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.

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.


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


  • 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)


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.


First and foremost, I want to wish you all a Wonderful New Year and a BIG THANK YOU for being part of the 2016 PhotoChallenge.

Here it is, my first PhotoChallenge of the year. Keeping up with my traditional Outdoor Photography themes, I’ll be bringing a multitude of different techniques to apply in both urban and natural settings. As you all know by now, every 4th 2016 PhotoChallenge will be a guest post from one of you. You’re all welcome to volunteer and contact me with your contribution to become one of our next Guest Challengers.

Snowy Winter Scenes are a real challenge on this El Niño year. Suisse Romande, the western French speaking part of Switzerland has yet to accumulate any snow in the lower elevations. Montreal, Canada had no snow for Christmas and this weekend the temps are above freezing. Winter snow storms are translating into torrential downpours.  Southern California has been anything but sunny.

For this second PhotoChallenge of the year, I decided to get us to photograph a point of view from under a bridge. One, it will keep the rain off our heads. Second, it’s challenging from a composition point of view. The true challenge remains lighting. It’s generally darker under the bridge than it is out in the open. Since I want you to include parts of the bridge’s understructure, I’m making this an HDR PhotoChallenge.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash;

I chose to photograph my PhotoChallenge image above with a full-frame fisheye lens. Your perspective will vary greatly depending on the focal length of the lens you choose. I added an extra ounce of challenge by including the bright soon to set Sun piercing through the clouds in my image.  I also applied a little defishing to the final image to give it a more linear feel.


As illustrated by my RAW Image Thumbnails above, I initially shot 10 images each at 1.5 stops interval. This allows me to get some detail in the bright sunlit areas to the poorly lit underparts of the bridge. In post processing I selected only 5 of the 10 images, those I felt gave me the range I needed to get the most out of every area of my composition. To keep things simple I used LightRoom’s HDR merge and completed to final image adjustments in Photoshop. Third Party dedicated HDR software will give you a much higher image quality. On the flip side, you can use the built in HDR features of your camera or smartphone as in the image below.


To complete this challenge I highly suggest you use a tripod. Even when using the built in HDR camera functions, stability is your best friend. Your image will need to illustrate a landscape/cityscape style view from under a bridge. It must also include elements of the underparts of a bridge’s structure. Depending on your focal length you may end up slightly next to the bridge. Please be careful not to put yourself in arms way of falling objects. Remember snow plows also clear bridges projecting snow to either side.

I want to stress that for the 2016 PhotoChallenge, we’re emphasizing taking your time to properly compose and capture your scene. This is meant to be photography, not a snapshot session. The final result should be a well composed image with well balanced light that is pleasing to the eye. Don’t be afraid to experiment with manual settings, different apertures and shutter speeds. In the right circumstances, long exposures can add a dramatic effect.

Here are some inspiring examples found on Flickr

HDR Photo of a Lifeguard Tower on Singer Island//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js


Elisabeth Bridge//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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 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 be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.