2017 PhotoChallenge week 14 – Take a walk on the Wild Side – URBAN NATURE

Here’s our true (NOT APRIL FOOLS) Challenge for Week 14 of the 2017 PhotoChallenge.

Since we’re multiple contributors and many of the challenges focus on different techniques, I think it’s time we apply what we learned to bring out some urban nature photography. Being urban nature, they can include man-made objects as long as the main subject is nature related within an urban / semi-urban or rural area…OUTDOORS.
Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PhotoChallenge &emdash; Ice flowing on the St-Lawrence River

The above animated GIF (App 36 images) was taken handheld with an Android Phone. You don’t need to be equipped with the fanciest gear and software to complete a PhotoChallenge, you just need imagination and a little inspiration… Going back on all the techniques we’ve encountered this year, you can now apply them to this challenge.
Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Ice floating away on the St-Lawrence River

I wasn’t there to make an animated GIF, I was there to capture an Infrared Image with a Fisheye Lens to get a unique point of view on the early spring melting of the ice as it flows down the St-Lawrence River. We’ve covered infrared in past challenges and a quick search on our site will provide you with all the helpful tools to accomplish this Challenge in IR, if that is what you want…

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Une petite percée de soleil / Sun peeking through

Nature Parks in Metropolitan areas can offer a unique perspective on Urban Nature. Take advantage of the sun, clouds and other elements to add some drama to your images.
Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Ospreys in Nest / Balbuzards au nid

At times we create man-made objects to attract and nurture nature in an urban area. Platforms to invite Ospreys to nest are more and more common in Urban Nature settings. You’ll need some far-reaching lens as these platforms are often nestled out of reach to assure a successful nesting season.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Eastern Gray Squirrel Drinking a Fresh Cup of Tim Hortons Coffee!

Squirrels are probably one of the most common encounters of wildlife in our urban areas, they are also very opportunistic feeders making our litter a golden find.

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

Sometimes Nature can swallow up City Folks in one gulp, be ready for the action shot…

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Tiny Planet - Carved Living Room - Salle de séjour extérieure sculptée

We’ve even covered 360 PhotoSpheres and Tinyplanets. These are a great way to show off your findings in an urban nature area.

 

I’ve given you plenty of examples and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be accomplished. It’s important to think through and properly plan what you want to accomplish, or you’ll only be taking a snapshot. A local search on google maps can reveal interesting locations with pictures to document the environment you will find yourself in.

Anything but a VIDEO will be accepted.

Bring what you will need to stabilize your camera I.E. a tripod

Filters to enhance contrast, change light colors, IR, Polariser or ND to slow down your exposures.

If wildlife is what you are after, please be respectful. Successful wildlife photography is only part photography. Observing and understanding the animal you want to photograph is the key. You will need to be patient.

Understanding and educating yourself on both local fauna and flora will keep you and your subject safe. Touching plants as much as wild animals can be unsafe. Never feed wild animals for the purpose of taking a picture.

Your final image should document nature in a world affected by man. Our interactions with nature a much as its interactions with us, where humans live.

 

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.

 

 

 

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…

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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.

 

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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.

2015 CHALLENGE WEEK 43: SPOOKY HALLOWEEN INFRARED ANIMATED GIF

VERSION FRANÇAISE / FRENCH VERSION

Here it is, the spookiest and most anticipated PhotoChallenge ever, right in time for Halloween 2015. Your Challenge, if you’re not too afraid to accept it, will be to create the spookiest animated infrared GIF ever.

Steve Troletti Photography: animated gif &emdash;

Every year for Halloween, I create an image for my blog. Last year I created the above image. This year I wanted to do a little something more and share the process as a Challenge for the week of Halloween. Hopefully you’ll find it challenging, rewarding and a great motivation for your creative mind.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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Your first step will be to find the Spookiest location for your PhotoChallenge shoot. We chose to setup in front of a Mausoleum at a local cemetery as illustrated in the above Infrared PhotoSphere.  We’ll leave the details of your spooky location up to you. However since this is an Infrared Challenge, you’ll most probably have to stay outdoors in the mid-day sun to maximize you’re exposure capabilities.

For the last two months I’ve given you a heads up on the fact that we will be shooting an Infrared Challenge. Hopefully by now you should have purchased a filter or created one with the DIY video posted above.

Steve Troletti Photography: animated gif &emdash;

Once you’ve chosen your spooky location, you’ll need your spooky subject such as a goblin. In my case my standard issue wildlife photographer camo-pants with my Laguna Beach Hoody complimented my Dollar Store Halloween Mask.

Steve Troletti Photography: animated gif &emdash;

If you’ve been following The 2015 PhotoChallenge and participated in the WEEK 35: Translucent Outdoor Long Exposures Challenge, then you should be able to create an image as pictured above, left. The left image is the result of a long exposure with the subject only exposed for a fraction of the total exposure, thus making it translucent. The right image is done in the same process, a long exposure but with an Infrared Filter fitted to a non-converted DSLR instead of a Neutral Density filter.

Steve Troletti Photography: animated gif &emdash;

Installing a 720nm IR filter on your non-converted camera will have a result equivalent to at least 5 stops of light reduction depending on the hotfilter used by your camera manufacturer. The effect will be similar to that of an ND filter but the image will be red unless you can set an in-camera white balance under IR. Then you will have rusty and copper tones instead a monochromatic reds. A simple B&W conversion will suffice for the challenge. If you wish, you can attempt false IR colors to make everything even more bizarre.

Steve Troletti Photography: animated gif &emdash;

In order to fulfill the challenge you will need to capture a minimum of two images in Infrared. One with just your scene as in SPOOKY IMAGE 1 above. You will also need to capture a second image. This one will be of a translucent ghostly apparition as we’ve practiced in a past challenge. This time we’re just looking for Infrared images processed in B&W to facilitate the challenge and increase the eerie spook factor. This is the simple approach. You can as an alternative shoot your subject elsewhere and with the use of a layer mask animate it atop your original image.

Now that you have your two or more images, it’s time to put them together into one animated gif. Remember the larger the image size and the more images you animate together, the bigger your file size will be. Keep your final image size as small as possible and limit the amount of images animated to no more than four. Processing and saving your image as a grayscale will also decrease the final file size of your B&W image. The above video illustrates the technique to create an animated gif with Photoshop. There are several online animated gif creators that should work. I haven’t tried any but click here to search.

Happy Halloween Steve Troletti Photography

…and voila, by now the above GIF should have completely loaded and you should see the animation of four images in an endless loop. This will be my 2015 Happy Halloween image for my Blog at Steve Troletti Photography.

You should be able to post your animated GIF directly to Google+ or Facebook with no problems. In Flickr you will have to provide the link to the original photo.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

If you want to venture into false color IR, I suggest you take a look at this article by Chris Swarbri

Here’s an other one by John Harte

Here’s a video illustrating one more technique

 

Wishing you all a great Halloween on behalf of the entire PhotoChalenge Team (Trevor, Jeremy, Gary & Myself) Have a great week of Spooky Photography.

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.

A special thanks to Eugenie Robitaille Design Media for technical assistance.

 

 

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.