. Who would think all this water is smacked dab in the middle of the DMV? 

Great Falls VA in 2016.

Great Falls is more than just the falls. They also have plenty of trails, and lots of picnic area spaces. On this visit a photographer friend and I decided to shoot macro. Don’t tell anyone but I was soooooo glad we weren’t going to photograph the falls 😉…I’m so tired of looking at water 😁 We walked one of the trails and whatever we found to photograph we did. We met at the park early  but stopping here and there to shoot wasn’t any problems with other people out enjoying their day. If we decided to shoot the falls, well the best time to get there is EARLY and not be in the other people’s way and vice versa. 

I wasn’t for sure what lenses I was going to shoot with so I had my 60 macro, 35 prime, and 10 fisheye lens. As always the lenses are so small and light it didn’t feel like I was carrying a lot of gear. There was a lot of greenery and at times I set my camera to the Black & White film situation but during editing I decided to keep everything in color.

If you get a chance to visit Great Falls remember to check out the trails too – you will definitely enjoy them as much as the falls.

Gear Used: Fujifilm X-T30, Fujifilm XF35mm f/2, prime lens, XF60mm f/2.4  R macro lens. The image of Great Falls was taken in 2016 with the Fujifilm X-T1, XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens.

Check out my website: www.dawndhester.com

HAPPY SHOOTING!! 😁😁

Natural Bridge State Park

Natural Bridge State Park has been on my radar to visit for quite a few years. I wanted to go and check it out but when I looked at the images online it just wasn’t too appealing. Because of the strange weather lately which made me cancel a few other trips, I decided to make a trip down to the park and make the best of the trip. 

Natural Bridge State Park is located near Lexington VA. Natural Bridge consists of limestone strata and is the remains of the roof of a cave and/or tunnel through which the Cedar Creek once flowed. 

From the visitor center it takes about 10 minutes to walk to the bridge. There are some steps you have to take (walking down). Because of the streams it may cost parts of the path a little slippery but it’s not bad at all. Along the way there’s plenty of places to sit and relax.

There’s more to the park than the Natural Bridge. You will walk past the Monacan Living History Exhibit. This exhibit is a glimpse of what life might have been for Native Americans. Interpreters teach you traditional Monacan gardening, cooking, tool production, pottery making, basket weaving and so much more. Here’s more of a breakdown of the Monacan Living History Exhibit:

Palisade: Palisade is a defensive perimeters. These are seven feet tall fences that was designed to protect the inhabitants from wild animals and territorial infringements.

Horticultural Area: The Monacan people had their own gardens. Crops included corn, beans, tobacco, squash, pumpkins, and gourds.

Because of COIVD I’m not for sure if this exhibit is opened. But if it is check it out. 

Another interesting history is the Lost River. Workmen from the Saltpetre cave heard waters of the Lost River and blasted an opening. A water main was attached to transport water to the hoppers and kettles under to extract the nitrate from the cave. 

At the end of the trail or your walk is a small waterfalls. You can’t get close to the falls which is a good thing. It’s cute and little people (children) will enjoy it. 

It was a HOT DAY and this park was nice and cool. Like any park you have to get there early to really enjoy. 

I am glad I finally went to Natural Bridge State Park. Don’t judge by what you see, read, or heard…check it out for yourself. I will from time to time check out the website to see when they will have the Monacan Living History Exhibit opened. The exhibit alone is worth going back to see.

Gear used: Fujifilm X-pro2, Fujifilm XF16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR lens.

My website: www.dawndhester.com

HAPPY SHOOTING!!  😁😁

Me standing in front of the Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge
Monacan Living History Exhibit
Palisade
Horticultural Area
Lost River
Waterfalls

Practice, practice, and more practice…

When you read practice, practice, practice and saw the images of the Stars 11u Caperton Baseball Team you thought I was talking about them, right? 😉 I’m talking about myself continuing the need of practicing on my photography craft, my skills. 

Last week I was able to meetup with a long time friend Cynthia (at least from 2004) at a baseball field to catchup on old times. Just so happened her son plays on the Stars 11u Caperton team and they practice in Manassas (where I live). Photographers do what they do best – TAKE THEIR CAMERA!! Before shooting Cynthia talked with the head coach to make sure it was okay to take photographs of the team and they had no problems. If the coach said no then I would have just focused on her son. Personally in 2021 I just don’t walk up to a practice and start shooting. Things have changed a lot and I will always be cautious when it comes to photograph children. 

Not often I get to shoot baseball (and empty field yes) so I was very excited about this opportunity. Practice was from 6:30PM-9:00PM. The biggest challenge was shooting through the fence. Not knowing how the ball was being hit by the coaches, or how the ball was going to bounce, the reaction of the player, and oh the fight trying to maneuver within the fence, I had to be fast with my thinking. I left my setting on single focusing and followed one player. I could have set it to zone tracking but I didn’t want it to focus on everything but what I wanted…and I’m still fighting the fence. Left my camera in aperture priority and not program. The only practice the players did not this was hitting. Outfield, infield, running the bases, running a player down, and sliding was practiced and practiced hard. 

If you ever get a chance to shoot a sporting event, even if it’s practice…do it. Take out some lens you don’t use often and get your photography practice in. Just have fun!! 😁😁

***Thank you Stars 11u Caperton Baseball Team for allowing me the opportunity to document your team’s practice. Best of luck with the rest of your season. ***

***Cynthia Cary is CEO and founder of Chameleon Trendz (you can find on etsy.com). Chameleon Trendz creates inspirational apparel and half the profits go back to mental health awareness programs. Check them out! ***

Gear used: Fujifilm X-Pro2, XF55-200mm F/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens, XF23mm F/2 R WR lens. 

Website: www.dawndhester.com

HAPPY SHOOTING!! 😊😊

Forget me not – tulip leaves

After a brutal winter, I get excited about spring. It starts to get warm, beautiful clouds and you begin to see all the flowers waking up from the long winter. Now I don’t actually walk around looking for flowers to photograph but if I do see some in my paths I do take time to photograph them because they’re just plain beautiful. 

If I had to pick a favorite it would be the tulips. So many bright, cheerful colors at all times. The sad thing is that they don’t last too long so you have to be ready to photograph them when the time comes. 

There’s a small park in Manassas where I go to get my thrill of tulips. Not much is there but enough to satisfy me. This year we have had so much rain with wind I was surprised they lasted as long as they did. But as the tulips were slowly fading away I decided to go back to see what was left…and it wasn’t much. I decided to focus on what was left with the leaves. And lets’s be real – how many of us do we actually show love to the leaves? 🤷🏾‍♀️ They all were interesting on how they were laying, twisted and bent. The sun was coming in and out of the clouds so I was trying to captured them at the right time. Not only dealing with the sun, it was also where they were and figuring out how to get to them. 

Next time you’re all excited to photograph some flowers, you get there and not too much left? Focus on what’s left and create. 😁

Gear used: Fujifilm X-T30, Fujifilm XF60mm F2.4 R macro lens.

Check out my website: www.dawndhester.com.

HAPPY SHOOTING!! 😊😊

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