2017 THROWBACK CHALLENGE, WEEK 12 : ARCHITECTURE – WINDOWS LOOKING OUT

Normally this would be a guest challenge but I have yet to organize them for the 2017 PhotoChallenge. I decided to try something new this week, sort of a time warp as we go back in the PhotoChallenge Archives. Not too far, the 2015 Challenge, Week 12 : ARCHITECTURE – WINDOWS LOOKING OUT.

For those of you who participated in the PhotoChallenge back in 2015, it’s a chance to improve and compare your work. For the rest of you, there’s plenty we’ve already covered that you can apply to push your limits and create the ultimate image. From HDR to Portraiture ,this is probably one of the most versatile challenges.

Here we go back in time for the Week 12 of the 2017 PhotoChallenge.

We sometimes think of architectural photography as looking at a building from the outside. A great deal of architectural engineering and design is often invested in giving a look from the inside to the outside. Windows and glass paneling connects us with the outside world, illuminating the indoors and often enhancing its appearance.

Coit Tower City View

Not all windows have glass panes. Many older structures in Europe and the Middle East have but openings carved out of the structure and protected by shutters when necessary. I find it connects us better with the world outside our four walls.

NYC Window View (a la Edward Hopper)

Not all windows give us the dream view we’re all contemplating. For some it’s but the hustle and bustle of urban life. This New York City Hotel Room view is the perfect example.

Pier Window

Even this abandoned building on the peer has a dream view through its industrial windows that are the envy of many Malibu homes.

I'm a young one stuck in the thoughts of an old one's head. (205)

You can add portraiture to your architectural image thus enhancing the sense of being and of welfare.

Breakfast with a View
At times Photo-Realistic HDR techniques of two or more images are needed to fully capture the ambiance of a room. The brightly lit outdoor scene needs to be balanced with the poorly lit view of the room.

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 5: Year of the Rooster

Happy Chinese New Year everyone. This should have technically been a guest challenge, all fault of mine, I haven’t had a chance to organize it yet. I apologize to all those who have reached out to be a GUEST CONTRIBUTOR. Truth is I’ve been chasing down Wildlife Criminals (Poachers, Baiters, etc…). This year, Wildlife Agents have been doing a terrific job and we just have to give them the support they deserve.

The great news is, it’s officially the Chinese New Year and it’s my year with the Year of the Rooster 🙂

According to the news, it was the biggest celebration broadcast ever recorded in China with over a billion viewers. I’ve always been fascinated with Chinese culture. The flamboyant displays of colors and animated creatures just fascinate me.

One of my biggest challenges is how do we turn the celebrations into a PhotoChallenge, especially that not everyone will have a Chinese New Year Parade or celebration in their back yard.

Kushida Jinja

This will be a highly interpretive PhotoChallenge giving free liberty to your imagination. There are plenty of associated symbols around, we just need to keep our eyes open.

Hóng Bāo

Every child that has been exposed to a Chinese New Year Celebration is probably very familiar with the little red envelopes.

Rooster 02

Naturally being the year of the ROOSTER, our little feathered friends can take center stage.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Chinese Garden - Infrared / Jardin de Chine - Infrarouge

Another great source of inspiration may be your local Botanical Garden. Many Botanical Gardens feature a Chinese Garden that is most probably decorated for this very special occasion.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Chinese Lanterns - Montreal Botanical Garden

Keep an eye out and be on the lookout for displays of Chinese Lanterns. These intricately detailed lanterns are just incredible when photographed at dusk.

China Town Kites

When all else fails, a visit to your local China Town may just give you the inspiration you need.

 

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

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, OCTOBER: SPECIAL HYPERLAPSE HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE

Due to last year’s overwhelming success with the Halloween Challenge, we’re back with another fun-filled PhotoChallenge. I personally love Halloween so no one had to twist my arm to come up with a brand new Challenge. Back in July we teased you with a little Hyperlapse video as we were just starting to work on our 2016 Halloween Challenge. For those who missed it, here it is below…

//www.zenfolio.com/zf/core/embedvideo.aspx?p=7c4c5abd.10

 

Since then we’ve been hard at work to create a very special Halloween Hyperlapse to truly introduce this special Month Long PhotoChallenge. You heard right, you’ll have the entire month of October to work on your Halloween Challenge. This means our weekly challenges will continue as-is. It’s only on OCTOBER 30th and the 31st Halloween Day that you will post your final 2016 Halloween Challenge Hyperlapse.

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

Our first stop, The Dollar Store! Just like last year, small budget is our middle name. No use in spending big money when you know there’s always a special bargain waiting for you that will look just great on camera.  Once the mask and the props were selected, it was off to a secret spooky shooting location.

 

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

Before we go any further, I need to get you up to speed on what a hyperlapse is. It’s not much different from a timelapse for the exception that the camera travels a lot further during the shooting. The internet is full of resources and a simple search for hyperlapse photography should return more than enough information. I would have to say that one of the better tutorials to grasp the overall essence of an Hyperlapse just has to be this one by DigitalRev TV. I invite you to watch it below…

 

 

Here’s another great tutorial by Rob & Jonas’ Filmmaking Tips

 

 

Once you’ve captured your images, you’ll have to do some basic editing to get the light balanced throughout each image. I went a step further and added a vignette with some desaturation. I used Lightroom’s sync feature to get my edits onto every image of my hyperlapse. It looks like the suggested program to put them all together seems to be After Effects by Adobe. Realizing that not everyone has access to After Effects, I went low budget in the assembly of my hyperlapse and used a free movie editor that comes with windows 10, Windows Movie Maker. Same goes for Mac users, just use Imovie. We’ve even been able to do one from start to finish using a mobile phone app called PicPac which gave us the choice of saving our hyperlapse as a video file or an animated gif. This is our first test created with the PicPac app to get an overall idea of our costume choice without having to go back and forth to the computer between shoots.

 

And here for the piece de resistance, our final Halloween Hyperlapse, your inspiration for this year’s special October Halloween PhotoChallenge.

 

//www.zenfolio.com/zf/core/embedvideo.aspx?p=03e7633b.10

 

Compared to my initial Hyperlapse tests, I used bigger steps between frames. I also used less time from frame to frame in the final edit. I did that to make things a little jerkier and give a spookier effect, sort of like “The Blair Witch Project” without the close-ups. The smaller the steps between frames the smoother the animation will look. When you’re being chased by a monster, smooth is the last thing that’s going on.

Remember, you’ll have the entire month of October to plan shoot and assemble your Halloween PhotoChallenge.

I recommend you use a tripod and make sure your spooky model moves more or less the same distance between every frame as the camera does

When making things spooky, selective colors, B&W and Infrared help make things spookier. Vignetting is also a good tool. I was looking for a dark grey day to shoot, go figure, just sunshine everyday.

You don’t have to add sounds and music, but if you do, make sure you don’t break any Copyright Laws, choose only CC or Public Domain files.

Depending on the size and length of your hyperlapse you will have to choose to save it as an animated GIF or a VIDEO format. This is the FIRST and ONLY time that it will be acceptable to post a video as a final product of your PhotoChallenge. No matter the medium, it’s still called Hyperlapse Photography. You can choose to upload directly to Facebook or share your video from a video host such as YouTube.

This Challenge is totally about having FUN before anything else. Push your creativity to the limit and don’t be afraid to get your family and friends involved. If you can, team up with a fellow PhotoChallenge member.

 

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 #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 an Animated GIF or a Video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.
Featured image by Rebecca Krebs – Fabiola – CC – https://www.flickr.com/photos/missturner/17102516750/

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 39: PORTRAITS IN NATURE

Gary and I are filling in for Trevor on the Portrait Challenges. Portraiture is far from my forte, and this one kept me up all night as I tried to come up with something new and unique in order to break the monotony of portraits. Being outdoors in the wilderness for the better part of my days, I figured Nature could be an intricate part of a portrait, not just a background, but a prop for your subject to immerse in.

toddler nature//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Being an editorial photographer, the first thing that comes to my mind is documenting a discovery experience in nature. Children’s expression as they discover nature can be just priceless.

Face of the Nature//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Framing a child with leaves can enhance a look of innocence. Leaves have a tendency to reflect light, so pay attention as to not let those reflections distract from your subject. Using a polarized filter can also help. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your light by using reflectors and diffusers…

Tina in Field//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Blurred out foreground vegetation can add depth and mood to your portrait. Pay attention to direct sunlight on your subject, a diffuser can soften the light. Take great care in properly orienting your subject so the light is just right for the photograph you want to create.

Untitled

Not all vegetation needs to be lush and green, dried out vegetation can add a more dramatic impact to your image. Post processing, contrast and monochrome tones can further enhance the impact.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Serie :: the Children of Ilúvatar 2//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Don’t be afraid to create a fantasy scene, nature can provide the ideal setting to let your imagination run wild.

November sun//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

At times nature can bring on such a sensation of pleasure that it just needs to be photographed and immortalized.

The original goal of the portrait challenges, as introduced by Trevor, was to use a different subject at every challenge. This challenge is as much a great opportunity for a self portrait as it is a great family activity in the great outdoors.

Collapsible reflectors and diffusers are a great tool as well as a polarized filter. If you can get your subject to stay absolutely still by running water, a VND or ND filter can create some amazing effects.

As usual, I always recommend a tripod. It allows you to take your time, think and experiment.

When outdoors please take great care, nature can have a few surprises waiting for you. Educate yourself on plants, insects and animals that can harm you or at times kill you. Don’t rely on what you once knew, nature is changing and adapting to changing climate. Plants like Giant Hogweed can now be found in places you’d least expect. Insecticides based on essential oils such as lemon eucalyptus can protect you from ticks and mosquitos and are less harmful than DEET based products for humans and their pet companions.

hallowwen

Coming this October, a month long PhotoChallenge for Halloween!

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 #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 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

 

Featured image by Rebecca Krebs – Fabiola – CC – https://www.flickr.com/photos/missturner/17102516750/

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 35: LIGHT PAINTING PORTRAITS

We’ve used traditional lighting techniques in previous portrait challenges. This time around I thought we could make things funky by using LIGHT PAINTING to enhance our portraiture.

Black Hole//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The above image is the simple and clean approach. One source of light for the subject and the light painting effect.

Self Portrait 5//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Things can get crazier even with only one light source such as a laser. You’ll need a long exposure to work something this complex, but with very little practice this remains a very easy goal to attain. EXERCISE GREAT CARE WHEN USING LASERS ON SUBJECTS – AVOID POINTING LASERS DIRECTLY AT EYES – LASERS CAN PERMANENTLY DAMAGE EYES.


This quick beginner’s tutorial (VIDEO) should give you the basic tools to get started with this Challenge.

LightPainting Studio at BeatFilms//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

You can work with a mix of standard lighting and compliment your subject with light painting or go entirely using light painting as your light source. Although this is portrait challenge, don’t be afraid to experiment with close-up portraits or whole body images.

I wanna be...//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

You can also recreate an entirely new persona of your subject using multiple light sources of various colors.

A quick image search on Google will give you hundreds of examples to inspire your creativity : SEARCH GOOGLE

TO ACCOMPLISH YOUR CHALLENGE

  1. USE EXTREME CAUTION and communicate well with your model to prevent eye injuries from light sources.
  2. You will need a tripod to keep your camera stable as these images are all going to be long exposures.
  3. A wireless remote trigger is always handy.
  4. You may even want to use an ND or Variable ND filter to make your exposures even longer. (Depends on your surroundings).
  5. Choose a dark location with the least amount of distractions. (Indoor or Outdoor).
  6. Experiment with different lights and colors. Don’t be afraid to add shapes and colored filters on your light sources.
  7. keep moving as you work the light painting to prevent appearing in the image.

 

This should be a great deal of fun and can even be a great family activity.

 

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 #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 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

 

 

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 34: NIGHT SKY SCENIC

I’ve been putting a great deal of thought in this challenge and I figured I should make it a multi-level difficulty challenge. Meaning, the tools you have on hand at your disposal, I.E. Photoshop, plugins, etc…, will dictate how far you can take this challenge. Bare in mind that even if you don’t have all the tools, the basic challenge will still be challenging. The geographical location of each individual will also affect your decisions as to how you will shoot this challenge as the sky will be very different in the city compared to being lost in the middle of nowhere. With this in mind you will also be able to shoot a twilight or full night sky.

Milky Way goodness//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

My initial thought was to shoot something along the lines of this image above. Terrestrial features that show (illuminated or not) and stars. Because you usually shoot a starry sky at around 3200ISO, f/2.8 for like 20 to 30 seconds with like a 14mm to 24mm linear lens, you can only have crisp focus on the stars or your scenic features. This means you would have to shoot at least two images with different focus points and exposures. You then would have to blend them in Photoshop. You can even do photo-stacking to enhance the appearance of the stars even further with less noise. MAC users could use an app like Starry Landscape Stacker to get the job done even more efficiently. For the rest of us we have to do this in Photoshop by masking out the foreground completely from each shot, aligning the images, combining them all into a Smart Object and using the “median” stack mode for the Smart Object.

Heavens Above//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

If you can produce an image like one of the two images above, you’ve outdone yourself for this challenge.

'Last Stop Lights' - Mosfell, Iceland//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Some of us may also be lucky enough to get some northern lights in…

Sydney Harbour reflections//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Due to light pollution, pollution and clouds, especially around the city, many of us will have to settle for something a little more down to earth. It’s important to get more than a dark sky, so try and shoot during twilight, before the Sun rises or after it sets. Just like on a starry night, your White Balance is always important to get the colors right.

Bridge to the City//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

If there are no smashing colors in your sky, try and take advantage of cloud texture to compliment your sky and your scenery. Shooting multiple exposures to create an HDR image will probably be your best bet in an urban setting.

LoL (Light on Louvre)//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Remember, the moon can also be our friend, so take advantage of your surroundings and the night sky.

 

Tips, tricks and necessities…

  • TRIPOD:  You will need a tripod or an improvised idea to keep your camera steady at every exposure
  • REMOTE TRIGGER: Definitely want to use a remote to trigger your camera or use the timer. If using a remote, use MIRROR UP to maximize stability.
  • APPS: You can use smartphone or computer applications to calculate where your celestial objects will be.
  • COMPASS: If you’re looking for North, a compass may be your best bet…
  • FOCUS: Night time focus may be difficult and your lens at infinity may just not be at infinity. I suggest you manually focus, especially if you have a live view with a zoom feature.
  • LIGHTS: Bring a light that also has a RED BEAM. Using a RED BEAM instead of white light will keep your eyes adapted to the darkness and you won’t be totally disoriented when you turn off your light source. You may also want to bring a bright flashlight to illuminate your foreground in a light painting type effect.
  • FILTERS: I found that filters tend to mess up northern lights or some types of night photography. You may want to remove your clear or UV filter when shooting at night.
  • RAW: It’s always better to shoot RAW for post processing of night time images, especially with stars.
  • NOISE: If you haven’t yet, you may find it useful to apply some type of noise removal. You can get a trial of many different Noise Removal tools online.

I never shoot alone, especially at night. Make sure you feel 100% safe before venturing out into the unknown. If you’re going to go out into the wilderness to complete your challenge, please educate yourself on all the harmful plants and wildlife you may encounter. When in doubt, trust your gut feeling.

To complete your challenge you will need a scenic image with a night sky that contains stars, clouds, illumination, etc… No daytime skies… Your scenery can be dark as a silhouette or it can also be illuminated. The possibilities are truly endless.

 

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 #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 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

 

 

 

2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 31: PEOPLE AND ANIMALS – PORTRAITS

No matter where you live or where you find yourself, there’s always a tight and unique relationship formed between mankind and the animal kingdom.

1- People and animals - 044//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Sometimes the bond between two living creatures of two different species can be one at the heart of the greatest friendships. Although we often take pictures, sometimes portraits of our pets, we don’t often take them with our pets.

Cosimo and me. #houndsonthehudson #dogparkplaygroup//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Here Dylon captured a selfie with his dog, Cosimo. Although this is the quintessential man’s best friend image, it’s but the beginning of our journey as I really want us to go in depth, capturing every aspect of a sane human/animal relationship.

Kaley & Bailey//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Humans have created strong bonds with horses for many centuries if not thousands of years. Today the importance of horses in people’s lives remains an important cultural aspect in many countries around the world.

Shohan//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

In Mongolia, the Kazakh nomads not only have an strong bond with their horses, but they also have one with Golden Eagles used for hunting. They don’t selfishly use the Eagle, once it has reached sexual maturity, it is returned to the wild to assure future generations of these great hunters.

Falconer//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Falconry is still alive and strong today, not only with Falcons, but with a variety of birds of prey including Owls. The falconer and the bird of prey often feel united as one in their task.

Douglas Gets Hugged//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Rescue workers already fond of animals, often develop a unique caring bond with the special creatures they care for.

Chelsea McKinney, #ScienceWoman//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Sometimes the relationship is purely professional as in this US Fish and Wildlife agent helping preserve our nations wildlife, our natural heritage.

Working Dolphin, K-Dog a Bottle Nose Dolphin leaps out of the water//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Many animals, just like our canine friends, are enlisted in our military and they to develop unique bonds with their trainers and handlers.

Gran Retrato!!! Carnavales 2011*-*//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Other times people are just two peas in a pod when it comes to their special furry friends.

This PhotoChallenge is full of opportunities opening the door to creativity and variety, as subjects can vary in all parts of the world. To complete your challenge you will need to have at least one person and one animal in your image. As photographers try and develop your very own style bringing to life these special relationships.

We’ve covered a variety of lighting techniques in our portrait challenges for you to experiment with. Color or monochrome images are all acceptable as you, the photographer, will choose the best possible look for your submission.

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 #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 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.