Photo assignments:

Holidays! - December 2004 assignment

29. Holidays! It's that wonderful time of year again when the holidays hold sway over our lives and photographic subjects are everywhere! Down here in south Texas, the magic jumped up several dozen notches with a surprise Arctic express storm of the century that brought snow by the inches to our communities on Christmas Day!

And for a cherry on the top of 2004, our peerless and undaunted SIG leader John Hoffmann arranged for another contest for our intrepid photographers for all the wonderful work produced in 2004! Results can be found through the link towards the bottom of the page. What a contest it was! John really put on the dog by presenting the winner in a DVD presentation. Alas, bandwidth precludes its posting here, so we'll have to be satisfied with still images  --  hum along to yourself and provide the appropriate sound effects in your mind as you view along with us!

In addition to the HOLIDAYS assignment and SNOW STORM impromptu secondary event, John also called for us to go through our archives and select 10 photos that we think are among the best we've ever shot over all of the years we've been shooting (not just our years in DigiCamSIG). We hope you enjoy them as much as we did taking and sharing them!

The CAUG DigiCam SIG meeting was held on January 18 at the Parkdale library (no meetings  in December due to the holidays).

Our Special Interest Group (SIG), a joint venture with Parkdale Library, met January 18 with about 20 photographers, including three attending for the first time. The assignment, Holiday photos and our Best-Ever photos, was almost superseded by photos from the historic 100-year snow. Only a few of the photos shown at the meeting are described below. See all the photos from this meeting in the links above.


Patty Beasley - The old Blanco Courthouse, framed in white lights, the moon in the left background; the Johnson City Courthouse, elegantly decorated, with the colorful red dome; the Pedernales Electric Coop provided unusual shots. Art!

Pam Bomar - Crocheted stocking and decorations, Christmas tree with Santa girl; Christmas-born kittens.

Bill Draper - Decorated boats in the Padre Island LaPosada boat parade, and a White Christmas snow-dusted wreath on a front door.

John Hoffmann - Large Santa banner is flying over snow on wooden fence and foliage. Nice effect. Colorful photos of Christmas decorations.


Bill Draper - Great blue heron perched on the post of a NO WAKE sign, feet in 4 inches of snow. Grapefruit on a heavily laden tree, the fruit half covered with snow.

Joan Stephens - Swimming pool framed in snow; a banana tree with leaves holding snow.

Patty Beasley - Husband Bill with first snowman, ever! Patty, her first one in 30 years. Snow-covered street under street lights, mail box in the corner for perspective. Highlight - bright orange beak of Bird of Paradise protruding from the snow.

David Burke - Martha's ducks, snow, under foot; dog out making track; bird bath topped with early snow.

D. B. Kline - unusual designs in walks with erratically melting snow; exceptional scenes from a high-rise, snow-covered scenes to the Bay;
panoramic photo of the city to the Bay. Competition has returned! Welcome back, D. B.

Pam Bomar-Big snow-covered trees. Snow-covered street with car tracks; birdbath topped with snow.

Bruce Switalla - Features county courthouse - oblique view of snow-covered steps, bare black manhole cover, snow still around it; building rooftop's snow covered angular walls contrasted with no snow on the warmer rooftop. Highlight: snow caught in the top row of a chain link fence. Art, for sure, and something to learn for the rest of us.

Chumbe Salinas - Open spaces, a white world. Windward side of large trees with deep snow; her dog, snow to his knees; wooded scenes colored by the light of early sunrise. Highlight: a Great Kiskadee atop the flag pole with a snowy tree far below.


We were asked to show our Best Ever photos as part the monthly assignments.

Chuck Guion - A gorgeous spider lily, a colorful patriotic kite, tails streaming; gulls sitting on lines of old bridge pilings seemingly to infinity; a multi-hued table setting.

Pam Bomar - Photos of beautiful grand children.

John Hoffmann - Blue bonnets with background of old trees; butterfly at an open blossom; a canyon waterfall with trees in foreground for a nice perspective; a spoon holding a stemmed cherry from an art museum using a Minneapolis skyline background; sunrise on Bob Hall pier.

D. B. Kline - high rise panoramic view of city to the Ocean ; marina site with boats decorated with lights; 1 A.M. view of the city; sun setting on tall tower building with the Bay in the background; marina building mirrored in the water; novel photos of Black Horse soldier and Texas Rangers.

Ken Parsons - Sunset on mountain range (Grand Tetons?) with foreground of featherlike-foliage trees.; view from ship's porthole, in harbor, showing windmill farm.; Elbe River Bridge (lines); photo of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on the eve of 911 (September 11, 2001.); Parisian rooftop with innumerable lines.

Patty Beasley - Our 2004 Second Place Winner, her baby Ridley turtles scurrying to the water en masse; sunset reflecting on the water, swirl of clouds like pieces of thin paper; cotton candy clouds at sunset; fiery sunset on the water, pelicans in the air; tall buildings reflecting colorful light in the water at night; baby Ridley turtles, scurrying to the water en masse; head shot of Ranger, the falcon; wild flowers, one capturing the 2004 Most Interesting Award; and gorgeous butterflies.

Second Annual Awards Presentation - 2004

SIG Leader John Hoffmann arranged for a professional to judge photos presented in 2004. The awards are as follows:

First Place - Bruce Switalla - Gorgeous photo of spider lily, demonstrating Lines.

Second Place - Patty Beasley - Wildflower category, field of yellow huiache daisies, weathered fence and shed in background, NO TRESPASSING sign right front for perspective.

Third Place - Patty Beasley - Kemp's Ridley turtles scurrying to the water.

Most Interesting - Patty Beasley- Unusual lavender passion flower with green spider, demonstrating Lines.

First Runner-up -

Lines - Ben Luna - Geckle blended into ribbed palm leaf. Bruce Switalla-Electrical service cabled outside house.

Action - Ben Luna - Colorful wind surfers flying in the wind.

Wildflowers - John Hoffmann - Delicate wine cup with colorful blurred background.

Candles John Hoffmann - Candle in jar showing concentric lines and shadows.

Vegetables - The Jacobs-Broccoli stalk on surfboard, catching a huge wave. Patty Beasley - Photo of Indian corn.

Wildflowers - Patty Beasley - Longhorn in field of bluebonnets; Close-up of Indian Paintbrush..

Second Runner-up -

Fourth of July - D. B. Kline - Fireworks illuminating a wide area.

Action - Chuck Guion - Fast boat, bow up, throwing heavy wake.

Birds - Bill Draper - Billowy clouds with pelican diving. - Patty Beasley - Close-up of Long-billed Curlew, showing great detail and color. Patty Beasley- Close-up head photo of Ranger, the hawk.

Wildflowers - Ben Luna - Field of very red poppies, sky background, probably shot from prone position.

Reflections - Patty Beasley - Tufted titmouse looking into her SUV mirror.

Third Runner-up -

Reflections - D. B. Kline - Marina scene, building, pilings, white clouds, reflected in the water. Pam Bomar - Little girls face reflected x4 - unusual.

Birds - The Jacobs - Scissor-tailed flycatcher on barbed wire fence.

Sunrise/sunset - Bill Draper - deep blues and reds, reflections in the water. Patty Beasley - Cotton candy sky at sunset.

Architecture - Ken Parsons - Column detail, Old World building.

Lines - Patty Beasley-Unique pseudo lighthouse and stark buildings. Also, two lines of marine biology tanks with boarded walkway between.

Judges Recommendations:

Crop more - emphasize key subject.
Use softer light, rather than direct sun (harsh.)
Correct tilt to horizontal (unless desired.)
Keep lens clean-avoid haze.
Avoid cutting off main subject at photo edge.

Next meeting: February 15, 7 PM, at Parkdale Library.

Assignment to be show in February is SHADOWS. Go get 'em!

For the scribe -
Bill Draper

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