Week 22: Creative: Door
A symbol of transition, a door or a gate provide a passage way.
Nikon D810, 24mm, f/11, ISO 64, 1.5″
Canon 5dmkIV, 14mm, f/10, ISO 100, 1/125
James | Doorways are indeed a favorite of photographers, as evidenced by this week’s challenge. I’ve actually had my eye on my local library’s entranceway for a while, so when it came time for this particular challenge, I knew where I wanted to go. A doorway, especially one into a library, is the threshold with which learning, creativity, and imagination are crossed on a daily basis. For my photo, I centrally framed myself so as to compliment the architectural symmetry of the building. The light in the windows add a subtle touch of color in contrast to the red brick and stone steps.
Elan | Full disclosure, not much creativity or thought went into this photo. This was a shot from a real estate shoot I did this week – I just liked the pop of color the blue door gave this otherwise normal looking brown house. Like a focal point in a photo, a bright door is a focal point of the house, drawing buyers in.
Week 21: Technical: Product
Imagine your image in a catalog or a magazine. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Nikon D810, 44mm, f/13, ISO 64, 1/200
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/1.2, ISO 400, 1/125
Elan | I’ve actually done some product photos before – but usually in a makeshift studio with lighting. I didn’t have access to any of that this time, so I just made do. I kept the framing simple and intentionally let the highlights blow out to isolate the bottle. More importantly, the wine was decent. A little smokey. Definitely a wine to have with food.
Week 20: Composition: From Below
Get down low; below 2 feet, and change your perspective. Look out or look up.
Nikon D810, 44mm, f/22, ISO 220, 1/200
Canon 5dmkIV, 14mm, f/6.3, ISO 200, 1/250
Elan | I’m lucky to live next door to a farm and a cow pasture. It’s peaceful and quiet and cows love to come to the fence to say hello. I had to deal with the swarms of flies that accompany the cows, but I stuck my camera through the fence, and using my widest lens, grabbed some shots from low in the grass. I kept having to pull my camera away because the cows were very interested and wanted to lick the camera.
Week 19: Vision: Edge Cut Sun
Having an edge cut through the sun looks nice, or having the sun rising over a line or diagonal within the photo. Stop down the aperture to create a starburst.
Nikon D810, 44mm, f/22, ISO 220, 1/200
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/16, ISO 640, 1/200
Elan | I was lucky enough to catch a few minutes of setting sun while killing time before my wife’s play at the Crane Estate in Ipswich. Walking around the meticulous grounds, I found a new art exhibit called Tunnel Teller, by Alicja Kwade. It was designed to highlight the natural beauty, and I was able to use its features to frame the sun. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend checking out this temporary scuplture.
Week 18: wildcard: photographer’s choice
Capture an image on your terms; who, what, where, when, why, how … it’s all up to you. Caveat: You must tell us your intent.
Nikon D810, 24mm, f/11, ISO 90, 1/200
Canon 5dmkIV, 14mm, f/10, ISO 200, 1/80
Elan | For those of you keeping track, yes, we missed week 17. We’ve both been busy travelling and dropped the ball on last week’s photo. Luckily this week was photographer’s choice, since I was hiking in Zion I was able to shoot whatever I wanted. I captured this image of Anne crossing a bridge on one of the trails through the canyon, and I wanted to showcase the scale and grandure of the canyons, so I used my wide lens to really highlight the red walls looming over us.
Week 16: Technical: Portrait Lighting
Whether Butterfly, Rembrandt, Split, or Loop Lighting, choose the technique which best flatters your subject.
Canon 5DmkII, Canon 24-104 L, f/8, ISO 400
Nikon D810, 35mm, f/2, ISO 64, 1/400
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/2, ISO 100, 1/1000
Shannon | This was part of a graduation shoot I recently did. This was shot in natural light – I prefer shooting in natural light especially when using an older camera model like the 5DmkII. For portraits like these, natural light is your friend. (Not every shoot needs fancy lighting or lots of set up time – sometimes working with simple natural lighting is the best)
James | Out of all the lighting techniques that photographers use, I’ve always been partial to the Rembrandt Triangle. Pioneered by Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Rembrandt lighting is typically identified by the triangle of light on the cheek that is furthest from the light source. The shadow of the nose and cheek meet which creates the small little triangle of light in the middle. For my photo this week, I once again asked my wife Abby to be my model and placed her next to a window in our apartment that faced the setting sun. Adjusting for the angle of light streaming in (and white balance too), I took several photos before finally landing on what you see above.
Elan | To be honest, I don’t know the names of lighting techniques. This shot was pretty simple – it’s natural light, shot in the shade. Light was coming through the trees to the right of the subject, resulting in blotchy lighting on his face, so I used a big circular white translucent reflector disc. This allowed the light that filtered through to soften and diffuse, resulting in nice even coverage on the face.
Week 15: Composition: Rule of Space
Your subject should be facing the frame, walking into the frame, this keeps your subject “in” the frame and engaging with it. Give your subject room to move.
Nikon D810, 24mm, f/2.8, ISO 64, 1/600
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/4, ISO 400, 1/400
Elan | Rule of Space is another one of those photo techniques we do often without even thinking about it. (Check out some of our blog posts from the Gran Prix of Beverly to see rule of space). I took a bunch of potential rule of space photos on a recent hiking trip, include a few of hawks circling above us – but I liked this one the best. It features Anne (and her silly gloves) making their way up the trail in front of me.
Week 14: Vision: Diptych or Triptych
Connect 2 or 3 images together, creating one image, to provoke a thought or tell a story.
Nikon D810, 24mm, f/11, ISO 2000, 15″
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/2, ISO 640, 1/1600
Elan | Over the weekend we went to see Play Time at the Peabody Essex Museum. It’s a contemporary art exhibit that explores how play is changing out lives – and invites interaction that you normally wouldn’t expreience at an art museum. The work pictured here is a room filled with balloons – upon entering it immediately induces smiles and childlike behavior.
Week 13: Creative | Leading Lines
Back by popular demand, use lines to lead the viewer to your subject.
Nikon D810, 35mm, f/2.0, ISO 900, 1/125
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/10, ISO 2000, 1/2000
Elan | I actually took a better version of this photo during the winter, when the snow made the fence more pronounced and seemingly endless, emphasizing the leading lines. Usually this field is full of friendly cows, but it must be too early in the season for them to be out.
Week 12: technical | macro
Life is in the details. Get in close and show us the details we usually miss. You don’t need a macro lens to shoot a macro shot.
Nikon D810, 70mm, f/3.5, ISO 64, 1/300
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/10, ISO 2000, 1/2000
Elan | This is photo of an old Haverhill zoning map we found in our house when we moved in. It’s ripped and creased, but we framed it and hung it because the textures and drawings are really interesting. Since I don’t actually have a macro lens, I read online that you could cheat it by flipping your lens around and just holding it over the front of the camera. You lose all aperature and focus control, and the field of focus was so random and narrow it ended up just being a fun experiment. You can see a sample photo using this method HERE
Week 11: Composition | Negative Space
Minimize the composition to isolate your subject. The composition should be simple, thereby drawing your viewer to the subject.
Nikon D810, 70mm, f/5, ISO 100, 1/400
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/1.6, ISO 1600, 1/320
Elan | Negative space is one of those things a lot of us photographers do natually without even thinking about it. I know that James and I use it a lot when photographing the details on a wedding day – it’s a great way to establish the mood and tell a story using simple framing. It’s become second nature at this point that I was actaully overthinking this weeks theme. I snapped this shot of my niece, who kept looking into this (empty) box.
Week 10: vision | Selective Color
I know, I know. Yuck. Selective color can be cringe worthy, however, when done right, it brings compelling focus to the subject.
Nikon D810, 35mm, f/2, ISO 640, 1/200
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/9, ISO 100, 1/160
Elan | If it ever stops snowing, I’ll stop taking pictures in the snow. Until then…the snow really helped isolate this historic house – making this week’s theme relatively easy. It only required dodging downed tree and power lines to drive to this location I had in mind. This is actually the second photo I took last week to fit the theme – you can see the other one HERE!
Week 9: Creative | Forsaken
Abandoned and Forgotten were favorites in the past. Let’s revisit the idea the idea this year with forsaken.
Nikon D810, 24mm, f/11, ISO 64, 1/50
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm
Elan | I got lucky and raced to the Pink House one night just in time for sunset. My shot is actually a compilation of 45 photos, stitched together in Photoshop. The final photo is 9 compositions, each made up of 5 bracketed shots merged together. The resulting file size exceeded the Photoshop 4GB saving limit and is a whopping 13,333 x 7,616 px. I had to crop it to fit on this blog, but you can see the full resolution HERE!
Week 8: Technical | Zoom Burst
By changing the focal length during long exposure you can add movement to your frame, producing leading lines within your frame.
Nikon D810, 70mm, f/5, ISO 64, 15″
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/2.8, ISO 1000, .8sec
Elan | Confession – I cheated this week. This is actually a photo I took last autumn, and I mimicked the Zoom Burst effect in Photoshop. All my camera lenses are ‘prime’ lenses, meaning they are a fixed focal length with no zoom capabilities. The only zoom I have is my own two feet.
Week 7: Composition | Fill the Frame
Fill the frame with your subject, no background. You will need to get up close and personal, or use a good zoom lens.
Nikon D810, 35mm, f/10, ISO 64, 1/100
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/1.6, ISO 59, 1/1000
Elan | Since I mostly shoot with a 50mm which has a pretty large minimum focus distance, I had to find a big enough subject to fill the frame. I took a lot of photos of my cats and assorted things around my house, but I’ll spare you from seeing those. I ended up getting my photo of this fence on the beach, the day after a snow storm.
Week 6: Vision | Alternating Rhythm
Alternate patterns of light to bring depth and rhythm to the photograph.
Google Pixel 2 XL
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/2500
Elan | I like that we both went for black and white photos this week without even discussing it ahead of time. This week was hard for me, because I think the theme was geared toward an abstract photo. I’m not much of an abstract photographer, but it certainly made me aware of the light and had me thinking all week how I could capture the light in interesting ways.
Week 5: Wildcard | Challenge: Photographers choice
Capture an image on your terms; who, what, where, when, why, how … it’s all up to you. Caveat: Tell the intent
Nikon D810, 70mm, f/3.5, ISO 64, 1/200
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/16, ISO 50, 1/60
Elan | This week was anything goes – I had thought about doing a self portrait or something experiemental, but the sunset driving home one night looked promising so I made a detour to find a spot in Lawrence that had an unobstructed view of the mills. After one failed attempt, I finally made it to a spot right at the river’s edge, just as the sun was setting out of view. I was cold and windy, and I having just left work I wasn’t dressed to be outside for a long time, so I snapped a few shots and was on my way. I’m making it a point to go back to this spot and to try and find a view that included more of the surrounding mills as well. Fun fact: I used to work in that clock-tower building.
Week 4: Creative | Challenge: Quiet Moment
Peace. Serenity. Tranquility. Convey a quiet moment.
Nikon D810, 24mm, f/10, ISO 64, 25 seconds
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/1.2, ISO 200, 1/100
James | My quiet moment this week actually came a few days before. The weather had just turned warmed after a spell of storms and the snow was melting fast. There was mist everywhere and as I was driving around, I came across a farmland where the wind was blowing the mist across an open field. As I leaped over a stone wall, I took a moment to pause and savor my peaceful surroundings before snapping the shot.
Elan | For the past few days I was travelling in Texas to surprise my dad for his 70th birthday. When family and friends who haven’t seen each other for a while get together, finding a quiet moment can be tricky. We were travelling with our niece who, during the weekend, watched Boss Baby no less than 200 times. This particular morning while everyone was getting ready and our niece was just sitting in the living room by herself, eating her morning bagel, and watching Boss Baby for the 157th time.
Week 3: Technical | Challenge: Full manual
While the camera often determines shutter speed and aperture for the photographer, it doesn’t know your creative intent. This week, challenge your self to assume creative control over the camera by using full manual mode.
Nikon D810, 24mm, f/10, ISO 64, 25 seconds
Canon 5dmkIV, 14mm, f/3.2, ISO 200, 1/2000
James | Cameras in 2018 have gotten so good both from the optical and sensor aspect. While certain events call for using modes such as aperture or shutter priority, it’s always refreshing when we as photographers get to use manual mode. For this week, I took a stroll towards a bridge in Ipswich with camera and tripod in hand. Coming upon the fast moving water, I knew this would allow me to utilize manual mode in my camera to good effect. After I framed my shot, I attached an ND filter to my lens and adjusted my aperture, ISO, and shutter settings accordingly, taking the long exposure shot you see above.
Elan | This week I knew I would shooting some photos for a fat bike race in my town (you can see the full set of photos HERE) so I made the effort to plan ahead for this week’s challenge. I wanted to get a low angle of the riders popping over this little hill, so I set my camera on a gorillapod in the snow with the 14mm lens. The riders only had a small gap to ride through, so I focused there (the 14mm is wide and forgiving if the focus is slighly off) and set my exposure. Using my phone, I was able to stand back and remotely trigger the shot as the riders came through.
Week 2: Composition | Challenge: color harmony
Get out your color wheel. Do opposites attract? Can there be harmony with opposite colors? Does the Hulk wear purple pants? Mix warm and cool colors.
Nikon D810, 24mm, f/6.3, ISO 64, 1/500
Canon 5dmkIV, 50mm, f/4, ISO 200, 1/200
James | Unlike Elan as you’ll read below, this week’s challenge definitely stretched me a bit. In the visual arts, color theory undeniably plays a huge role in how we see the world, of finding and mixing complimentary colors in an appealing way both according to the artist and viewer. My surroundings right now, however, are anything but colorful; it’s nothing but cold, wet, and gray outside. I did have a certain image in mind but I simply had too many things going on. Instead, I had to walk out in the cold and gray world to try and find something colorful. I eventually came across an industrial park and an interesting green utility box on top of a concrete block with some metal sheeting behind to provide texture. I shifted my camera to provide a different angle and snapped the shot. Sometimes, rules are made to be broken. Green hulk pants, anyone?
Elan | I’ll admit it, this shot isn’t totally out-of-the-box for me. I work in property management and take a lot of real estate photos (and my wife is addicted to looking at homes on Zillow) so I’m always looking at home and building design. For this week’s theme of color harmony, I actually had other lofty photo ideas in mind, but the week sort of got away from me and I happened to be out on this new construction site. This building uses some interesting accent colors and materials and I enjoyed how the bucket-lift broke up the shot. Obviously a lot of thought goes into the design of homes and how the colors compliment each other, so all I had to do was frame the shot and take the picture.
WEEK 1: VISION | CHALLENGE: LOOK AHEAD
New Year. New Beginnings. New You. Look Ahead. Interpret as you wish.
Nikon D810, 24mm, f/6.3, ISO 64, 1/500
Canon 5dmkIV, 14mm, f/11, ISO 250, 1/400
James | For me, every new year brings the feeling of new beginnings: a clean slate of sorts that allows me the chance to ponder what might happen in the next 365 days. The weather this year also brought in a fresh coat of snow just after January 1st, something I always see as a natural equalizer where everyhing is clean and made anew. My photo is a combination of those things, of the fresh snow punctured only by a set of footsteps leading into the unknown but exciting future. What photos will I take? What places will I visit? What new things will I experience? Whatever happens in 2018, I know I’ll be ready to capture it, camera (and hot beverage, because it’s really cold right now!) in hand.
Elan | I choose to focus on the looking ahead. Lots of the creative process happens right here, at this desk with a nice cup of coffee (or beer) at hand while I edit. Often I’ll ask my wife to look over my shoulder and give me her honest opinion. I imagine countless hours will be spent at this desk over the coming year as I work on various projects.
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