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!

Photochallenge Calendars – For A Good Cause

“Desk Calendar” by stopthegears

Hello Photochallenge friends! As you may have read, Trevor, the founding member of photochallenge.org, has been fighting Leukemia for the last year or so. He has had ups and downs, but is on the road to recovery.

Gary, one of the other photochallenge authors, came up with an idea to help Trevor out with the mounting expenses related to his illness, and the rest of us think it is a great idea. We are going to publish a photochallenge.org 2015 calendar using images that you, the photochallenge.org members, submit! All proceeds from the sales of the calendar will go directly to Trevor and his family.

To submit a photo, go to the photochallenge.org group on Facebook, click the “Albums” tab, and add your photo to the “2015 Photochallenge.org Calendar” album.

The photo:

  1. Must be a photo you made for one of the 2014 challenges.
  2. Must not have any watermarks; we will list your name with the image on the calendar.
  3. Should include a title.
  4. Must specify which challenge it was for.

The photochallenge authors will select images to include on the calendar based on image format, image size, and how many we can fit on the calendar. Due to limited space on the calendar, we cannot guarantee that every submitted image will be used, but we will include as many as possible. If we get enough submissions, we may consider more than one calendar, each with a different theme. Submissions will be due by the end of September, and calendars will be available for purchase by the end of October.

Submitting an image for consideration means that you are granting a worldwide, perpetual license for the image to be used in the 2015 Photochallenge.org calendar and for promotional purposes related to the calendar. Photochallenge.org is not asserting any ownership of the image, and the image will not be used for other purposes.

We are really looking forward to seeing what everyone chooses to submit, and we thank you for your support!

Update: We have had some people ask how they can submit images via Flickr and Google+. For those sites, just tag the image you want to submit with “photochallenge2015calendar”. We will use the tag to find images. Thanks!

2014 Challenge, Week 36: LANDSCAPE – HORIZON

Hello all, we are back to the LANDSCAPE theme, and this week’s theme gives you a lot of leeway. In fact, most of the landscape themes we have practiced this year could be adapted to fit this theme.

“big skies” by Georgie Sharp

This week, try to get the big picture. Show us sweeping, grand landscapes, with a clearly defined horizon.

“Sunset from Sète” by JM L.

When shooting, try using a smaller aperture to get lots of depth of field. This will help convey a sense of scale and the feeling that the horizon goes on and on and on….

“Ocean Flight” by Simon & His Camera

Don’t be afraid of black and white. The contrast between sky and land can be shown nicely in a black and white image.

“Untitled” by santo rizzuto

Have a wide angle lens? Don’t be afraid to use it! If you don’t have a wide lens, try making a panorama!

“Miles of Sky” by Kevin Galens

Sky? Yes! Clouds? Oh yeah! Snow? You know it! Mountains? Absolutely! Ocean? Of course! Sunset? Oui!

There are a lot of landscape horizon opportunities out there, you just have to get out and shoot!

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 35 Nature & Wildlife – Textures and Patterns

One may ask, where do I find textures and patterns in nature? The answer is quite simple, EVERYWHERE! This may in fact be one of the most eye opening experience for new photographers. In many cases it’s as simple as pointing your camera in a random direction. (Surrounded by nature of course)

bark patternFind yourself up-close and personal with a tree and you’re apt to find textures and patterns.

Hoenderloo ForrestTake a step back from a tree and you get a pattern of trees. In this case the image is complemented with texture, the texture offered by the ground covering.

P1010137Get close to a rock face and and again you’re bound to find texture, patterns and perhaps both. Pay close attention to lighting. Textures often change with lighting. You may want to experiment with a flash, a reflector or take advantage of the sun’s own light at different hours of the day.

Moning in Bac Son ValleyAs was demonstrated with the trees, Not only can we get up close with rocks, the same may apply as you take an exaggerated step back. You may just be presented with a pattern of mountain peaks and textures from the ground to the sky above.

free_high_res_texture_132Leaves are an other great example of texture and patterns in nature. Converging, leading and non leading lines make up complex series of patterns and textures. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles and perspectives. Zoom in and out of your subject exploring the different facets of nature.

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! Nature and Wildlife photography can be a great family activity.

With this nature and wildlife theme, keep man made objects out of your images. Nature has enough to offer on its own to satisfy every aspect of this theme.

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 34: Bench

This week would normally be a Still Life challenge, but we’re going to do a slight variation – Bench. Still life photography typically employs inanimate objects, but the photographer chooses the arrangement of design elements within the composition. A bench is an inanimate object and you may be able to arrange a bench in your shot, but more than likely you’ll have to find a bench.

Jeremy actually recommended this topic based on a photography assignment he read about, and it mostly fits within the Still Life genre. I was also struggling to keep the Still Life series engaging, and wanted to change things up a bit.

Shooting a bench is a tougher challenge than it sounds. You’ll  have to pay attention to the composition and technical aspects of the shot since everyone will have a similar subject. You have to take something ordinary, and make it your own.

“Benches” by AlwaysBreaking

The example above uses depth of field, leading lines, and framing to focus your attention. The shot below emphasizes color and curves.

“Glowing Bench” by ManImMac

Controlling the depth of field allows you to isolate your subject, or focus on unique aspects of the subject. The shot below uses depth of field to bring out the texture of the bench. Victor Bezrukov has several great bench shots if you’re looking for inspiration.

“bench” by Victor Bezrukov

Remember last week’s challenge? I love the shot below because of the background. It adds a sense of isolation and loneliness. The use of muted colors adds to that feeling.

“A bench” by Louis du Mont

Grab your camera and go make a great shot! When you’re done, have seat on that bench and relax.

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.