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.

2014 Challenge, Week 33: COMPOSITION – BACKGROUND

It’s time for another composition challenge. This time, we are going to concentrate on the background of your photo – the things that are not the subject of the photo.

It’s easy to pay so much attention to the subject of the photo that you end up with distracting background elements. This week, take some time to look at what is behind your subject, and see if you can figure out how to remove those distracting elements.

One way to do this is by careful placement of foreground and background elements. In this example, the subject of the image (a girl) is positioned so that there is only sky and water in the background. The pier in the background is off to the left, helping to frame the subject rather than interfering with the subject. The lighting and exposure emphasize the subject, and the depth of field and use of a LensBaby keep the focus on the subject, rendering other elements less focused.

“Beach Girl” by John Curley

The example above used a flash, diffuser, and special lens, but it is not necessary to use a lot of equipment to simplify the background of an image. This flower was shot in natural light using a piece of white paper as a background.

“Flower” by Simon Whitaker

Another way to remove distracting background elements is to use a large aperture, resulting in sharp focus on the subject and out of focus background. You can refer back to week 10 for more tips on depth of field.

“At The Bourbon Bar” by Jeremy Brooks

Take some time when composing your shots this week. Look around the entire frame and make sure there are no elements in the background that are distracting. With some practice, this will become second nature. Now get out there and have some fun!

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 32: “Tilt Shift” Quasi-Landscape

Ok my friends, it’s time for a brief post from me. I’ve been getting decent rest, and really wanted to contribute another post. My own participation has been limited lately, and I think this one will let me get another theme under my belt.

Montana del Oro tilt-shift

This weeks will require a little forethought, but also some post processing. I urge you, don’t shy away because of that need.

I’ll post a link or two for tutorials, and suggest a few apps as well.

Tilt-Shift

This whole Tilt Shift thing is nothing to fear. In fact, you may just find that you’ll enjoy this new skill for unique images, and start creating many more of your own.

To stick with the landscape theme, start there. But don’t worry about a natural landscape if you don’t want. This technique works well with all sort of wide landscapes. Urban, suburban, it doesn’t matter! You may find a preference, but that’s up to you.

Tilt Shift Bridge

To be technical, you should know that a true tilt shift photo is actually created with the lens. How, I could try to explain, but I don’t really understand. Read up here for what I don’t know.

When you’re done, you’ll have this special toylike miniature-looking scene, that should really be transformed.

This was the first tutorial I used, I believe: http://visualphotoguide.com/tilt-shift-photoshop-tutorial-how-to-make-fake-miniature-scenes/

Here’s a tutorial for GIMP: http://www.scottphotographics.com/how-to-fake-a-tilt-shift-miniature-photograph-in-gimp/

For a post with several apps for iOS: http://digital-photography-school.com/tilt-shift-apps-for-the-iphone/

And if the whole thing is too much, Instagram can pull off the effect for you. Here’s several tips on getting that done well: http://mashable.com/2012/11/29/instagram-tilt-shift-tips/

Here is the app I own now that does the job just how I like: http://www.tiltshiftapp.com/
Or here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tiltshift/id579435992?mt=12

Fake Tilt Shift Attempt 1

**Update**

So sorry folks, I forgot to add our Guidelines. Please don’t disregard these, they help our little community remain focused.

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 31 Nature & Wildlife – SHADOWS

One of the least practiced forms of Nature and Wildlife Photography may very well be SHADOWS. Nature can be so pretty in itself, full of colors and textures that we often fail to notice the SHADOWS it casts.

20100213 - IMG_6941One of the most classic examples may very well be the insect SHADOW visible through the translucency of a leaf. An advantage of this technique is that it works particularly well at mid-day. This is when the light from the Sun is generally to harsh for regular nature and wildlife photography.

Spider LeafIt doesn’t necessarily have to be through the leaf. Nothing seems to give the heebie-jeebies like the SHADOW of a spider. You don’t have to include the actual subject. However it’s always nice to find a way to compose your image with the subject and the SHADOW.

Hoenderloo ForrestWant BIG SHADOWS, trees will cast BIG SHADOWS. It can be the full SHADOW of a single tree or an entire forest. Naturally the lower the position of the Sun in the sky, the longer those SHADOWS will stretch.

In the strong sunshineFlowers and plants will cast shadows as well. This lily Pad is a great example with the flower casting a shadow on it’s own leaf.  An other composition that works better around mid-day.

Shadow on Flower BedDon’t forget, photographers cast SHADOWS to. You may or may not want your own SHADOW as part of your image composition.

TO CONTROL SHADOWS: In nature the Sun is your source of light. As it travels through the sky, its angle relative to subjects on the ground will change. This in effect will cast a different shadow at a different time of day. The earlier in the day, the more stretched out to the West your SHADOW will be. The later in the day, the more stretched your SHADOW will be to the East. The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. A mid-day summer Sun however will cast a shadow directly under your subject. Hope this helps you plan your Challenge a little better.

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

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

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.