2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 34: NIGHT SKY SCENIC

I’ve been putting a great deal of thought in this challenge and I figured I should make it a multi-level difficulty challenge. Meaning, the tools you have on hand at your disposal, I.E. Photoshop, plugins, etc…, will dictate how far you can take this challenge. Bare in mind that even if you don’t have all the tools, the basic challenge will still be challenging. The geographical location of each individual will also affect your decisions as to how you will shoot this challenge as the sky will be very different in the city compared to being lost in the middle of nowhere. With this in mind you will also be able to shoot a twilight or full night sky.

Milky Way goodness

My initial thought was to shoot something along the lines of this image above. Terrestrial features that show (illuminated or not) and stars. Because you usually shoot a starry sky at around 3200ISO, f/2.8 for like 20 to 30 seconds with like a 14mm to 24mm linear lens, you can only have crisp focus on the stars or your scenic features. This means you would have to shoot at least two images with different focus points and exposures. You then would have to blend them in Photoshop. You can even do photo-stacking to enhance the appearance of the stars even further with less noise. MAC users could use an app like Starry Landscape Stacker to get the job done even more efficiently. For the rest of us we have to do this in Photoshop by masking out the foreground completely from each shot, aligning the images, combining them all into a Smart Object and using the “median” stack mode for the Smart Object.

Heavens Above

If you can produce an image like one of the two images above, you’ve outdone yourself for this challenge.

'Last Stop Lights' - Mosfell, Iceland

Some of us may also be lucky enough to get some northern lights in…

Sydney Harbour reflections

Due to light pollution, pollution and clouds, especially around the city, many of us will have to settle for something a little more down to earth. It’s important to get more than a dark sky, so try and shoot during twilight, before the Sun rises or after it sets. Just like on a starry night, your White Balance is always important to get the colors right.

Bridge to the City

If there are no smashing colors in your sky, try and take advantage of cloud texture to compliment your sky and your scenery. Shooting multiple exposures to create an HDR image will probably be your best bet in an urban setting.

LoL (Light on Louvre)

Remember, the moon can also be our friend, so take advantage of your surroundings and the night sky.

 

Tips, tricks and necessities…

  • TRIPOD:  You will need a tripod or an improvised idea to keep your camera steady at every exposure
  • REMOTE TRIGGER: Definitely want to use a remote to trigger your camera or use the timer. If using a remote, use MIRROR UP to maximize stability.
  • APPS: You can use smartphone or computer applications to calculate where your celestial objects will be.
  • COMPASS: If you’re looking for North, a compass may be your best bet…
  • FOCUS: Night time focus may be difficult and your lens at infinity may just not be at infinity. I suggest you manually focus, especially if you have a live view with a zoom feature.
  • LIGHTS: Bring a light that also has a RED BEAM. Using a RED BEAM instead of white light will keep your eyes adapted to the darkness and you won’t be totally disoriented when you turn off your light source. You may also want to bring a bright flashlight to illuminate your foreground in a light painting type effect.
  • FILTERS: I found that filters tend to mess up northern lights or some types of night photography. You may want to remove your clear or UV filter when shooting at night.
  • RAW: It’s always better to shoot RAW for post processing of night time images, especially with stars.
  • NOISE: If you haven’t yet, you may find it useful to apply some type of noise removal. You can get a trial of many different Noise Removal tools online.

I never shoot alone, especially at night. Make sure you feel 100% safe before venturing out into the unknown. If you’re going to go out into the wilderness to complete your challenge, please educate yourself on all the harmful plants and wildlife you may encounter. When in doubt, trust your gut feeling.

To complete your challenge you will need a scenic image with a night sky that contains stars, clouds, illumination, etc… No daytime skies… Your scenery can be dark as a silhouette or it can also be illuminated. The possibilities are truly endless.

 

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

 

 

 

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 33: B&W – HUMAN BODY

Sometimes the best photography subjects are right in front of us – something or someone you see everyday, but don’t think about as a subject. We see and interact with people everyday, but may not think of the human body as subject of our photography. The challenge this week is the Human Body shot in black and white.

We’ve had portrait challenges all year, so you should be accustomed to asking people to be subjects. This challenge differs significantly from portraits, however.  Portraits tell us a story about a person, or capture some essence of personality – we learn something about the subject in a portrait. This challenge is about form of the human body, not the person.  There is grace and beauty in every human body. Your challenge is to capture that in black and white.
Zen
The examples for this challenge don’t have any faces, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include a face in your shot. Any part of the human body can be used, but part of the challenge is to get you thinking about more than just faces.  Faces are fine, as long as you don’t create a portrait.
Twice the Power
For this challenge you will need to focus on the principles of black and white photography: contrast, shape, tonality, texture, lines. Lighting can play a key role in this challenge. The shot above uses a simple black background to make the arms stand out. The shot is also a good example of contrast, in both the technical aspects of the shot and the subjects. Also notice the depth of field. The adult arm at the back is slightly out of focus. Depth of field and lighting are also the key elements of the shot below.
.
The shot below uses contrast, texture and tonality with strong composition to create a dramatic mood. The same shot in color might convey something completely different.
x

You also need to make decisions about how much of the body to include in the shot, and how much to leave out. The examples all show a limited view of the human body. The first shot above uses perspective and depth of field to limit how much of the body you see, but the other examples use composition to focus on specific areas of the body.
Hands Fidgeting From Boredom

You can choose to show the entire body, or one aspect or body part. How you frame the shot is entirely up to you, just be sure to focus on the form of the body. That can also include abstract representations of the human body.
Untitled

A word of caution – Flickr is a great place to find examples, but be aware that searching for “human body” will return nude photography. There are many stunning black and white nudes on Flickr that show the natural beauty and form of our bodies, but there also photos that some people may find offensive. Flickr does have a safe search feature to filter out nude images for those of you that don’t want to see nude photography.

Also, nude photography is fine for this challenge, but be aware of the guidelines for the sites where you share your photos. Facebook generally doesn’t allow nude photos.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2016 Photochallenge, Week 32: White on White – Guest Post

The first thing to understand about this challenge is that it is NOT a black and white assignment.  Your subject should be white and your background should be white.
 
This challenge is about texture, shadow, light and composition.  About seeing form and shape, and about understanding that there are many, many shades of white.
 
Some subjects to consider:
Household items made beautiful with simple still life.

cups

Items from nature will become more polished and perfect when placed on white.

white

Please don’t feel like you are breaking the rules if you allow a little color.  This is why you do not want to shoot in black and white, because the color that you allow to sneak in will create emphasis.
 

Orchid

 Starbucks Coffee

You may be lucky enough to have architecture or landscape to fit this assignment.

Stairs

Or the perfect pet.

white-cat
Look into my eyes....

I hope you enjoy this exercise in simplicity.
 
 
 
Things to try:
Control and manipulate your light source to create interesting shadows and to add dimension and depth.  These photos can look very flat if you don’t put some thought into your lighting.
 
Consider texture.  In your background or main subject, variety of texture will ensure that your subject separates from your background.  Texture will also ad warmth for those who may find this exercise to be a little cold.
 
A white background can be made from a sheet of poster board or paper, as well as any white fabric. Wrinkles are OK!
 
If a little color sneaks in it is OK, although it might make or break the photo. Do not convert final image to black and white.
 
White balance your camera be be sure your whites look white.  Here is what DPS has to say about white balance.
Watch your exposure.  These photos will be, and should be, bright.  But not so bright that you’re blowing out or losing information in your highlights.
 
 
My name is Amy Pflasterer and I teach high school photography and yearbook near St Louis, Missouri. Photography has been a part of my life for a very, very long time.  My first real photography job was for the college yearbook where I learned to shoot sports and environmental portraits.  I have since worked as a wedding and portrait photographer, and for the last 14 years as a photography teacher.  I teach 3 levels of digital photography and keep a small darkroom available for my advanced students.
 
With 2 young children at home, I am no longer pursuing wedding or portrait work but you can see photos I share with my students on Facebook at fb.me/pflastererphoto and Instagram @stlgir1

 

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 31: PEOPLE AND ANIMALS – PORTRAITS

No matter where you live or where you find yourself, there’s always a tight and unique relationship formed between mankind and the animal kingdom.

1- People and animals - 044

Sometimes the bond between two living creatures of two different species can be one at the heart of the greatest friendships. Although we often take pictures, sometimes portraits of our pets, we don’t often take them with our pets.

Cosimo and me. #houndsonthehudson #dogparkplaygroup

Here Dylon captured a selfie with his dog, Cosimo. Although this is the quintessential man’s best friend image, it’s but the beginning of our journey as I really want us to go in depth, capturing every aspect of a sane human/animal relationship.

Kaley & Bailey

Humans have created strong bonds with horses for many centuries if not thousands of years. Today the importance of horses in people’s lives remains an important cultural aspect in many countries around the world.

Shohan

In Mongolia, the Kazakh nomads not only have an strong bond with their horses, but they also have one with Golden Eagles used for hunting. They don’t selfishly use the Eagle, once it has reached sexual maturity, it is returned to the wild to assure future generations of these great hunters.

Falconer

Falconry is still alive and strong today, not only with Falcons, but with a variety of birds of prey including Owls. The falconer and the bird of prey often feel united as one in their task.

Douglas Gets Hugged

Rescue workers already fond of animals, often develop a unique caring bond with the special creatures they care for.

Chelsea McKinney, #ScienceWoman

Sometimes the relationship is purely professional as in this US Fish and Wildlife agent helping preserve our nations wildlife, our natural heritage.

Working Dolphin, K-Dog a Bottle Nose Dolphin leaps out of the water

Many animals, just like our canine friends, are enlisted in our military and they to develop unique bonds with their trainers and handlers.

Gran Retrato!!! Carnavales 2011*-*

Other times people are just two peas in a pod when it comes to their special furry friends.

This PhotoChallenge is full of opportunities opening the door to creativity and variety, as subjects can vary in all parts of the world. To complete your challenge you will need to have at least one person and one animal in your image. As photographers try and develop your very own style bringing to life these special relationships.

We’ve covered a variety of lighting techniques in our portrait challenges for you to experiment with. Color or monochrome images are all acceptable as you, the photographer, will choose the best possible look for your submission.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

 

 

 

 

DSC_3012_sm2

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 30: INFRARED PHOTOGRAPHY

For those of you who were with us last year for Halloween, we had a Spooky Infrared Challenge, 2015 CHALLENGE WEEK 43: SPOOKY HALLOWEEN INFRARED ANIMATED GIF. I suggest you read it as it is still full of useful tips for this challenge.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

It was challenging above and beyond the photography aspect as it had many technical twists of fabricating a series of infrared images and animating them in post production. For this Challenge, I want us to focus on all the proper aspects of photography and create a well balanced image.

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Le chenal La Passe - IR

The above image is your stereotypical IR image from a converted DSLR. In this case, a Nikon D300s converted to full spectrum with a 720nm filter on the lens. You get your bluish tones with whitish vegetation. Being a converted camera you also have the luxury of maintaining your exposure speed.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; The First Emperor's Procession IR - The Magic of Lanterns 2011

In contrast, the above image is created with a non-converted entry level Nikon DSLR with it’s plastic kit lens. (BTW: those cheap plastic kit lens from Nikon are great for IR photography) I composed my image with the camera set atop a tripod. Once everything looked good, I slipped on a Cokin IR filter and made a few exposures between 15 and 30 seconds. It’s that long exposure time that gave me the slick mirror like look on the water. The long exposure also lets in more natural light which in turn contaminated the true IR look. However the final image was an award wining image thanks to this unusual look.

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Base of Dorwin Falls / Base des chutes Dorwin

The above image is with the same basic Nikon DSLR. The only difference is I used a Hoya R72 720nm filter. It’s an image of a waterfall in winter from high above. Again a long exposure, especially due to the fact that it was an overcast day with a non-converted camera.

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Basilique Sainte-Anne de Varennes - IR

What if you don’t have a infrared filter or a converted camera? Not a problem, even your smartphone will do. I’ve been giving out some D.I.Y. links over the years to make your own filter. A very simple process, buy a positive slide film, don’t expose it, get it processed unexposed. Once you get it back, just cut it to size. Naturally that just works for smaller cameras and phones. There are some exceptions, my fisheye lens has a tiny flat back-end allowing me to tape the film to it. The result, this church above…

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Site archéologique Boucher-de-Grosbois - IR

Here’s an other one with the exact same D.I.Y. setup. I had to put it into practice as I’m recommending it to others. Basically I bought a slide film on liquidation and got it processed immediately, unexposed. All for under $15. I imagine that the lower ISO film will produce a better image, at least be a better IR filter, but that’s just a guess.

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Ferme - IR - Farm

Let’s focus on the challenge. I would like you to create an Infrared Image with a mix of vegetation and man made objects. Using the above image as a baseline, you should have a pretty good idea of the direction we’re taking. Remember that even though there’s a great deal of science behind IR photography, the end result is much more art then science.

ir-challenge

Your results are going to vary greatly from one member to an other. The reason is very simple, White Balance, Filter, Lens and Camera combinations will be different. Then there’s the post processing. Some of you may get IR Hot-Spots with a specific lens and you may choose to convert to B&W, while others may choose to conquer the mess of colors in front of them, colors that are just far from reality. The above images demonstrate exactly my point. Two different Lens/Filter combinations gave me two completely different results.

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Pont de bois à l'île Grosbois - IR

What you’ll need to complete your challenge:

  • A Tripod – As usual I always suggest a tripod. It keeps your camera steady and maintains your composition, giving you time to think and experiment. For non-converted cameras it’s a must as you will need to keep your camera steady for long exposures.
  • An Infrared Filter – There’s no getting around it, we need to block out visible light as much as possible, letting only the upper spectrum of light into the camera. Filters vary greatly. Your standard IR filter is 720nm but you can find them as low as 560nm. Those in the 800nm spectrum will only produce a B&W image. The D.I.Y. approach is a economic way to experiment. You can even stack two filters together.
  • A Cable Release – A remote way to trigger your camera is always a good way to increase stability with a tripod.

 

WARNING : NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE SUN THROUGH AN IR FILTER

IT MAY APPEAR SAFE BUT WILL STILL DAMAGE YOUR EYES

 

CLICK HERE for a DIY Infrared Filter search on Google

CLICK HERE for an Infrared Post Processing search on Google

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 29: B&W – CONTRAST

This week we’ll explore another key aspect of Black and White photography – Contrast. For this challenge you’re looking for shots with a dramatic difference between the lightest part of the image and the darkest part of the image. Many photos have contrast that ranges from black to white, but you are looking for shots where that contrast is one of the defining elements of the shot.
Diffrent Bridge
You could just up the contrast in your image editing software, but that’s really not the point of the challenge. The challenge is in finding a shot that naturally has a lot of contrast. You don’t need to find something with absolute black and absolute white, just something with a stark contrast between the light and dark areas.
Sylvie
For this challenge you really need to try to view the subject in black and white. As you move through the spectrum of visible light, each color translates into gray scale differently. Reds tend to be darker than blues. You’ll need to experiment and figure out how what you see in color translates to the most contrast in black and white.
Black and white church Iceland
Some scenes and subjects will make obvious shots for this challenge, but you may need to get creative and make your own shot. Adjusting contrast in software is fine, as long as you start with a shot that already has a lot of contrast.
Light Box Body - Hand
Pictureline has excellent blog post on principles of black and white photography with a section on contrast. It’s well worth the read, not just for this challenge, but for all black and white photography.
Untitled

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2016 PhotoChallenge, Week 28: OUTDOOR – SELL US YOUR TOWN – Guest Post

Photochallenge.org Long Exposure Night Photography

If you were to ask me what one of my favorite things about Photochallenge.org is, I would say, without a doubt, it has to be the fact that we are a global community. How fortunate I feel to be able to have a sneak peek into your lives, to experience a fraction, even for a moment, of what you experience every day. We have members from every corner of the globe who post what seems like an ordinary subject or event to them, but to the rest of us, it’s a glimpse into something wonderful.

New York

I have not been fortunate enough to travel overseas as of yet, but I hope to soon (My husband is a well seasoned traveler and is introducing me to Hong Kong at the end of 2016). Images of exotic far away lands draw me in every time, making me wish I were there. Don’t get me wrong, I love my town, I’ll never desert her, but I yearn for something different.

India

This week, I want you to sell me your town. I want to be wowed, I want to see what makes your town so appealing, why should we visit? What little gem makes your town so special? Show us something you don’t see in the travel brochures, something a local knows well. Or show us something that’s well known but put your slant on it, the choice is yours.

Rain Man

To help you on your way I’ve included a couple of travel photography tutorials to inspire the traveller and seller within you.

http://digital-photography-school.com/20-photography-tips-every-travel-photographer-must-know/

http://photography.tutsplus.com/tutorials/7-tips-for-taking-travel-photos-like-a-pro–photo-127

 

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2016 Challenge, WEEK 27 – PORTRAIT – Abstract

Everyone who has picked up a camera has undoubtedly taken a picture of someone. Whether or not you call that a “portrait” depends on your definition of portraits. The portrait challenges have hopefully expanded on your idea of a portrait, and helped you learn some techniques for making great portraits. This week we’re going to push the boundary of what “portrait” means with abstract portraits.
IMG_0505
Abstract is open to interpretation. This challenge gives you the opportunity to get creative with your subject. You don’t need Photoshop or other software tools to take an abstract portrait. You just have to expand your definition of portrait and find ways to explore different techniques with framing and lighting.
Untitled

★

If you’re wondering why I’m doing this post, I’m filling in for Trevor. Life happens to all of us and Trevor asked Steve and I to fill in for him for a little while. Our goal is to keep up with the Portrait challenges so Trevor can pick up where he left off.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

p1556718118-5

2016 Challenge, WEEK 26 – OUTDOOR – Water (Long Exposure)

Whether you’re photographing a cascading stream, river or ocean waves breaking on a beach, you can always make your images more interesting by using a slower shutter speed. Doing so may seem intimidating or even expensive. This week we’ll explore low cost tricks and techniques to add a little spice to your images using slow shutter speeds and long exposures..

Montreal Back River at Sunset (Start of Fall)

In the above image I simply took advantage of the lower light situation at the end of the day to acquire a slower shutter speed. The fast moving water combined with a slow shutter speed of 1/30th of a second captured the illusion of movement. It was captured hand held leaning against a tree for stability. I also used a 50mm lens on a full frame (35mm on crop factor DSLRs) It’s easier to hold stable a wider angle lens than a longer focal one.

Steve Troletti Photography: NATURE & LANDSCAPES &emdash; Lanaudieres River - Downstream from Dorwin falls in Rawdon

In the river above, a 30 second exposure was used. I didn’t have ND (Neutral Density) filters on me to slow down the scene. I decided to use a polarized filter to get some help in lowering my light by a stop or so. I also reduced my ISO to 100 and closed my lens down to f/22 at 18mm. Again the lower light of an overcast and rainy day gave me an edge. In some cases, when I use a compact camera or my smartphone, I can achieve similar results by placing my sunglasses, polarized or not, in front of my lens.

macgyver-style iphone tripod

Although a tripod and a remote shutter (wired / Wireless) simplify the task of taking long exposures images, there are plenty of options. I’ve never let the lack of gear and gadget stop me. Almost all cameras including smartphones have a timer release mode. This will allow you to trigger your camera without shaking or moving it. You can always use your environment to help you stabilize your equipment. Rocks, branches, leaves and even trash can all help you point your camera in the right direction when used wisely. Just give it a little MacGyver. I personally always carry a small roll of duck tape and electrical tape to help out with these situations.

Liffey Falls

Using your environment to stabilize your equipment will often keep you low to the ground. That can open up a whole new world of composition ideas as in the above image. In many cases, taking your photos lower than eye level will add a perspective of grandiose to your images.

Misty river

Long exposure on apparently still bodies of water will also bring out interesting effect of smoothness and textures. Water almost always moves. The wind can create movement and texture that will add a surreal look to your images.

To fully take advantage of the sunlight, early mornings and late afternoons will provide a lower angle and softer light to work with.

I personally love Neutral Density and Variable ND Filters. Here’s a little test I did with the Tiffen Variable ND filter a couple years back – Tiffen Variable ND Filter for Photography and Video – First Impressions. The image below was created with that very same Tiffen filter.

p1556718118-5

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 25: B&W – Texture

Over the course of the year, and in previous years, we’ve talked about key elements that make black and white photography distinctly different from color photography. This week we’ll focus on one of those elements: TEXTURE. Texture sounds like something rooted in the physical world, but it can also be conceptual. To use textures effectively in black and white, you need to visualize how something  in color will “feel” in a black and white photo.  Texture is one of those words that has many meanings, and how it’s interpreted varies for each person, especially in photography.

None of Us Knows What Changes, Big or Small, Lie Ahead
You can think of it as the physical, tactile qualities of a surface – something you can feel. But texture in photography goes beyond the physical surface of the subject. If you look at the photo above you might say it has a “gritty” feel, but if you actually touched the wood you might describe the tactile sensation as wet and soft.
Unison...

Texture can have multiple layers within a photo. Think about the physical structure of an object, and patterns within the structure. Look at the size, shape, contrast, and repetition of patterns. The rope in the image above certainly has a fibrous texture, but the repetition and lines also give the composition texture. Visualize the rope without the individual fiber strands – just the pattern – and you see texture of the image.
Stripes

In photography, texture often comes from the combination and interrelation elements within the composition, not from the surface of those elements. Texture in photography can derive from patterns within the photograph that get emphasized in black and white. Texture flows from other elements of photography – lines, patterns, repetition, and contrast. 
The Curve
And don’t forget about nature. Most of our human creations that become photographic subjects are based in textures and patterns found in nature. Talking a walk in the woods or along a beach can provide more than enough inspiration for this week’s challenge.
Stress

Pictureline has excellent blog post on principles of black and white photography with a section on texture. It’s well worth the read, not just for this challenge, but for all black and white photography. 

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.