Tag Archives: photochallenge

Featured image by Rebecca Krebs – Fabiola – CC – https://www.flickr.com/photos/missturner/17102516750/

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 39: PORTRAITS IN NATURE

Gary and I are filling in for Trevor on the Portrait Challenges. Portraiture is far from my forte, and this one kept me up all night as I tried to come up with something new and unique in order to break the monotony of portraits. Being outdoors in the wilderness for the better part of my days, I figured Nature could be an intricate part of a portrait, not just a background, but a prop for your subject to immerse in.

toddler nature

Being an editorial photographer, the first thing that comes to my mind is documenting a discovery experience in nature. Children’s expression as they discover nature can be just priceless.

Face of the Nature

Framing a child with leaves can enhance a look of innocence. Leaves have a tendency to reflect light, so pay attention as to not let those reflections distract from your subject. Using a polarized filter can also help. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your light by using reflectors and diffusers…

Tina in Field

Blurred out foreground vegetation can add depth and mood to your portrait. Pay attention to direct sunlight on your subject, a diffuser can soften the light. Take great care in properly orienting your subject so the light is just right for the photograph you want to create.

Untitled

Not all vegetation needs to be lush and green, dried out vegetation can add a more dramatic impact to your image. Post processing, contrast and monochrome tones can further enhance the impact.

Serie :: the Children of Ilúvatar 2

Don’t be afraid to create a fantasy scene, nature can provide the ideal setting to let your imagination run wild.

November sun

At times nature can bring on such a sensation of pleasure that it just needs to be photographed and immortalized.

The original goal of the portrait challenges, as introduced by Trevor, was to use a different subject at every challenge. This challenge is as much a great opportunity for a self portrait as it is a great family activity in the great outdoors.

Collapsible reflectors and diffusers are a great tool as well as a polarized filter. If you can get your subject to stay absolutely still by running water, a VND or ND filter can create some amazing effects.

As usual, I always recommend a tripod. It allows you to take your time, think and experiment.

When outdoors please take great care, nature can have a few surprises waiting for you. Educate yourself on plants, insects and animals that can harm you or at times kill you. Don’t rely on what you once knew, nature is changing and adapting to changing climate. Plants like Giant Hogweed can now be found in places you’d least expect. Insecticides based on essential oils such as lemon eucalyptus can protect you from ticks and mosquitos and are less harmful than DEET based products for humans and their pet companions.

hallowwen

Coming this October, a month long PhotoChallenge for Halloween!

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.

 

Featured image by Rebecca Krebs – Fabiola – CC – https://www.flickr.com/photos/missturner/17102516750/

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 34: NIGHT SKY SCENIC

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

Milky Way goodness

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

Heavens Above

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

'Last Stop Lights' - Mosfell, Iceland

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

Sydney Harbour reflections

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

Bridge to the City

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

LoL (Light on Louvre)

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

 

Tips, tricks and necessities…

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

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

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

 

The rules are pretty simple:

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

 

 

 

2016 PhotoChallenge Week 1: B&W – MINIMALISM

Welcome to the the 2016 PhotoChallenge! Like last year, Trevor, Steve, and I will each stick to a theme throughout the year. My theme for the year goes back to the roots of photography: black and white. The subject matter will change and will vary widely, but will be designed to emphasize aspects of black and white photography.

I took a photography class many, many years ago in high school and fell in love with black and white. That was before digital photography, so I spent a lot of hours in the dark room, and seeing my images appear on paper hooked me. Now my daughter is taking photography in high school and got a Pentax K-1000 film camera for Christmas. I guess she was the inspiration for my 2016 theme. Seeing her film photos brought me back to the darkroom. I plan on going back to my roots this year and building a dark room out in the garage, so might even use film for some of the challenges.

We’ll get 2016 started with MINIMALISM. For minimalism you want to keep the shot as simple as possible. Minimalism in photography follows the same general principles of minimalist art by focusing on color, lines, shapes, and geometry to convey meaning. Since this is a black and white challenge, color won’t be something you can use. Your goal is to reduce the number of elements and keep the photo as simple as possible while focusing on the composition.
on the deck

Minimalism in photography often means isolating a subject from the surroundings, or picking subjects is stark or simple environments. In the example above, the photographer isolated a single leaf, but there were likely many more leaves on the deck. Isolation can be a key to minimalism, but this shot also employs strong compositional elements and contrast to convey a since of isolation. The deck lines divide the frame into three parts (rule of odds) and the placement of the leaf follows the rule of thirds.

All You Need is Money and Nerves of Steel

Lines and contrast are often used in minimalist photography. Lines lead your eye through a frame while contrast can be used to strengthen those lines. The shot above uses leading lines to convey a sense of the infinite. The shot below also uses lines and contrast, but conveys an entirely different feeling.

There's Love If You Want It

Minimalism often focuses on shapes, and shadows emphasize shapes. The shot below uses the repetitive shadows of a fence, but disrupts that repetition with a solitary bird.
rail fence
Minimalism, like all photography and art, means something different to each person. You can choose to find a subject, like the leaf, or focus on lines and shapes.

An open door

For me, minimalism is about removing distractions and focusing on one thing. With minimalism less is more – the simpler, the better. Keep your eye out for shapes and strong lines, then frame the shot to emphasize a single element.

If you need more inspiration for minimalism, here are a few links:

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 and #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 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

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.

2015 Challenge, Week 10: NUMBERS – 50mm

In many ways photography boils down to numbers. The F-stop, shutter speed, ISO, and focal length all determine the technical aspects of a shot. This week your challenge is to use a single focal length: 50mm. The subject is wide open. Shoot anything you want, but shoot it at a 50mm focal length. If you have prime 50mm lens, use that. If you only have a zoom lens, set the zoom as close to 50 as you can get it.

(Edit) If you have no control over your zoom, here’s an alternate challenge: Shoot any number that’s a multiple of 50.

“Pastel (

Helios 77M-4 50mm f1.8 m42)” by Sorin Mutu With the proliferation of zoom lenses and camera kits, it’s easy to experiment with framing by simply changing your zoom. Using a single focal length forces you to move to try different compositions. When you move, you see things differently and may come up with a better shot. Spending a week with a single focal length will change your perspective on framing.

“Canon EF 50mm F1.4 Testshot” by 55Laney69

Before zoom lenses became the norm, 50mm was a standard lens. Every photographer had a 50mm lens, for good reason. 50mm allows you to shoot a wide range of subjects. It may be the most versatile focal length there is.

“50mm Chicago” by Brian Koprowski

You can everything shoot from landscapes to portraits with a 50mm. They also perform well in all lighting conditions.

“Dibs the Cat” by Derrick Story

If you don’t own 50mm prime lens, I highly recommend getting one. Prime lenses are generally sharper than zoom lenses. I have a 50mm prime lens that is my first choice. It’s tack sharp and goes down to F1.4. But if you don’t have one, use what you have. All DSLR kits come with a zoom that will allow you to shoot at (or near) 50mm.

“Bubble Nose” by Bill Bumgarner

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 6: NUMBERS – Prime Numbers

This week your challenge is to shoot a specific type of number – a prime number. For those that need a refresher on prime numbers:

A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself.

That’s the definition of a prime number from Google, and you’re probably familiar with the first few: 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, etc. I expect we’ll see a lot of shots with those numbers, but if you what to really challenge yourself, here’s a list of prime numbers to 1000: http://primes.utm.edu/lists/small/1000.txt

For this challenge shoot actual numbers, not a group objects. This challenge is about the actual numbers.

“7” by Martin Gommel

You can shoot the prime alone, or in a group of other numbers. You might even get lucky and get multiple primes in the same shot, like the one below.

“[8/52] 47 45 43 41e” by tomekmusicv

Remember to think about the technical aspects of the shot, not just the number. The shot below uses depth of field to focus attention on a specific number. Also notice the lighting. It’s natural light, but comes from behind so the frost stands out.

“29, 83, 6” by Franz Jachim

The shot below uses repetition and lines, as well as depth of field. Also note that the numbers are not the subject, they are just an accent that breaks up the color.

“Seats ready for people_Design Museum Copenhagen” by Rob Deutscher

If you like math, shooting prime numbers should add some enjoyment to the challenge. Maybe we’ll even see some creative shots based on mathematics. I just like prime numbers. They feel natural to me, and I tend to notice them more than other numbers.

“13” by Alexander Makarov

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) per theme shot during the week of the challenge 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 2: NUMBERS – 10 and Under

The first week of 2015 flew by, now it’s time to introduce the second theme for the year – Numbers. This year I’ll posting themes that have to do with numbers. In many ways numbers define our lives. We count our age (north of 40), size of our family (5 in my house), our weight (for good or bad), anniversaries (married 22 years), employment history (6 jobs) – just about everything can be described in some way by numbers.

Even photography is defined by numbers: shutter speed, F-stop, focal length, ISO,  memory card, sensor megapixels, and, well, you get the idea.

For this week we’ll keep it basic – take a photo of a number 10 or under. There is one constraint: no addresses. Every home and business has a street address so those are easy. Your challenge is to find a number, then make an interesting shot. You can take a picture of a single number, or a group of numbers, as long as the number(s) are 10 or lower.

“Numbers..” by Søren Rajczyk

As you frame your shoot, think about the technical aspects of your composition. The shot above frames a repeating pattern with a strong leading line. The use of black and white enhances the lines and emphasizes the tones. You can imagine the numbers continuing forever.

“Numbers in the orange” by Leonid Mamchenkov

This shot also uses repetition with lines, but contrasts the brightly colored seats with the small, black circles holding the numbers.

“25 / 52 Numbers” by Sergio García Moratilla

You can also use depth of field to focus attention on a specific part of the frame.

Numbers sound like simple subjects, and they are. The challenge isn’t in the number – it’s in taking something that is commonplace and looking at it in a new way. With the subject determined, your challenge is in the composition. Don’t just snap a picture of the first number you find. Get creative and focus on the composition. We all will use the same numbers, but each of us will create a different photo.

“4 Plane” by AlwaysBreaking

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 1: MACRO – KITCHEN

Welcome to the 2015 Challenge! Are you ready for another year of challenges? During 2015, each of the four Photochallenge authors will be sticking to a theme, and presenting challenges based on that theme. My theme for the year will be MACRO. This week, lets look for macro photography opportunities in the kitchen.

“co-dependent” by Nick Fletcher

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!

“Dinnerware Edge” by Theen Moy

Often, a macro photograph of an everyday object yields an interesting perspective. Take a look around your kitchen and try shooting some macro photographs of what you find there.

“Uncanny” by Snowshoe Photography

Look at all the different utensils and machinery in your kitchen, and don’t forget about the food! Macro photography of anything is OK this week, as long as it’s kitchen related.

“Spaghetti” by Chris Jones

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.

2014 Challenge, Week 48 Landscape – Cityscapes/Townscapes

You guys have been doing such a nice job lately. As you may recall, I’ve been proposing themes of the landscape variety, all year. Many of the times, I’ve seen some comments regarding the inability of some to get out into nature for some of the landscapes. So this week, I’m gonna make it a little easier for us all. We’ll be shooting a cityscape, or a townscape for those of you not too close to a city.

Downtown Cityscape San Francisco

“Downtown Cityscape San Francisco”, by David Yu

 

The principles are the same as a landscape. Wide-angle is better. Including as much varied detail will help keep it complex and fun. As you can see from some of the examples, dusk and evening shots might give you access to one very special addition you haven’t been able to use in our past landscapes, and that’s artificial light! Slow enough of a shutter speed and you can even get nice looking light-painting from moving automobiles and their lights. But a daytime shot will work just fine. Conceive what you want, try to plan for it, and execute!

San Diego Cityscape

“San Diego Cityscape”, by Justin Brown

 

I’d recommend a tripod for this one, so you can work with slower shutter speeds, and smaller apertures (yet larger numbers). A smaller aperture will allow you to have a much larger focal plane. That’s best for any sort of landscape, including cityscapes. You might also consider an Neutral Density filter, if you have one, or can get one. That’ll allow you to have even slower shutter speeds, allowing more light movement, etc. Here’s a good article to teach you better than I can.

Transamerica View 20141105

“Transamerica View 20141105”, by Jeremy Brooks

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.
山本園芸流通センター

“山本園芸流通センター”, by m-louis .®