2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 4: Rule of Thirds / Toys & Games

I’m very excited to join the PhotoChallenge team! My theme for this year is “Composition and Technique”, which will focus on some of the fundamentals of photography. I hope that the challenges will be enjoyable for beginners and advanced photographers alike. To that end, if anyone has any suggestions or feedback, I’m happy to listen!

This week’s topic is the Rule of Thirds. In a nutshell, the Rule of Thirds suggests that you should place your subject off-center (approximately 1/3 from any corner or edge), which results in a balanced, pleasing composition. Let’s dive in to some examples:

crop_coffeeSteaming Coffee – Eric Minbiole

The images above show the same subject, with two different compositions: The upper image has the coffee cup in the center of the image. Note that the composition seems a bit awkward– the steam is cut off on the top, and there’s too much empty space at the bottom. In contrast, the lower image follows the Rule of Thirds, and feels much more balanced: The steam has plenty of space to rise, and the overall image has a more pleasing composition.

Another benefit of the Rule of Thirds is that it can help clarify the subject, especially in case of a landscape shot:

crop_water

The upper image shows a centered horizon. While the water and the sky are both reasonably interesting, it’s hard to tell which is the intended subject of the photo, as both are given the same amount of space in the image. In contrast, the lower image better follows the Rule of Thirds, placing the horizon at the lower third of the image. This helps make it more clear that the sky and clouds are the main focus of the image, since they are given a larger portion (2/3) of the space.

crop_longwood

Longwood Home – Eric Minbiole

Certainly, the Rule of Thirds is not a hard and fast rule. Just like any rule of thumb, there are plenty of times that you can (and should) break it. However, it’s often a very good starting point when composing a subject, and is a technique that every photographer should at least be familiar with. As such, this week’s challenge is to create a photograph that follows the Rule of Thirds.

Optional Twist: Each week, I’ll add an optional twist to the challenge. As the name implies, these are completely optional, and are intended for those looking for a bit of extra difficulty. (Some twists may be harder than others.) This week’s twist is “Toys and Games” — feel free to interpret this in any creative way that you like. Regardless of whether or not you follow the twist, your composition should follow the Rule of Thirds.

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.
  • The posted image should be an animated still image and not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 2: WE ARE WHAT WE EAT

They say we are what we eat, it’s time for you to show us what you’re made of. This is nothing new for the PhotoChallenge, back in 2010 we would have week long challenges that involved posting your food images on a daily basis. We’re not going to post all our food for an entire week but contrary to our regular challenges, you will be able to post up to three (3), yes THREE images this week.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: FOOD &emdash;

There’s a catch, they can’t be from the same meal. You can choose Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner or go the route of cool treats, desserts and your favorite bar drinks and eats.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: FOOD &emdash;

I encourage you to be creative while shooting your image and in post processing. Don’t settle for a snapshot. We’re creating a photograph, it doesn’t have to sell as appetizing, but eye pleasing art is a good start. Naturally one can stick to editorial and give us a lesson in traditional foods from around the world.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: FOOD &emdash;

Depth of field is important. Rule of thumb, keep your foreground subject crisp and in focus if you’re going to have a shallow depth of field.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: FOOD &emdash;

On the flip side, you may want to get your entire serving dish in focus. Don’t be afraid to experiment and assemble multiple images together to get an overview of an entire meal or a before and after. In the image above we have an out of the even to the serving plate photo.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: FOOD &emdash;

Don’t be afraid to experiment with color filters, vignettes and borders. If you have to break the rules of photography to make your artistic vision a reality, then go for it 🙂

Theres a great deal of freedom in this challenge but please stay away from snapshots and apply yourself with composition, exposure and depth of field. Plan your shot and take multiple images at different angles. Food photography is an art in itself.

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.
  • The posted image should be an animated still image and not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2015 CHALLENGE: WEEK 49: MACRO – POINTY THINGS

We are at the last macro challenge of the year. Are you ready? This time we will be shooting pointy things!

“You Lookin’ At Me?” by Amanda Y.
“Prick” by Jeremy Brooks

 

Cactus or other succulents tend to have lots of pointy things. You could point your lens at some of those.

“macro sewing machine needles” by gina pina

You can probably find lots of pointy things around the house as well, like these sewing machine needles.

“thorn” by Janine
“Glistening Raindrops” by Matthew Matheson

Or head outside and look for thorns and other pointy things in nature.

As a reminder: Macro photography is a type of close-up photography. Generally it means that the image on the sensor is life-size or greater. If you have a macro lens or a camera with a macro setting, you can use that. If you have a mid-range focal length lens, such as a 50mm, you can make a “poor man’s macro” by flipping it around and holding it against the camera body. Focus is achieved by moving the entire assembly close to the subject. If you are using a smartphone, the camera might have a macro focus option, or you can use something like an Olloclip macro lens. If you don’t have any macro lens options, just go for a close up image, and do what you can. Remember, photochallenge is about learning new stuff and having fun!

“Steel Crayons” by djfrantic

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 #photochallenge2015.
  • 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 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2015 CHALLENGE WEEK 41: MACRO – FASTENERS

We are back to a Macro challenge. This week, lets point our lenses at the things that keep it together – fasteners!

“Screwed Again” by Jonathan Cohen

Anything that acts as a fastener is fair game for this week’s challenge. Screws, nails, buttons, tape, velcro, zippers, etc.

by r. nial bradshaw

As a reminder: Macro photography is a type of close-up photography. Generally it means that the image on the sensor is life-size or greater. If you have a macro lens or a camera with a macro setting, you can use that. If you have a mid-range focal length lens, such as a 50mm, you can make a “poor man’s macro” by flipping it around and holding it against the camera body. Focus is achieved by moving the entire assembly close to the subject. If you are using a smartphone, the camera might have a macro focus option, or you can use something like an Olloclip macro lens. If you don’t have any macro lens options, just go for a close up image, and do what you can. Remember, photochallenge is about learning new stuff and having fun!

“lets take some E” by djfrantic

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 #photochallenge2015.
  • 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 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.
“Velcro” by Hadley Paul Garland

2015 CHALLENGE WEEK 37: MACRO – PLASTIC

It’s time for some more macro action! This week we will point the lens at a man made substance: Plastic.

“Evil Fly” by Jeremy Brooks

If you get close enough, ordinary objects can look unfamiliar. Take a look around your house and see what plastic things you have to shoot.

“Plastic people” by Kevin Dooley

Try experimenting with lighting to get a unique effect.

“Sluuuuurp!…” by Tambako The Jaguar

As a reminder: Macro photography is a type of close-up photography. Generally it means that the image on the sensor is life-size or greater. If you have a macro lens or a camera with a macro setting, you can use that. If you have a mid-range focal length lens, such as a 50mm, you can make a “poor man’s macro” by flipping it around and holding it against the camera body. Focus is achieved by moving the entire assembly close to the subject. If you are using a smartphone, the camera might have a macro focus option, or you can use something like an Olloclip macro lens. If you don’t have any macro lens options, just go for a close up image, and do what you can. Remember, photochallenge is about learning new stuff and having fun!

“Standing toy soldier” by Yngvar Sørensen

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 #photochallenge2015.
  • 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 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2015 Challenge, Week 33: MACRO – CARBONATION

Are you ready for a new macro challenge? Ready for your creativity to bubble up? This week we will be doing macros of carbonation!

“with a twist of orange” by Jonathan Cohen

This challenge can be done with any kind of fizzy beverage. Try different kinds of beverages and see how the bubbles differ and how the colors make a difference in the final image.

“Bubbly 1” by scyrene

You can try different kinds of glasses and different things floating in the liquid for more variety. Try lighting the glass from above, from below, and from the side. This is a great chance to do something abstract and strange!

“The Hardly Visible Distance” by Andrew Smith

You can try all kinds of creative things for this challenge. If you need some inspiration, try searching Flickr…. you never know what will bubble up to the top of the search results.

“Come to a Head” by Adam Meek

 

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 #photochallenge2015.
  • 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 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.
Happy Mother's Day from Pesto the Parakeet and the 2015 PhotoChallenge Team

2015 Challenge, Week 19 OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY – MOTHER NATURE

Just like last year, it’s week 19 and it’s Mother’s Day in quite a few spots around the world. Again, I see no better theme than MOTHER NATURE for our Week 19 Challenge. I figured we’d stick with tradition and make it an open theme in order to give each an every 2015 PhotoChallenge participant a chance to portray MOTHER NATURE their way. No matter if you live in a city or the backwoods, Mother Nature impacts all of our daily lives.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Rosaceae, Potentilla visianii

The first thing that may come to mind are flowers for Mother’s Day! Although many of the May flowers offered for mother’s day aren’t wild flowers, try and focus on something from Mother Nature. Like this alpine flower,  Rosaceae (Potentilla visianii), a gift from nature found in the eastern Alps. Flowers can be photographed with a variety of lenses using a variety of techniques. Although I chose a 300mm lens, a macro lens or even a small zoom (I.E. 18-55mm) would have produced great images of this flower.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Swiss Mushrooms / Champignons Suisse

It’s not just the pretty flowers that are growing. In more humid wooded areas, mushrooms are sporing. Fungus of all kinds can make for interesting photo subjects. These furry looking mushrooms from Switzerland were hidden at the base of a dead tree. A rodent eating the mushroom caught my attention as it scurried away. For most mushrooms you’ll need to get low to the ground. In this case I used a 200mm macro lens. I used my tripod all the way low to the ground. The tripod and a remote release were necessary due to the low light conditions. I also used a small reflector to unblock some shadows.

Steve Troletti Photography: Insects / Insectes / Insecta &emdash; Gerridae / gerrid�s

This water strider (Gerridae) is a good example of some of the first insects we can find in ponds, lakes and wetlands. They don’t stay still for very long, making them a true challenge to photograph! You’ll be amazed at how much detail there are on some insects as you get close and personal. For this image I simply laid down on a small deck overhanging a pond in Northern Quebec (Eastern Canada). There were plenty of insects, spiders and amphibians to photograph. I hand help my camera and waited for interesting subjects to show up. I also used a polarized filter to reduce certain reflections. Circular polarizing filter is a very handy tool when photographing over water.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Cooper's Hawk Mating / Accouplement d'Éperviers de Cooper

This time of year is also the mating season for many species. Keep your eyes open as insects, amphibians, mammals and birds, like these Cooper’s Hawks, are likely to be mating. In most cases You’ll have to be patient or lucky. Observing wildlife in a calm manner will give you great insight on what’s going on around you. Standing still in a specific area for an extended period of time can reveal a great deal of action you would have just missed if you were simply to walk by.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; The Fox and Squirrel... / Le renard et l'écureuil ...

Be aware of your surroundings at all times and have your camera ready for action. Mother Nature can without any warning present you with the best photo opportunities. As beautiful as Mother Nature may be, it sometimes can present itself in cruel and unusual ways.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; The Hunt! / La Chasse!

Predator and prey scenarios come in all shapes and sizes. They are as likely to occur in or on water, land or the sky above you. The good news is this squirrel made it through without a scratch, just a few rattled nerves…

La femelle cardinale rouge déjà au nid - Parc-nature de l'Ile-de-la-Visitation

Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. Please be extremely considerate of nesting birds and their nests keeping a good distance away, not to overly stress the bird. The birds choose their nesting area carefully. Breaking and removing branches to take a better picture will only render the nest more vulnerable to predators.

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 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 skies the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer!

As this is Nature and wildlife Photography, try to keep human objects such as houses, bridges and fences out of your images as much as possible. There’s often a way to compose an image to give the illusion of complete nature without using Photoshop.

To fully take advantage of the sunlight, early mornings and late afternoons will provide a lower angle and softer light to work with.

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 #photochallenge2015.
  • 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 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.