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.
Sleeping Female Red Fox

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 49: Composition – Experiment

The year is winding down, and we have just one more Composition challenge for you: Experiment!

“Experiment ; The crowd in Praha” by Le Batteur De Lune

So far, we have tried the following techniques:

This week, feel free to experiment! You could combine several techniques that we have tried during the year. You could do some long exposure streaky lights.

“long shutter experiment” by Tahmid Munaz

Feel free to experiment with different camera settings, different backgrounds, different lighting, and different processing. One advantage of digital photography is that you can see the results quickly, and try lots of different things without spending anything on film and developing. So take advantage of it!

“Daily App Experiment #338 “Rider”” by Doctor Popular

If you need some inspiration, try a search on Flickr for “experiment” or “experimental”. That will get you started. Now get out there and have 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.
“Future City” by Sparky

2014 Challenge, Week 48 Landscape – Cityscapes/Townscapes

You guys have been doing such a nice job lately. As you may recall, I’ve been proposing themes of the landscape variety, all year. Many of the times, I’ve seen some comments regarding the inability of some to get out into nature for some of the landscapes. So this week, I’m gonna make it a little easier for us all. We’ll be shooting a cityscape, or a townscape for those of you not too close to a city.

Downtown Cityscape San Francisco
“Downtown Cityscape San Francisco”, by David Yu

 

The principles are the same as a landscape. Wide-angle is better. Including as much varied detail will help keep it complex and fun. As you can see from some of the examples, dusk and evening shots might give you access to one very special addition you haven’t been able to use in our past landscapes, and that’s artificial light! Slow enough of a shutter speed and you can even get nice looking light-painting from moving automobiles and their lights. But a daytime shot will work just fine. Conceive what you want, try to plan for it, and execute!

San Diego Cityscape
“San Diego Cityscape”, by Justin Brown

 

I’d recommend a tripod for this one, so you can work with slower shutter speeds, and smaller apertures (yet larger numbers). A smaller aperture will allow you to have a much larger focal plane. That’s best for any sort of landscape, including cityscapes. You might also consider an Neutral Density filter, if you have one, or can get one. That’ll allow you to have even slower shutter speeds, allowing more light movement, etc. Here’s a good article to teach you better than I can.

Transamerica View 20141105
“Transamerica View 20141105”, by Jeremy Brooks

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.
山本園芸流通センター
“山本園芸流通センター”, by m-louis .®

 

2014 Challenge, Week 47 Nature & Wildlife – Litter & Trash

This week we’re going to break all the rules of nature and wildlife photography. We’re going to focus on the human impact on nature and urban nature. We’ll still keep true to the editorial perspective of Nature and Wildlife photography. However if you feel like giving things an artistic twist of your own, go for it.

Steve Troletti Photography: Montreal -  L’Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park 2012 &emdash; Trash Littering the banks of Montreal's Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park

Plastic pollution of our oceans seems to take center stage as the media reports clouds of micro plastic particles in the Pacific Ocean. This plastic pollution comes from somewhere, our own shores. We don’t just pollute the Pacific Ocean, we pollute our rivers and lakes as well. As portrayed by the image above, plastic trash is present under many forms.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Déchets - Parc Nature Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Litter

Not all trash pollutes equally. Glass containers are a menace to people as much as they are to our wildlife and our environment. When glass containers find themselves broken they’re an accident waiting to happen.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Déchets - Parc Nature Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Litter

This 6 pack holder may seem like harmless pollution. It’s actually a deathtrap for many young animals such as geese, ducks and mammals such as Red Fox kits. The young get these loops around their necks and/or bodies. They usually die of a slow suffocating death as they grow into the plastic ring. Always cut the rings before disposing of similar items.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Déchets - Parc Nature Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Litter

We all need personal hygiene items but there’s a time and place for them. Many of these items don’t just litter and pollute our green spaces. Some, such as condoms, also represent a health hazard to people and pets.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Déchets - Parc Nature Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Litter

Fast food containers seem to invade natural habitats. They’re all marked with a responsible message inviting users to dispose of them properly. Luckily they’ve evolved from styrofoam to cardboard minimizing the impact caused by such litter.

Steve Troletti Photography: Montreal -  L’Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park 2012 &emdash; Trash Littering the banks of Montreal's Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park

Styrofoam containers are still used for worms and different bait. In fact most of what’s sold for fishing is packed in plastic. Trash from fisherman seem to be scattered along all the rivers I visit in North America

Fishing line may be one the of the most devastating item left by humans along our shores. Animals of all sizes, especially birds suffer greatly. Waterfowl, especially their young get entangled in the line. I’ve even seen a full grown Great Blue Heron entangled in fishing line in a tree. Luckily, wildlife agents were able to rescue it in time. Not an easy task with such a large bird. For those interested I’ve written a small blog on the impact of fishing lines and hooks on Double-crested Cormorants; http://blog.trolettiphoto.com/double-crested-cormorants-birds-suffer-waste/

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Welcome to l’Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Bienvenue au parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-Visitation

From night time parties to picnics, hikers to back packers, it seems there’s always a bad apple willing to leave their mark in some of the most beautiful places on earth. When you spend as much time in nature as I do, you just can’t help but notice the negative impact mankind leaves on our planet. These examples barely skim the surface. These images are but a sample of what individuals like you and I can do to our natural spaces with only a handful of trash

For this challenge try and apply all the techniques we’ve practiced over the year to come up with more than a snapshot, create a striking PHOTOGRAPH that sends a message. 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.

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.

DSCF0981You can still get the Photochallenge.org 2015 Calendar and help out Trevor and his family in this time of need. The Photochallenge.org 2015 Calendar has been created with the generous support of our member submitted images.

I’d like to extend a big thank you to all who helped make this calendar a reality and to all who have purchased a copy.

The Photochallenge.org 2015 Calendar is available for purchase online @ LULU.COM

Photochallenge Calendars Now Available!

DSCF0981

Back in September, we announced that we were going to publish a calendar, and invited the members of photochallenge.org to contribute photos. You were very generous in your contributions, and we are happy to announce that the calendars are now available for purchase!

As you may recall, the founding member of photochallenge.org, Trevor Carpenter, was diagnosed with leukemia. He is recovering, but the medical expenses have been adding up. The photochallenge.org admins decided that we wanted to do something to help Trevor out, and that is where the idea for the calendar came from.

Photochallenge.org is free for everyone, and we are going to keep it that way. We love the community that has grown up around the challenges. If you feel the same way, and you want to do something for the man that started it all, consider purchasing a calendar.

Thanks to all the members who generously contributed their work to the project, and thanks to everyone who makes photochallenge.org such a fun place to share photography!

2014 Challenge, Week 44: Landscape – NIGHTTIME

This week’s theme isn’t a whole lot different than last week’s, other than that you need to wait at least and hour later. You may find that much of the nighttime landscapes are primarily starscapes. Don’t be intimidated by that.

Lead me to Longs Peak
“Lead me to Longs Peak”, by David Kingham

You don’t need to get distracted with worrying about capturing star trails, etc. If you find your sweet spot of a shutter speed, that captures enough light, but the stars are still dots instead of trails, don’t worry.

Yosemite - Starlight Hike
“Yosemite – Starlight Hike”, by Jeff Krause

Now, you’ll need your tripod for this sort of shooting, there’s almost no way of avoiding it. Even if you shoot this with your smartphone, you’ll need a way to stabilize the phone.

F I F T E E N
“F I F T E E N”, by Bryce Bradford

One tremendous benefit we all will get this next week is that the full moon is Thursday, the 6th. But all the other days this week will be nearly full, so you should plenty of available light to capture some nice nighttime landscapes. Do me a favor, and try to find a location that will not have any manmade structures. This isn’t just for the light, but also because a true landscape shouldn’t include buildings and cars, etc.

The Night at the Cliffs
“The Night at the Cliffs”, by Luis Argerich

I’m going to copy a few things from last week, that would help you this week as well…

  1. Steady tripod
  2. Camera Shutter Remote

However, if you don’t have a remote, whether wireless or cabled, you can always just take a photo triggered by the built in timer.

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.