2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 7: Minimalsim – Monotone Landscape

Howdy y’all! Many of you don’t know me, and I think that’s kinda cool. If you check out my Author page, you can read up on how this all came to be, back when I started PhotoChallenge.org. It’s a fun story that pivots off my own love affair with photography.

If you head over and read up, don’t forget to return here, to actually read about my first challenge for 2017.

This year I’m going to use the mega theme of Minimalism. Each time it’s my turn to challenge you, I’ll give you a more detailed sub-theme to focus on, pun intended.

I’ll start with a simple definition of Minimalism, as it pertains to art and photography. I’ve begun to accept that photography is not as much of an art form but a craft that we must practice, expand our skill set, and work towards, if we seek to achieve an improvement on our product. The end result has the potential to be art, but we must become students of the craft, growing and changing in order to become master craftsmen and craftswomen. 🙂

The British Dictionary defines

Minimalism

Design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.

I found several articles that help us get some additional clarity on the use of minimalism, with in the larger context of the art community. Rather than regurgitate that good information, please read them separately, to increase your understanding.

You may notice an overarching idea, the lack of personal expression. I take this to the next level, and encourage you to remove even the documentarian nature of photography. There will always be an inclination to be “documenting” something with your photography, you cannot effectively remove it completely. Photo journalism is the epitome of this, and I cherish photography’s contribution in that capacity. But for the sake of this challenge, we’ll be looking to harness a different approach. That’s the traditional artist’s approach to Minimalism. Yet, as you keep reading, you’ll notice a call to personal creativity, taking one more step from traditional art, into our world, the world of photography. Keep in mind that I may refer back to this introductory post on Minimalism, for future sub-themes, to keep us focused…

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This week’s sub-theme is Monotone Landscapes. What the heck is that? The landscape part is easy. Get outside. Shoot wide. Use a tripod. Use a smaller aperture, to capture depth in your scene, like over f/8 at least.

What about Monotone? Well, start thinking black and white, but then take a creative step back and think, single tone. So any single tone, and white…sorta. I think I’m making it more confusing. Just look at the sample images I’m including, you’ll have your answer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Summer Haze, by Grant MacDonald
Now, quit this idea of planning one time to go out and shoot, and shoot all dadgum week! As our rules encourage you below, Don’t leave home without your camera. I know many of you use your smartphone as your camera for these challenges. THat’s fine, but only shooting one image to process and submit isn’t going to cut it anymore. My challenges will be quite simple all year long, but that does’t mean I’m going to settle for you not doing your darnedest to create the best possible submission you can. It’s time to step up your game!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dune, by Nat Wilson
Now don’t get scared off. We are all working at different levels. The whole point of PhotoChallenge.org is that we push each other to do better. The Facebook group especially has grown tremendously in our collective ability to give and take creative criticism. Be ready to be pushed. Push each other. Be willing to take advice, and maybe even reprocess an image and submit it again within the comments of your submission on Facebook, to show you are learning.

Now go make yourself something beautiful!

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Treescape, by Ray Wewerka 
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 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

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.

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 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 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 24: LANDSCAPE – SUNSET/SUNRISE

I’ve been almost completely absent, for quite a while. Jeremy, Gary, and Steve have carried my commitments and this blog really well. And I thank them. Unfortunately, they’ll be stepping up again to carry us through the next few months, probably without me at all. I truly am grateful for their help. Additionally, these men have been good friends through my unique journey. Most of you do not know, but I was diagnosed with Leukemia almost a year ago. Last year’s treatment went well enough, and I was in remission. In April of this year I fell out of remission and I am next week going back in for a bone marrow transplant. Super sorry to start off this post with suck a downer. I’m not seeking sympathy or pity. I just want to share with you all what’s going on with me. Feel free to message me on any of our social networks if you have questions, etc, about this. I really want to keep PhotoChallenge.org focused on our challenges and your photographs!

Sunset through the Arch
“Sunset through the Arch”, by katsrcool

This week I’m looking forward to what you create! If you recall, I’m having you all focus on landscape photographs. This week I want to see either a sunset or sunrise photo, with a wonderful landscape framing it up. Consider many of the past landscapes that we’ve done, in order to get a decent balance. Maybe even go back and read the other posts, to pick up on some of the techniques.

Lookout
“Lookout”, by Juan Lois

Consider that either a sunset or a sunrise photograph will heavily depend on the captured sky. You might want some clouds or contrails to give the sun’s light something to colorize. But don’t forget that the setting and rising sun’s light, being so distinct and often super intense, can colorize other things well too, like the focus of your landscape; mountains, trees, and even the bulk of a rolling landscape will all be transformed.

Layered Lone Pine Light
“Layered Lone Pine Light”, by Howard Ignatius

Many wonderful natural objects can be transformed quite nicely when silhouetted against a distinct sky. So, consider how different your landscape may be exposed, when it’s all so underexposed that it’s black.

Barras do horizonte
“Barras do horizonte”, by Eduardo Amorim

As always, please follow our guidelines:

  • 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 20: LANDSCAPE – MINIMALIST

(Note: This theme selection is one of Trevor’s; I’m just writing the post for him this week.)

This week, we are back to a Landscape theme. This time, we are going to look for less. Minimalism is a style that uses pared-down design elements, reducing the subject to the essentials.

In this example, the subject — a tree on a hill — has been isolated by silhouetting it against the sky. A relatively large amount of the frame is empty sky, and the hill is quite dark.

“Minimalist Landscape” by Gianluca Annicchiarico

Minimalism is often related to abstract work. This aerial image is a good example of minimalism and has elements of an abstract work. It is a landscape, but the distance from the subject reduces the detail to the essentials — blocks of color divided by lines.

“DSCF1740” by neil banas

When shooting this week, keep in mind that environmental elements that you may normally think of as unfavorable may work for you. In this image of a hay bale, the thick fog  helps to strip the subject down to the bare essentials, concealing other objects that may be in the background.

“Hay” by Donnie Nunley

Large stretches of sand or water can also lend themselves to a minimalist landscape image. In these cases, taking advantage of the textures, shadows, or horizon can lead to an interesting and stripped down result.

“White” by Éamonn O’Brien-Strain
“Untitled” by Tammisto

You could also try to incorporate objects from the built environment into a minimalist landscape image. This can give a photograph a sense of loneliness or isolation.

“Untitled” by Alexandre Legault

As always, please post/share a photo you take THIS WEEK. We love your old photos, but not for the challenge. The point of the PhotoChallenges is for you to set out to create a new photo, to share with us all this week. Share them with us all at our Google+ Community, Facebook Group, and/or our Flickr Group.