2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 30: Wheel of Photography ;-)

Trying to make everyone happy while creating a PhotoChallenge is a hard thing. Fortunately for me, I found a new approach that will make life much easier by potentially making you all responsible for your own PhotoChallenge themes. It may not make you HAPPY, it may make you MISERABLE, but lady luck will be the one to decide 🙂

Here’s what I did, I’ve created TWO WHEELS for you to spin. WHEEL #1 contains 15 Photography Genres, including a WILD CARD. The WILD CARD gives you full freedom to choose a photography genre, but it must include an element spun in WHEEL #2. If for some reason you truly cannot complete the Challenge as spun, you get to spin a second time. Please be honest and challenge yourself by following the WHEEL’S making of your faith.

Once you’ve spun the first wheel, you will know what Photography Genre you will be applying to your PhotoChallenge. You then have to spin WHEEL #2 to figure out what element must be present in your image. This means you’re not getting through this challenge the easy way.

As an example I spun LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY on wheel #1 as a genre and STRAIGHT LINE on wheel #2 as an element of my image. Therefore I need to create a landscape image that contains a straight line. The image below would illustrate a LANDSCAPE with a STRAIGHT LINE at the horizon at the base of the trees.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: NATURE & LANDSCAPES &emdash;
Everyone will end up with a different challenge. The hard part comes in where you have to Challenge Yourself. Seek out the perfect subject, wait for the best light or create it while applying the best composition you can.

So you’re probably wondering where to spin the wheels. Due security limitations on WordPress I’m hosting the wheels on my site. Just click on the wheel below and you will be redirected to the following URL: http://www.trolettiphoto.com/the-photochallenge-wheel-of-fortune

To complete your challenge you will have to create an IMAGE containing the genre from WHEEL #1 you spun and an element within the image from WHEEL #2.

When posting your image please share with us the results of your WHEEL SPIN. You will have entire creative freedom in interpreting your PhotoChallenge.


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.




For those of you who were with us last year for Halloween, we had a Spooky Infrared Challenge, 2015 CHALLENGE WEEK 43: SPOOKY HALLOWEEN INFRARED ANIMATED GIF. I suggest you read it as it is still full of useful tips for this challenge.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA


It was challenging above and beyond the photography aspect as it had many technical twists of fabricating a series of infrared images and animating them in post production. For this Challenge, I want us to focus on all the proper aspects of photography and create a well balanced image.

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Le chenal La Passe - IR

The above image is your stereotypical IR image from a converted DSLR. In this case, a Nikon D300s converted to full spectrum with a 720nm filter on the lens. You get your bluish tones with whitish vegetation. Being a converted camera you also have the luxury of maintaining your exposure speed.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; The First Emperor's Procession IR - The Magic of Lanterns 2011

In contrast, the above image is created with a non-converted entry level Nikon DSLR with it’s plastic kit lens. (BTW: those cheap plastic kit lens from Nikon are great for IR photography) I composed my image with the camera set atop a tripod. Once everything looked good, I slipped on a Cokin IR filter and made a few exposures between 15 and 30 seconds. It’s that long exposure time that gave me the slick mirror like look on the water. The long exposure also lets in more natural light which in turn contaminated the true IR look. However the final image was an award wining image thanks to this unusual look.

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Base of Dorwin Falls / Base des chutes Dorwin

The above image is with the same basic Nikon DSLR. The only difference is I used a Hoya R72 720nm filter. It’s an image of a waterfall in winter from high above. Again a long exposure, especially due to the fact that it was an overcast day with a non-converted camera.

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Basilique Sainte-Anne de Varennes - IR

What if you don’t have a infrared filter or a converted camera? Not a problem, even your smartphone will do. I’ve been giving out some D.I.Y. links over the years to make your own filter. A very simple process, buy a positive slide film, don’t expose it, get it processed unexposed. Once you get it back, just cut it to size. Naturally that just works for smaller cameras and phones. There are some exceptions, my fisheye lens has a tiny flat back-end allowing me to tape the film to it. The result, this church above…

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Site archéologique Boucher-de-Grosbois - IR

Here’s an other one with the exact same D.I.Y. setup. I had to put it into practice as I’m recommending it to others. Basically I bought a slide film on liquidation and got it processed immediately, unexposed. All for under $15. I imagine that the lower ISO film will produce a better image, at least be a better IR filter, but that’s just a guess.

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Ferme - IR - Farm

Let’s focus on the challenge. I would like you to create an Infrared Image with a mix of vegetation and man made objects. Using the above image as a baseline, you should have a pretty good idea of the direction we’re taking. Remember that even though there’s a great deal of science behind IR photography, the end result is much more art then science.


Your results are going to vary greatly from one member to an other. The reason is very simple, White Balance, Filter, Lens and Camera combinations will be different. Then there’s the post processing. Some of you may get IR Hot-Spots with a specific lens and you may choose to convert to B&W, while others may choose to conquer the mess of colors in front of them, colors that are just far from reality. The above images demonstrate exactly my point. Two different Lens/Filter combinations gave me two completely different results.

Steve Troletti Photography: INFRARED - INFRAROUGE &emdash; Pont de bois à l'île Grosbois - IR

What you’ll need to complete your challenge:

  • A Tripod – As usual I always suggest a tripod. It keeps your camera steady and maintains your composition, giving you time to think and experiment. For non-converted cameras it’s a must as you will need to keep your camera steady for long exposures.
  • An Infrared Filter – There’s no getting around it, we need to block out visible light as much as possible, letting only the upper spectrum of light into the camera. Filters vary greatly. Your standard IR filter is 720nm but you can find them as low as 560nm. Those in the 800nm spectrum will only produce a B&W image. The D.I.Y. approach is a economic way to experiment. You can even stack two filters together.
  • A Cable Release – A remote way to trigger your camera is always a good way to increase stability with a tripod.





CLICK HERE for a DIY Infrared Filter search on Google

CLICK HERE for an Infrared Post Processing search on Google


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.

2014 Challenge, Week 31 Nature & Wildlife – SHADOWS

One of the least practiced forms of Nature and Wildlife Photography may very well be SHADOWS. Nature can be so pretty in itself, full of colors and textures that we often fail to notice the SHADOWS it casts.

20100213 - IMG_6941One of the most classic examples may very well be the insect SHADOW visible through the translucency of a leaf. An advantage of this technique is that it works particularly well at mid-day. This is when the light from the Sun is generally to harsh for regular nature and wildlife photography.

Spider LeafIt doesn’t necessarily have to be through the leaf. Nothing seems to give the heebie-jeebies like the SHADOW of a spider. You don’t have to include the actual subject. However it’s always nice to find a way to compose your image with the subject and the SHADOW.

Hoenderloo ForrestWant BIG SHADOWS, trees will cast BIG SHADOWS. It can be the full SHADOW of a single tree or an entire forest. Naturally the lower the position of the Sun in the sky, the longer those SHADOWS will stretch.

In the strong sunshineFlowers and plants will cast shadows as well. This lily Pad is a great example with the flower casting a shadow on it’s own leaf.  An other composition that works better around mid-day.

Shadow on Flower BedDon’t forget, photographers cast SHADOWS to. You may or may not want your own SHADOW as part of your image composition.

TO CONTROL SHADOWS: In nature the Sun is your source of light. As it travels through the sky, its angle relative to subjects on the ground will change. This in effect will cast a different shadow at a different time of day. The earlier in the day, the more stretched out to the West your SHADOW will be. The later in the day, the more stretched your SHADOW will be to the East. The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. A mid-day summer Sun however will cast a shadow directly under your subject. Hope this helps you plan your Challenge a little better.

Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. 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 wild 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 sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer you! Nature and Wildlife photography can be a great family activity

As this is Nature and wildlife, 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.

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 #photochallenge2014.
  • 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 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.