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!

2014 Challenge, Week 18: STILL LIFE – BOOKS

The invention of the printing press is one of the greatest achievements in human history. Books transformed the way people share information, stories, history, and religion. These days the internet and TV are probably more widely used for sharing information, but none of that would have been possible without books.

With the advent of e-books and digital publishing, the concept of a “book” is changing, but for me there is still something magical and comforting about a printed book. This week’s challenge honors traditional, printed books.

“Books HD” by Abhi Sharma

I’ve been doing still life challenges, and I still encourage you to do that, but you may have a library or bookstore that would be a great location. If that’s the case, go for it. Even if you do go to a location, you can still set up the shot and move the books around to create a scene.

“348/365 A good book has no ending” by Iryna Yeroshko

You can choose to use one book, or multiple books. As always, pay close attention to the technical aspects of photography, like depth of field and lighting. The shot above looks like it uses natural lighting, but a good strobist makes it hard to know if a flash was used. The shot below uses high contrast lighting and shallow depth of field to focus attention on just the chapter number.

“book” by Steve Mishos

Or maybe you have a favorite book, or a book that you come back to over and over. Books of faith are often the most treasured books.

“Good books” by David Wright

As I said earlier, if you have a great location, use it. The shot below is a great example of location, setting a scene, and last week’s theme – leading lines. If you can make a great shot that incorporates a mix of challenges, then you’ve got the point of Photo Challenge. Our goal isn’t to box you into one thing a week. It’s to expand your photographic toolbox and integrate the challenges into your photography.

“So many books, so little time” by amanda tipton

We all want to see your best shot! So, share your single submission with us all on at least one of our social media groups at Google+Facebook, or Flickr.

2014 Challenge, Week 15: STILL LIFE – CONTAINER

Once again it’s time for another still life. This week the theme is container. No, not a shipping container. A container in this context anything you put something else in. Check around the house for a jar, a vase, a bowl, etc. Part of the challenge this week is to take an ordinary object and turn it into unique photographic subject.

by Juan Fco. Marrerochild

Still life can be used to emphasize photographic techniques, like lighting. It doesn’t have to about the subject, it can be a way for you to explore techniques. It’s also a great opportunity to practice the technical aspects Jeremy has been challenging you with.

“Three Spice Jars” by Alistair Hamilton

As always with still life photography, you are in control of all aspects of the shot. You decide on the arrangement and placement of objects.

“A Bevy of Roses…” by jardinoMe

Depth of field is one of the best tools for still life photography. Experiment with different f-stops that allow you to isolate the subject.

“red hot chili peppers” by riccardo bruni

Still life is often done indoors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore. If you have a workshop, barn, garage, or shed you can find something to use as your subject. And don’t be afraid to rearrange things to make a good shot.

“still life in barn” by Michael Miller

We all want to see your best shot! So, share your single submission with us all on at least one of our social media groups at Google+Facebook, or Flickr.

Also, here are the links I shared last week with some tips:

2014 Challenge, Week 11: STILL LIFE – TOY

Continuing with Still Life photography, this week’s theme is Still Life – Toy

One of the key aspects of still life photography is controlling depth of field. Last week you got practice with depth of field, so this week apply what you learned to still life. You can choose to go with short depth of field, but you can also be deliberate and to increase the depth of field.

This example uses a shallow depth of field to focus on the main character, leaving the scene out of focus, but still provides context.

“LEGO_BATMAN_SUIT” by LEGO CAFE

As always, pay attention to framing and composition. The Batman shot sets a scene and conveys a story. In the shot below, the framing and shallow depth of field help also provide context for the shot. 

“Battle of Bladensburg Toy Soldiers” by Mr.TinDC

Or you can choose to take a picture of your favorite toy and use software to convey a mood.

“Toy tank and Snapseed” by Sergey Galyonkin

In this shot of wooden toys, a wide depth of field is used to allow the viewer to see all the toys. Note the lighting comes from the side, and is full to bring out the characteristics in the wood.

“Box of Hand-Made Wooden Toys” by fellowcreative

Toys are a part of every childhood. Whether you have a favorite toy of your own, or can grab a toy from one of your kids, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a subject. This week is also a good opportunity to incorporate your object, if it happens to be a toy.

Remember, still life photography is as much about the technical aspects of photography as it is about the subject. Be deliberate in your lighting, choice of lens, and how you set the scene. You have complete control, use that control to tell a story and bring your toy to life.

“Toy Cooper” by nthy ramanujam

And remember to have fun.

“Toy Fair 2012 – Portraits” by Farrukh

We all want to see your best shot! So, share your single submission with us all on at least one of our social media groups at Google+Facebook, or Flickr.