2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 21: B&W – Automobiles

For some people cars are simply a machine that gets you from place to place. For others, automobiles are a personal statement that reflect individual personalities – some prefer sports cars while others gravitate towards large 4×4 trucks. I’ve always tended toward a more utilitarian approach for my personal cars, choosing function over form, except for the 1965 Mustang I had in my youth.

For the photographer automobiles present the perfect mix of form and function. Auto designers try to achieve beauty while engineers may seek to improve gas mileage or horsepower. What ends up on the showroom floor blends multiple competing goals into a single product. The challenge this week is to capture the essence of any automobile using black and white photography.
Curves and Chrome
Car designers use many of the same principles of design for autos that we use in photography – strong leading lines, graceful C and S curves, and symmetry. Classic cars especially make use of sweeping lines.
securit-esg
You can choose to capture the entire auto, or just part of it. How you frame the shot is up to you, just pay attention to composition and framing.
Big, mean Mustang

You can also try to tell a story or convey some emotion. The challenge is “automobiles” so trucks, vans, buses, or just about any motorized vehicle will work for this challenge.
Something picks me up

But You Ain't Seen Nothing 'Til Your Baby Drives a Buick, Plate 3

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 20 : GUEST POST – DOORS

This week’s challenge will be photographing Doors. This may seem easy enough you may think… however, there are many concepts to keep in mind. It can be any type of door, so let your creativity flow! The following photos are those that I have taken in my hometown, the City of Detroit. A.k.a. The Motor City, The D, Hitsville USA, HockeyTown…The Renaissance City!

Red Door- Church of the Messiah in Detroit

Red Door- Church of the Messiah in Detroit

My eye was especially drawn to the contrast in colors, as well as the textured bricks here.

Bankers Trust Company Building, Detroit Financial District

Bankers Trust Company Building, Detroit Financial District

This elaborately decorated metal door showing some decay and rusting flanked by marble columns.

Doors. The Heidelberg Project, Detroit

Doors. The Heidelberg Project, Detroit

Art and community has merged in Detroit. Please visit the website to see what else the artist Mr. Tyree Guyton has created on these city blocks. #heidelbergproject #detroitthebeautiful #visitdetroit http://www.heidelberg.org/

B&W of The Church of the Messiah, Detroit

B&W of The Church of the Messiah, Detroit

Black and white photos bring a whole different essence to the eye. IMO

HDR of Christ Church Detroit Creatives create. Be creative.

HDR of Christ Church Detroit
Creatives create. Be creative.

Don’t forget the basics: lighting/shadows, composition, cropping, balance and symmetry, perspective, negative space, patterns, repetition, etc., etc,.

You may find it necessary to use a tripod as well.

 

About Me (Yvonne Taylor):

I born,raised and LIVING in Detroit, MI. #forlife #forlove. I’m married with teenaged boy. I’m a sous chef in my mind.  I’m currently shooting with an Nikon D610. The above images were shot using the Tamron 70-200 2.8. I enjoy all forms of photography.  #photographyislife.

You can see what I see by following my Google+ page:  Beauty in Detroit

https://plus.google.com/u/1/communities/112432728438926491353

Or on Instagram @evemoniquephotography

 

Special thanks to the moderators of Photochallenge.org for allowing me to do this guest challenge. I hope you all enjoy it. Happy shooting!

 

“There are things known and things unknown and in between are the DOORS.” – Jim Morrison

 

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 19 : PORTRAIT OF A MOTHER

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms. Most of us are celebrating Mother’s Day today and here at the 2016 PhotoChallenge, we’re celebrating MOMS all week long by honoring them with our very own portrait.
Mom snuggling

The B&W portrait of Mom and her newborn is a classic that holds true to the bond between mother and child. Usually performed in the privacy of a studio in controlled lighting conditions.

 

Mother's Day!

As we grow older, captured moments with our mom will one day become priceless memories. Outdoor images come to life and look more natural. Remember not to have your subjects directly looking into the sunlight. It’s often best to use a reflector or a little burst of fill flash to open up shadows in harsher lighting.

Mugsy

For this special assignment you may just want to focus on mom without any distractions… It can be your own mother or any other Special Mom you want to honor.

My beautiful Mama

I myself always prefer B&W Portraits but it’s up to you to choose that special look for the final image you submit to the 2016 PhotoChallenge.

Didn't get to see my own mom this mother's day but I did get to spend the morning with this lovely, beautiful one. My mommy is my best friend and the most selfless person I've ever come across, I don't know what kind of person I would be without her love

A selfie with Mom is just as good 🙂

Basic guidelines for portraits are 50mm to 85mm on a crop body and 85mm to 105mm on a full frame. Those are just guidelines, you should freely experiment as we’ve even had great looking portraits with a fisheye. Usually wider lenses distort facial features while longer lenses tend to flatten features.

You may choose to use controlled lighting in a studio-like environment. If you go outdoors you may want to bring a reflector or flash to open up shadows. I tend to prefer natural light balanced with a reflector.

Pay attention to distracting items in the background. Keeping a distance between mom and objects in the background will minimize shadows from flash and make it easier to isolate your subject.

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.
unnamed

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 18: BUDS + WEEKLY BONUS CHALLENGE

BUDS – “In botany, a bud is an undeveloped or embryonic shoot and normally occurs in the axil of a leaf or at the tip of a stem. Once formed, a bud may remain for some time in a dormant condition, or it may form a shoot immediately. Buds may be specialized to develop flowers or short shoots, or may have the potential for general shoot development” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bud

Steve Troletti Photography: Flowers, Plants and Trees /Fleurs, plantes et arbres &emdash; Blooming Magnolia

This week we’re looking for buds, not flowers in full bloom as described by Wikipedia. A great example would be this Magnolia flower bud beginning to bloom.

Steve Troletti Photography: Flowers, Plants and Trees /Fleurs, plantes et arbres &emdash; Allium fistulosum - Welsh onion about to flower

Vegetable plants flower as well as in this Welsh onion about to flower.

 

Sans titre

The same goes for these Ladies Lace flower buds just about to bloom.

Although we associate buds to Spring, that’s not always the case. Many plants can flower throughout the year and the Welsh Onion for example is an early Fall crop.

It’s a simple Challenge and the emphases is on image quality. The composition, choice of lens and lighting is entirely up to you. Reflectors and diffusers are often great tools when going out on a quest to photograph vegetation.

Close-up and Macro will probably be the type of photography employed to complete this challenge and a tripod can help you take the time to properly compose and photograph your subject.

B&W or COLOR

The choice is yours. Nature can be appreciated in B&W as it takes on a totally different persona…

WEEKLY BONUS CHALLENGE

For those interested, I invite you to remember the location of your BUD and follow it’s weekly development posting an update once a week in the comment section of the current challenge. You would be in essence cataloging your subject throughout the remainder of its life-cycle.

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 17: B&W – STEADFAST

This black and white challenge is one word: STEADFAST

stead·fast, adjective: resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.

It’s a simple definition, but leaves the challenge open to wide interpretation. No matter what genre of photography you prefer, you should be able to find something to represent the concept of steadfast, just it shoot in a black and white. While subject is a concept and may be difficult to represent, don’t forget about the technical aspects of your shot: framing, lighting, composition, and exposure. Your composition should speak to the concept just as much as the subject does.  The shoot and the subject should convey the concept together.

It took me a while to find some examples, not because there was a lack of subjects, but because I wanted to find photos that used composition to represent the concept. For me, each of these examples visually represents the word STEADFAST, and each for different reasons.
110825-F-JP934-063

Neither Nor

Statue of Liberty

Barry Buddon lights - Christmas Eve

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 16: Domestic Bird Portrait – GUEST POST

Finches photographed in a ‘studio’ cage.

Finches photographed in a ‘studio’ cage.

Domestic birds come in many shapes and forms; barnyard chickens, pet finches, ducks, parrots, peacocks and even domestic pigeons. You should be able to find one somewhere, be it caged birds at the pet store or birds at a zoo or exhibition, or maybe you have domestic birds of your own like chickens or a canary.

These shots should be portrait type shots. We aren’t looking for big flocks or birds from a great distance. Aim for a flattering posed shot of one bird. Small groups can make nice portraits too.

Try using treats to get the bird to pose where you want.

Try using treats to get the bird to pose where you want.

First lets look at small birds. Birds in a cage can be shot through an open cage door, if you feel safe doing so, or through the wire. You can make the wire essentially disappear if you get close enough, put the camera right up to the wire and shoot between the bars (rest your lens against the wire). The shallow depth of field from a wide aperture may even blur the wire into non-existence from a little further away. This technique also works on larger cages at the zoo or exhibition.

I shoot between the bars at local exhibitions to get better photos of the chickens. This is a Brown Red Modern Game Bantam rooster.

Brown Red Modern Game Bantam rooster

Brown Red Modern Game Bantam rooster

The problem with getting up and personal with the wire is that you can scare the birds. So go very slow and be patient. Perhaps setup a tripod and let the bird settle down and get used to the camera by its cage. Make sure you aim at a perch that the bird favors. Some birds are curious enough to come down and inspect the camera, make sure you are ready to shoot when that happens.

From further back the cage bars are blurred and Zuko (our light backed Zebra Finch) peers at the camera.

ZukoBarss
With the camera touching the cage I can capture Zuko without bars, although one is visible in the very bottom of this shot.

Zukos

If you shoot through an open door, try to be close enough to discourage the bird from coming out through the door. I find this the best way to shoot my birds because it is easier to get a cleaner shot. Also, you can back off from the cage a little more which is less scary for the bird.

Our canary, Gryphon, came right up and posed for pictures when I opened the door and backed off some. The focus is a bit off because the camera focused on the teacup rather than the twitchy bird.

GryphonWithTeacups

Pay attention to the background! Often cages are busy and messy. Putting a backdrop in the cage is usually not a good option, but you can compromise by putting a backdrop (like a plain sheet) on the outside of the cage to block the view of the room or bright windows. If you are really ambitious you can remove distracting toys and feeders temporarily for the photo shoot.

African Grey Parrot, full body

Larger birds that you take out of the cage can be easier, pose them on a perch or someone’s hand. Pick something un-cluttered for a background or setup a backdrop. Use natural diffused light if you can.

Hen and chicks

Chickens and other barnyard birds can make great domestic bird portraits. Remember to get down at their level for optimal results and again pay attention to the background. You don’t want ugly feed bags or a brightly colored water dish in your shot if you can help it. Food or treats can encourage chickens to pose where you want them, find a good spot to shoot and throw a handful of black sunflower seeds for them.

Our local zoo has peacocks wandering around, they make great photo subjects.

Peacocks

Be patient and take lots of photos! Birds move around a lot, so you need to take lots of shots to get a good one. A higher shutter speed can help freeze the motion as well.

If you absolutely can’t find a good domestic bird to shoot, try to get a nice portrait of a wild bird instead.

A little more about the finch photo at the top: http://buyousef.net/2010/03/04/the-zebra-finches/#more-2286 I would love to get photos like this of my birds, maybe some day I will setup a special cage and try it.

Challenge by Sarah Foote: I’m an amateur photographer from Nova Scotia, Canada, who loves taking pictures everywhere I go, be it camping, wilderness walks, family gatherings or just shots around home.  https://www.facebook.com/teafinchphotos/

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 #photochallenge2015.
  • 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.
Environmental portrait

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 15: PORTRAITS – ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAITS

First off, let’s clarify that this is not a climate change, activism, or save the environment type of challenge. I’m not passing judgement on those issues, it’s just that historically “environmental portraits” are portraits made of people in their normal environment, and for this challenge I’m challenging you to photograph people in their work environment.

Erica - stranger 23/100

This one will challenge you to get out and probably ask to take someone’s portrait whom you don’t know or only know casually.
Some things to consider is your purpose. The goal is a nice portrait of one person. So be prepared to take your shot, before you ask. Have your settings set. If you’re going to document a waiter, take a couple incognito shots of another waiter at another table.

Waiter

Confirm by chimping, that you’re able to catch enough light and the depth of field you desire. Then, in this example, don’t make the photo from your seat! Ask your waiter/waitress from the table, but stand up to make the photograph.

Farmer Portrait

For this challenge, you’ll be depending on available light. Off camera light will lengthen your “setup time” and that just makes the whole process more cumbersome, and uncomfortable for your subject and probably for you too.

Cop

So consider how dark the location’s existing light may effect the exposure. The solution may just be increasing your ISO, or scouting an overhead brighter light that you could stage your subject underneath. But watch for the dark shadows a light from directly above could create.

Tractor

The sample images should give you some ideas about what kinds of workers you could consider. But also scan through your own group of friends, and maybe select one who works somewhere special or unique. Heck, you may be able to get a nice portrait for your friend that they could use professionally. Who knows, if it turns out nice, their employer may consider hiring you to make similar portraits of all their employees!

Another day, another row to hoe
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.
  • Extra Rule for the Portrait Challenges, you must shoot a new subject for each portrait.

[Header Image Credit: Environmental portrait, by craig taylor]

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 14: DEATH IN NATURE

Everything in nature has a life-cycle, a beginning and an end. Death doesn’t always have to be ugly or gruesome. Sometimes vegetation can be just as pretty in its final stages as it is when it blooms. Unfortunately living animals reach us emotionally once their lives have ended.

Steve Troletti Photography: VULTURES / VAUTOURS (Cathartidae) &emdash; Turkey Vulture / Urubu à tête rouge

No matter how sad it may seem, nature always has a purpose in life and in death. Turkey vultures are dependent on death in nature. Their acute sense of smell allows them to find and feed on dead carcasses. They play a valuable role in accelerating the process of decomposition.

Steve Troletti Photography: HERONS, EGRETS, BITTERNS / HÉRONS, AIGRETTES et BUTORS (Ardeidae) &emdash; Great Blue Heron Spear Fishing / Grand Héron harponnant sa proie

Some death occurs through the actions of a predator. In this case a Great Blue Heron harpoons its prey, a fish so that it can feed itself and maybe its young.

Steve Troletti Photography: NATURE & LANDSCAPES &emdash; Happy Leaf in Snow! / Feuille heureuse dans la neige!

In other cases death may just be the end of a cycle as this leaf from an Oak Tree falls in early spring as part of a cycle of life.

Steve Troletti Photography: Montreal - L’Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park 2012 &emdash; Trash Littering the banks of Montreal's Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park

Death may also be symbolic, as in pollution slowly killing off the environment, becoming inhospitable to living creatures.

Steve Troletti Photography: NATURE & LANDSCAPES &emdash; Death Along the River

Nature is not always kind, passed its beauty it can sometimes be cruel. This fish reached the end of the line and will probably be scavenged by Gulls as part of the ongoing cycle of life.

Your Challenge is to document Death in Nature as part of the Cycle of Life. There should be no hand of man involved, keep the setting as natural as possible. There’s always a deeper meaning, a new understanding of nature when we go out in search of death. Feel free to document in a short paragraph the nature value and the impact of your image.

This is not an opportunity to destroy vegetation, kill animals or abuse nature in any shape or form. You must document what you find as an editorial or artistic image. Keep your mind and your eyes open as life and death takes on many forms in nature. (If animal cruelty is detected in any shape or form, it will be reported to authorities.)

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 13: B&W – STREET

We can’t do a year of black and white challenges without including Street Photography. Street photography is about capturing moments of everyday life in public places. Most often street photography takes place in urban areas, but it doesn’t have to. Street photography is about capturing life as it happens in public places. You don’t  need a street, just a public place.

2nd And Mission
If you need inspiration, look no farther than PhotoChallenge.org’s own Jeremy Brooks. Jeremy is one of the most prolific street photographers around. He’s taken thousands of photos in and around San Francisco, and has recently added some street shots from Italy. 

You should also try to watch Finding Vivian Maier. Vivian Maier was an unknown street photographer until after she died in 2009. Some collectors happened on a large portion of her works at a storage auction in Chicago. Once they saw the work, they began to publish it and produced the documentary. 

Untitled
The crucial aspect of street photography is timing. You don’t plan shots, so you have to be ready. Check your camera settings and take some test shots to get a sense of how you want to frame shots, and to make sure the lighting works. While your are trying to capture a moment in time, you still have to pay attention to the technical aspects of the shot. The shot above uses long leading lines and the rule of thirds to frame the person walking. The photographer may have planned out where to shoot, but catching the person in the right place is all about timing.
Big Man
You can pick a location, but your subjects will change. Don’t try to plan shots, just let them happen. Be spontaneous and random. Many times the subject may not know they are being photographed, other times they may be looking right at you. Regardless, be respectful. Getting a good shot isn’t worth making a new enemy. Shooting in public is perfectly legal in the USA, but laws vary around the world.
different transport

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.
Still life with lemons – Maaike Groenewege

2016 PhotoChallenge, Week 12: Still life – Dutch masters – Guest Post

This week’s challenge takes us back to the 17th century, the golden age of Dutch painting. It was in this period that still life (derived from Dutch ‘stilleven’) emerged as a separate category in the fine arts. Since it was forbidden to depict any religious symbols in Protestant Holland, Dutch painters focussed on capturing everyday scenes: flowers, food, dead animals, and manmade objects like glasses, plates an pitchers.

Willem Claesz Heda – Still life with gold plated bowl

Willem Claesz Heda – Still life with gold plated bowl

Still life paintings from this period are characterised by an incredible sense of detail and realism, and painters were true masters of light. As such, they’re a wonderful inspiration for us photographers. This challenge is all about light, and using it to capture different textures, surfaces and reflections. And of course, a still life is a pre-composed image, so go and delve into those second hand shops and look for pewter plates, china, glassware, withered books, perhaps even a skull…

Types of still life

Still life painting comes in different categories. For each category, I’ve listed an example from the 17th century, and one from a contemporary photographer.

Vanitas – Symbolising the vainness of earthly life, with skulls, hourglasses, old books and withered flowers.

 

Vanitas – Harmen Steenwijck

Vanitas – Harmen Steenwijck

 

Vanitas – Marije van der Klugt

Vanitas – Marije van der Klugt

 

Pronk (lit. ‘to show off’): an ostentatious display of the wealth of the owner, with rare foods, luscious colors, rich draperies and precious china and silverware.

 

Still life with aquamanile, vegetables and a nautilus – Willem Kalff

Still life with aquamanile, vegetables and a nautilus – Willem Kalff

 

Still life after Willem Kalff – Levin Rodriguez

Still life after Willem Kalff – Levin Rodriguez


 Ontbijtjes (‘Little breakfasts’), Banketjes (‘little banquets’) and Toebackjes (‘little tobacco scenes’) depict a more sober kind of scene, with one, or just a few, objects of humble origin.

 

Still life with asparagus – Adriaan Coorte

Still life with asparagus – Adriaan Coorte

                                                      

Still life with lemons – Maaike Groenewege

Still life with lemons – Maaike Groenewege

 

I hope you enjoy this challenge and look forward to your take on the Dutch masters. Veel succes!
About Maaike Groenewege

I live in the middle of the Netherlands together with Significant Other (who features regularly in my Photochallenge images) and my two cats Bumper and Pebbles (who are also no stranger to modelling). I’ve been glued to my compact camera for the last ten years, still love my Sony RX-100 and switched to a Nikon D7200 in 2015. I love street photography, conceptual photography, macro and still life.

I’ve just finished the entry course at the Dutch Photo Academy, and will start a degree in Photographic Design at the University of Applied Photography in August 2016. You can find my portfolio at www.maaaike.nl (that’s right, there’s three aaa’s in there. Just for fun J )

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.