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.

2016 Challenge, WEEK 26 – OUTDOOR – Water (Long Exposure)

Whether you’re photographing a cascading stream, river or ocean waves breaking on a beach, you can always make your images more interesting by using a slower shutter speed. Doing so may seem intimidating or even expensive. This week we’ll explore low cost tricks and techniques to add a little spice to your images using slow shutter speeds and long exposures..

Montreal Back River at Sunset (Start of Fall)

In the above image I simply took advantage of the lower light situation at the end of the day to acquire a slower shutter speed. The fast moving water combined with a slow shutter speed of 1/30th of a second captured the illusion of movement. It was captured hand held leaning against a tree for stability. I also used a 50mm lens on a full frame (35mm on crop factor DSLRs) It’s easier to hold stable a wider angle lens than a longer focal one.

Steve Troletti Photography: NATURE & LANDSCAPES &emdash; Lanaudieres River - Downstream from Dorwin falls in Rawdon

In the river above, a 30 second exposure was used. I didn’t have ND (Neutral Density) filters on me to slow down the scene. I decided to use a polarized filter to get some help in lowering my light by a stop or so. I also reduced my ISO to 100 and closed my lens down to f/22 at 18mm. Again the lower light of an overcast and rainy day gave me an edge. In some cases, when I use a compact camera or my smartphone, I can achieve similar results by placing my sunglasses, polarized or not, in front of my lens.

macgyver-style iphone tripod

Although a tripod and a remote shutter (wired / Wireless) simplify the task of taking long exposures images, there are plenty of options. I’ve never let the lack of gear and gadget stop me. Almost all cameras including smartphones have a timer release mode. This will allow you to trigger your camera without shaking or moving it. You can always use your environment to help you stabilize your equipment. Rocks, branches, leaves and even trash can all help you point your camera in the right direction when used wisely. Just give it a little MacGyver. I personally always carry a small roll of duck tape and electrical tape to help out with these situations.

Liffey Falls

Using your environment to stabilize your equipment will often keep you low to the ground. That can open up a whole new world of composition ideas as in the above image. In many cases, taking your photos lower than eye level will add a perspective of grandiose to your images.

Misty river

Long exposure on apparently still bodies of water will also bring out interesting effect of smoothness and textures. Water almost always moves. The wind can create movement and texture that will add a surreal look to your images.

To fully take advantage of the sunlight, early mornings and late afternoons will provide a lower angle and softer light to work with.

I personally love Neutral Density and Variable ND Filters. Here’s a little test I did with the Tiffen Variable ND filter a couple years back – Tiffen Variable ND Filter for Photography and Video – First Impressions. The image below was created with that very same Tiffen filter.

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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 2016 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

2013 Challenge, Week 28: LITTER

A pet peeve of mine is litter, especially in our natural habitats. It seems that no matter where we go litter is more and more apparent. From fast food wrappers to paper cups and empty containers of alcohol, littered areas seem easier to find than a nice pristine area.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Welcome to l’Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Bienvenue au parc-nature de l’Île-de-la-VisitationThis bottle of Jack Daniel’s found early morning in a nature park was photographed with some amount of back lighting to enhance the glass container…

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Eastern Gray Squirrel Drinking a Fresh Cup of Tim Hortons Coffee!
At times wildlife can interact with our litter as a source of food. This may provide some amusing images as in this squirrel appearing to be drinking from a cup of coffee.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Déchets - Parc Nature Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - Litter
Litter can turn into a dangerous hazard. A broken glass container can present a serious risk of injury to people pets and wildlife.

Steve Troletti Photography: Litter in Montreal Nature Parks / déchets dans les parcs nature de Montréal &emdash; Déchets - Parc Nature Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park - LitterThis 6 pack holder may seem harmless. Did you know it’s one of the biggest threats for young mammals such as Fox kits and marine birds. The young ones get trapped in a ring and slowly suffocate as they grow…

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Plastic Bottle Dumped by River Bank / Bouteilles en plastique jetés près de la rivièreWe hear more and more about the accumulation of masses of plastic objects polluting our oceans. Plastic water bottles are an easy and convenient way to carry our water. Unfortunately they also seem to be the most apparent form of plastic littler along our forests, lakes, rivers and oceans.

I’m sure you won’t be short of subjects to photograph. As always post your best shot and share with the Photo Challenge Community. Participating in the 2013 Photo Challenge is fun and easy. Post and share your images with the Photo Challenge Community on  Google+, Facebook,or Flickr.

2013 Challenge, Week 24: BUGS

Here we are week 24 of the 2013 PhotoChallenge and Spring is rolling to an end. Birds are are in full nesting season and the primary source of food for their chicks are BUGS. Our gardens, forests and even our homes are fair game for insects, arachnids and creepy crawlers of all kind.

Steve Troletti Photography: Insects / Insectes / Insecta &emdash; Gerridae / gerrid�s

One of the places we’re less likely to look for bugs is on water. With the use of a polarized filter and the different textures of plants on a marsh you can achieve a unique look.

Steve Troletti Photography: Insects / Insectes / Insecta &emdash; Phantom Crane Fly / Phant�me des maraisFlies are not all pesky little creatures buzzing around our heads. This Phantom Crane Fly and other Crane Flies are found in marshes far from human presence. It’s larger size makes it an ideal subject to photograph without a Macro lens.

Steve Troletti Photography: Butterflies / Papillons &emdash; Butterfly Eggs / Oeufs de PapillonBugs come from somewhere as in the case of these butterfly eggs that will turn into caterpillars within a week.

Steve Troletti Photography: Arachnids / Arachnides / Arachnida &emdash; Spider Carrying Egg SacSpiders are synonymous of fear for many of us. If you stop to observe them for a while you’ll get to see how fascinating they can be. A great example is this spider carrying its egg sac.

Be safe and vigilant! Although most bugs are harmless, some bugs can sting you, bite you and even inject a venom that can have adverse effects on your health. When photographing in a wild environment be careful of plants like Poisson Ivy and Poisson Oak. There’s always the risk of running into a venomous snake are a large predator like a bear or mountain lion. So be safe and have fun!

Participating in the 2013 Photo Challenge is fun and easy. Post and share your images with the Photo Challenge Community on  Google+, Facebook,or Flickr.