Thoughts on Travel and Photography

July 28 2014

Thoughts on Travel and Photography

by Pamela Sayre

As a self-taught photographer, I am always looking for classes and workshops to help me improve my photography. I especially wanted a class on travel and photography. Not the kind that tells you what to bring (I always seem to be the odd man out in that respect)or the f-stops and such (the numbers won’t stay in my head), but a class that addresses the actual images, what to photograph. I never found one that covers the philosophy of travel photography. So I thought I’d try to come up with some guidelines or suggestions on my own and perhaps someone will add to them for me.

What is unique? This, for me, is the most important part of travel photography, to capture the uniqueness of a place, what makes it different from back home. Think of many things – architecture, people, cities, monuments, the plants, animals, signs (I love different alphabets ) , even a color.

For me, Provence is a deep golden ocher yellow, while Morocco is a sort of dusty mauve-pink, and I have photographs with these colors.

 Have a sense of humor: I like to photograph quirky or humorous things (really funny things, not embarrassing ones). A sign written in Dutch in a shop window in Macedonia was a must for me. So was a photo of a sign for a tae kwan do gym in the old city of Fes, Morocco (which dates back to the 8th century), and the “Real Fake Watches” sign hanging above a shop at the archaeological site of Ephesus, and a photo of the Detroit lounge in Casablanca – I went across the Atlantic to Africa and found Detroit!

I could go on. I love unexpected things like these, and they remind me that although I love the antiquity of places, real people still live there.

Make it personal: My husband and I are always looking for “Fortuna”, his last name. So far we have seen and photographed the Fortuna toy store in Sorrento and ads for Fortuna cigarettes. I saw a Fortuna grocery store too in Macedonia, but couldn’t get a photo. It’s fun to look for his name. Or focus on another of your hobbies or interests (trains, cats, dogs, dance, whatever) and look for relevant photographs.

Make sure you have at least one photo of yourself: This is hard for me as I am very self-conscious about being photographed. Nonetheless, I try to get one photo with me in it. This doesn’t always work when I’m by myself. But when my husband is with me, we always make sure to take a photo of each other. I would suggest not taking the usual tourist photo of you in front of the Eiffel Tower (unless the Tower is significant to you in some way), but finding something more personal, more reflective of you and your interests, a garden perhaps or up in Montmartre where the artists are, with an artist maybe.

Get the big picture and the small picture: I love details of architecture and gardens, so much so that I sometimes have to remind myself to back up and get the big picture. But details often give a real sense of place, for example, the ceramic planter on Capri decorated with the little blue lizards unique to Capri and one other small island – cute and unique.

Arts for the Spirit Exhibit

11 artists from the Artists' Society of Dearborn were chosen to exhibit their work at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn.  17 pieces of art will be on display in the glass corridor April through June.

Arts for the Spirit

Teresa Lousias has a one person photography exhibit on display at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn.  The exhibit runs April through June.

Photography Meetups and Workshops

Sylvia Ford and John Angus are going to start having Photography Meetups once the weather improves.  These will be open not only to ASD members but to anyone who wants to join us, so bring along family and friends with their cameras (any camera) as well.  The painters among us are also welcome to come and shoot reference photos to paint later.

The idea is that we will all meet somewhere and then go to the venue for that day and have fun shooting and learning from each other.  This will be the perfect time to get advice on using your camera, composition, lighting, etc.

Is also a great opportunity to see what others look for in their photography and find fresh ideas.   We all look for something different in our work and as a group we can bounce ideas around and even come out of our comfort zone and try things totally new.

After we are finished shooting we can have lunch and talk about what we did that day and take a look at what others did.  Another idea is that after each shoot we produce an 8 x 10 print of our best shot and bring it to the next meetup for critique.

As I said the main objective is to learn new skills and have fun while doing it.  We are open to any ideas you might have have on venues and if there is anything you need to improve on then do not hesitate to let us know.

The workshops will be on such things as post-processing, matting and framing, preparing photos for the internet and emailing them.  Once again let us know if there is something you would like to cover.

In the near future I will publish where and when the first meetup will be.

Lets get motivated and have some fun


Many congratulations to Kathy O'Connell whose painting "Day Dreamer" was awarded 1st Place in the Detroit Society of Women Painters and Sculptors juried exhibit "In From The Cold" at The Berkowitz Gallery in Dearborn Michigan.

The exhibit is open now through March 7th.


Olga Pawlowski, Janus Benda and Janet Kondziela also won awards for their art.

19th Annual Juried Photography Exhibit

On Jan. 22 the 19th Annual Juried Photography Exhibit opened in the Padzieski Gallery, Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, Mich. 

Congratulations to Olga Pawlowski, Janet Kondziela, Pamela Sayre, Teresa Lousias, Sylvia Ford and John Angus who all had photographs juried into the exhibit.

Special congratulations to Sylvia Ford who was awarded 2nd Place in the Black and White Category.

Approaching Midnight by Sylvia Ford

Approaching Midnight by Sylvia Ford

Twisted Steel by Sylvia Ford  2nd Place B&W

Twisted Steel by Sylvia Ford  2nd Place B&W

The Tide is In by Teresa Lousias

The Tide is In by Teresa Lousias

Winter by John Angus

Winter by John Angus

Fairlane Hallway by Janet Konziela

Fairlane Hallway by Janet Konziela

Dancer with Tutu by Olga Pawlowski

Dancer with Tutu by Olga Pawlowski

Geranium Arches by Pamela Sayre

Geranium Arches by Pamela Sayre

Harness a Horse by John Angus

Harness a Horse by John Angus

Pointe Betsie Lighthouse by John Angus

Pointe Betsie Lighthouse by John Angus

Message from our President Janet Kondziela

From the President’s Drawing Table..

The past year was a very busy year for the ASD. Many of our artists were busy with shows, collecting awards, taking on commissions and generally having a great time being creative!

Besides our usual activities, 2013 has brought the ASD into the 21st  century with the creation of this website. This has resulted in an expansion of our membership to include more emerging disciplines, such as digital art.

That’s not to say that we are moving away from the more traditional arts such as painting, drawing, water color and sculpture, but are moving towards a broader definition of the fine arts than we’ve typically had in the past.

So if you’re looking for an exciting group of people to get those creative juices flowing in the New Year, please contact us through our website. And in the coming year our members will probably continue doing what we do best – having fun and sharing our creations with the world.

Happy New Year and happy creating from the Artists’ Society of Dearborn

A Processing Technique by John Angus

Here is a Processing technique I sometimes use.  You will need a program, such as Photoshop, where Layers can be used.  It is not suitable for all photos but is well worth trying and you will soon be able to determine which pictures it will work with.

First of open the photo you want to process and duplicate the layer.


Next make a duplication of the picture, not of the layer.  Then convert this to Black and White.


The next stage is to use the Filters to find the edges. In Photoshop this is Filter, Stylize, Find Edges.  Other programs might use different names.


Then flatten this image, Select and Copy it.

Now go to the original picture and Paste this copy on top of it.  The picture above must be on top of the original.

The picture will now look like the one above but by using different Blend modes and altering the Opacity you will end up with the desired effect.  There is no set rules for this stage, it is all trial and error.


I hope you give this a try and get some great results.


In 1969-70 whilst in the British Army I served in Sharjah which is very close to Dubai. Unfortunately all of the photographs I had of this time were destroyed.

I belong to a web site called Digital Photography School and on one of the postings was this link, then and now, which shows Dubai when I was there and what it is like now.  Its an amazing transformation.

The link was with some photos names Dive Dive Dive and are well worth looking at.

Photographing Christmas Lights

For our members who love to or want to shoot Christmas lights.

1. Tripod
2. Low power flashlight.. So you can see your camera settings.
3. Lens of your choice. Wide angle or telephoto for isolation.
4. Manual focus should be easy with the lights. Auto focus may have a difficult time.
5. Set your camera in manual mode
    Set the ISO to 400
    Set the shutter to 1/2 second
   Set the aperture to f5.6

After viewing the results, adjust any of the 3 settings up or down to achieve the look you want.
 But most of all...

 Have Fun!

"One shutter at a time"

My point of Sylvia Ford

About Photography and Digital Applications

Photoshop seems to get a bad rap these days as being a quick fix to achieve quality photography. Just because I own a hammer doesn't mean I'm a carpenter.

Photoshop can also have an opposite effect.  Let's face it; a bad photo has no other name. If your unaware if what to do it will have disastrous results.

The majority of photographers are now in the digital era. Most chemical darkrooms have been replaced digitally.  It's a step forward in technology. One day everyone will be rolling with the times, saving their lungs from harsh vapors, clothing and surrounding areas from uneventful chemical spills.

The darkroom has now come into the light and out from behind closed doors.

What we develop in our darkroom, whether wet or digital remain the same, just the location and the way of our application have changed.  We are no longer putting ourselves for hours in a small room with a red light beaming outside the door to let everyone know to keep out.  We are free to come into the light.

Photoshop was developed for our "in camera raw images" (better known as negatives.)

Downloading your media card into photo shop doesn't turn you pictures into works of art.  That is created at the time of the shutter release.

The darkroom is a place where photographers develop their raw images.

In the darkroom we closely examine our work, check for clarity, detail, color, depth of field.   It's not a quick fix... it takes time. We are working with thousands of pixels. For over 4 years I personally have attended digital darkroom classes to learn the correct way to use these applications.

All the arts have changed through the years.  Its modern day advancements by coming out of the stone ages and learning new safer techniques.

Photographers create within the camera on location. Photoshop and other digital programs help us bring our dreams into reality so we can share our passion with others.
In the arts we have choices whether it's with brushes, palette knifes, chisels or a camera. That's what makes this so wonderful... Our ability to express our love... Our way.

All I ever want to do is share what I love doing. It's not everyone's choice but I make no excuses... I love photography and my ability to create.

The bottom line is... If it can move you, tell you a story or give you a feeling it has accomplished its job no matter what the medium.


Why I Do What I Do by John Angus

Every image I make has this underlying comment: "Here is something that interests me; something I want to show and share with you." - Catherine Jo Morgan

My art media is photography, but why?

Firstly, at an early age I realized that conventional art (painting, drawing, etc) was not going to my way of expressing myself.  At school art was my lowest score in all the annual exams we had to take.  But I wanted to express myself artistically and tried different things and finally decided on photography.

For many years I was an avid snapper, but that really does describe what I was doing, taking snapshots.  Then something happened in my life that even destroyed that so I stopped altogether.

The next time taking photos was when my future wife and I spent 3 weeks touring England.  When all the films were processed I was not overly content with them.  Sure they recorded our trip but nothing jumped out at me.

Then I moved to the US and with time on my hands decided to take a photography course at the Henry Ford Community College and suddenly everything changed.  The tutor, Tony Gomez, opened my eyes to the world around us.  He made me see beauty in everything, not just the whole picture.  By this I mean looking closer at everything around us.  For example, I love old steam railroad engines and in the past would have taken a photo of one and thought, that’s it.  Now I take the time to look closely at every part of it and take a multitude of pictures showing all the different shapes, textures and colors.  

Now I love photography and enjoy all aspects of it.  I look for new opportunities and challenges.  Also photography gives me the chance to see new places and new things as well as meeting new people.  I am one of those people who will talk with anyone and everyone and having a camera in my hand gives me that chance.  I learn more about the civil war by talking to re-enactors than by reading a book, more about so many other things by chatting with a tour guide or even someone local.  Never be afraid to ask questions about things you photograph or paint because you will be amazed at what you might find out.

With me its not just taking the picture that I enjoy but also the processing of it.  There are many purists who say that the end print must look just as it did in real life and that the dreaded Photoshop has ruined the art.  Rubbish!  If I stand with my camera next to a painter with their easel and we both look at a beautiful scene with a pile of garbage in the middle of it, what are we going to do?  The painter will omit the garbage from their painting so why should I not delete it in my processing.  I look at all pictures I take to see what would be the best way of presenting them.  Some when printed are 99% of what I originally saw but others have radical changes made to them and at the end of the day its all in the eye of the beholder.

I am fortunate that photography is not how I make my living because that would kill it for me.  I photograph what I want not what somebody else wants me to.  There is only one criteria that I have when taking photographs, the subject has to interest me and I have to like it.  In some respects I am selfish because I only take photographs for myself and if it turns out that others like them then that is a bonus.  I love being able to take photographs because it is my record of an instant in time that will never be seen again except on the print.

Basically, I do what I do because I love it and enjoy every second of the process.

The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking. - Brooks Atkinson - 1951, Once Around the Sun