2015 CHALLENGE: WEEK 50: B&W SHADOWS

2015 is quickly drawing to a close. The days are getting shorter and the sun is casting long shadows from the southern sky, well, at least in the northern hemisphere. Those long shadows provided the inspirations for this week’s challenge. The challenge this week is to make shadows a primary element of a black and white photo.

“untitled” by AlwaysBreaking

This isn’t a silhouette challenge. Silhouettes show the outline of a back lit subject, but don’t usually show the shadow. You can incorporate a silhouette, but just include the shadow. The shot above is a silhouette, but the shadow provides a mirror-like reflection of the subject. This challenge is about using the shadow as part of the composition.

“Your Attention Please” by Jeremy Brooks

The shot above uses repetition of geometric shapes, but the shadows extend the pattern.

“Donald, Dallas Texas” by Thomas Hawk

Shadows can accent and enhance other elements, like sweeping curves. In the shot below we don’t see the curve of the rail, except for the shadow.

“Play with Long Shadow” by Aikawa Ke

“chase your shadow” by Z S

Since this is my last post for 2015 I want to say thanks to everyone who participates in the challenges each week. You make awesome photos and inspire us to keep PhotoChallenge going.

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 49: MACRO – POINTY THINGS

We are at the last macro challenge of the year. Are you ready? This time we will be shooting pointy things!

“You Lookin’ At Me?” by Amanda Y.

“Prick” by Jeremy Brooks

 

Cactus or other succulents tend to have lots of pointy things. You could point your lens at some of those.

“macro sewing machine needles” by gina pina

You can probably find lots of pointy things around the house as well, like these sewing machine needles.

“thorn” by Janine

“Glistening Raindrops” by Matthew Matheson

Or head outside and look for thorns and other pointy things in nature.

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!

“Steel Crayons” by djfrantic

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 Karen Lee Colangelo

2015 CHALLENGE, WEEK 48: ARCHITECTURE – BARNS

Barn

I’ve exhausted my original list of ideas! So I hit Flickr’s Explore, then Instagram’s Explore, and presto! Barns. How have I never had us shoot barns?

Old Barn

Well, luckily they’re self explanatory. But I don’t want to hear any excuses, even if you live in an urban environment, you can find a barn close by. Many law enforcement agencies have a “mounted devision”, see if you can photograph their barn. I checked out 5 US major metropolitans, three of which should already be snow covered, each had some sort of special barn within 20 miles of downtown. When it comes down to it, if you Google around, you’ll find something. You Southern Hemisphere peeps obviously have nothing to complain about.

Back to the Car Barn

Message me if you’re truly coming up empty, you urbanites. Everyone else probably already knows what barn they’re going to shoot.

Untitled

Now, the challenge embodies more than taking a snapshot of a barn. Whether or not you joined us last week, or years ago, we’ve all been learning new techniques. Go back and scan through some of your own submissions, and get motivated and maybe reminded of some ideas you could apply to photographing your barn.

Hoffman's Dairy Garden - steel barn with pumpkins 2 - 148

I think it would be important to use a tripod for this one. You can shoot it wide. You might have to, based on how close you must be to the barn. Maybe you can shoot it across a field, with a zoom, putting it in a greater context. 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.

        The view from the Good Luck Bar - The Sheds @ 1 Fox

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2015 CHALLENGE, WEEK 47: LONG EXPOSURE NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY

Just had a photographer friend of mine, Eric Constantineau, give a conference at the Montreal Camera Club. It was on Night Photography and Long Exposures. I guess you can all figure out where the inspiration for this week’s Challenge came from.

For this week’s challenge, we’re combining both the night aspect and the long exposures. The reduced light from dusk on makes it easier to get nice long exposures. Anything from stars to automobile lights come to life. A tripod will be necessary to stabilize your camera. A polarized filter or/and a light ND filter wlil help depending on the light conditions.

Steve Troletti Photography: Winter Festivals / Festivals d'hiver &emdash; Ferris Wheel / La Grande Roue

My personal favorite, Ferris Wheels in motion at night. You’ll have to shoot in manual mode. I like to work with 30 second exposures as it gives plenty of time to get plenty of action in front of the lens. I always shoot at my camera’s native ISO to reduce noise in long exposures. Pay attention not to over expose lights as you will loose details in those areas. In this case the long exposure also minimized the appearance of individuals walking by.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Lactantia at night

For the sake of clarity and sharpness, I never recommend completely stepping down your lens. However the more you do the more you will get a star-shape effect from fixed lighting. At first glance this image may not seem like a very long exposure. It’s a 2 minute long exposure. We can see a stream of car lights above the water line. The real catch, thousands of Snow Geese are swimming along in front of me in the water. Except for a white smudgy texture they’re completely gone due to the long exposure time.

Berlin Night

The hustle and bustle of city life offers constant movement by night. From the rotating advertisement cylinder, to the bus light trails and the movement of the clouds, this image has multiple aspects of captured motion.

 

Surprise! Another Fireworks Shot!   Fireworks themselves are captured with long exposures. Although a relatively short, long exposure, will give you amazing results, a much longer controlled exposure allows you to capture multiple facets of a fireworks presentation onto one image. Keep your shutter open in BULB mode. Cover your lens with a black hat or other object. I use a cut down neoprene bottle cooler. Uncover the lens for just the parts you want exposed and cover it up again when you don’t want your scene exposed.     Light Painting 008   Naturally night time long exposures wouldn’t be complete without Light Painting. I would recommend flashlights over the above technique of twirling burning steel wool. If you choose to do so, please read up on all the safety concerns and don’t leave home without a fire extinguisher. Use all the protective gear you may need as this stuff burns clothing, skin, hair and eyes. If you’ve never done this before, I suggest you attend a workshop first. As you can see the possibilities are truly limitless. With the days getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere and not too long in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the perfect time of year to practice your night photography.  

This will be more of an interpretive challenge leaving the door wide open to your imagination. To complete your challenge your image will have to have been taken at night and demonstrate an effect such as movement from the long exposure.

 

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 46: LOOKING DOWN

I’ve spent a lot of time recently 20 feet off the ground on scaffolding working on my house. I was struck by how different my yard and neighborhood looked from up there, so I decided we should change perspective for this week’s challenge. This week your challenge is to shoot looking down. Most people take the bulk of their photos looking straight at the subject with the camera relatively level with the horizon. Most people don’t consider what something looks like from above. This week you need to seek out a shot where you can look down on the subject.

“That one time I climbed from all the way down there up to this spot, in the rain! It was hard but fun ☔” by Dirk Dallas

Changing your perspective often inspires creativity. For the most part we see the world straight on, from our normal point of view, so that’s our default perspective for photography. We don’t often consider alternate points of view, like low angle or high angles. This week try to get directly above your subject and shoot straight down. 

“Christmas 2009” by Piero Fissore

That doesn’t mean you have to climb a cliff or put yourself in danger, you can shoot something at home from above. The point of the challenge isn’t to see who can find the most daring location, it’s to see things from a different point of view.

“Back to nowhere” by Henrik Johansson

Finding a vantage point to take shots from above can be difficult. Look for tall buildings, stairwells, or parking garages – anything that lets you look down. Once you find a spot, think about the composition and framing. Remember to look for the rule of thirds, leading lines, vanishing points, patterns, or other elements of composition.

“Ending the Commute” by Gary H

If you don’t have structures you can use to get a high vantage point, grab ladder and shoot something in your house or yard. Scenes or objects from everyday life change when you see them from above.

“Each Peach, Nectarine, Plum” by Brandon Doran

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 45: MACRO – CAMERA

This week we are back to the macro challenges. The theme for this macro is CAMERA.

“REWIND” by Chris Marquardt

Do you have an older camera laying around anywhere? Maybe an old film camera that looks cool, but no longer works. Or an older digital camera that has been gathering dust? Now is your chance to make that old camera shine!

“Polaroid Model 80B” by Grant Hutchinson

What if you don’t have another camera? You can always use a mirror and make a macro of the camera that is making the macro. Or try using your cell phone to shoot your bigger camera.

“The Camera” by Jeremy Brooks

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!

“Nerd-Tographer Desk Ornament” by Zach Dischner

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.
Symmetry, mmm good.

2015 CHALLENGE WEEK 44: ARCHITECTURAL – INDOOR…

So this week could feel like my latest architectural post, that was actually written quite well by Steve Troletti. But don’t fret. It’s actually going to tap on techniques we’ve learned all throughout this year’s challenges, and should really not be a large challenge for most.

Miller Cottage

I’m introducing the notion that architectural photography, indoors, is really a crossed skill for real estate photography. Ever played around on Zillow, dreaming? Ever actually been looking for a new place? What’s the result? HORRIBLE PHOTOS of the new home. You could actually, if you’ve considered semi-professional or even professional photography, be taking these skills you’ve acquired and applying them to generate revenue.

DSC_0744

Here’s the deal. You either HDR or use real lights, to do it like a pro.

DSC_0764

Here’s my story with “real estate” photography. I considered myself an advanced amateur photographer. My mother saw greater potential in me, and she was an interior designer, retired now. She knew that I could handle the challenge, and asked me to consider becoming her portfolio photographer. As an interior designer, she needed professional shots of all the work she was doing. I mulled it over. I bought a book, actually a couple of books. I realized that I needed just the right wide angle lens for these kinds of shots, and didn’t have it. So, as payment for my first gig, she bought me the lens I needed. I was a Nikon guy then, and the Sigma 10-20mm (there are newer better options out today) was a God-send. It actually became one of my favorite two lenses for all occasions. I dearly miss an ultra wide, now that I’ve switched to the FujiFilm XF system. There’s 3 at the top of my Amazon XT-1 wishlist, in no particular order. FYI. :-) Fast forward, I’m shooting all her stuff, and it was awesome fun. If I’d had the time and gumption, I’d have pursued some more interior design clients, and maybe the higher end real estate clients. Over the years I found a couple of really good folks to follow and learn from. One being Scott Hargis. Just looking at his work, I learn so much. I take his Flickr feed fullscreen and just wander around, learning so much.

SD2013: Middlebury College Kitchen

This week’s challenge is to take what you’ve learned and apply it. I’ll link to a couple of blog posts that will help you more than I can, so read them! Scott’s blog I linked to above is mostly images, but he’s written some good posts as well. Also, he’s got a book you might consider as well, especially if you want to pursue this farther beyond the themed week. He’s all about lighting interiors instead of the HDR method.

Dining Karen & Jim

FYI, my method was to light them as well, and mom’s company simply set up an account at Samy’s Camera, and I called in what I needed for each job, to rent. I started out with the overkill, getting large Prophoto and Broncolor set ups. Such a waste of mom’s money. Once I realized I could achieve all I needed with a Pelican case of speed lights, I’d PocketWizard them all together, and presto I was getting the same results, with smaller, easier to hide, lower cost lights.

However, I think the majority of you will find the challenge easier if you use an HDR method. But here’s the deal, don’t over do the processing. You don’t want me know it’s HDR. This is the time for restraint with this technique. If you have more than one speed light (aka flash) and can control them both with your camera, or even a cheap set of Chinese made triggers, go with that method. 

Lacock Village & Abbey (NT) 25-09-2013

I hope I’ve motivated you to do what we already know how to do, but with a little purpose. If you’re shooting your own home or a friend’s, consider tidying up more than you would normally. Declutter everything. And you might consider removing ANYTHING personal. Let’s buck up and treat this one like you’re trying to sell that room!

20.Wyban.21N.SE.WDC.30jan06

Oh yeah, one more thing…USE A TRIPOD! And try to level the camera. The goal is not angled walls. We want clean lines and everything orderly. The photo above is a great, bad example of how not to do it.

SD2013: West Virginia

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.

[photo credit for featured image: Symmetry, mmmmm good, by Trevor Carpenter]

810_5621-Edit-bw

2015 CHALLENGE WEEK 43: SPOOKY HALLOWEEN INFRARED ANIMATED GIF

VERSION FRANÇAISE / FRENCH VERSION

Here it is, the spookiest and most anticipated PhotoChallenge ever, right in time for Halloween 2015. Your Challenge, if you’re not too afraid to accept it, will be to create the spookiest animated infrared GIF ever.

Steve Troletti Photography: animated gif &emdash;

Every year for Halloween, I create an image for my blog. Last year I created the above image. This year I wanted to do a little something more and share the process as a Challenge for the week of Halloween. Hopefully you’ll find it challenging, rewarding and a great motivation for your creative mind.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Your first step will be to find the Spookiest location for your PhotoChallenge shoot. We chose to setup in front of a Mausoleum at a local cemetery as illustrated in the above Infrared PhotoSphere.  We’ll leave the details of your spooky location up to you. However since this is an Infrared Challenge, you’ll most probably have to stay outdoors in the mid-day sun to maximize you’re exposure capabilities.

For the last two months I’ve given you a heads up on the fact that we will be shooting an Infrared Challenge. Hopefully by now you should have purchased a filter or created one with the DIY video posted above.

Steve Troletti Photography: animated gif &emdash;

Once you’ve chosen your spooky location, you’ll need your spooky subject such as a goblin. In my case my standard issue wildlife photographer camo-pants with my Laguna Beach Hoody complimented my Dollar Store Halloween Mask.

Steve Troletti Photography: animated gif &emdash;

If you’ve been following The 2015 PhotoChallenge and participated in the WEEK 35: Translucent Outdoor Long Exposures Challenge, then you should be able to create an image as pictured above, left. The left image is the result of a long exposure with the subject only exposed for a fraction of the total exposure, thus making it translucent. The right image is done in the same process, a long exposure but with an Infrared Filter fitted to a non-converted DSLR instead of a Neutral Density filter.

Steve Troletti Photography: animated gif &emdash;

Installing a 720nm IR filter on your non-converted camera will have a result equivalent to at least 5 stops of light reduction depending on the hotfilter used by your camera manufacturer. The effect will be similar to that of an ND filter but the image will be red unless you can set an in-camera white balance under IR. Then you will have rusty and copper tones instead a monochromatic reds. A simple B&W conversion will suffice for the challenge. If you wish, you can attempt false IR colors to make everything even more bizarre.

Steve Troletti Photography: animated gif &emdash;

In order to fulfill the challenge you will need to capture a minimum of two images in Infrared. One with just your scene as in SPOOKY IMAGE 1 above. You will also need to capture a second image. This one will be of a translucent ghostly apparition as we’ve practiced in a past challenge. This time we’re just looking for Infrared images processed in B&W to facilitate the challenge and increase the eerie spook factor. This is the simple approach. You can as an alternative shoot your subject elsewhere and with the use of a layer mask animate it atop your original image.

Now that you have your two or more images, it’s time to put them together into one animated gif. Remember the larger the image size and the more images you animate together, the bigger your file size will be. Keep your final image size as small as possible and limit the amount of images animated to no more than four. Processing and saving your image as a grayscale will also decrease the final file size of your B&W image. The above video illustrates the technique to create an animated gif with Photoshop. There are several online animated gif creators that should work. I haven’t tried any but click here to search.

Happy Halloween Steve Troletti Photography

…and voila, by now the above GIF should have completely loaded and you should see the animation of four images in an endless loop. This will be my 2015 Happy Halloween image for my Blog at Steve Troletti Photography.

You should be able to post your animated GIF directly to Google+ or Facebook with no problems. In Flickr you will have to provide the link to the original photo.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

If you want to venture into false color IR, I suggest you take a look at this article by Chris Swarbri

Here’s an other one by John Harte

Here’s a video illustrating one more technique

 

Wishing you all a great Halloween on behalf of the entire PhotoChalenge Team (Trevor, Jeremy, Gary & Myself) Have a great week of Spooky 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 #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.

A special thanks to Eugenie Robitaille Design Media for technical assistance.

 

 

2015 CHALLENGE WEEK 42: BROKEN

For some reason I’ve felt somewhat defeated for the past week. I spent most of today working on my house trying to get repairs done before wet weather arrives, and it did nothing but drain me. So this week the challenge reflects my state of mind. Your challenge is to shoot something broken. You’re looking for something damaged and not working properly, not just old or weathered.

“Mustang damaged, San Bruno Gas Line Explosion, 2010” by Thomas Hawk

Finding something broken shouldn’t be too difficult, so take your time and think about the composition. Consider the position, angle, and placement of your subject in the frame.

“broken macbook home key” by Doctor Rose Garland

The damage can be extensive or it can show a small failure. Also consider the context of damage. Do you want to show a scene, or just focus on what is broken? The image of the Mustang above provides some context, but the image of the glass below doesn’t. Also, notice how the glass uses color to bring out the fractures, while the Mustang and keyboard use black and white to minimize distractions and focus your attention on the main subject.

“broken glass” by  Holger

You also don’t have to find something broken, you can create your shot to convey a message or set a mood. While the theme this week may not be considered “fun”, you can still find inspiration and be creative with something broken. For me, shooting pictures is always fun, regardless of the subject.

“Broken heart” by bored-now

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 41: MACRO – FASTENERS

We are back to a Macro challenge. This week, lets point our lenses at the things that keep it together – fasteners!

“Screwed Again” by Jonathan Cohen

Anything that acts as a fastener is fair game for this week’s challenge. Screws, nails, buttons, tape, velcro, zippers, etc.

by r. nial bradshaw

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!

“lets take some E” by djfrantic

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.

“Velcro” by Hadley Paul Garland