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Hello Phodia Friends,

first of all, on behalf of the Phodia team (Theo Weijmer, Jenipher Baker and myself), I would like to wish you all best wishes for the New Year with lots of good light and for all good health. The Christmas days and New Year's Eve are behind us and now we're back in the business of trying to lose some weight and making pictures again.

As some of us will remember Phodia was started on December the 13th 2008 and now Phodia 3.1 is running. Phodia was founded because some people got fed-up with all the hassle on other sites and apart from some smaller arguments the atmosphere here in Phodia seems to be a good one and should stay that way, don't forget that photography is just a hobby, a fine one but still a hobby.

As far as I can see we've got members from 18 different countries and at this moment with about 15 active members who upload photos on a regular basis. I hope we can increase these numbers. At the moment of writing this report there are 20321 photos in the gallery and I'm curious how long it will take before we reach 30000.

One of the parts on Phodia is the Monthly Theme and I think it's a pity that just a very small group of enthusiasts are using it. The assignment for this month is called "A fresh new start" and I hope more people will upload one or even two photos to make that new start. For the members who don't know the rules for the monthly theme: the upload hasn't been on the gallery yet and the longest side is restricted at max 1000 pixels.

Maybe it is a good idea if the members look around in their circle and invite other photographers for a visit on Phodia, it's still free. I would also like to invite the members who have fine ideas we could use on Phodia to express their thoughts in the forum.

gr. Rob :-)

The Newsletter Desk

Well the Newsletter is back after taking a break. We will be bringing the Newsletter out quarterly with the next edition due in April. If anyone is interested in joining the Newsletter team or has ideas for articles we would love to hear from you.

The next Phodia Meet will be taking place on the weekend of the 24/25th March. For those who would like to attend and catch up with old acquaintances or to make new ones then come along.

There will also be a workshop held by Geoff Ashton for members who would like to learn about dri. Those interested in joining the workshop or just coming to the meeting which will be held at T'loo in the Netherlands please let us know by listing your name in the Forum.

Further information about the weekend will be posted in the Forum as the details for the weekend are finalised.

regards Jenipher


  • In this edition of our Newsletter we have put Geoff Ashton, one of Phodia's founding members, in the Spotlight.
  • Geoff:Hmmmmmm Well I am not really a founding member though I have been here for quite a while now. I came to Phodia because some of my friends were here. Sadly some have left again but I still have enough friends here that I want to stay.
  • Q:Looking at the records Geoff you joined Phodia a month after it was started. I think that is close enough to being a 'founding' member. So for starters how about you tell us a few things about yourself.
  • A: For over two years now I am a single parent raising my sixteen year old daughter. I work in the kitchen of an old folks home where we feed over 95 people a day, all their needs from breakfast to the evening meal. Well actually I run the kitchen and we are in the middle of a takeover at the moment. I am busy there and often work over 11 hours a day. I haven't had a day for over a month which is why I often don't have the energy for doing the things I want do. Things like the internet, taking and editing photos.
  • Q:When did you first develop an interest in photography?
  • A:I took photos as a kid and can't really remember not doing pictures. I used to draw a lot as well and some of the pencil drawings are hanging on my walls as well as photos. There is even one from when I was a kid. I would do so now if I had the time.
  • Q:Do you ever go out without your camera or a you a hopeless addict to photography?
  • A:I have a powershot in a tummybag and it is nearly always with me. Sometimes I find things to use it for and it is really good for street photography. In the car I have a tripod and cable release for the powershot as well as a few filters. Some of my best shots are grab shots using the pocket cam.
  • Q:Is there a special photographer who inspires you?
  • A:Sorry no, but there are two quotes that I like though I don't know who said them; "My best photo is the next one" and "The best camera is the one in your hand."
  • Q:What was it that got you interested in HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography?
  • A:I call it dri (dynamic range increase). I don't know if there is a difference between hdr and dri. I started out using jpegs and I learnt to do a lot with them. I still do them the same way but instead of one or two photos and using the information in RAW I now use RAW all the time.
  • I got started on dri because I saw some photos in FC that I liked. I asked a few question and then tried it out on at home using my desk and lamp as motives. I Googled a little, asked a lot more questions and did lots of experimenting and I loved the results. I then started using Photoshop and developed my own way of doing things.
  • Q:Most photos that I have seen done in HDR relate to cityscapes, night shots and buildings. Can this technique all so be used successfully in say landscapes or nature shots.
  • A:: In nature I don't think it would work well, unless you take one photo and lighten it and then darken it giving you three copies, but then I think you would lose the natural feeling of the bird or whatever it is. I nearly always use it for landscapes though. The fog photos I did for example, the ones I upload last month, or sunsets photos couldn't be done any other way that I know of. I just use three photos with the camera on automatic, though I set the f-stops and tv. This is called bracketing.
  • Q:Are you also interested in other facets of photography, if so which?
  • A:I like nature and macros as well though I don't have enough time for them. But I do them when I get the chance. Last year I spent two days, using a long lens, waiting for a wild parrot to fly to its nest. I was proud of the four photos I got in the end.
  • Q:It seems that your dri photos have created quite a bit of interest in Phodia. How do you feel about running the first Phodia Workshop?
  • A:.......think pause ........... I wonder why they create so much interest. It is not like I am the only one doing them. There are at least two others in Phodia who are doing good dri work.
  • As for the workshop ...I am looking forward to meeting everyone again and as I love Holland I am looking forward to the trip and hope I can get to the beach. But back to the workshop, I haven't done one before, neither taken part nor taught in one so I'm not sure about this. I have taught a few people how to do these kinds of photos. From one I haven't seen a photo and from another I am really proud. It is just that some people can't take the knowledge home with them and others can.
  • Q:Is there any special equipment the members should bring with them for the workshop?
  • For the work shop people should have a camera that can be used with a remote or cable release so that any number of photos can be taken with manual timing and the editing will be done in CS5. As I am not familiar with other software or cameras other than the ones I use ...I'm not sure if I will be able to answer all the questions.
  • I know I will have to answer a lot of questions for some people for a while after the workshop while they try to work things out their way. Everyone sees and does things differently so the results will be different and that is to be expected.
  • Thanks to Geoff for taking the time do this interview and giving us an insight to dri photography. If you would like to see more of Geoff's work then you can visit his Homepage with the attached link.

Places to Visit

by Jenipher Baker

If you are a landscape photographer then I can only strongly recommend a visit to Iceland. When Iceland was first suggested to me as a holiday destination I wasn't one bit enthusiastic about the idea. Persistence from Manu won out and I was talked into going ........and I didn't regret it for one moment.

Not even when we were trapped on a mountain due to lack of visibility caused by volcanic ash from Grimsvötn which erupted the first day we were there. Nor when we were turned back by a snow storm that had closed in and block the road across the top of Iceland nor when the wind storms that followed kept us confined to the east coast of Iceland for 3 days ..............It was all a great experience and I don't regret a moment of it.

Iceland is an island of ever changing landscapes, from the flat coastal plains, snow covered mountains, waterfalls large and small, glaciers and icebergs. Not to forget the geysers and thermal pools. The attached link will give you an idea of the various things you can do and see in Iceland.

For those who like photographing birds, Iceland offers a large variety including razorbill, guillemot, puffins and terns just name a few.

The most common birds in Iceland are the puffins. They start arriving in Iceland at the beginning of the breeding season around the middle of April and leave the island again around the middle of August remaining at sea over the winter period. During the breeding season up to 10 million puffins can be expected in Iceland.

For those who would like to see the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, then the best time to visit Iceland is from October to April. I have heard that they can also been seen in September, if your lucky.

Whale watching tours are available from many different vantage points around Iceland. The Gentle Giants can been seen from June through to August. We were there in May and while there had been a few sightings we were not lucky enough to have seen them. Up to 24 species of whales visit the waters around Iceland, some remaining all year round with others returning for the summer months.

I bought a t-shirt in Iceland which summed up for me my feelings of the place. On the front, in small print, it simpley says ....'Lost in Iceland'.... and on the back, also in small print .....'Is anybody out there?'.....

We will definitely be going back again ....just need to decide if we want to see puffins and whales or the Northern Lights.

photos from Manu

Monthly Theme

The monthly theme for September 2011 'Climate Changes' was won by Manu with her entry 'Global Warming'

The theme for October 'Golden Light' was won by Theo Weijmer with his entry 'Pond'

The November theme 'Foggy Landscapes' was won by Geoff Ashton with his entry 'Above the Fog'

The theme for December ' Light as we see it in December' was also won by Geoff with his entry 'December Colors'

Congratulations to the winners.

Let's see what we can come up with for this months theme 'A fresh new Start'. Looking forward to seeing lots of entries dispite this dull, grey January we are having.

newsletter@phodia.net || jenipher.baker@phodia.net