American Bald Eagle

2015 CHALLENGE, WEEK 27 OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY – SYMBOLS of NATIONAL PRIDE!

As you all know it’s 4th of July weekend here in the USA. I’ll take advantage of this 4th of July weekend Challenge to wish a Happy Independence Day weekend to all of my fellow Americans.

Steve Troletti Photography: HAWKS and EAGLES / ÉPERVIERS, BUSES ET AIGLES (Accipitridae) &emdash; Bald Eagle / Pygargue à tête blanche

For many Americans, a great symbol of independence Day in America is the Bald Eagle. It’s also a great symbol for our 4th of July weekend Outdoor Photography Challenge.

The American Flag is also a great Symbol of Independence and National pride for Americans. Although it is the 4th of July weekend in America, I want to expand this Challenge to include our members from all around the world and from every Nationality. Many countries celebrate an Independence Day. I want you to get outdoors and photograph a scene, a symbol of your National Pride.

Around the world National Festivities are often celebrated with fireworks. It may seem simple but fireworks demand a special technique. They also look much better when properly composed with their surroundings.

Steve Troletti Photography: VULTURES / VAUTOURS (Cathartidae) &emdash; Andean Condor / Condor des Andes

It’s not all about flamboyant displays of celebration. We all have a natural heritage, a fauna and flora that is not just indigenous, but a representation of the people who inhabit the land. National Animals and flowers are a great way to share with pride, your natural heritage. The above example, the Andean Condor is Colombia’s National Bird.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Mute Swan / Cygne tuberculé

The Mute Swan happen’s to be both Denmark’s and the United Kingdom’s National Bird. Not surprising as it’s truly a majestic bird.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; North American Beaver on his Lodge / Castor d'Amérique sur sa hutte

National Animals’s aren’t just limited to birds. Canada has the North American Beaver to be proud of. Although some argue that the Polar Bear should replace the Beaver as a National Animal, the North American Beaver still holds it’s title of Canadian Pride.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Happy Leaf in Snow! / Feuille heureuse dans la neige!

Plants, trees and Flowers also make the list of National Symbols of pride. Canada is very well known for it’s Maple Leaf. Present on the Flag, it’s also at the center of an agricultural economy, the Maple Syrup and its by-products.

To give this Challenge more of an editorial feel please include a short paragraph telling us why you chose your subject. Share with us the National Pride related to your image.

This is a totally OUTDOOR Challenge. It doesn’t have to be 100% nature as man-made objects are permitted.  If you’re looking for a list of National Animals and Plants, just do a search related to your country of choice.

National Animals on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_animals

National Flower Emblems on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floral_emblem

If you’re going to photograph fireworks here are a few tips from Geoff Lawrence: TIPS for photographing Fireworks: http://www.geofflawrence.com/photographing_fireworks.html

 

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 26 – NUMBERS: ADDRESS

We are back to the “Numbers” theme, and this week we are going to shoot an address.

“117 Fern” by Darwin Bell

For this challenge, try to find an address that is interesting. The numbers should be the most obvious part of the image, but you can include other surrounding details as well.

“Address: YYC 1304″ by Grant Hutchinson

Addresses are found everywhere, so you won’t have trouble finding subject matter. Take some time to look around you this week and show us the most interesting address you find.

“Custom Address Sign 252″ by Margaret Almon

  • 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.

“KK Poon 6″ by Jeremy Brooks

 

2015 Challenge, Week 25 – MACRO: METAL

It’s time for more macro fun! This week, we will be shooting macros of something metal.

“water” by Robert Parviainen

Showing metal objects close can reveal interesting details and make them look like something completely different. If you shoot with a large aperture, you can get some great bokeh effects along with the object.

 

“Iridescent” by tanakawho

“Abstract Macro #32″ by David Hawkins-Weeks

Ordinary objects can reveal interesting details when a macro lens is used to shoot them. Not everything will become abstract; some things remain very recognizable.

 

“Weakest Link” by Michael Pardo

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!

“Brushed Metal Bracelet” by Albert Lynn

  • 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 24 – ARCHITECTURE: SIGNAGE

Everywhere you look you see signs. Traffic signs, retail signs, neon signs, church signs, etc. They are everywhere, and interestingly enough, they all serve an important purpose. They communicate a message. They label the establishment, and sometimes they’re beautiful or creative or just plain awesome!

Deano's Motel Giant Burgers to Go Circus Liquor

I want you to work hard for this one. Please don’t just go take a photo of your favorite burger joint’s sign. Unless of course that sign is truly a great sign. I’m less interested in the value of the establishment to you and more interested in the caliber of the sign. In many communities there are wonderful traditional sign makers, with true artistic skill that create an beautiful landscape of style throughout the community. This is true in Arroyo Grande, CA. It’s almost as if they have an approval committee in the city, to make sure that all their signs have a hint of western expansion, ghost town appearance.

Randy's Donuts, Plate 4

You can’t ignore the notion that neon signs are unto themselves. We could almost do neon as a separate category. And we just may do that, down the road. I know Jeremy would love that.

Blue Skies The Hat, Scene 4

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.

Darth Neon

photosphere

2015 CHALLENGE, WEEK 23 OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY – PhotoSpheres & 360 Degree Panoramas

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Here’s what we call a photosphere. Although more popular with Android Phone users, I believe the concept was initially pushed forward by real-estate photographers who captured a scene with 4 images from an 8mm lens mounted to a full frame DSLR. Some pros even use computer controlled motorized panoramic heads. It would all be stitched in a professional software solution like KOLOR. The ability to create photospheres is now hitting mainstream thanks to Google. It has also expanded to IOS devices (IOS APP) and a variety of other devices. Small cameras like the Ricoh Theta are specifically designed to capture full spherical images.

photosphere

The images in their rectangular form are called equirectangular images. To be viewed in their spherical form most photographers upload them to Google +, Google Views and/or share them on the Theta360 web site using the Ricoh application. If your equirectangular image was created with a DSLR instead of an Android phone, iPhone or an other compatible device, you will need to add XMP metadata information to your image before it can correctly be interpreted by Google Maps or the Ricoh Theta application. To do so google provides you with the tools on this web site : http://photo-sphere.appspot.com/

Once the correct information is entered and the XMP metadate updated, you can upload your equirectangular images to google maps and it will display as a photosphere with location information. You can also upload your images to Google+ and the Google+ API will take care of displaying your photosphere correctly.

There’s also your 360 degree panoramic images. They’re at times called a Cylindrical Panorama. Basically it’s a 360 degree view around you without the view of what is above you or below you. These are easier to create with a DSLR or any other camera. They can be merged and processed easily in Photoshop or with an application similar to Microsoft’s Image Composite Editor (ICE). Again the easiest way is to use a mobile phone. The android camera app has it built-in. I created the above 360 panorama with my Google Nexus 4. When I create them with my DSLR I like using a 50mm lens.

Here are a few resources for you:

  1. Al Tompkins has an article on PhotoSpheres : http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/visuals/280433/photo-sphere-a-free-and-simple-tool-gives-interactivity-and-depth-to-stories/
  2. Google has a reference page for creating PhotoSpheres and 360 Panoramic images on Google Views : https://support.google.com/maps/answer/3203091?hl=en
  3. KOLOR has some tutorials for shooting handheld and with mechanical assistance : http://www.kolor.com/panoramas/#start

 

YOUR CHALLENGE DEFINED

Since this is Outdoor Photography, we’re looking for this week’s challenge to be completed in an outdoor location. Due to the complexity this challenge may present you are free to choose an urban or natural setting.

Do some research, plan and choose your objective. Will you be creating a Photosphere or 360 degree panorama? A few searches on the internet like “photosphere with camera ***” and “how to create a photosphere with camera ***” should lead you in the right direction.

If you find technical resources that you wish to share that can help your fellow PhotoChallenge members, please feel free to share those links on the PhotoChallenge page @ https://www.facebook.com/photochallenge.org

Since Facebook and Flickr do not support spherical images, you only need to post the flat image of your 360 panorama or the equirectangular image. If you have a link to the animated spherical or cylindrical view on Google, Ricoh Theta 360 or other supported site, please include the link for all to enjoy.

I hope you’re all up to this Challenge. Don’t get discouraged. My first ever 360 panorama was not a great success, but I still like it.
 

I like to create and use Photospheres for my blog. I find it to be a rich multimedia tool that helps immerse my audience in ways that you just can’t accomplish with video and still images. I hope you enjoy the experience of creating Photospheres and 360 Degree Panoramas as much as I do.

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 22: NUMBERS – GEOMETRY

For this week, the numbers challenge will be more conceptual and focus on a branch of mathematics: Geometry.  Many familiar concepts from geometry translate into elements of composition in photography: lines, shapes, repeating patterns, and position. Your challenge this week is to shoot something illustrating geometry.

“Turn Left” by Jeremy Brooks

Shapes, like circles and squares, are probably the most basic representation of geometry in photography.  Buildings and architectural elements with strong lines and angles will make good subjects this week.

“Squares” by Jonanthan Cohen

In many cases, using black and white will draw attention to the shapes and lines in a composition, as in the first two examples. The lack of color brings out the shapes. But color can also make shapes standout. The sharp contrast of the orange lights against black background in the shot below highlights the repetition of circles, and their arrangement on a grid.

“Transformative” by Thomas Hawk

Repetition and patterns are strong compositional elements for photography. Combine that with other elements, like arcs, and the shot becomes entirely about the geometry. The shot below also uses color to emphasize the geometry.

“Geometry” by David Martin

So focus your attention this week on shapes, lines, and patterns.

“hexocular” by Joe

You don’t have to use buildings – lines, patterns, and repetition are around us.

“Crop Lines” 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 21: MACRO – WRITE

We are back to the Macro theme, and this time around we have a relatively open theme: WRITE! What does that mean to you? There are obvious interpretations, such as a writing instrument, or something written down.

“E7D_1336″ by Michael Provines

“P1000877″ by Butch Dalisay

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!

“MacroMondays_Contradictions 004″ by VinceFL

This week is about being creative! Think about what “write” means to you, and then interpret that using a macro lens.

“A new writing instrument?” by l.dyer

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 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.