2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 33: Get Close!

This week’s theme is very simple: Get close to your subject! Doing so is a great way to emphasize your subject, and to help make your photos even more dramatic and interesting. World renowned photographer Robert Capa famously said, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

Let’s start with a simple before and after example:

cat_closeup

Above are a couple of quick photos I took of our cat, while she sat on her favorite spot. While neither is likely to win a Pulitzer Prize, the second, close-up photo is certainly more interesting and memorable. Not only can you better see Gisel’s expression, but it also helps to reduce some of the distracting elements of the first photo, such as the chairs, the reflections on the floor, etc.

This example comes from a previous “Fill the Frame” challenge:

book_closeupFILL THE FRAME – Shelah

By filling the entire frame with the books, Shelah turns an everyday object into a great photo.

Portraits are also a great opportunity for getting close:

eye_closeupUntitled – Mònica Vidal

I love how this portrait focuses on just one eye, allowing you to see every little bit in great detail. It’s a composition you don’t see every day, helping make a more striking photo.

Naturally, macro shots are a great way to get close:

dandelion_closeupDandelion – Eric Minbiole

It’s hard to imagine a more mundane subject than a weed. However, getting so close to the subject, as with this macro shot of a dandelion, can turn an everyday object into an interesting, memorable photo.

This week, you can shoot most anything that you like– portraits, nature, macro, everyday objects, etc. The only requirement is that you get close to your subject. Get your camera, be creative, and enjoy!

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 #photochallenge2017
  • 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 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 31: B&W LOCKED WITH LOCKS

We all use locks in our everyday lives. Even when I lived on a ranch at the TOP of TOPANGA with no locks on the doors, we still had a use for locks. Locks have been around for ages and there is just no lack of variety as they evolved through the ages.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: Doors and Locks / Portes et serrures &emdash; Locked / Verrouillés

This week we are going to focus on LOCKS and the things we have LOCKED with LOCKS. We’re also going to be doing this in B&W or other monochrome look such as SEPIA to add a certain style to our images.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Snowed in bike - Vélo enneigé

We don’t need to only focus on the LOCK(s) themselves as in the first image above. The second image illustrates a bike locked to a pole. These are two basic examples but with a little imagination matched up with PhotoChallenge members from all over the globe, there’s just no limits to what our imagination can conjure up.

Locked in Conversation

It’s not because we’re focused on LOCKS and what we LOCK with them that people, candid and street photography is out of the question…

Is there a locksmith in the audience?
We can also restrain people in chains and keep them restrained with LOCKS, unless you’ve got some Houdini skills up your sleeves.

When He Was Inside - Montreal 1987

… and naturally you can just be locked up!

TO COMPLETE YOUR CHALLENGE:

This is a simple challenge as far as finding a subject. What we need to focus on is photography. Apply ourselves with composition, lighting, depth of field, etc. to accomplish a look and feel that separates our images from standard snapshots.

To do so I always use a tripod. It allows me to free my hands and gives me time to think. Meanwhile my camera maintains the exact same composition frame after frame as I experiment.

You may also want to use a polarized filter (DIY Polarized sunglasses may do the trick) to minimize reflections on certain surfaces. NOTE that certain reflections off of certain metals can’t be controlled with polarization.

Although I titled this B&W don’t be afraid to experiment with other monochrome looks such as SEPIA. Vignettes may also help bring focus on your subject in some cases, or just add to a vintage look.

Our friendly community guidelines 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 #photochallenge2017
  • 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 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 29: Abstract Images in Nature

Wikipedia describes Abstract Photography as follows: Abstract photography, sometimes called non-objective, experimental, conceptual or concrete photography, is a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world and that has been created through the use of photographic equipment, processes or materials. An abstract photograph may isolate a fragment of a natural scene in order to remove its inherent context from the viewer, it may be purposely staged to create a seemingly unreal appearance from real objects, or it may involve the use of color, light, shadow, texture, shape and/or form to convey a feeling, sensation or impression. The image may be produced using traditional photographic equipment like a camera, darkroom or computer, or it may be created without using a camera by directly manipulating film, paper or other photographic media, including digital presentations.

This week we’ll concentrate on obtaining our Abstract Photography subjects in nature. If you watch enough nature based documentaries, you’ll quickly realize that man hasn’t really invented all that much, we often mimic what’s found in nature and then improve upon it…

There are no real clear rules and definitions for abstract photography, but there are some guidelines that will help us maximize our potential as we seek out the perfect abstract from nature.

Standing Trees

Like in any image, lines are the core foundation of our photographic imagery. The most obvious would be straight lines as in these vertical lines created by these dense bare trees. Although these are repetitive and vertical, they can be horizontal and even more powerful, diagonal. They can also be curved and they can even intersect each other.

Green nature abstract

Defined shapes are known to bring out an emotional feeling from your image. Squares, triangles and circles are the most obvious but spirals are also an acceptable shape that brings out a sense of energy from natural life cycle.

forms in nature

Texture is also a great component of abstract photography in nature. The most common source of texture in nature is by far the bark of a tree.

IMGP0704

Our shapes can easily turn into patterns revealing some of nature’s most intricate secrets. The core of a flower in a close-up can be magical. We’re also adding amazing and striking colors while creating abstracts from flowers.

43|365 Caleidoscope.

Spider webs are also a great example of shapes and lines creating a pattern. There are thousands of varieties of spiders and thus thousands of intricate web designs. Some have subtle differences from one to the other while many others are just a miracle of creation.

I could look at this spiders web all day. It's almost hypnotic. #nature #foggylondon #morning #autumn #autumn_london #spidersweb #spider #macro #closeup #london @london #londonpop #londoners #londonlife #londontown #london_only #london_only_members #igers

Long exposures with the camera remaining still or adding in some camera movement are just a few simple more ways to extract abstract images from nature.

Secret Falls | NorCal

This waterfall is a good example of using a long exposure to create an abstract looking image. The closer you get into the subject, the more abstract the look when using the right composition.

la foresta blu

Taking advantage of vertical, horizontal or even a little twist will completely change your scene bringing your abstracts to a new level. Some argue that it’s not a true abstract if you can recognize the subject in abstract photography. This is very common with nature abstracts and with this technique you’re one step closer to making it unrecognizable.

Spine 3

This Cactus abstract gives us lines, shapes and patterns to create a wonderful Nature Abstract Image.

Tips and Tricks

  • You don’t have to look too far, most of what you’ll need is probably right at your fingertips or within arms reach. Being a nature theme, we’ll keep man-made objects out of the picture but plants and flowers of horticulture origin are OK. Being Nature, I expect everything to be done outdoors in a nature or an urban nature setting.
  • Use a tripod. The closer you get, the narrower your depth of field. A tripod will keep things stable as you photograph with less light due to increased depth of field. Set your aperture to maximize your depth of field and keep your subject in sharp focus throughout the image. Try and photograph dead on to keep most of your subject at an even distance from the lens.
  • Play with light and shadows. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of backlighting on subjects such as flowers, leaves or anything with a certain level of translucency. Use a flash, even better off camera flash or lighting to enhance contrasts and add definition to textures.
  • Experimenting with different angles, camera tilts and movement will contribute to your image. Thinking out of the box will be your friend.
  • Remember to integrate all the great techniques and basic photography skills to create well-balanced image as far as composition and exposure.

 

Our friendly community guidelines 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 #photochallenge2017
  • 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 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

 

2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 28: Unusual Perspectives

This week’s challenge is to photograph something from a unique, fun, or interesting perspective. The goal is to take an otherwise normal subject, and photograph it in an unusual way, helping make your photos much more interesting and memorable. This week’s challenge isn’t about technical rules or requirements; instead, it’s purely about being creative, and having fun with your composition.

Here are a few examples of photographs with interesting, unusual perspectives:

portrait_smChin-Up – Josh Puetz

baby_smWaking up – fensterbme

Portraits are normally taken at eye level. Instead, the above two portraits show the subject from directly below or directly above, making them much more interesting and memorable.

Macro shots are also a great way to show unusual perspectives:

dill_smSunny Dill – Susan Roy Nelson

This is a tiny dill stalk, shot from below. I love this shot, as it shows us what the world might look like to a small bug, walking in the grass. This is a view that we never get to experience in real life, making for a great, memorable photo.

You can also experiment with size, making big things look small, or small things look big:

tiny_planet_smTiny Planet – Eric Minbiole

spider_smJumping Spider – Eric Minbiole

The first shot, from a previous “Tiny Planet” challenge, makes an entire planet look small. Conversely, the second photo allows us to see eye to eye with a tiny spider that would normally be too small to see.

As before, this week is all about finding fun and creative ways to photograph your subject. The subject itself can be very ordinary, but the way that it’s photographed should be extraodinary and memorable. Get your camera, be creative, and enjoy!

 

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 #photochallenge2017
  • 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 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2017 Photochallenge Week 26 – Shooting through glass and other barriers

Shooting through textured glass or plastic is nothing new. In fact I found articles and archives dating back to 1956 and I’m sure they hadn’t invented anything new. Google Books has a 1992 article online from Popular Photography.

 

In fact Photoshop type techniques have been used in the darkroom to expose images on paper through a piece of translucent material. However we’re going to focus on using a textured filter in front of the lens for this challenge. So NO Post Processing Textures. However you can use focus stacking to create a single image from multiple images. Example take one image soft-focused on your texture and one focused through the texture onto your subject. For simplicity purposes most of us will probably be shooting through a translucent or transparent object.

As I was creating this PhotoChallenge in my head a few weeks ago, I started playing with different ideas. The above image on the left was taken in my office at the cottage through bubble wrap. The second one on the right is a little different as I’m using a textured fence for my illusion. These were just tests and instead of only shooting through textured plastic or glass I wanted to expand the reach of this challenge to encompass a wide range of creative endeavors.

L1070523cw
Technically the trick is to photograph a scene, object, portrait, landscape, etc. through glass or plastic or some other texture to create an artistic and interesting effect to an otherwise normal-looking image. The above example is a great baseline illustrating what we’re looking to accomplish.

Bottled

You can also use your translucent object as part of the composition itself revealing some magic in your image.

WHAT YOU MAY NEED :

  • I would use a tripod to hold the camera and make things easier to manage
  • You may also need an assistant to help you hold things in place
  • Gaffer tape can be good, it’s easily removed without leaving glue behind. I use it but I also use duct-tape and electrical tape.
  • A reflector or sunshade to keep the light from hitting your DIY filter. (Optional but can be useful in some cases.)
  • Look around the house for plastic, glass, prisms, crystals and/or anything you can take a picture through. (be careful with sharp glass, use tape to protect the edges)

LINKS OF INTEREST :

Claire Lane Photography – 2013 CM Blog Circle {April} Shooting through glass

PetaPixel – Using a Prism for Creative Photo Effects

Raindrops shoot

Naturally there’s always the quintessential raindrops on the glass….

 

Our friendly community guidelines 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 #photochallenge2017
  • 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 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 21: Leading Lines

This week, we’ll focus on a classic composition technique: Leading Lines. Using leading lines is a fantastic way to help highlight the subject of your photo, and help direct the viewer to the areas of the photo that you think are most interesting or important.

launchpad_smjsc2007e050763 – NASA/Bill Ingalls

In the image above, the railroad tracks lead towards a launch pad, used for the International Space Station. What I love most about this photo is that the launch pad comprises a very small portion of the overall picture– it’s just a tiny bit in the background. However, the train tracks pull your eyes into the photo, and lead them directly towards the subject. Without the leading lines, you might not even notice the launch pad.

Leading lines can also add additional interest to a photo:

dock_smLeading Lines – Eadie Minbiole

Just like with the train tracks in the first photo, the railings on the dock help lead you to the subject of the photo. In addition, the leading lines add additional interest to the photo: Had this just been a pic of someone standing in the middle of the frame, it might not have been particularly interesting. However, the leading lines of the railings not only help lead the viewer to the subject, they also provide great framing for the subject. (Remember Week 10!) As such, the leading lines help provide a much more interesting, memorable photo.

Naturally, the leading lines don’t need to be straight lines; They can be curved, wavy, or more abstract.

stairs_smBelleveue Staircase – Eric Minbiole

In the sample above, the curved handrail leads towards the desk in the bottom center. (Perhaps not the best example, as the desk itself isn’t terribly interesting; the photo might have been better had there been someone sitting at the desk.)

manhattan_smLeading to Manhattan – ashokboghani

For this week’s challenge, I want everyone to take a photo that features leading lines. Ideally, your leading lines lead the viewer towards a prominent or interesting part of the photo. As above, the lines can be obvious, subtle, straight, curved, landscape, or macro– it’s all up to you, and what you find interesting. As always, be as creative as you like!

As with all my challenges, I’m happy to help offer any assistance or suggestions– feel free to ask. Get your camera, and have fun!

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 #photochallenge2017
  • 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 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2017 Photochallenge, week 18: Egg Timer Panning Time Lapse

A time lapse can be great, but a smooth pan of the camera throughout your time lapse is just awesome! Personally I wouldn’t invest in an out of this world expensive motorized panning head. They’re just too expensive to justify, although they can be a great deal of fun. One of the best most affordable solutions is the Genie Mini at around $250 USD. You can even interconnect two of them for a complete solution running under $1K with all the bells and whistles.

Personally I opted for the super-budget solution, a solution that I can bring to the 2017 PhotoChallenge for all of us to have fun with. THE IKEA EGG/KITCHEN TIMER! Perfectly built with a flat top and bottom it can be quickly modified to give you a 360-degree rotation in 60 minutes. Naturally weight limits are an issue and there is a slight wobble in the mechanism but it remains surprisingly stable as long as the winds cooperate. For the price (About $6 USD) it’s just as good as many cheap Chinese units found on the internet for up to $50.

With a little creative spirit, you can combine two of them for a vertical pan in addition to your horizontal pan. In vertical mode, camera weight is even more of an issue. You’ll need to use a small bridge, your phone or a tiny GoPro-style camera. A DSLR is just too heavy for this timer. Keeping its horizon level can be a challenge as you have to deal with two units who both have a slight flex in the mechanism.

Here’s an example taken with two IKEA KITCHEN/EGG TIMERS panning on two axes, horizontal and vertical.

You can even transform your panning time lapse into a tiny planet for an out of this world visual effect.

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Kitchen Timer with Flat top and bottom to facilitate mounting hardware. I chose the IKEA model due to its perfect shape and solid build.

  • A few pieces of 1/4 inch hardware (Bolts, nuts and washers) from your hardware store
  • Drill or adhesive (I used 3M automotive tape) to mount hardware to egg timer
  • A mount for your phone or camera (Dollar store has the cell phone mounts with selfie sticks)

  • A tripod to keep your rig steady
  • A lightweight camera (I used a GoPro clone at $40 USD)

 

TO COMPLETE YOUR CHALLENGE :

One thing I noticed in previous time lapse related challenges was the use of accelerated video. To create a time lapse you must shoot images and not a video. The end result of assembling your images together can be an animated GIF or a video, but you must start with a series of images at a preset interval. (I.E. 1 second) You may want to use a time-lapse app if your phone camera settings don’t support interval shooting or time lapse.

If you have the ability to lock exposure, experiment with that especially under moving cloud conditions

A 1/2 hour of shooting at a 1 second interval should give you around 15 seconds of content panning 180 degrees. This should be sufficient for this week’s PhotoChallenge.

VERY IMPORTANT : Make sure your tripod is level. Not just the camera in one direction. It needs to remain level in all directions to maintain a straight horizon.

 

RESOURCES :

  1. DIY IKEA TIMER TIME LAPSE
  2. EGG TIMER TIME LAPSE
  3. HOW TO TIME LAPSE

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 #photochallenge2017
  • 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 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.