October Meeting, Upcoming Workshops & September Wrap-up Notes!

At the top of Gasworks Park, Wenmei gives the mamas tips on how to capture the skyline.

Hello Mamas!

We had a great turnout at our last outdoor group shoot at Gasworks Park, as we photographed the Seattle Skyline at sunset!  A great opportunity not only to practice landscape photography and shooting at higher ISOs, but also to have still subjects :-). If you missed it, the notes are at the end of this post!


Please mark your calendars for our next monthly meetup: Monday, October 22nd  6:30-8:30pm. We’ll be meeting at Mosaic Coffee House in Wallingford (4401 2nd Ave NE, 98105).  Our special guest speaker this month is Kristen Buchmann, who will be speaking about her work photographing Seniors! (Seniors, as in high school seniors!) If you have a high schooler in your life, or even if you are just taking a solo portrait of any age subject, Kristen will share practical examples and tips for making your portrait unique and vibrant! She is also happy to answer questions about the business end of taking senior portraits. We hope you’ll join us this month and advance your portrait photography skills!


Our October 20th Introduction to Digital Photography is happening next Saturday, just in time to de-mystify those settings on your camera so you can practice on your cute little goblins for Halloween! If you’ve been wanting to join the fun, and that weekend doesn’t work in your calendar, our last workshop of the year will be December 8th!


We made a little cheat sheet for everyone who came and we are sharing it below for those of you who may want to try this on your own (or if you lost your cheat sheet!)


  • Use the grid lines in your viewfinder to make sure the horizon is level
  • Use the grid lines in your viewfinder to compose into the rule of thirds

Pick the most interesting thing to fill 2/3 of the photo

Sky:  sunset colors, clouds, interesting lights, stars

Skyline:  buildings, landmarks, interesting foreground

  • Consider how you can use the foreground to frame your shot

Shoot through trees or other interesting objects, and pay attention to what is in the foreground.

  • Look for horizontal balance as well

Tall buildings, space/negative space

  • Aim to get as much horizontally in the frame as you want in the final image — you can crop the extra sky and foreground out in post-processing



Use aperture to control light, not depth of field

When you are photographing something 20+ ft away, depth of field is already maximized no matter what your aperture is

-The exception is the foreground (which is less than 20 ft away)

-If you want to blur the foreground, use a wider aperture (~ f/4 is usually ok)

Use a smaller aperture if you want both the foreground and the skyline to be in focus (min f/8)


Slow your shutter speed to let in the maximum light

Use a tripod for anything under 1/30

Rest your camera on something and use the timer if you don’t have a tripod

Remember that a slow shutter speed will blur any moving objects (boats, planes, cars, people, etc.)


If shooting at dusk, try setting your WB to tungsten (the light bulb) to reduce the orange of the city lights and increase the blue of the sky


-Manually set your ISO to control noise

-Use a high ISO to shoot at night without a tripod


Don’t overexpose (“expose to the right”) — in skylines, you usually want to keep colors saturated so it’s better to expose accurately or underexpose a bit

Spot meter on the most prominent object in the skyline to expose correctly for the skyline

Meter on the sky/clouds to shoot a silhouette and/or keep sunset colors rich

Use your histogram to check that you aren’t clipping whites or blacks

Use a lens hood to block flare and reduce haze


  • Skylines are more dynamic horizontally, so consider cropping into a panoramic aspect ratio
  • Crop out extra sky and foreground to keep focus on skyline

Use neutral density filter to balance the light/contrast between the sky and foreground

Here are some sample photos that Wenmei took at our group shoot for inspiration!

Here is a gorgeous sunset photo from the top of kite hill:

We also practiced silhouetting shooting up from Kite Hill: 

And here is one of our favorites of the day, Mary & Wenmei posing as silhouettes, photographed by our club member Sara Kelly!

Hope to see you in October! Happy shooting!