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2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 52: GUEST POST – TIME STACKING

GUEST POST – TIME STACKING by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

I’ve been fascinated by time stacked images for some time now so it seemed like a great idea for a challenge. What is time stacking? Essentially it is a time lapse except all of the frames are layered on top of one another in just one image instead of creating a video. The technique is commonly used for astrophotography (star trails), car trails and waterfalls but it can also be use to create amazing landscape images.

Sunset - Time stacking example

Layering a series of landscape photos containing clouds gives a wonderful sense of movement to a landscape image. This image is a time stack of 56 photos taken 10 seconds apart. For colorful clouds, take photos of a sunset. (This technique won’t work very well at sunrise, so be sure to take photos at sunset if you want some color in your clouds.)

Wrath of a Thunderstorm

For those of you short on time or patience, you can use fewer photos in your time stack. This is just 15 photos taken 5 seconds apart. There are two elements that determine how smooth or jagged the movement in the clouds appears: (1) the amount of time between each shot and (2) how quickly the clouds are moving. If the clouds are moving quickly and you want a smooth look, you’ll need to take more photos. If the clouds are moving slowly, the interval between shots can be larger. Having said that, it’s nearly impossible to guess what your image will look like once all of the photos are stacked and that’s half the fun of it!

Time stacking example (29 photos)

Unfortunately, not everyone will have amazing clouds to photograph this week. Not to worry! In this photo my initial goal was to smooth out the water, but then I realized that I caught the gulls in flight as well. Not only did the size of the flock seem to grow, but their flight patterns in the sky seemingly appeared out of nowhere when I stacked the photos. This is a time stack of 29 photos taken in just 10 seconds, i.e. burst mode. (Note: If you want to try this technique with flying birds, you will need to find white birds or at least birds that are lighter than the sky behind them. It won’t work otherwise.) I included one of the photos used in the stacked image so that you can see the difference between a “normal” image and the stacked version of the same scene, particularly the water, the number of birds and the flight patterns of the birds in the sky.

Waterfall - Time stacking example

Another use of the time stacking technique is to fill out waterfalls or other moving water. If you find a waterfall that doesn’t have much water, you can make it look fuller by stacking a few photos together. Again I have provided both the stacked image (on top) and a single image from the stack. The difference is most visible in the water going over the large rock just to the left of center, but if you look closely you’ll see that the volume of water looks fuller throughout the stacked image.

Car trails - Time stacking example

Or you could stack a few photos of light trails from cars. It doesn’t take many photos to make a road look really busy! This image was created from four stacked photos.

Star trails - Time stacking example

And of course if you love astrophotography, this would be a great challenge to show off your skills with star trails. This image was created from three 15-minute exposures.

For more inspiration be sure to check out the amazing time stacked photos of Matt Molloy, a pioneer of using this technique for landscape photography: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCgruXn (There is one of a smoke stack that I think is way cool!)

HOW TO DO IT

Taking the photos

  1. You’ll need a tripod. If you don’t have a tripod, you can search google for DIY tripods.
  2. For best results, use Manual Mode on your camera and set both the ISO and White Balance to something other than Auto. Basically you want all of the photos in your series to be taken with the exact same settings.
  3. Make sure your exposure it set to capture as much detail as possible in the lightest elements of your scene, i.e. don’t blow-out the highlights. It is the highlights that will be creating a pattern in your stacked image, so you want to capture as much detail in the light areas as possible.
  4. If you have an intervalometer feel free to use it, but for the purposes of this challenge I had just as much luck counting to 5 or 10 between my shots and taking the photos without an intervalometer. Regardless of the method you choose, be sure to be consistent with the time between each photo (especially for cloud photos – waterfalls and car trails are more forgiving).

Processing the photos

If you do not have Photoshop, I’ve put together a video tutorial explaining how to stack your photos in www.pixlr.com (a free online photo editor). The technique I show in the video should work with any photo editor as long as it supports layers and layer blending modes. I encourage you to watch it even if you have Photoshop since you might pick up a tip or two.

If you have Lightroom and Photoshop, there are numerous tutorials and videos available showing how to do time stacking.

In addition, Matt Molloy has written a tutorial explaining his technique at http://iso.500px.com/time-stack-photo-tutorial/. I encourage you to read through it for more details from his perspective.

When posting your photos this week, it would be fun to also post a single photo from your time stack as a comment so we can see the difference time stacking makes.

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About the author: Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero is intensely curious about life and loves to explore it through the lens of her camera. She has dabbled in photography from time to time throughout her life, but it wasn’t until this past year when she took a semi-sabbatical from work that she decided to explore photography more seriously as a creative art form. Jeanie’s Flickr page can be found at www.flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/.

 

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 51: HOLIDAY WISHES

Filling in for Trevor I was mixed between keeping his portrait theme for his final 2016 PhotoChallenge or taking advantage of this special season for some holiday wishes. We did this last year and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

December 17th 2008 - Christmas Portrait Time

Nothing keeps you from turning a portrait into a special holiday image.

Happy Holidays 2009

Your holiday image can be inspired by the basic greeting card elements. 1. A picture themed to your holiday. 2. Some graphic elements to decorate your image. 3. Text to communicate your greeting and personalize it.

From our home to yours!

Wintry landscapes, at least for us in the Northern Hemisphere are often synonymous of the Holiday Season. Don’t be afraid to wonder in the great outdoors in a quest for the perfect Holiday Image.

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Equirectangular images for 360-Degree PhotoSpheres can also make a cool holiday greeting. Some sites even allow special Hashtags like #snowcrystal3d on Theta360.com . Even if you don’t have a Theta camera, you can still upload a PhotoSphere taken with your mobile phone or camera. I quickly put a few Holiday Graphics on a 360-degree wintry scene and uploaded it to Theta360.com with the hashtag #snowcrystal3d . CLICK ON THE ABOVE IMAGE TO SEE IT IN 360

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Push your creative ideas to the limit and Wish the 2016 PhotoChallenge Community a Happy Holiday Season…

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2016
  • 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.
  • The posted image should not be a Video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 50: LEVITATION

You all know how I always tell you that I do the challenge myself before posting it? Well forget about that for this levitation Challenge. Although I’ve used layers and masking in Photoshop, I’ve never gone through the the steps of creating a levitation image.

catch

We do get the visual illusion of levitation but we all know there’s a camera trick behind it. In this case probably more than a stool, maybe some string to hold part of the dress up.

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There’s two basic theories to levitation images. One you do all kinds of Photoshop manipulations to remove stools, chairs and other gravitational defying elements, or you just simply jump and capture an image before gravity sets in.

Magic Slippers//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

We can all see that playing with special effects adds a special touch to a levitation image.  Something a simple jump can’t replicate.

The folks at PETAPIXEL put together a simple tutorial – http://petapixel.com/2015/02/10/levitation-photography-tutorial/

Naturally Photoshop is the tool of choice to post process and complete your assignment. However there is a free compatible program called GIMP that can do the job. You can also do a search on google for (FREE IMAGE MASKING TOOL). That should help you get things done.

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Think outside the box and don’t just limit yourself to levitating people. There’s a whole world of objects waiting to defy Newton…

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2016
  • 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.
  • The posted image should not be a Video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 49: B&W and INFRARED – PLACES OF WORSHIP

Filling in for Gary I’ll stick with his B&W theme. I’m however going to take two different angles with this challenge. For those of you who are ready for INFRARED PHOTOGRAPHY, we have the outdoor of a place or worship (CHURCH, TEMPLE, etc….) in INFRARED. I’ll even entertain some false infrared colors. Since I didn’t give you guys a warning ahead f time to get ready for INFRARED you can shoot this challenge like a regular B&W challenge.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Basilique Sainte-Anne de Varennes - IR

I personally purchased an Opteka 6.5mm fisheye lens for my Full Spectrum Nikon D300s. I had a blast with this lens, a fantastic value for around $200. Not having a fisheye is not the end of the world as you can take several images to photograph your scene and then stitch them together.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Église de Sainte-Famille - IR

Like the previous Church, this one is symbolic of Southern Quebec Parishes established at least one century ago. They’re actually from two neighbor towns, Varennes and Boucherville in the Province of Quebec, Canada

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Rockingham Church and St. Leonard's Anglican Cemetery - IR

This is a much older church nestled in a small town in Ontario, Canada. It’s nestled on a little hillside and has an historical cemetery spread throughout the grounds.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Saint-Vincent-de Paul IR

You don’t need a close-up! Here’s the entire Parish of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul bordering the Montreal Back River in the City of Laval.

Église de Font - CHâbles Suisse

Things can get much older in Europe as this image of the Church of Font next to the Castle Ruins. Font is a small town in Switzerland located next to the Medieval town of Estavayer-le-Lac on Neuchâtel Lake.

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For those adventurous enough, here’s a little chapel nestled atop a mountain in Auvergne, France. (Chapelle de Brionnet à Saurier Puy de dome – Le pic de Brionnet, pays d’Issoire en Auvergne)

Religious or not there’s plenty to photograph across the globe. Always show respect for a place of worship no matter your beliefs.

In infrared you will definitely need a tripod, I always use a tripod as it allows me to hold the camera in place, think and experiment.

_tra6764_stitch2-neige-pre-alpes-steve-troletti-sm_edited(COVER IMAGE – The Church of the commune of Sorens in the Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland(CH)) You can see the Fribourg Pre-Alps in the background….

 

 

RESOURCES:

CLICK HERE for a DIY Infrared Filter search on Google

CLICK HERE for an Infrared Post Processing search on Google

 

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2016
  • 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.
  • The posted image should not be a Video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 48: BOKEH – GUEST CHALLENGE

I’ve been wanting to try a Bokeh Challenge since I first saw a holiday picture featuring this technique.

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…and what a more perfect time to try it, than with the holidays coming up? Since one of the many ways to achieve Bokeh is using Christmas lighting.

Bokeh “is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens” as per Wikipedia.

In this challenge, we will be focusing on creating bokeh using light. Either natural sunlight or artificial light. Not just creating a blurred background.

This technique can be used as a backdrop for still life, portraits and nature. It can be incorporated into the picture itself, landscapes and street photography. There should be something for everyone.

When I looked up Bokeh on Pinterest (my favorite site), there was such a variety of bokeh photographs as well as tutorials.

Bokeh Photography Tutorial: 3 Ways to Get Started

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If you want to push the boundaries of creativity in your Bokeh Photography, I highly suggest you checkout this project (Christmas Wonders) by Eugenia Evoyan on Bèhance

Christmas wonders
Bokeh effect
This Christmas was full of beauty all around, love and happiness. Being inspired by all that atmosphere of the Christmas, lights, I’ve made this series to memorize and keep that warmth of Christmas all year round.

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Sunlight in nature is a catalyst for Bokeh Photography.

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Bokeh is not just limited to color, B&W images portray their own unique style.

 

I look forward to seeing everyone’s interpretation using this technique.

Guest Challenge by: Amy Orchard

 

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2016
  • 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.
  • The posted image should not be a Video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 46: URBAN DECAY – SELECTIVE COLOR(S)

Here we are slowly getting closer to the end of the 2016 PhotoChallenge. For some reason it keeps getting harder to come up with FUN and CREATIVELY-MOTIVATING PhotoChallenges. This one came to me like a light bulb lighting up in a dark room. I went from absolutely no idea (Bad Ideas) to this ingenious Challenge.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: City Streets / Rue de la Ville &emdash; BREAKING NEWS: Steve Troletti, Photographer and Adventurer, Finds the Entrance to THE BAT CAVE!

I actually first thought of drabbing or grunging it, at least a sepia/vignette look. Looking through my images, I found the image above and that’s when I realized that selective colors, RED in this case, would have totally changed the image.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: City Streets / Rue de la Ville &emdash; The Haunted House / La Maison Hant�e

Falling onto this image of mine, I figured that allowing not only ONE SELECTIVE COLOR but multiple in targeted areas of the image would better bring-out the photographer’s vision…

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Urban Decay : When Clean Drinking Water Stops Flowing!

Here’s what I tried to accomplish with the image above. I truly wanted to put forward a message of water, more specifically water scarcity. Although all the Urban Decay elements were in place, the colors of the graffiti on the wall overwhelmed the message. Selecting the items necessary to portray the message and applying selective colors to only those items made them standout in the image.

What your final IMAGE will need :

  • The scenery must show some sort of urban decay.
  • Areas of your image that are the most important to portray your vision as a photographer must maintain a level of color/colors.
  • The remainder of the image must be in B&W, GRAYSCALE, SEPIA, etc…
  • A short text to define and portray your vision to the rest of the world.

As usual focus on the in-camera attributes of your image. Apply yourself composition-wise and experiment taking different images at different angles, apertures and height. A tripod is always a great tool when experimenting. You may even want to push your images further with HDR or other technique we’ve covered in the 2016 PhotoChallenge.

 

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2016.
  • 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.
  • The posted image should not be a Video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE WEEK 44: Nature, Straight Out of the Camera – GUEST POST

These days, I often find myself looking at my photos I captured from the camera and thinking, “I’ll fix that in post” if I see anything that I don’t like in the image. Uneven horizon ­ I can straighten that. An errant branch ­ I’ll clone it out. Too dark, I’ll tweak the exposure. And there’s really nothing wrong with this except that I often spent hours and hours editing images in post process.

Straight out of camera is a concept not foreign to each of us. I am sure that each one of us, at one time or another have produced images without any need for edits. For this week, I want to challenge each one of us to try to capture the raw beauty of nature, straight out of the camera. Instead of spending a lot of time during post process, I want each of us to spend our time doing what we really enjoy and that is taking more pictures until we capture our perfect nature image.

Early Morning

This image is captured during the early morning golden hour. Even without edits, the lighting during this time of day makes the colors in the shot look interesting. Paying attention to your exposure and white balance will also help achieve images that look very natural.

Sirenis Sunset

The blurred movement of the waves against the rocks with the backdrop of the sunset make this image very dramatic. Straight horizons are very important in landscapes too and since no cropping or straightening is allowed, a level which is available in modern cameras or in some tripods would be a tremendous help.

Yellow Flower

Composition makes this image very striking. Paying attention to composition while shooting makes a lot of difference. Modern cameras have a lot of features that can help achieve this ­ grids, levels, etc. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these features ­ it will go a long way.

Working on the Web Site

Nature is a great subject to try to get that perfect shot straight out of the camera. Take your time and take a lot of shots, as the photographer for this image did. A macro of a moving subject is difficult but with patience and a lot of trial and error, he achieved this amazing shot.

And when all is said and done, the greatest tool you have is your eyes. Take the time to look and critique each of your shot. If you’re not satisfied with what you see, readjust your settings, composition etc, and re­shoot. Take as long as you want and as many pictures as you can. And hopefully with the practice, we learn and we get better. I know I will still edit my shots in future challenges but hopefully, I wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time doing so.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (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 #photochallenge2016.
  • 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.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

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