The seagull above is what I consider my best shot, though it came near the end of the shoot.
We all met for brunch at Hobee's in Palo Alto, then piled our equipment and bodies into Larry's van for a short drive to the Stanford cactus garden. The setting was appropriate for the hot sunny day. I wasn't terribly interested in cacti but did manage a couple of good shots. Joe helped me crop and adjust both of these; I wouldn't have cropped them quite the same way on my own, but liked his approach so left his adjustments intact. He also loaned me his 100mm macro lens for the bee closeup, which was much appreciated.
Then we drove to a spot near the Palo Alto airport where we could shoot some landscape views and birds. Larry had some fresh perspective ideas:
I really like the adjustments Joe made to my mud photo:
And I was very happy with the wing detail on this seagull - another one I might have cropped differently myself, but I love the extra-saturated blue sky:
This one I adjusted myself and I don't think it's as good as my gull shots, but it got a dozen hits and three comments within 10-15 minutes of me uploading it (and I'm not even sure whether it's a heron or an egret!)
I was really glad I borrowed the 80-200 from the office; my 17-55 was useless here. Though none of us could match the 500mm lens of this guy (well Joe could, but he didn't bring his along ;-) ):
At sunset we all headed back to the Hobee's parking lot to pick up our cars, and all except Aaron headed to Joe's house. There we had pizza and wine while downloading and reviewing our photos. We each picked about 10, and Joe thoroughly critiqued them. I found the session extremely helpful. Though it was hard to narrow down since I took over 700 photos! Good thing I had an extra CF card since I completely filled my 8GB one.
Overall a very enjoyable and educational experience (more photos here). Being a serious photographer is certainly a challenge. So many things to keep track of - aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. - plus holding a camera with a two-pound lens attached for over an hour, changing lenses quickly without dropping or scratching them, and other things I'm not used to. Though this hobby will not be kind on my time or budget, I am glad I adopted it.