2014 Challenge, Week 43 Nature & Wildlife – TWILIGHT

Twilight as defined by Wikipedia is the illumination of the Earth’s lower atmosphere when the Sun itself is not directly visible because it is below the horizon. Twilight is produced by sunlight scattering in the upper atmosphere, illuminating the lower atmosphere so that the surface of the Earth is neither completely lit nor completely dark. The word “twilight” is also used to denote the periods of time when this illumination occurs.

The further the Sun is below the horizon, the dimmer the twilight (other things such as atmospheric conditions being equal). When the Sun reaches 18 degrees below the horizon, twilight’s brightness is nearly zero, thus evening twilight ends, and night begins. When the Sun again reaches 18 degrees below the horizon, night ends and morning twilight begins. Owing to its distinctive quality, primarily the absence of shadows and the appearance of objects silhouetted against the bright sky, twilight has long been popular with photographers, who refer to it as ‘sweet light’, and painters, who refer to it as the blue hour, after the French expression l’heure bleue. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight )

This may demand a little more planning on your part as you will only have limited opportunities to do this and each opportunity lasts but only a few minutes. True that the end of the Twilight hours give us a deep blue sky to work with, there’s also a multitude of colors that can be produced in front of your eyes. The above image of the silhouetted tree has them all, from a soft golden glow to our deep blue sky.

Twilight RiverNot all images need to have a silhouette. This river was photographed as the sun had just set. Although a long exposure for a handheld image, everything is lit in an array of warm colors.

dsc_2820.jpeg

Remember, we’re not looking for a sunset or a sunrise. We’re looking for the light and the effect of this light just prior to sunrise or past sunset. The window of colors will be short and a bit of planning and technique may make all the difference. To keep track of where and when the sun will set and rise you may want to refer to the Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) ( http://app.photoephemeris.com ) free to use on the web app.

Crematorium

If you want to challenge yourself and produce an image similar to the one above, you’ll need a few tools.

  1. Steady tripod
  2. ND (Neutral Density Filters) ; optional http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_density_filter
  3. Graduated Neutral Density Filters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graduated_neutral_density_filter
  4. Camera Shutter Remote

Since the light in the sky will be brighter you may want to put graduated neutral density filters to good use. This will reduce the sky’s illumination, balancing it with the poorly lit subject, I.E. the ground and water. The ND filter will also increase your exposure time by evenly reducing light coming through your lens, giving you a silky look to your water.  The Tripod and shutter release will help you keep everything stable as you may be exposing for a few seconds to a few minutes.

You may also want to refer to this article from weatherscapes.com. Sunrise and sunset phenomena: what to discover, when, and where: http://www.weatherscapes.com/techniques.php?cat=optics&page=twilight

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

The sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer! Nature and Wildlife photography can also be a great family activity.

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.

2014 Challenge, Week 42: STILL LIFE – MUSIC

This weeks still life challenge is Music.  It can be the instruments used to create music, how you listen to music, or anything that relates to music as long as it is a still life shot.

“passion” by Luigi Orru

Instruments are an obvious choice for this challenge. Many instruments have shapes and lines that you can use in your shot. The photo above only shows part of the instrument to create a symmetrical composition. Likewise, the shot below reveals only part of an instrument and uses a shallow depth of field.

“Stringless Guitar” by Nicholas Erwin

“harps” by DorkyMum

Many of us aren’t musical, but enjoy listening to music. You can show off your favorite way to enjoy your favorite band.

“Headphones” by Pascal

A lot of technology goes into creating, recording, distributing music, and sharing music. It’s hard to get a shot of an MP3, but maybe you can turn to older technology.

“Heavy Metal: TDK MA-R90 Cassette Tape (overhead view)” by Scott Schiller

One reminder: still life photography deals with objects, not people. Try to avoid shots of musicians and concert photography. Other than that, if something has a connection to music use it to create your photo for this week.

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.

2014 Challenge, Week 41: COMPOSITION – RULE OF ODDS

This weeks composition challenge is all about looking at things in an odd way — an odd number, that is.

“Odd Numbers” by Billy Abbott

One of the simplest ways to make a composition more dynamic is to have an odd number of objects in it, rather than an even number. An even number of things tends to make the viewer pair or group the objects. However, an odd number of things tends to make it more difficult to pair the objects, which keeps the eyes moving across the composition.

“Three Across” by Thomas Hawk

Since the subject matter is not limited on this challenge, you should have plenty of opportunity to watch for odd numbers of things, and come up with an interesting image for the week.

“Five Pillars” by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen\

Architecture, nature, still life, macro, color, black and white — it’s all fair game for this challenge!

“The Magnificent Seven” by « м Ħ ж »

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.

Now get out there and find something odd!

2014 Challenge, Week 40: LANDSCAPE – SOLO

Right up front I’m going to explain the “solo” concept, since everyone is probably wondering what I mean.

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Untitled, by Kristina

I mean I want to see any sort of landscape, preferably as wide as you can shoot, but I’m looking for a single object to stand out. A tree, creek, or even a road. Something distinctive to the range of the image. Now, make a point of not including multiples of the object.

An Electrifying Landscape....

“An Electrifying Landscape…., by Tony Hammond

So if you have a field of cows, just one. Same with hay bails or trees, or whatever you choose for your single object.

landscape

“landscape”, by Ewok Jorduman

Now, landscapes should normally not include manmade objects. Feel free to fudge that a little for this one, it should make it easier. Also, for a bit more challenge, consider your composition, and even the single object’s contrast with the foreground and background, so that it sticks out. I chose the word “SOLO”, instead of just a description because I’m looking for your single object to stand out so much in the image, that it’s your solo; think music.

Sun on the landscape

“Sun on the landscape”, by Zak Richter/NPS

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.
Norway Landscapes #5

“Norway Landscapes #5″, by Stéphanie Kilgast

2014 Challenge, Week 39 Nature & Wildlife – WATER MEETS LAND

Bodies of water are always contained by a border of solid ground. Our shorelines and river banks are often home to some of the greatest diversity of life on earth. It also offers us some of the most extraordinary scenery.

Heather meets the sea

Seascapes in their own right offer some of nature’s most grandiose and breathtaking views. With ever changing topography and the variety of climate zones around the world, the possibilities are endless.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Fall on the back river / L’automne sur la rivière des prairies

Rivers themselves offer their share of amazing sights. With Fall hitting the Northern Hemisphere, textures and colors are changing rapidly further enhancing our images.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Killdeer / Pluvier kildir

Many Shorebirds rely on the solid footing of the ground below their feet as they feed along the shoreline and shallow bodies of water.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Bathing Goldfinch

From small passerine birds to large hawks and eagles, shorelines, river banks and streams offer the ideal environment to keep up on their daily hygiene.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; American Bullfrog / Ouaouaron

Amphibians rely on an habitat founded on the relationship between land and water. This habitat is crucial to their survival on a day to day basis.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Dragonfly and exuviae / Libellule sortie de son exuvie

The dragonfly relies on the relationship between land and water for procreation. The larvae lives in water but the dragonfly comes out of it’s exuviae on plants above the water.

(DOLOMEDE) Dark Fishing Spider and egg sac

(DOLOMEDE) Dark Fishing Spider and egg sac

The giant Dolomede, Dark Fishing Spider is an other great example. It’s entire life is spent along our rivers and streams using rocks, trees and vegetation for cover. It relies 100% on it’s water habitat for feeding on fish and insects. It may also be it’s downfall as trouts enjoy a good size spider as a meal.

The ingredients for a successful challenge image are simple this week. You need some naturally occurring water, some point of reference to land (dirt, sand, rocks, plants, etc…) and maybe a living creature if you can blend it all in together.

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

Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. 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 wild 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 sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer you! Nature and Wildlife photography can be a great family activity

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.

2014 Challenge, Week 38: STILL LIFE- Black & White

This week we go back to the Still Life genre, but the subject is up to you, just make it a black and white shot. Creating black and white shots isn’t as simple as converting any image to black and white. What you see in the camera while you’re shooting could look very different in black and white.

“Pomegranate” by Dan Pupius

Black and white photography emphasizes composition and lighting. The shot above uses a bright, white background and a flash to create strong contrast while placing the subject on the right side of the frame.

This image below uses a black background to make the subject standout. Imagine these two shots with the backgrounds switched. With black and white you need to consider how the color of the subject will convert to gray – will be it dark or light? Will it standout enough from your background?

“Still Life, 2003″ by Matt Artz

The image below also uses a dark background, but adds texture. A single flash provides contrast and brings out the texture of the onions.

“Three Onions, Study I – Still Life in Studio” byPhil Pankov

You can also apply what you learned in last week’s challenge – patterns and lines. Compositions with strong lines generally make good black and white shots.

“The Puzzle” by Wolfman-K

Still life can be technically challenging, especially in black and white. You can choose a single subject on a solid background, or compose a shot in a setting you choose. The shot below uses natural light from a window. The shells are main subject, but the textures and lines of the wood add depth.

“Sudek 2″ by Wes Peck

And don’t forget, you can have fun with still life photography. Kristina Alexanderson has a wonderful series of Stormtrooper photos that mimic real-life situations. It’s worth taking the time to browse through her shots and see the creative, and sometimes heartwarming, stories she tells.

“Make Teddy mine” byKristina Alexanderson

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.

2014 Challenge, Week 37: COMPOSITION – LINES & PATTERNS

This weeks challenge is to make a composition that includes lines and/or patterns.

Architecture subjects can be a good source of lines and patterns.

“windows” by Antonio Culicigno

This image has strong lines, includes a person (notice the composition puts the person on one of the thirds) and uses reflection effectively.

“Lines” by Georgie Pauwels

Lines don’t have to be straight. Curved lines can be appealing as well.

“Lines And Curves” by Jon Herbert

When looking for patterns, try to find things that are repeating in interesting ways.

“red monster” by joseph.steufer

“Disrupting The Pattern” by Matthias Weinberger

“wishbone spiral” by paul bica

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.

Now get out there, find some lines and patterns, and have fun!