Photography Tidbits Courtesy of One of our Auto Repair Customers

by | Oct 12, 2011 | BA Auto Care News

One of the more interesting aspects of working at BA Auto Care is getting to know our customers and learning about their hobbies and interests.  Being chosen “Best of Howard County” for auto service for over 25 of our 33 years in business demonstrates the customer trust we’ve maintained. One of the privileges of that trust is the opportunity to serve 2nd generation customers.  The Talabac family is one of those customers. I recently learned that one of the family members, Stephen Talabac, is a member of the Central Maryland Photographers Guild (CMPG), he and has his own website of mostly nature photography. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend one of his CMPG presentations as well as interview him.  I enjoyed what I learned so much, that I thought I would share it with you….

I attended Mr. Talabac’s presentation on Close-up Photography. He characterized close-up photography, and reviewed basic principles, equipment, and field techniques. Some of the terminology was over my head, but, none-the-less, his talk was fascinating and informative. I appreciated his integration of math and art in his presentation. For example, he pointed out that there is only one spot or plane where, mathematically, any lens will focus precisely. He further explained that “the resolving ability of the human eye is such that it can discern a zone that extends a certain distance in front of the focal point to a certain distance behind the focal point. Everything within that zone appears to be in focus.  This is called the “Depth-of-Field”. By adjusting the lens opening, or aperture, the photographer can change the depth-of-field and thus control those portions of the photograph that are in sharp focus, and those that are artistically “blurred”.

My favorite slide from his presentation was one that recommended things you should consider before pressing the shutter release button:

    • Why do you want this particular image? color, pattern, texture, symmetry, shape
    • Which view of it do you want? profile, head-on, etc.
    • What is behind the image? Is this something you want to include or exclude from the scene?
    • What’s the best location for the image? ground-level, high, etc. (Note – reflections are better when they’re closer to the ground.)
    • What type of equipment do you need to get the image you want?  tubes, filters, lenses

Notes from the interview are included below.

Dorothy:  How did you become interested in photography?

Stephen: There was no one defining moment that I recall, however my father was the family photographer: wedding photos for relatives, family photos during vacations and holidays… that sort of stuff. I bought my first film SLR a couple of years after I had finished college and very quickly became interested in nature photography.

Dorothy: You mentioned one of your kids is an entomologist – do all your kids have an interest in nature-related pursuits? What sorts?

Stephen: My daughter received her BS from UMCP in Entomology. She has always been interested in outdoor nature-related activities. For example, she participated in UMCP-sponsored events during Spring and Summer breaks. One year she traveled to the rainforests of Belize with some of her student friends and professors, and one summer she spent a couple of weeks in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska with other students, professors, and post docs.

My son’s interest is in information systems and computer technology.

Dorothy: What are your favorite Maryland venues for taking photos?

Stephen: Locally, I enjoy taking photographs of Herons and other water fowl at Wilde Lake and Centennial Park. Other places include Brookside Gardens and the National Arboretum for flower photography. For taking photos of raptors (Bald Eagles, Ospreys) Conowingo Dam, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, and other spots along or near the Chesapeake Bay provide wonderful photo opportunities.

Dorothy: Are there any websites you recommend for camera reviews and for definitions of technical terms that beginners should become familiar with?

Stephen: For camera and equipment reviews, one site I use is Digital Photography Review ( There are many others. For technical terms it’s probably best to simply Google the term and check out several sites to get different views on terminology, usage, techniques, etc. I also recommend books on photography that you can pick up at the library or in your local book stores.

Dorothy: What’s the most surprising shot you’ve captured?

Stephen: Not sure if I have a specific shot… but sometimes the most interesting shots are when you unintentionally take a picture with a camera setting you might otherwise not have used. For example, you may have had your camera set for a slow shutter speed but then you happen to encounter, say, a Canada Goose quickly take flight. You aim, pan, and shoot and then realize the image is slightly blurred… yet it results in an unexpectedly, artistically pleasing photo.

So, the next time you’re chasing that perfect shot, check out his website for beautiful examples of what to capture and how he did it. Also, if you’d like to find out more about the guild, check out the cmpg website.

My thanks to Stephen Talabac for his time and expertise on this fascinating topic.


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About the Author

About Brian England

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care), got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD. A few years later, he started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. Brian is a big believe in preventative maintenance, and his philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan.