2014 Challenge, Week 46: STILL LIFE – MACRO

Do you remember last week’s challenge, macro? I hope so, because this week you get to combine macro and still life to make a shot. This is not the same challenge as last week, it’s a still life using the macro technique. Still life photography is about creating a shot, not finding a shot. You set up the subject and control all technical aspects – lighting, placement, composition, aperture, etc.

Macro is one of my favorite photography genres and I’ve been saving this until after Jeremy posted the macro challenge to make sure everyone had a chance to practice. Combining macro and still life takes some work.

“Kiwi” by Sergiu Bacioiu

Lighting may be the most critical aspect of still life photography. The shot above uses a light behind the subject to add contrast and expose details while adding a halo effect. Lighting is also key to the shot below.

“trail of an intention gone haywire” by Jonathon Cohen

You may have realized that depth of field plays a huge part in macro photography, and you have to pay close attention to your aperture. The shot below uses a small aperture to ensure that most of the coffee beans are in focus.

“Coffee Beans” by Smudge 9000

Details are also important in macro photography. The bee below is sharp, showing a lot detail. The lighting allows you to see detail, but is controlled so there is no glare in the bee or the reflection.

“bzzzzzz” by Jonathan Cohen

As you compose your shot, don’t forget the background. The shot above uses a pitch black background that makes the bee almost float in the frame. The shot of the walnuts below takes the opposite approach. The light background brings out contrast in the subject, while allowing the shadows to add depth.

“Walnuts” by Roger

Take a close look around, find a subject, and compose a creative shot. The examples I’ve selected are fairly pedestrian objects, but the photographers created compelling shots. Now it’s your turn.

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 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 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.

2014 Challenge, Week 30: STILL-LIFE – TIME

It seems like there is never enough time. Time defines your life from your age, to your workday, to when you go to bed. We have schedules to keep and try manage our time because it is precious resource. Wasting time is generally something we avoid, at least until vacation time comes around.

Your challenge this week is to take a still life that represents time.

“time” by János Balázs

Watches and clocks are obvious choices for this challenge, but get creative with the technical aspects of the shot to make it more compelling. You can use framing and depth of field to focus attention the subject.

“Saving Time” byMary Beth Griffo Rigby

Time is also a critical part of photography – shutter speed can be used to convey a sense of time passing or can freeze time.  You can take a shot with time as part of the technique, just make sure it is a still life. This is not a long exposure challenge – a long exposures of cars driving at night is not still life photography.

“Needle of Fire” by Needle on fire

Also, try to have fun. Time is more than clocks, you can tell a story about time as the photo below does.

“Taking a time out” by Kristina Alexanderson

And of course, the timing of the when you press the shutter button can be a critical aspect to your shot. The hourglasses below convey a sense of time because we see they are running, and the levels are all similar.

“97%” by Rémi. P.

So, take some time and think of a creative still life shot about time. Good luck!

As always, please post/share a photo you take THIS WEEK. We love your old photos, but not for the challenge. The point of the PhotoChallenges is for you to set out to create a new photo, to share with us all this week. Share them with us all at our Google+ CommunityFacebook Group, and/or our Flickr Group.

2014 Challenge, Week 26: STILL-LIFE – MINIMALISM

Alright, time for you to create a shot with another Still Life challenge. The theme this time is Minimalism. We’ve already had a minimalist landscape challenge, so you should have had some practice with the concept. This time instead of finding something minimalist, you get to setup  the shot with your subject of choice.

In keeping with the challenge, I’ll keep this post to a minimum with just a few reminders about still life photography.

“Walnut 06″ by Luca Setti

First, lighting matters. Many great still life photos use ordinary subjects, but dramatic lighting.

“Pintemos el nuevo año.” by Zahira

Second, you setup the shot – you decide on the placement of the objects.

“Porcelain Sake Bottle” by Ron Sipherd

Next, pay close attention to your aperture to get the right depth of field for what you envision.

“Pesca” by Michele M. F

And one more – background. For this week find a plain background. It doesn’t have to be black or white, just simple.

“Glasses 1/8″ Stephan OhlsenF

As always, please post/share a photo you take THIS WEEK. We love your old photos, but not for the challenge. The point of the PhotoChallenges is for you to set out to create a new photo, to share with us all this week. Share them with us all at our Google+ CommunityFacebook Group, and/or our Flickr Group.

2014 Challenge, Week 22: STILL-LIFE – TECHNOLOGY

PhotoChallenge.org has hit a significant milestone: our Facebook group has over 1000 members! Trevor, Jeremy, Steve and I are humbled and excited that so many people are joining the group and contributing each week. Your participation and amazing photos inspire us. Thank you for making PhotoChallenge successful!

Alright, time for another still life challenge. This week the topic is Technology. Find anything you can that relates to technology, or how you interpret technology.

“Computer Memory Hard Drive Disk HDD Storage Technology” by epSos .de

Technology is all around, in just about everything. Most of it we take for granted, but when you really think about what’s inside all those devices, it’s a little daunting.

“Mr Robot has some RAM (1 of 3)” byChris Isherwood

Of course some of us are dreamers and visionaries, with imaginations to fuel the technology of the future. Don’t be afraid to have fun with the theme and even include technologies we might have some day.

“Robots only eat old people” by Mark Strozier

Technology, as you know, is a moving target. What is “technology” today becomes ordinary and commonplace tomorrow. The hot, new technology today can quickly be replaced. Along those lines, you are free to use “older” technology.

This shot of a radio is older technology, but the lighting and depth of field make it an intriguing still life. Also, note the leading lines.

“Radion on” by Flavijus

The 486 processor was the peak of technology in its time, but not these days. But it still makes a good subject. This  lighting and the arrangement of the chips make this a great example of still life photography.

“Tecnología pasada de moda // Old-fashioned technology” by David Cornejo

As always, please post/share a photo you take THIS WEEK. We love your old photos, but not for the challenge. The point of the PhotoChallenges is for you to set out to create a new photo, to share with us all this week. Share them with us all at our Google+ CommunityFacebook Group, and/or our Flickr Group.

Now get out there and shoot!