Photo BootCamp Magazine 34 The Holidays

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Photographer: SHEREE EBANKS Country: CAYMAN ISLANDS Nikon D750 f/ 2.8 1.20sec ISO320 | 55mm

IN THIS ISSUE The Holidays 04 Members' Images 08 Featured Artist - 27 Members' Images 33 Acknowledgments 49 Calling All BootCamp Recruits 50

So I originally came from Wisconsin where there was lots of snow for Christmas and the holidays. I moved to Cayman at 7 and have never experienced another Christmas in the cold! when I moved out on my own some 40 + years ago, I began collecting pieces for a "snow scene". I am very traditional, and love these small wintery people and scenes. I spent quite a few hours photographing my scene this year. I have never tried to do an artistic photo shoot of this before, they have previously all been snapshots. I did get about two decent ones and decided on this one that is up close. The background bokeh is my large Christmas tree and a garland on the top of one of my cabinets!

DRILL INSTRUCTOR'S MEMO WELCOME TO ISSUE 34 OF PHOTO BOOTCAMP MAGAZINE! It's the holiday season and this month we are going to celebrate. After this past year, I think we deserve it! We'll get you to think about what the holidays mean to you and how to best convey that in your images. How we can best photograph the lights, decorations, friends, family and events that are happening around us this last month of the year will be discussed. There will be examples and ideas for you to try out. Recording our holiday traditions, family and events is an important way to keep information from year to year and pass down through generations.

Brent Mail

Then we'll take a look at our BootCamp member's holiday images. It's always fun to see how holidays are celebrated where our friends are.



Remember this moment Cherish this story Celebrate this life


What is photographing the holidays? There are many holidays around the end of the year that present us with multiple opportunities to photograph family, events, friends and celebrations. Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year?s Eve, Kwanza and several others that mean holiday traditions, food, lights and decorations.

Why is it important to photograph the holidays? Taking the time to pick up our cameras and capture not only the memories for years to come but it?s also important to record those traditions to pass on to future generations. This year, in particular, was unique and you?ll cherish having images that represent just how different celebrations and traditions were this holiday season.


How to photograph the holidays First of all, think about what the holidays mean to you, personally. What are the family traditions you celebrate. Are there decorations that have been in your family for many years? Maybe your holidays are quiet and as simple as a fire in the fireplace with a nice cup of tea. What is it about your holidays that you would like to remember through photographs that you can share with your family in years to come? Notice the holiday spirit all around. In your own home, neighborhood and nearby towns. Wander around where you live or take a drive to see the decorations in other cities. Look at what?s around as if you were visiting from another country. What is done where you live but not anywhere else? What are the unique and interesting events that your community hosts that would make for some great images?


How to photograph the holidays (cont.) Be deliberate about choosing what you?ll be photographing. Consider how you can capture the scene or object in a unique and interesting way. Think about the visual balance challenge we did when photographing food. How can you arrange the items and also photograph so that there are no distractions or perhaps holiday light bokeh in the background? Take the time to change your perspective and take several different shots from different angles. Shoot from a bird?s- eye view or a bug?s eye view. Also, be aware of what gear you need to create the image you have in your mind. Are you shooting the lights at night and need a tripod? What lens works best for what you?re doing? Be sure to choose one main point of interest so that your viewer has a clear idea of what your image is conveying and what it is about. If you need inspiration check out this holiday Pinterest Board. Give the gift of photography Personalized gifts are always treasured. Photography is no different. If you have images of friends and family that you know they?d appreciate having, print them out and frame them. Then, give them as gifts. Spread the holiday spirit.


Photographer: DENIS O'BYRNE Country: IRELAND f/ 7.1 1/ 6sec ISO200 | 30mm

Good afternoon from a wet cold and blustery Ireland. All in lock down again. A very sparse Christmas by our standards.That said however Christmas will be enjoyed for all the right reasons and I take this opportunity to wish you all and families a very peaceful season wherever you are in the world. 2021 is a new beginning full of hope and joy for all. My last shot again is of festive lights. I hope it brings joy and hope at this time.

Feedback: VALERIE WORTHEN Country: USA Love it! Such great detail. Beautiful words to go along with it. May you and yours have a wonderful season as well.

Photographer: HOLLY FEATHERSTON Country: USA f/ 3.2 1/ 125sec ISO6400 | 50mm

I was trying to capture the warmth of decorating the tree, especially this year, by just using the light of the tree.

Feedback: JAMES HERRICK Country: CANADA Love it! The combination of just the tree lights and the pose of the man gives us the feeling of the season - peace! Nice to have an uplifting image while we make do in this year.

Photographer: JIM GAGNE Country: USA f/ 2.5 1/ 60sec ISO100 | 50mm

Here's a portrait I took a couple of years ago right during the Christmas holidays. It's one of my favorite images. Hope you enjoy it.

Feedback: HOLLY FEATHERSTON Country: USA I love that the foreground and background are out of focus. It draws you right in to that adorable face.


Feedback: PETER BRODY Country: USA

f/ 5.6 1/ 25sec ISO800

Laima, this ornament is dazzling ! ! Your composition, contrast, and clarity are perfect.

In town this year the local council has installed a Christmas Lights trail and each evening they have caroling, fire twirling and lots of other festive activities. For this image I was looking up into the sky as this Christmas bauble which was approximately 15 feet high. Taken with my Canon 80D and 50mm lens. I did a small amount of editing in Lightroom to blacken the sky.

Photographer: VALERIE WORTHEN Country: USA f/ 14 1/ 400sec ISO320 | 70mm

I thought I would share what Christmas time looks like in my part of the world. I actually love the snow but I must admit it can be challenging and hang around way too long :)

Feedback: KERRIE CLARKE Country: AUSTRALIA Picture postcard perfect ! Beautifully composed, I love those snow laden conifers backed by the deciduous trees. The way they fade away into the snow adds a lot of depth to your image. The warmth of the dwelling contrasting with the cold blue tones is inviting me inside. Really nice work, Valerie!

Photographer: DAVE KOH Country: SINGAPORE Nikon D750 f/ 18 15secs ISO100 | 24mm

The Merlion is a landmark in Singapore and tourists will not miss this place of interest. It normally holds a light show during this period and locals will make their way there for a photo shoot. This year the crowd has been well controlled and social distancing have to be observed. There are a few angles depending on which each prefer and I have chosen this with the Theatre By the Bay as the background.

Feedback: SARA O'BRIEN Country: USA Very colorful image Dave! It certainly is an interesting subject. I have not seen a Merlion before. Your image is well balanced and tack sharp. Love the sunbursts on the left. Well done.

Photographer: PETER BRODY Country: USA f/ 7.1 1/ 15sec ISO3200 | 26mm

This is my final Hanukkah entry. It shows potato latkes (pancakes), applesauce, and two dreidels (spinning tops). The dreidel has four sides each with a different Hebrew letter. To play, each person puts a coin (gelt) on the table and spins the dreidel. The four outcomes are you win the entire pot, you win half the pot, you don't get anything, or you throw in an extra coin. They are on my mother's Sabbath tray that she used on Friday nights.

Feedback: SARA O'BRIEN Country: USA Lovely image Peter. I like that you kept the color palette the same tones. Well done.


Photographer: RICHARD HUTSON Country: USA

Fascinating subject. Makes you want to look at it even more.

iPhone 12 Pro f/ 1.6 1/ 20sec ISO1000 | 4.2mm

Hope it?s not too late. ?Five Wise Men? another part of Robert?s collection displayed in the arches of our antique fireplace surround. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

Photographer: RODNEY CHARLTON Country: AUSTRALIA f/ 4 1/ 400sec ISO200 | 44mm

My daughter has recently started a stall at a local handmade market where she sells her watercolour artworks - pictures, cards, calendars and more. For the last month or two she has included wooden Christmas baubles she has hand painted. Last weekend she had some of them on display in a box, and the shapes, colours and patterns caught my eye, so I took a photograph of them.

Feedback: ROMY VILLANUEVA Country: PHILIPPINES Hi Rodney, congratulations are in order for being the featured artist. Good product shot! Well done. Your daughter is such a creative young lady entrepreneur. She definitely got influenced by her artistic dad as well.

Photographer: SARA O'BRIEN Country: USA f/ 5.3 1/ 5sec ISO800 | 70mm

My husband received this lovely glass ornament as payment for changing a tire a number of years ago. The owner of the car was a glass artist and insisted on giving my husband something for his help. I really like the shape and green color of the ornament. We have hung it in several locations in the house and it invariably ends up on the Christmas tree.

Feedback: LAIMA RATAJCZAK Country: AUSTRALIA What a lovely gesture! I like the way your ornament reflects the lights around it and you have captured this nicely. Well done.

Photographer: SIG RANNEM Country: CANADA


f/ 22 1/ 6sec ISO 1000

Sig, impressed with 9 bracketed shots. The colours have come out well with a perfect starburst on the door lights, I gather from the F22 setting.

My final photo for this challenge is an example of Christmas lights in my neighbourhood. I waited a couple of weeks for the right snow conditions for this photo. They finally arrived. It snowed for three days starting Christmas Eve and we now live in a winter wonderland! The photo is made up of 9 bracketed images. My thanks to all Bootcampers for posting so many wonderful and inspirational images in 2020. Happy New Year to all! Let us hope that the world will be well on its way to recovery by the end of 2021 and preferably much sooner! Take care and stay safe everyone!

Photographer: AMBER PALLAS- BRUNT Country: USA f/ 2.8 1/ 50sec ISO200 | 16mm

This is absolutely my favorite time of year! I love decorating, wrapping and giving presents and baking! All of the Christmas things. One of my travel traditions is to snag an ornament (or something that can be used as such) that best represents the local area I am visiting at the time. Then every year, I get to relive that memory when I am decorating my tree. This way I don't end up with useless baubles that just collect dust. As I was watching my tree spin (yes, it spins, 360 degree view of all my pretties) my eye kept landing on one of my most recent purchases from our travel to N.C. this year. This ornament represents all the things I love. Traveling, photography and Christmas. I hope you all have the best holiday season! And The Hubs holding a flashlight.

Feedback: SHEREE EBANKS Country: CAYMAN ISLANDS This is a great shot of the ornament and I love your story! I too am a Christmas person, to my husband's chagrin! Well done!

Photographer: ANTHONY CADDEN Country: AUSTRALIA f/ 4 1/ 50sec ISO1600 | 50mm

"Santa Tradie", leaving his boots at the bottom of the stairs like any good tradesman. This is likely the last shot I will take with my Canon 50D. I am waiting for Santa to place my new camera under the tree. I have taken the photo and then processed with LUTS to get boots red (were gold) then painted in Photoshop onto the black and white version. Was able to bring out the red shadow on the floor. The dodge and burn to get shadows and light direction from the front door.

Feedback: BRENT MAIL Country: AUSTRALIA Wow Anthony I can see all the work that's gone into this brilliant image. Super creative and a nice Aussie touch too. I like how you've placed the boots off- centre in your image and just a hint of the stairs behind. I really do pop with the monochrome rest of the image. I hope Santa brings you what you're looking for when it comes to camera gear. Post the image here tomorrow - I'd love to see.



Photographer: RON DU BOIS Country: GREAT BRITTAIN f/ 7.1 1/ 60sec ISO200 | 38mm Lapland at close to noon on New year?s eve a couple of years ago, the day before my 70th. Special day, special family gathering. This was as sunny as it would get; the Sami people would not see the sun for another three weeks and couldn?t wait!

GETTING TO KNOW OUR FEA TURED A RTIST: RON DU BOIS | GREAT BRITAIN Brent: How did you get started in photography? What was your inspiration? Ron: I?ve had an interest in photography from an early age but during my working life, did little more than point and shoot. That all changed five years ago when my wife gave me the gift of a weekend photography group course in London, led by UK photographer Nigel Wilson. The thought of showing my ignorance to a group was nerve-wracking and my wife did seek the advice of our adult children who said ?It will take him out of his comfort zone but do it!?What an eye opener and I was totally hooked. Brent: What is it you hope to express to your audience with your photography? What is your strategy for accomplishing that goal? Ron: I try to see the emotion and/or the story behind my pictures. It?s not just all about visual imagery so I strive to factor this in when composing a picture. I have hugely admired the photography of Cartier Bresson and Don McCullin who convey so much more than an image in their work.


Ron's favorite inspirational quote:

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Alber t Einstein


Brent: What inspires and motivates you to continue taking pictures? Ron: Wanting to try to produce better images. There is so much to learn and this motivates me to improve, especially when I see some of the great images posted online and in exhibitions. Brent: How do you educate yourself to improve your photography skills? Ron: I am on some mailing lists in addition to Brent?s and BootCamp. These all include videos and advice on a wide variety of topics. I learn most from BootCamp, which is my major ?go to source?. Members?pictures and how they set about composition and editing always provide stimuli to try something new and the magazines are terrific. Nothing can replace lots of practice that shows whether the educational tools have worked! Brent: What is the most challenging photo you?ve ever taken and how did you overcome those challenges? Ron: Photographing the Northern Lights was technically challenging for me. Taking advice and guidance from the Finnish locals regarding the camera set up was hugely helpful and allowed some half decent shots. Would love to go back to see if I have learned enough to improve on them.


Brent: Tell us about the image (the featured image): What was the inspiration behind it? What was your process to get it? How did you do the post processing? Ron: The venue was a whole family trip to Lapland to celebrate my 70th birthday. At this time of year, the sun never rises nor sets and there is light for only about three hours per day. This image was taken at 11:30 a.m. on New Year?s Eve 2018. This was as light as it would get; the Sami people would not see the sun for another three weeks and couldn?t wait! We left our camp on snow mobiles and stopped to capture this scene. The lighting was just brilliant and I wanted to convey both the wonderful sky and how dark it still was on the ground. Camera details: Canon EOS 600D; ISO 200; 38mm; f/7.1; 1/60 sec. I posted the original without any post-processing but after feedback from Brent and BootCamp members, I lightened up the snowy areas, and upped the shadows a lot, which brought out the pink reflection in the snow, enhancing the effect. Brent: If you could travel anywhere in the world specifically to take pictures, where would you go and why? Ron: I particularly enjoy photographing animals and have always wanted to see gorillas in their natural habitat so a trip to see Dian Fossey?s legacy in Rwanda would be special.


Photographer: BRUCE PATTERSON Country: USA f/ 14 1/ 5000sec ISO6400 | 105mm

In our town there is a Christmas Tree that the city puts up that is about 40 ft. tall. I was trying to get a novel shot but kept getting the same old stuff we are all used to. (Big Tree, point on top, and blue sky.) I started to take shots of the over- sized ornaments and this was the winner. It was a very windy day so I chose a high shutter speed and ISO to get a sharp picture.

Feedback: PETER BRODY Country: USA Bruce, very nice balance . Well done. Nice contrast of the ornament against the greenery.

Photographer: JAMES HERRICK Country: CANADA Canon 80D f/ 5.0 1/ 160sec ISO400 | 60mm With gathering restrictions this Christmas it meant that many traditional activities were shared just by the two of us. Usually my wife invites her artistic friends to assist with the icing of sugar cookies, but this year she was stuck with me and my two left hands! For that reason my cookies play the supporting role of drawing the viewer's eye to her well- designed character. I've cropped the original to place the gingerbread man in the lower right. I also reduced the flash by 2/ 3 of a stop to eliminate some of the blowing out of the whites. Once taken, there was no chance any redo as the cookies were packed and delivered to our nephews' doorsteps!

Feedback: SIG RANNEM Country: CANADA This is indeed a "delicious" photo James - well composed and colourful. Well done!

Photographer: JOHN MILLER Country: USA Canon 5D Mk IV f/ 9.0 1/ 200sec ISO800 | 100mm

We now live in an area that is blessed with many forested parks and ocean beaches and since moving here a year ago August we have been trying to visit them all. This is a coral fungus that I was amazed to see, I hadn't known anything about mushrooms/ fungus except what shows up in the grocery stores. I have been seeing many varieties on our hikes lately. Newly interested in Macro since discovering these. I find once I see these images I notice so much more is visible and I am amazed at what I don't see even when I look through viewfinder or live view. Even getting down low enough to view it is a challenge and worth it though.

Feedback: AMBER PALLAS- BRUNT Country: USA Welcome John! I love the textures shown here. I would focus on the main fungus flower as the one on the bottom left is a bit distracting and not nearly as pretty. Try it in a portrait crop and see how you go. Well done and great focus!

Photographer: LAURA GRIFFITHS Country: SOUTH AFRICA f/ 5 1/ 800sec ISO100 | 32mm Teaching them young. My husband letting our little 'surrogate grandson' (his brother's grandson) steer the boat down the river. Very typical holiday with our own children when they were growing up. Holiday magic filled with wonderful memories.

Feedback: ANTHONY CADDEN Country: AUSTRALIA Laura, brings back fond memories of when I was young sitting on my days lap to drive the boat back from fishing.

Photographer: NICK ELLIS Country: AUSTRALIA


f/ 8 2.0sec ISO100 | 70mm

Great image Nick - love those lights on the opera house reminds me of rim lighting. I once spent new years eve in a yacht moored with this view but couldn't get too many images due to the movement.

Each year on New Years Eve we wander down to the Harbour and watch the fireworks (along with about a million or so other people). I usually take a camera and tripod as I really like photos of fireworks. Last year the Opera House looked interesting so I snapped this. Unfortunately no fireworks this year - there's a restriction on numbers and a real possibility it might not go ahead.

Photographer: ROMY VILLANUEVA Country: PHILIPPINES Lumix G95 f/ 5.6 1/ 125sec ISO1250 | 100mm

Christmas in Indonesia is not commonly celebrated. With a predominantly Muslim population, it's very hard to find things to decorate a Christmas tree. Buying online will take about 2 weeks to deliver because they have to be imported from China. So how to celebrate Christmas in this part of the world? I thought of lighting up my hibiscus garden with those tiny Christmas lights available from the electrical supply store. I chose hibiscus because they bloom everyday so I don't have to worry about lack of decorations. The flowers are good enough. In this photo I focused on one flower from a particular hibiscus variety with a secondary bloom coming out from the stigma. The shot was taken against a backdrop of philodendron dotted with Christmas lights.

Feedback: SIG RANNEM Country: CANADA Lovely Holiday shot Romy - the hibiscus blooms are just beautiful! Also, the coloured lights provide a nice touch of Christmas. Well done!

Photographer: BRENDA POTTS Country: USA f/ 1.6 1/ 1600sec ISO32 | 4.2mm

I was inspired by Valerie's post, so here's what Christmas time looks like in my area. In this part of the world, snow doesn't last long. This shot is of Mount Si (made famous in the television show "Twin Peaks"). I wanted to use ripples to create leading lines to the shoreline and mountain, so I threw a rock in. I stacked two shots in Photoshop, one with the sky I liked best and one with the widest ripples, and then finished with some light processing in LR. Taken yesterday with my "amazing" new iPhone 12 Pro.

Feedback: DENIS O'BYRNE Country: IRELAND Hi Brenda. Great shot and result with the iPhone. Nice composition. It is nicely balanced and the reflections are great. Well done.

Photographer: GLENYS RUTH PRINS Country: AUSTRALIA Nikon D7200 f/ 4.5 1/ 10sec ISO400


Every year the local churches combine to present "Bethlehem Live" but due to Covid it will not take place this year. This is the notice at the entrance that I took last year. Unfortunately the photos I took inside were a bit blurry.

What a great thing to do to make it "real" for people to experience. The background sets the scene. But I wonder what it might be like to take the photo more towards the front at a lower angle to try to capture his eyes.

Photographer: JIM GAGNE Country: USA Just getting started with this month's project. Unfortunately, currently Los Angeles is in lockdown due to a severe Covid- 19 outbreak, and I can almost never leave my house. I have an idea for a Los Angeles shoot at an isolated location, but meanwhile here's a 2015 iPhone photo of a holiday store window on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.

Feedback: LAIMA RATAJCZAK Country: AUSTRALIA This is a really interesting shot, the display is amazing and I love the colours, well done Jim and welcome to Bootcamp.

Photographer: KATHLEEN FEELEY Country: USA f/ 4 1/ 60sec ISO320 | 35mm

Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays to Everyone! May hope guide us in 2021.

Feedback: RON DU BOIS Country: GREAT BRITAIN Wow. Such delicacy of lighting and I love the light and dark contrasts you have struck.

Photographer: LEILA GONZALEZ SULLIVAN Country: USA One last image for the holidays. Here is how we celebrate Christmas on the island. Taken with freezing fingers on my iPhone X. Wishing Brent, his family and all my Boot Camp colleagues a safe and healthy holiday (warm or cold) and even better photos in 2021.

Feedback: VALERIE WORTHEN Country: USA Fun photo! Love the ability to see other parts of the world through photos! Happy holidays.

Photographer: LYNTON STACEY Country: AUSTRALIA


Panasonic GX8 f/ 6.3 1sec ISO400 | 18mm

Very nicely composed image, Lynton. The neutral palette works beautifully on the dark backdrop. Well done.

The Christmas holidays are a time when the decorations go up in our home, including the nativity to remind us of the reason for the season. The cross indicates that Easter is the whole reason for Christmas.

Photographer: MARTI HARVEY Country: USA f/ 18 1/ 15sec ISO500

With Covid and recent back surgery I looked to find something different and fun during these challenging times and this was it. Shot in a light box w/ Macro lens. Background photo from Canadian trip last year and stone figures from other various trips. Something different, hope you enjoy.

Feedback: SIG RANNEM Country: CANADA Great shot Marti - you really used your imagination here! Living in Canada I appreciate the Canadian background. Well done!

Ac k no w l edg ment s SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR TEAM

Creator.............................................Brent Mail

Art Director....................Hazel Rivera

Writer & Editor in Chief...............Lauri Novak

Assistant Editor........Liza Marie Pono

Designer.............................Stephen Gonzales

About this publication: Photo BootCamp Magazine was created to showcase the art, skills, and camaraderie of the recruits from the Academy. Each month, Brent leads members in a new drill, teaching them what they need to know to get out in the field and create images using their new skills. About Photo BootCamp Academy: Photo BootCamp Academy is a community of like- minded photography students who come together to learn in the fastest, most fun way - how to harness the magic of photography, improve their craft, gain confidence, and sometimes even win awards! Join BootCamp here: https:/ / join- bootcamp Copyright: Share Inspire Create Š2020. All Right Reserved. Artists in this magazine are responsible for their own works and any rights appertaining.

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