2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 43: Negative Space

This week, we’re going to experiment with Negative Space. Put simply, negative space is the area around your subject, rather than the subject itself. By creatively controlling this empty space around your subject, you can create some very dramatic effects: Adding vast space around your subject can help create beautifully minimalist images; controlling the space can help convey a desired tone or emotion; space can also be used to create interesting, unusual, or memorable compositions. When working with negative space, what’s not there can be just as important as what is there.

As always, let’s look at some examples:

the_sky_is_the_limit_smThe Sky is the limit – Kathrin & Stefan Marks

One of the most common uses of negative space is to create a minimalist image. In the shot above, the clouds (negative space) take up the vast majority of the image, yet the the actual subject itself (the bird) is comparatively small. Note how your eye instantly focuses on the bird– because the background is mostly empty and non-distracting, the bird is the first thing to capture the viewer’s attention. As well, having so much negative space makes for an interesting, memorable photo. (Much more-so than if it were an ordinary picture of a bird.)

 

blue_solo_smBlue Solo – Marcus Dumoulin

Negative space can also contribute to the mood of the image. In this shot, the negative space of the water and sky contribute to the overall feeling of solitude and isolation.

 

negative_space_smnegative space meeting – abby chicken

I quite like this photo. Though the two figures are the main subject, it’s the vast, empty separation between them that makes for a very interesting image.

 

cross_roads_smCross roads – Stef Lewandowski

Another technique is to use surrounding objects to shape the negative space into something interesting. In this shot, aptly named “Cross roads”, the buildings create a cross within the (empty) sky.

 

at_the_seaside_sm
At the seaside – Trevor Wintle

Finally, landscapes are a very common (and easy) way to use negative space. One common method is to place the horizon just slightly above the bottom of the picture, for a fun, interesting composition. This often works well with a lone tree.

For this week’s challenge, everyone should use negative space to help enhance your overall image. Exactly how you use this negative space is up to you: The space can be big or small; it can form an interesting shape; it can help set the overall mood; or it can just be something fun and unusual. As always, I encourage creativity, or any out of the box ideas you may have. 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.
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2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 40: Reflections

This week, we’re looking to create photos that have fun, interesting reflections. By photographing a reflection of your subject, you can often create a more interesting, memorable image than if you’d photographed the same subject directly. By including a reflection, your viewer will spend more time looking at your image, helping it better stand out. This week’s challenge is wide open to creativity– I want everyone to have fun, and photograph a reflection that you find interesting.

Reflections can be found all around us. Let’s look at some examples:

snowscape_smSnowy Lake – Eric Minbiole

Water is one of the most common places to find reflections. A lake or a puddle on a calm day can give an almost mirror-like finish, as in the example shot above. I love the symmetry of the image– had it been flipped upside down, you might not even notice the difference.

 

building_smreflections – 55Laney69

Man-made objects, such as buildings, cars, etc, can provide great reflective surfaces. In the above image, the reflections in the windows let us see behind the camera, and get a better look at the rest of the architecture.

 

sunglasses_smBaseball Reflection – MudflapDC

Photographing sunglasses often makes for a fun image– not only can you see the person, but also get a glimpse of what they’re looking at. I love this shot, as you can see how much fun the woman is having as she watches the baseball game.

 

subway_smreflection – sinkdd

Street photography is another great option, as with the example above. While this is a fantastic photograph even without the reflection, the mirror-like wall makes the image even more memorable.

 

coffee_sm
Coffee Portrait – Eric Minbiole

And, of course, your shot can be a bit silly or unusual if you like, as with this self portrait.

This week, your goal is to take a photograph that has a fun and interesting reflection. Everyone has lots of room for creativity this week: The reflection can be big or small, and can use whatever reflective surface you like. As always, I encourage creativity, or any out of the box ideas you may have. 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 38: CHANGE OF SEASON

Here we are, the last weekend of summer, I’m guessing the last weekend of winter down under. I’m one to miss the passage of summer. I like it warm and dry just like an aircraft graveyard. As the end of summer approaches, I find myself looking back and realizing that summer just went by too fast. I also look forward to the beauty of autumn colors. Wouldn’t it be nice if it lasted a little longer without the threat of rain and winds to bring it all to an abrupt end?

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Pic Vert

Some northern destination like Northern Quebec are already showing signs of the onset of fall colors as fatigued vegetation responds to the arrival of autumn.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; The Old Barn / La vieille grange

A little more South, and the vegetation is fighting the shorter days and the greyer skies to suck up the last warm rays of summer sunshine. This I’ll miss as the lush green vegetation changes color to eventually become brown and snow-covered.

 

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Lac du Moulin - IR - Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno

It’s also our last chance to capture infrared light as it bounces off the lush green leaves. Although I do shoot IR all year round, nothing beats the whitish glow of infrared lit vegetation.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: MAMMALS / MAMMIFÈRES &emdash; The Fox and Squirrel... / Le renard et l'écureuil ...

It’s not just the vegetation, as autumn slowly rolls in, the competition for food to fatten up for winter has slowly begun. Small mammals are collecting autumn nuts while predators are on the lookout for a distracted squirrel.

 

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: SNOW GOOSE / OIE DES NEIGES (Chen caerulescens) &emdash; Snow Goose Landing / Oie des neiges atterrissant

This transition s also a time of year when migrating birds are regrouping for their voyage south. Warblers have already started their exodus as they follow their favorite source of food, insects. Larger birds such as snow geese have slowly started to gather as they will slowly start their southern migration from reservoir to reservoir.

YOUR CHALLENGE

What I’m looking for you is to photograph and document what you like the most of this passing season and / or the current transition. It doesn’t have to be nature but it should incorporate an element of the outdoors. This challenge is very open to individuality and interpretation. Our community members are located all over the world. Some live in different hemispheres and different altitudes like the Swiss Alps or the coast of Argentina.

Naturally for me my focus is nature and wildlife but I expect it to be different for everyone.

You will have to take a brand new image for this challenge but you can accompany it with an archived image to enhance the change you are documenting.

 

WHAT I EXPECT FROM YOU

This challenge being very open to interpretation I can’t set specific techniques. However I can insist on seeing the basics of photography applied to the best of your abilities. Remember we are photographing. This means that we are going to think about our image and take the necessary time to properly compose and capture our image. You may even have to go back to a given site to make sure you get the best light possible. Please submit a properly balanced image with proper composition, exposure and depth of field for your given subject and technique.

 

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 37: Minimalism – Repeating Patterns

This week, we continue with the Minimalism theme, by looking for subjects that have  repeating patterns. The goal this week is to find a subject that not only has an interesting (and hopefully visually pleasing) pattern, but also tries to keep the photo as simple and clean as possible, excluding anything else that might be distracting. In other words, your photo should ideally focus primarily on the pattern, and exclude anything else.

Let’s start with an example:

wires_smPuente de los Tirantes – Diego Charlón Sánchez

I love this image: The support cables of the bridge make a great, repeating pattern, yet there is plenty of negative space to give a very minimalist look. Note how there is almost nothing else in the image to distract you from the patterns made by the cables.

Minimalist patterns can be found all around us. Minimalist patterns can be found in Architecture:

windows_smHead Over to Denver – Thomas Hawk

In this image, an almost endless sea of windows makes for a wonderful repeating pattern. Because the windows fill the entire frame, there is nothing else in the image, aside from the pattern. (I.e., no other distracting elements.) As well, the high-key exposure also adds to the minimalist feel.

Minimalist patterns can also be found in Landscapes:

sand_smEndless – CEBImagery

What could be more visually simple than a large expanse of sand? That certainly gives the image a clean, minimal look. As well, the ridges in the sand give a great pattern and texture to the image.

Minimalist patterns can also be found in Nature:

spiderweb_smToile – Anne

The spiderweb and the water droplets both form beautiful, repeating patterns. (I love how the droplets look on the delicate web.) As well, keeping with the minimalist theme, there is nothing else in the image to distract you from the beautiful, natural patterns.

Minimalist patterns can also be found in Everyday Objects:

blinds_sm
Vertical Blinds – Craig Sunter

 

This is one of my favorite examples: The vertical blinds form a wonderful repeating pattern, transitioning from dark to light, and back again. As well, the image is undeniably minimalist — there’s nothing else in the photo but these smooth transitions of light.

This week, your goal is to find and photograph a subject that has an interesting, repeating pattern, and also has a clean, simple, minimalist look. I suggest that you use the previous techniques of “Filling the Frame” or “Get Close” (Week 33) to help focus on just the pattern itself, leaving out any other distracting elements. The choice of subjects is up to you — Architecture, Nature, Macro, Everyday Items, etc. As always, I encourage creativity, or any out of the box ideas you may have. 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 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 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.