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 29: Abstract Images in Nature

Wikipedia describes Abstract Photography as follows: Abstract photography, sometimes called non-objective, experimental, conceptual or concrete photography, is a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world and that has been created through the use of photographic equipment, processes or materials. An abstract photograph may isolate a fragment of a natural scene in order to remove its inherent context from the viewer, it may be purposely staged to create a seemingly unreal appearance from real objects, or it may involve the use of color, light, shadow, texture, shape and/or form to convey a feeling, sensation or impression. The image may be produced using traditional photographic equipment like a camera, darkroom or computer, or it may be created without using a camera by directly manipulating film, paper or other photographic media, including digital presentations.

This week we’ll concentrate on obtaining our Abstract Photography subjects in nature. If you watch enough nature based documentaries, you’ll quickly realize that man hasn’t really invented all that much, we often mimic what’s found in nature and then improve upon it…

There are no real clear rules and definitions for abstract photography, but there are some guidelines that will help us maximize our potential as we seek out the perfect abstract from nature.

Standing Trees

Like in any image, lines are the core foundation of our photographic imagery. The most obvious would be straight lines as in these vertical lines created by these dense bare trees. Although these are repetitive and vertical, they can be horizontal and even more powerful, diagonal. They can also be curved and they can even intersect each other.

Green nature abstract

Defined shapes are known to bring out an emotional feeling from your image. Squares, triangles and circles are the most obvious but spirals are also an acceptable shape that brings out a sense of energy from natural life cycle.

forms in nature

Texture is also a great component of abstract photography in nature. The most common source of texture in nature is by far the bark of a tree.

IMGP0704

Our shapes can easily turn into patterns revealing some of nature’s most intricate secrets. The core of a flower in a close-up can be magical. We’re also adding amazing and striking colors while creating abstracts from flowers.

43|365 Caleidoscope.

Spider webs are also a great example of shapes and lines creating a pattern. There are thousands of varieties of spiders and thus thousands of intricate web designs. Some have subtle differences from one to the other while many others are just a miracle of creation.

I could look at this spiders web all day. It's almost hypnotic. #nature #foggylondon #morning #autumn #autumn_london #spidersweb #spider #macro #closeup #london @london #londonpop #londoners #londonlife #londontown #london_only #london_only_members #igers

Long exposures with the camera remaining still or adding in some camera movement are just a few simple more ways to extract abstract images from nature.

Secret Falls | NorCal

This waterfall is a good example of using a long exposure to create an abstract looking image. The closer you get into the subject, the more abstract the look when using the right composition.

la foresta blu

Taking advantage of vertical, horizontal or even a little twist will completely change your scene bringing your abstracts to a new level. Some argue that it’s not a true abstract if you can recognize the subject in abstract photography. This is very common with nature abstracts and with this technique you’re one step closer to making it unrecognizable.

Spine 3

This Cactus abstract gives us lines, shapes and patterns to create a wonderful Nature Abstract Image.

Tips and Tricks

  • You don’t have to look too far, most of what you’ll need is probably right at your fingertips or within arms reach. Being a nature theme, we’ll keep man-made objects out of the picture but plants and flowers of horticulture origin are OK. Being Nature, I expect everything to be done outdoors in a nature or an urban nature setting.
  • Use a tripod. The closer you get, the narrower your depth of field. A tripod will keep things stable as you photograph with less light due to increased depth of field. Set your aperture to maximize your depth of field and keep your subject in sharp focus throughout the image. Try and photograph dead on to keep most of your subject at an even distance from the lens.
  • Play with light and shadows. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of backlighting on subjects such as flowers, leaves or anything with a certain level of translucency. Use a flash, even better off camera flash or lighting to enhance contrasts and add definition to textures.
  • Experimenting with different angles, camera tilts and movement will contribute to your image. Thinking out of the box will be your friend.
  • Remember to integrate all the great techniques and basic photography skills to create well-balanced image as far as composition and exposure.

 

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.

2017 Photochallenge Week 25 – People We Love

I’m writing this post with a heavy heart. As many of you probably know, Trevor Carpenter – the founder of photochallenge.org – passed away last Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. We want to dedicate this challenge to him, and say a few words about our friend.

“Trevor Setting Up” by Jeremy Brooks

I met Trevor because of our shared interest in photography. He announced that he was going to challenge himself to shoot only in black and white for a month, and I thought he was crazy. At the end of the month, I was blown away by the results. Shortly after that he started challenging others to take their photography to new levels by shooting specific themes which were posted on a web site he started called photochallenge.org. Participating in these challenges really helped me grow as a photographer, and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I will always be grateful to Trevor for that.

After participating in the challenges for a while, I began to assist with writing the posts for the site. In 2009 Trevor had the idea of doing a different challenge every day for a year. Writing a post a day is a lot of work for two people, but we managed to do it, and it was a lot of fun.

Trevor was an inspiring person who touched the lives of many people. I am honored to have counted him as a friend. He will be greatly missed.

— Jeremy Brooks

 

“Night Photowalk” by Gary Hegenbart

 

Photography is a hobby for me. It’s something I love, and do just for fun. It’s also what formed a bond between Trevor and me. Trevor was part of my inspiration about 10 years ago when I started participating in photo challenges. I can honestly say that Trevor inspired me to be a better photographer, and pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. We become who we are through our experiences with other people. The part of me that is a photographer was shaped in part by Trevor. That means he’s part of me, and he lives on in the photos I take and share. When Trevor asked me to help reboot PhotoChallenge in 2012, I didn’t hesitate. I found great joy in participating, and like Trevor, wanted to share that with others.

Photochallenge was only a small part of Trevor’s life, but it’s the part that I know. I saw glimpses of the rest of his life through social media. What I saw there was a man devoted to his faith and his family. What I saw there was something I respect and admire. Thank you, Trevor, you will continue to inspire me and challenge me.

—  Gary Hegenbart

 

So, on to the challenge: People We Love.

“Mom & Dad” by Jeremy Brooks

This week, we would like to challenge you to make a portrait of someone you care about. It could be a family member or a friend. Take a few minutes to think about the people in your life. Do you have someone you are close to, but have not made a portrait of? Now is the time to change that!

“Litre Lunch” by Jeremy Brooks

This challenge is less about technical perfection or technique. This challenge is about getting in the habit of making photos of people you love before it is too late. We would like to think that this challenge would make Trevor smile, and then go out and point his camera at his kids and his many friends.

“The Bride” by Jeremy Brooks

***

Trevor and I had so many differences in our cultural upbringing and our beliefs, but Law Enforcement and photography brought us together. Our differences were shared with one another with great respect and propelled us into entertaining debates and amazing adventures. The Trevor I knew was just, fair, kindhearted and generous. An intelligent individual with an amazing curiosity for the unknown, constantly evolving and learning. He stood true to his conviction and showed empathy for those in need. Even when thousands of miles separated each other, we never stopped learning from one another. I truly miss you Trevor…

—  Steve Troletti

 

I first met Trevor when I joined this challenge a few years ago. While I wasn’t fortunate enough to get to know him in person, I’m forever grateful for the PhotoChallenge group that he started. I’m truly amazed that he was able to bring together such a great group of people, from all around the globe, connected by a love of photography. In addition to the fantastic photos created week after week, I love the great camaraderie and warmth of the group. None of this would have happened were it not for Trevor.

— Eric Minbiole

 

I didn’t know Trevor very well since I joined the Photochallenge after he had gotten sick, but I will always be grateful to him for starting the Photochallenge. The challenge (and by extension Trevor) came into my life when I was desperately seeking something to light my creative spark. I appreciate that he set a tone of exploration and learning for the challenge – something I will do my best to continue in his memory going forward. You’ll be missed Trevor!

— Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

 

I INVITE EVERYONE TO LEAVE A WORD OF SYMPATHY FOR OUR FRIEND TREVOR BELOW ON THIS BLOG. THANK YOU…

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 21: Leading Lines

This week, we’ll focus on a classic composition technique: Leading Lines. Using leading lines is a fantastic way to help highlight the subject of your photo, and help direct the viewer to the areas of the photo that you think are most interesting or important.

launchpad_smjsc2007e050763 – NASA/Bill Ingalls

In the image above, the railroad tracks lead towards a launch pad, used for the International Space Station. What I love most about this photo is that the launch pad comprises a very small portion of the overall picture– it’s just a tiny bit in the background. However, the train tracks pull your eyes into the photo, and lead them directly towards the subject. Without the leading lines, you might not even notice the launch pad.

Leading lines can also add additional interest to a photo:

dock_smLeading Lines – Eadie Minbiole

Just like with the train tracks in the first photo, the railings on the dock help lead you to the subject of the photo. In addition, the leading lines add additional interest to the photo: Had this just been a pic of someone standing in the middle of the frame, it might not have been particularly interesting. However, the leading lines of the railings not only help lead the viewer to the subject, they also provide great framing for the subject. (Remember Week 10!) As such, the leading lines help provide a much more interesting, memorable photo.

Naturally, the leading lines don’t need to be straight lines; They can be curved, wavy, or more abstract.

stairs_smBelleveue Staircase – Eric Minbiole

In the sample above, the curved handrail leads towards the desk in the bottom center. (Perhaps not the best example, as the desk itself isn’t terribly interesting; the photo might have been better had there been someone sitting at the desk.)

manhattan_smLeading to Manhattan – ashokboghani

For this week’s challenge, I want everyone to take a photo that features leading lines. Ideally, your leading lines lead the viewer towards a prominent or interesting part of the photo. As above, the lines can be obvious, subtle, straight, curved, landscape, or macro– it’s all up to you, and what you find interesting. As always, be as creative as you like!

As with all my challenges, I’m happy to help offer any assistance or suggestions– feel free to ask. 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.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2017 Photochallenge, week 20: Stack’Em Up – Traffic Pile-up

We’ve all seen startrails, they’re basically a series of semi-long exposures of the stars assembled into one image. The technique used is stacking. By stacking multiple images together, the differences in each image appear as one. For a long time stacking was the work of expensive editing software. I personally call that a composite image although some purists will argue. It’s quite obvious that we aren’t going to be making star trails with a title like “Traffic Pile-up”. However the technique is very similar to our week 52 challenge from December 2016. We’re just going to be presenting it in an incremental video instead of a single image.


The little video above is what I’m talking about, we’re going to be stacking traffic, although I used cars, the stereotypical definition of traffic pile-ups, you have creative freedom over the definition, allowing you to add your own personal touch to this process.

What I did is fairly simple : 

  • I setup my camera (RICOH THETA S) to do interval shooting of one picture every 10 seconds for 10 minutes.
  • I stacked the first six images representing the first minute.
  • I then added 6 more images that represent one additional minute of stacking.
  • I continued adding increments of 6 images until I reached the total shooting time of ten minutes, producing ten images where traffic incrementally piled-up.
  • I put together my ten images in a short video in the style of a time lapse.

I did this quickly in photoshop, but I wanted to bring this to the 2017 PhotChallenge in a way that everyone can participate on a budget whether you’re using state of the art camera gear or your smartphone camera.

I found a little piece of freeware designed for startrails that works on MAC, PC and Linux. It’s called StarStax and it does a wonderful job of stacking JPEG images into a single composite image. Here’s the link : http://www.markus-enzweiler.de/StarStaX/StarStaX.html#download

There’s even a Flickr group to inspire you : https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephaniesaccoccio/31637339573/in/pool-starstax/

 

To complete your challenge:

  • Remember it has to be a TRAFFIC PILE-UP or a reasonable interpretation of…
  • You final submission will be in the form of a time-lapse illustrating the gradual pile-up through composite images.
  • You do not have to follow my timing, however it is an easy formula to follow.

 

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.