2015 Challenge, WEEK 20: ARCHITECTURE – Stairwell 

Embarcadero Stairwell

Embarcadero Stairwell by John Wright

Stairwells were once an important part of the architect’s work. They used their artistry to display more beauty in their work. Today a stairwell isn’t designed, other than for structural integrity. They’re coded into simplicity, and often just tucked away for escape.

Kroeber Stairwell From Above We All Fall in Love Sometimes

I’d love it if you visit a local older building like a courthouse or city government building. Maybe an older church. This is to push you from settling.

Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin (Stairwell) Render of Our Stairwell Looking Up

Many stairwells are boring. If that’s all you have access to, don’t fret. Use some of the techniques you’ve learned in some of the other challenges to create something beautiful. The example photos I’m posting are a diverse set of stairwells.

Handley Library Stairwell

Indoors our outdoors, you’ll find great examples. Just don’t settle scout about some, to be sure you’re going to submit the best shot you can create.

Beckwith Commercial Block (1882) - interior detail

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 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.
Happy Mother's Day from Pesto the Parakeet and the 2015 PhotoChallenge Team

2015 Challenge, Week 19 OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY – MOTHER NATURE

Just like last year, it’s week 19 and it’s Mother’s Day in quite a few spots around the world. Again, I see no better theme than MOTHER NATURE for our Week 19 Challenge. I figured we’d stick with tradition and make it an open theme in order to give each an every 2015 PhotoChallenge participant a chance to portray MOTHER NATURE their way. No matter if you live in a city or the backwoods, Mother Nature impacts all of our daily lives.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Rosaceae, Potentilla visianii

The first thing that may come to mind are flowers for Mother’s Day! Although many of the May flowers offered for mother’s day aren’t wild flowers, try and focus on something from Mother Nature. Like this alpine flower,  Rosaceae (Potentilla visianii), a gift from nature found in the eastern Alps. Flowers can be photographed with a variety of lenses using a variety of techniques. Although I chose a 300mm lens, a macro lens or even a small zoom (I.E. 18-55mm) would have produced great images of this flower.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Swiss Mushrooms / Champignons Suisse

It’s not just the pretty flowers that are growing. In more humid wooded areas, mushrooms are sporing. Fungus of all kinds can make for interesting photo subjects. These furry looking mushrooms from Switzerland were hidden at the base of a dead tree. A rodent eating the mushroom caught my attention as it scurried away. For most mushrooms you’ll need to get low to the ground. In this case I used a 200mm macro lens. I used my tripod all the way low to the ground. The tripod and a remote release were necessary due to the low light conditions. I also used a small reflector to unblock some shadows.

Steve Troletti Photography: Insects / Insectes / Insecta &emdash; Gerridae / gerrid�s

This water strider (Gerridae) is a good example of some of the first insects we can find in ponds, lakes and wetlands. They don’t stay still for very long, making them a true challenge to photograph! You’ll be amazed at how much detail there are on some insects as you get close and personal. For this image I simply laid down on a small deck overhanging a pond in Northern Quebec (Eastern Canada). There were plenty of insects, spiders and amphibians to photograph. I hand help my camera and waited for interesting subjects to show up. I also used a polarized filter to reduce certain reflections. Circular polarizing filter is a very handy tool when photographing over water.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Cooper's Hawk Mating / Accouplement d'Éperviers de Cooper

This time of year is also the mating season for many species. Keep your eyes open as insects, amphibians, mammals and birds, like these Cooper’s Hawks, are likely to be mating. In most cases You’ll have to be patient or lucky. Observing wildlife in a calm manner will give you great insight on what’s going on around you. Standing still in a specific area for an extended period of time can reveal a great deal of action you would have just missed if you were simply to walk by.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; The Fox and Squirrel... / Le renard et l'écureuil ...

Be aware of your surroundings at all times and have your camera ready for action. Mother Nature can without any warning present you with the best photo opportunities. As beautiful as Mother Nature may be, it sometimes can present itself in cruel and unusual ways.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; The Hunt! / La Chasse!

Predator and prey scenarios come in all shapes and sizes. They are as likely to occur in or on water, land or the sky above you. The good news is this squirrel made it through without a scratch, just a few rattled nerves…

La femelle cardinale rouge déjà au nid - Parc-nature de l'Ile-de-la-Visitation

Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. Please be extremely considerate of nesting birds and their nests keeping a good distance away, not to overly stress the bird. The birds choose their nesting area carefully. Breaking and removing branches to take a better picture will only render the nest more vulnerable to predators.

Also take time to familiarize yourself with local wildlife and plants. Some animals can present a danger, especially if protecting their young. Spiders and Snakes, especially hard to see baby snakes can present a great danger due to their venom. It’s always better to keep a safe distance from any animal no matter how sweet and innocent it may seem. Animals should not be fed. Feeding animals often encourages them to approach humans, increasing the risk of injury from individuals who may appreciate them less than you might. Most animals in rescue centers get there due to an encounter with humans.

Get acquainted with plants like Poisson Oak and Poisson Ivy or any other dangerous plants in your area. Some plants not only represent a risk of skin irritation but can also kill you if touched or ingested. Learn to identify the dangerous plants in your area.

The skies the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer!

As this is Nature and wildlife Photography, try to keep human objects such as houses, bridges and fences out of your images as much as possible. There’s often a way to compose an image to give the illusion of complete nature without using Photoshop.

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

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 #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.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

 

2015 CHALLENGE, WEEK 18: NUMBERS – 10 to 100

Are you ready for another Numbers challenge? This week your challenge is to shoot numbers between 10 and 100.

“… numerous numbers” by Carlo Scherer

Any number, or group of numbers will do. The subject is completely up to you, as long as it has a number in it. Numbers don’t have to be numerals. You can shoot words of a number, or Roman numerals.

“98” by AlwaysBreaking

Be creative with your composition. Experiment with angles and depth of field.

“17 18″ by _namtaf_

You also don’t have to make the shot about the number. The shot below is really about a guy on a train, looking lonely. The number 26 happens to be in the shot, but isn’t the primary subject.

“numbers………….” by piotr mamnaimieo

Of course there is also nothing wrong with making your shoot be entirely about the numbers.

“Numbers…” by Mervyn Chua

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 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2015 Challenge, Week 17: MACRO – HUMAN BODY

Are you ready for another macro challenge? There are no excuses for not being able to find a subject this week, since everyone has one of these. This week, we are going to do a macro of the human body.

“Eye ii” by Andreia

The eye is a good candidate for macro images. But don’t limit yourself to just the eye.

“[.]” by Dario Cogliati

Macro images of the body can take on a wonderful abstract quality. Rendering the image in black and white can help to emphasize the abstract quality of the image, removing the familiar skin tone from the image.

“Untitled” by Doug Geisler

Take your time this week and experiment with angles, light, and focus. See what kind of interesting images you can produce, then show us your best one.

“Untitled” by ▲ r n o

As a reminder: Macro photography is a type of close-up photography. Generally it means that the image on the sensor is life-size or greater. If you have a macro lens or a camera with a macro setting, you can use that. If you have a mid-range focal length lens, such as a 50mm, you can make a “poor man’s macro” by flipping it around and holding it against the camera body. Focus is achieved by moving the entire assembly close to the subject. If you are using a smartphone, the camera might have a macro focus option, or you can use something like an Olloclip macro lens. If you don’t have any macro lens options, just go for a close up image, and do what you can. Remember, photochallenge is about learning new stuff and having fun!

“Moist” by Keith Constable

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 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2015 Challenge, Week 16 : ARCHITECTURE – DOORWAYS

So I’m excited to be back writing for my own sub-theme. I’ve loved architectural photography for a very long time. Some of the only paid work I’ve had was shooting my mother’s portfolio, she’s a retired Interior Designer. It’s basically indoor architectural photography. I loved the challenge, and she always paid me generously. To do it right, I picked up a few books that really opened my eyes.

Doorway Brindisi man in a door in barcelona

Issues like perspective were the first thing that really stepped up my quality. Simply using the right wide angle, and making sure to be level. I chose to use a very tall and short tripod, so that I could get the level just right. This doesn’t mean you need to go spend money, just be aware of being level, to help it present well. I have many examples in this post, so I’ll try to pair them up to save room. But read below, a wide angle isn’t necessary for this theme.

Untitled Options

Let’s not forget that not all doorways must be old, or exquisite. Some evoke emotion. Some are simply monotonous and almost forgetful. Large cathedrals can always be a beautiful submission.

Black and Blue Doorway

Make sure to drag your camera along everywhere, even if you’re just running errands. You never know what you’ll see, with this theme on the brain. I love how my brain switches between themes, and I become so much more aware of things.

Some doorways have a larger meaning. Feel free to share with us deeper meaning from your faith or past.

M. E. Church, Castle Rock, Colorado Not Jesus' tomb, but a tomb none the less.

On a side note, my recent setbacks have really limited my ability to contribute here. What’s great is that I’ve never felt anything but support, and for that I’m super grateful. Also, all the chemo I’ve had has slowed me down a bit, and we’re working to sharpen up my brain again. And you all should know that my yearning to get out and shoot, and think critically is and has been a wonderful help. The creative outlet of making this art is quite immeasurable. Thanks for your part!

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 #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.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.
  • Recently we’ve been encouraging folks to record their EXIF data and share it when you post. That’s the lens length, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. We al learn much more from you if you share.
Great Blue Heron landing

2015 Challenge, Week 15 : OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY – MIGRATING BIRDS

The Spring bird migration is finally in full swing and will hit the Northern States and Canada this weekend. While the Northern Hemisphere is in Spring Migration, Fall migration is taking place in the Southern Hemisphere. This week we’ll focus on the newly arriving species for each of our very own localities.

For those of you who are new to this, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has you covered in the USA with their migration forecasts : http://birdcast.info/forecast/regional-migration-forecast-10-17-april/ I’m sure similar information is available on the web for just about every region in the world

Large birds of prey to the minuscule hummingbirds are in route to their summer nesting grounds. Some have a yearly migration route as far as Argentina to Northern Canada and back. In the Greater Montreal Area Owls, Red Polls, Juncos, etc… head north in Spring to make room for their Southern Cousin’s arrival.

Red-winged blackbird - First migrant

Red-winged blackbird – First migrant

One of our early migrants is the Red-winged blackbird. They huddle by the bird-feeders hoping for a warmer day. They usually get caught in unpredictable weather from late winter storms to extremely cold nights.

Black duck fending off Mallard Duck

Black duck fending off Mallard Duck

The most common ducks are quick to follow. With Spring fever in the air territorial conflicts are quick to come about.

Canada Goose Feeding

Canada Goose Feeding

Geese aren’t far behind. These large water fowls not only look for water but feed on grass and the remains of last year’s crops until a new vegetation starts to flourish.

Great Blue Heron landing

Great Blue Heron landing

As soon as a creek melts open the Great Blue Heron makes its presence known. One of the last herons to leave in December, it promptly makes its way back in early Spring.

Black-crowned night heron

Black-crowned night heron

I was however very surprised to find this Black-crowned night heron perched in a tree so early on in the season.

Great egret

Great egret

Even more surprising was this Great egret. All of these herons have an inherent fear of man. Your presence may spook them, so be careful. If they fly away, just settle in and be patient. If there’s food they will be back. Just avoid loud noises and jerky movement.

Mating Lori parakeets

Mating Lori parakeets

Some birds are already mating and nest building. It’s important to keep a respectable distance to totally minimize our impact on these birds. We don’t want to stress them to the point where they leave their nesting grounds, especially if eggs are already in the nest.

Please show the up-most in respect for our feathered friends. We want to capture a natural looking image of a relaxed bird. A stressed animal will show in your images and lower the appeal all together. Take time to observe the birds and get familiar with them. Birds are curious in nature and if you’re patient, still and quiet, you’ll be rewarded.

This Photo Challenge is entirely about having FUN OUTDOORS! PLEASE KEEP MAN MADE ITEMS OUT of your image as this theme is entirely NATURE based.

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 #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.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2015 Challenge, Week 14: NUMBERS – MEASUREMENT

It’s time for another numbers challenge. This week you’ll be shooting measurements. We use measurements in all aspects of life. We measure time in years, hours, minutes, and seconds. When you travel, distance is measured miles or kilometers. When you cook, you measure out ingredients. For your shot this week shoot anything related to numerical measurement.

“proper measure(ment)” by Barbara Krawcowicz

Some measurements are obvious, and part of your everyday life. Rulers and measuring tapes can be found in pretty much any house. Even commonplace items can make great shots by controlling the depth of field and experimenting with framing.

“Ruler” by
Scott Akerman

These days many measurements are digital, but older devices that used analog measurement might make more interesting subjects.

“A deep dive into the wonders of Skellville: RPM meter” by Kevin Dooley

Digital measurements show you an exact value and can provide a creative shot with the right framing and perspective.

“I Need to Lose Weight!!!” by Benson Kua

The shot below shows the odometer (actual distance traveled) and the speedometer (used to measure speed). Any number that has anything to do with measurement is fair game this week. It can be actual measurement or the device used to make a measurement.

by AlwaysBreaking

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 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

 

2015 Challenge, Week 13: MACRO – BATHROOM

It’s been four weeks since the last macro challenge. This time, we are going to find something interesting in a specific room of the house – the bathroom! Have you ever looked around your bathroom for interesting photographic opportunities? If not, you might be in for a surprise.

“Toothbrush Bristles” by William Warby

Everyday items take on a new dimension when photographed close up. Take a look around your bathroom. See what ordinary things you can transform.

“Untitled” by [Jim]

As a reminder: Macro photography is a type of close-up photography. Generally it means that the image on the sensor is life-size or greater. If you have a macro lens or a camera with a macro setting, you can use that. If you have a mid-range focal length lens, such as a 50mm, you can make a “poor man’s macro” by flipping it around and holding it against the camera body. Focus is achieved by moving the entire assembly close to the subject. If you are using a smartphone, the camera might have a macro focus option, or you can use something like an Olloclip macro lens. If you don’t have any macro lens options, just go for a close up image, and do what you can. Remember, photochallenge is about learning new stuff and having fun!

“Sink” by Vivian Chen

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 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

“Untitled” by Ben Roffer

2015 Challenge, Week 12 : ARCHITECTURE – WINDOWS LOOKING OUT

We sometimes think of Architectural photography as looking at a building from the outside. A great deal of Architectural engineering and design is often invested in giving a look from the inside to the outside. Windows and glass paneling connects us with the outside world, illuminating the indoors and often enhancing its appearance

Coit Tower City View

Not all windows have glass panes. Many older structures in Europe and the Middle-East have but openings carved out of the structure and protected by shutters when necessary. I find it connects us better with the world outside our four walls.

NYC Window View (a la Edward Hopper)

Not all windows give us the dream view we’re all contemplating. For some it’s but the hustle and bustle of urban life. This New York City hotel Room view is the perfect example.

Pier Window

Even this abandoned building on the peer has a dream view through it’s industrial windows that is the envy of many Malibu homes.

I'm a young one stuck in the thoughts of an old one's head. (205)

You can add portraiture to your architectural image thus enhancing the sense of being and of welfare.

Breakfast with a View
At times Photo-Realistic HDR techniques of two or more images are needed to fully capture the ambiance of a room. The brightly lit outdoor scene needs to be balanced with the poorly lit view of the room.

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 #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.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.
HAKA

2015 Challenge, Week 11 : OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY – HAKA

This week I decided to change things around a bit. I still want to get you outdoors since this is outdoor photography. I’m bringing back a theme from 2013, the HAKA, also known as the Maori war dance. Rooted in ancient polynesian culture, the HAKA has been brought back to life with the ALL BLACKS, New Zealand’s national Rugby Team.

Wikipedia describes the HAKA as; The Haka (plural is the same as singular: haka) is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.

HAKA positions

For those of you into Rugby, the All Blacks Rugby team performs a ritual HAKA prior to every game. The first step will be to familiarize yourself with the various positions of the HAKA. Although the WHAKA is the most commonly used position, have fun experimenting. The more participants you get in your photo the better it will be!

Backlit HAKA

Since this is an OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE, the setting is as important as the models performing the HAKA. Take care in finding the perfect outdoor spot for your HAKA. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different lighting. Backlit subjects and silhouettes will add a creative touch to your HAKA as well as give anonymity to a shy participant.

HAY HAKA

Just because you’re the photographer doesn’t mean you can’t participate. Don’t forget your tripod, set your camera timer and join your HAKA.

Steve and Francois HAKA

Not all HAKA pictures have to be planned ahead and organized. Some can be spontaneous and just as much fun to make.

HAKA Princess

This Photo Challenge is entirely about having FUN OUTDOORS! Get creative and have fun with family and friends creating the best HAKA ever.

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 #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.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.