2015 Challenge, Week 4 Outdoor Photography – MAN MADE IN NATURE

I’m taking over for Trevor this week with yet an other Outdoor Photography Challenge :-)

This week I want to focus on Man Made objects in nature. This is in huge contrast to last year’s Nature and Wildlife themes which excluded any man made objects.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Mon pays c'est l'hiver / Winter WonderlandAs in the above image your setting is to be in a nature type environment. This old red barn contrasts with the wintery white forest. Pay attention to the rules of composition as they remain important throughout the creative process.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; L��tang de la Maison de l'arbreYou don’t have to be in the middle of a forest. This image taken in Montreal’s Botanical Garden immerses you in nature yet in the middle of metropolitan Montreal.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Fall is definitely here / L'automne est bel et bien làAgain here, the Montreal Back River in a nature setting. Two man made dams and a bridge in the distance. The hand of man is more and more present as we venture into our natural environment.

_TRA7031-totocheSometimes it can be your own little private getaway, a treehouse nestled in a pine forest!

Man made objects are everywhere. Some old some new. Focus on a man made object nestled in a natural setting. Experiment with different angles, depth of field and lighting.

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! Outdoor 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 #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 3 Outdoor Photography – TREES

Image

The 2015 Challenge is off to a great start. Gary just gave us a great mind boggling challenge that had me looking at everything from a great new perspective.

I’ve decided to change things around from Nature & Wildlife to simply Outdoor Photography. It may seem trivial, but deep down under my thinking cap there’s a devious plan to challenge everyone through 2015. Naturally I’ll keep a focus on nature. This is at times challenging because we have members from all over the globe experiencing different seasons at different times, differently. We all know winters are a little different in Long Beach, CA than they are in Long Beach, NJ.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Winter Fruit for Thought / Fruits de l'hiver pour une penséeTrees breathe life into our planet. They do so at so many levels, directly and indirectly. They provide food and shelter for wildlife and humans. They also prevent erossium and evaporation of water as they grow along waterways. Outdoor photography is generally editorial and this week we’ll document life in and around trees.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; American Robin / Merle d'AmeriqueWinter may seem like a barren time for trees but that isn’t true at all. The berry of the Shadbush provides nutrition for many Northern birds through the coldest months. This very fruit has made it possible for the American Robin to survive and strive further and further North expanding into new territory.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Juniper Berries on the Rocks - Baies de genièvre sur glaceAs you go even further North, evergreens take over. The Juniper tree not only provides shelter for a variety of wildlife throughout the winter, it also feeds them with it’s berries, just like the Shadbush.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Survival - Cold and Windy Day! / La survie - Journée froide et venteuse!Sometimes it’s just not that obvious. At -22C this little Nuthatch is scouring through the bark looking for hibernating insects, larva and maybe some hidden seeds and nuts. It’s beak is perfectly adapted for this task.

Raton laveur - RaccoonTrees not only provide food and shelter for birds. Many mammals like squirrels and this baby Raccoon will find refuge from cold temperature and predators inside a hollowed out tree. Every hole in every tree has a story to tell.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus)Not every hole in every tree is home to something cute and cuddly. Weather permitting, many Spiders make trees their home. There’s no better place to hide than in the fortified walls of a tree trunk

Sans titre Some insects even build their homes on, in and around trees. This Wasp Nest is a good indicator of the life present around this tree throughout the warmer months. In turn these wasps also provide food for birds and their hatchlings.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; The Fox and Squirrel... / Le renard et l'écureuil ...Sometimes the tree doesn’t provide lunch, It’s what stands between you and your lunch. Both predator and prey can benefit from trees.  How efficiently they interact with trees can make all the difference when it comes to survival.

LumièreLeaves will die and fall to the ground. This annual process will help replenish nutrients in the soil for future generations of trees to grow healthy.

This tree is growing along a stream. For now the stream will provide water for this tree to grow. With time the tree will provide the shade to prevent evaporation. This will help maintain a water source for animals and agriculture throughout the summer months.

Don’t let your gear bog you down. The above image is an Instagram taken just a few weeks ago with a two year old Nexus 4 Smartphone. The best camera is the one you have in your hands at that time. Learn the true limitations of your equipment and then capitalize on its strengths.

For this challenge try and apply all the techniques we’ve practiced over time. Pay attention to your composition and distractions in the background. Come up with more than a snapshot, create a PHOTOGRAPH that tells a story. Although we usually only ask for a photo, I’d like to see a small paragraph that describes the impact and emotion of your photograph, further adding to the editorial value of this assignment.

I’ve but barely unearthed the surface of what trees can do for our planet. They have an impact on our daily lives and mass deforestation in one area can affect climate around the world.

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 #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 52 Landscape – SILHOUETTE

We’ve made it through another year! Well done friends!

Before I advance to examples and an explanation of our theme for this final week of 2014, I’d like to give you a tiny preview of what you can expect from us in 2015. We’re going to pretty much stick with the same format of a weekly theme, and each of us 4 authors will have a primary general theme that we’ll be sticking with, all year. But all of us have switched up our general theme.

I’ll let each of us reveal to you our seperate themes, in our first post of the year.

Norwegian Winter Sunset II

“Norwegian Winter Sunset II”, by Ram Yoga

 

This week’s theme, Silhouetted Landscape, will run all week.

High Contrast Cloudscapes

“High Contrast Cloudscapes”, by Brandy

 

Let’s return to the notion that landscapes require natural compositions, without manmade objects included. You’ll find that it’s easiest to capture a silhouette of a mountain, hillside, or even just a tree…all somewhat in the foreground. It’s quite common to use a rising or setting sun, to get your silhouetted object backlit. That’s a good recipe for a black or darkened foreground. But, if the environment is just right, you can get your object silhouetted without a risen or setting sun. Try it a few times, before you select your best image!

Sunset Tree, August 4, 2014

“Sunset Tree, August 4, 2014″, by Don McCullough

 

It’s been a great year of photography, and I’m blessed to enjoy these challenges with you all. My goal this next year is to continue to get better, so that I can get out and contribute even more. Thank you so much for participating!

Mountain layers

“Mountain layers”, by Samuel Piker

 

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 51 Nature & Wildlife – WILD MAMMALS

Just yesterday I had a strange encounter, a skunk was scavenging by bird feeders. Not the first time I had seen a skunk in winter, but they are rare this time of year. This one was also white and huge. I had already packed the camera gear in the car and by the time I arrived in the general vicinity of my sighting, it was gone. Thus came my inspiration for this week’s challenge.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; Red Fox on the run! / Renard roux à la course!

Mammals photograph better at around eye level. So on smaller mammals you’re going to have to get down and low. In North America and Europe the Red Fox is probably one of the most photographed predators. It’s also my favorite.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; Red Fox Kit / Renardeau (Vulpes vulpes)

Our friends in the Southern hemisphere will have an extra privilege,  little baby mammals of all shapes and sizes. Remember that parents will protect their young and often the least dangerous looking animal may be the worst. Always keep a safe distance and never cut off an animal’s exit route.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; Chamois

Some animals are extremely hard to approach, like this Chamois. They fear man and only patience will get you close enough for a picture. Although I was lucky to capture this young Chamois in a field in Switzerland, most of them live in difficult to access areas like cliffs.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; Gray wolves in the Snow / Loups gris dans la neigesIf the great outdoors seems intimidating there are many natural habitat rescue centers and wildlife refuge that offer great opportunities to get closer to a wild animal. The above wolves were photographed at the Ecomuseum in St-Anne-de-Bellevue. Encouraging these establishments helps fund rescue efforts in the wild.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; North American River Otter / Loutre de rivièreNot all mammals live on land. This North American River Otter spends most of its time in water feeding on fish and amphibians. It also will build its den on the river bank.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; Little brown bat / Petite chauve-souris brune (Myotis lucifugus)We even have flying mammals. Bats make interesting subjects. Finding them may prove to be tricky. If you find a bat resting during the day, chances are you’ll have all the time in the world to photograph it.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; Eastern Gray Squirrel Drinking a Fresh Cup of Tim Hortons Coffee! / Écureuil gris buvant un bonne tasse de café Tim HortonsWorst comes to worst, if all else fails, there’s always the local population of squirrels. They tend to come in all shapes and sizes. From little ground squirrels to their larger cousin, the groundhog.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; Treehog or Groundhog in a tree? / Marmotte communeIf you’re looking for a groundhog, well you might also want to look up in the trees. Contrary to popular belief these critters tend to spend time out of their den and up in the trees. They are very closely related to their smaller cousin, the squirrel.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; Canada Lynx / Lynx du CanadaLarge wild cats like this Lynx are absolutely magnificent on snow. Actually I find them magnificent period. However they cautiously avoid man. When they chance an encounter with man you have to know what you’re doing. There’s a great deal of precaution to take so you don’t provoke an attack. Behaving like prey won’t help your case. If you’re in large cat (Mountain Lion, Tiger, Lion,…) and/or bear territory make sure you have the experience and knowledge to take care of yourself. If not, be cautious and hire a local, experienced guide.

Steve Troletti Photography: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; Fardoche - The Alaskan Sled Dog / Fardoche, le chien de traîneauNot to insult my dear friend Fardoche, the Alaskan sled dog, but as this is Nature and Wildlife, domesticated animals and house pets aren’t on the agenda. Try to get out there, enjoy the outdoor and bring back a great image!

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.

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.

I wish you all a great Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! I’ll see you next year with a new formula for the 2015 PhotoChallenge :-)

2014 Challenge, Week 50: STILL LIFE – GROUPS

2014 has been an awesome year for PhotoChallenge.org. I’ve enjoyed putting together the Still Life challenges and seeing your shots. The collective creativity of this community is amazing. Thanks for making it a great year!

This will be your last Still Life assignment for the year, and to honor the idea of community and groups, the theme is GROUP. Find a group of objects that relate to each other and compose a shot.

“Saatchi Still Life 2013″ by Misha Dontsov

Fruits and vegetables are classic still life subjects. You can group a bunch one kind of fruit, like the shot below, or create a group using other creative staging techniques like the cut subjects above.

“still life” by Judy van der Velden

Finding a bunch of the same type of object might be easy, but staging them could be the challenge. How you arrange your group matters. And pay attention to the lighting. The brushes below have a straight forward presentation with even lighting that allows you to see the individuals that make up the group.

“still life with brushes” by Jos van Wunnik

Or you can group based on color. The shot below uses the color red to connect a lot of otherwise disconnected objects. Note the arrangement, angle of the shot, and depth of field – contrast that with the shot of the brushes above. Similar arrangements, but different photographic techniques.

“everyday reds” by FraserElliot

Taking common subjects, isolating them, and playing with the depth of field is a common still life strategy, but one that works well. The leaves below are nothing special, the photographer turned them into a still life. You see sharp focus and detail, but it’s limited by the depth of field. The lighting also creates contrast. To me that is the essence of still life – the technique of the photographer makes the shot compelling, regardless of the subject.

“Walnuts” by – Guigui-Lille -

Take a close look around, find a group, and compose a creative shot. Thanks again for the great year! I can’t wait for 2015.

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.