Category Archives: Challenges

15 Examples of Environmental Portraits

[tweetmeme]Here are the results from another great round of Epic Edits Flickr Challenge! #5 was all about “environmental portraits” (chosen by the winner of the last round), and we had another great set of entries. This round was difficult for me to choose photos because environmental portraits share a blurry line with traditional portraits and street photography.

The winner this round was Carsten Fischer, also known as “topfloor” on Flickr. As the winner, he gets to choose the next topic:

CHALLENGE #6: “CAMERA PORN”
FLICKR TAG: “EE-CAMERAPORN”

For those not familiar with the term, “camera porn” is a photo of cameras or other photography gear as the main subject. Just remember that the photos must be in our Flickr pool and tagged with “ee-cameraporn”. Now for the environmental portraits, starting with my favorite:

counting fish
counting fish by topfloor

This photo is really catchy to me… though I can’t put my finger on a single reason for liking it so much. The low perspective gives a more intimate feel to the scene. The complimentary yellow hood and blue fins work well together as secondary focal points. The man himself is an interesting subject. All together, it works very well.

On with the other selections I made:

Risky
Risky by topfloor

Surfer and Board
Surfer and Board by Brian Auer

Mahout
Mahout by KBTimages.co.uk(uk_photo_art)

Cheesman Park and Grey Skies
Cheesman Park and Grey Skies by RussHeath

Dads with crazy cameras are hilarious!
Dads with crazy cameras are hilarious! by RussHeath

La hilandera
La hilandera by Miguel Aguilar

Name Forgotten
Name Forgotten by Brian Auer

Model for the masses
Model for the masses by topfloor

Sketch Artist
Sketch Artist by breischl

_MG_0168Monk
_MG_0168Monk by Joanie H

DSC_2450
DSC_2450 by joshuamorris15

Homeless, Names Unknown
Homeless, Names Unknown by Brian Auer

Master of Light - Joe McNally is blessing us
Master of Light – Joe McNally is blessing us by topfloor

Chamunda Devi 1_Chilam
hamunda Devi 1_Chilam by SaritsInOz

13 Night Photos You Never Thought You’d See

[tweetmeme]Here are the results from another great round of Epic Edits Flickr Challenge! #4 was all about “night” photos (chosen by the winner of the last round), and we had some nice looking entries once again.

The winner this round was Dustin Michelson, also known as “i_shoot_minolta” on Flickr. As the winner, he gets to choose the next topic:

CHALLENGE #5: “ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAITS”

FLICKR TAG: “EE-EPORTRAIT”

So basically a portrait, but taken in the subject’s natural environment (work, home, etc) — see Wikipedia for more explanation. Just remember that the photos must be in our Flickr pool and tagged with “ee-eportrait”. Now for the vanishing point photos, starting with my favorite:

365.20
365.20 by i_shoot_minolta

This photo stood out for me because it’s very clean with strong lines and focal points. The light draws my attention, but the vertical lines lead me away. The window in the middle of the wall adds a nice little break in the lines, and the texture on the ground looks great with that light. Oh, and what’s that sign say? Let me look closer… “NOTICE: SOMETHING SOMETHING ONLY… Damn it!” So there you go, the light draws you in and the unknown sign keeps you interested.

On with the other selections I made:

Perspective.
Perspective. by Tomas Webb

driving home
driving home by topfloor

Color Alley
Color Alley by topfloor

Moonlight
Moonlight by RussHeath

Rockstar Teri
Rockstar Teri by cabbit

Cafe del Bokeh
Cafe del Bokeh by topfloor

Blurry Night
Blurry Night by RussHeath

San Diego Skyline
San Diego Skyline by i_shoot_minolta

The lights that never sleep
The lights that never sleep by photo_gratis

source of money
source of money by topfloor

Night time by the bay
Night time by the bay by nathanTHEchan

Autostadt nights
Autostadt nights by topfloor

Vanishing Point Photos That Just Keep Going and Going

[tweetmeme]Here are the results from another great round of Epic Edits Flickr Challenge! #3 was all about “vanishing point” photos (chosen by the winner), and we had some awesome entries. I think this round was the most difficult for me to choose a winner because at least 4 or 5 of them were so close.

The winner this round was Carsten Fischer, also known as “topfloor” on Flickr. As the winner, he gets to choose the next topic:

CHALLENGE #4: “NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY”

FLICKR TAG: “EE-NIGHT”

So anything in the realm of night photography, and no other restrictions. Just remember that the photos must be in our Flickr pool and tagged with “ee-night”. Now for the vanishing point photos, starting with my favorite:

Spaceship V - up in the sky
Spaceship V – up in the sky by topfloor

I liked this one the best because it was just a bit different than the rest — it has a bit of a twist to it. Seriously though, you can see all sorts of different leading lines pointing to the same vanishing point and it’s quite interesting to explore. I also like the colors and the general composition of it.

OK, so now for the rest of the best!

Las Salinas Grandes, Argentina
Las Salinas Grandes, Argentina by Magical Places

Overcome your fear
Overcome your fear by Bryan Villarin

Vancouver Fog at Night 3
Vancouver Fog at Night 3 by cabbit

Boarding will start in 5 minutes
Boarding will start in 5 minutes by topfloor

Shift's Over
Shift’s Over by Roaming Vegas

Moody
Moody by Cherie S.

salinas grandes
salinas grandes by yellobagman

endless
endless by Victor Bezrukov

Millenium Bridge (5) - Photochallenge212 Repetition
Millenium Bridge (5) – Photochallenge212 Repetition by topfloor

Graphical subway
Graphical subway by topfloor

Reaching Far and Beyond
Reaching Far and Beyond by Devansh <Under House Arrest, forbidden to shoot>

Upgradable for air transit
Upgradable for air transit by Bryan Villarin

Trestle Bridge, Winters, CA
Trestle Bridge, Winters, CA by i_shoot_minolta

the message
the message by stachelpferdchen

The bridge
The bridge by joannapechmann

Tunnelview (Elbtunnel)
Tunnelview (Elbtunnel) by topfloor

Rovaniemi X
Rovaniemi X by Teemu Lahtinen

A Solitary Path
A Solitary Path by cabbit

17 Inspirational Analog Photos

[tweetmeme]We’re off to a good start with these Flickr Challenges… the first one was “Street” and the winner chose a new theme of “Analog”. I’m a sucker for film photos, so this one was particularly difficult for me to select the photos below (I wanted to pick a bunch more, but I’m trying to keep these things under 20 or 30 photos).

The favorite selection this week is from Rob LaRosa with his shot titled “Everything you need”. And as the winner, he gets to pick the theme for challenge #3.

Everything you need
Everything you need by Roaming Vegas

Rob has chosen the topic of “Vanishing Points” — so experiment with converging lines and leading the viewer’s eye to a distant point in the background. Here’s a video to help put things in perspective.

CHALLENGE #3: “VANISHING POINTS”

FLICKR TAG: “EE-VANISH”

And don’t forget that your photos must also be in the Epic Edits Flickr Pool. Winner of the next round picks the next topic. I’ll post my selections in about a week or two.

Here are the remaining selections from Challenge #2:

The Reprimand
The Reprimand by cliff2n

Untitled #30
Untitled #30 by Peepin Pixel Piker Pepper

Misty tree
Misty tree by Sascha Schröder

Relocate, please
Relocate, please by Bryan Villarin

Princeton Sheep
Princeton Sheep by cliff2n

1 minute past high noon
1 minute past high noon by topfloor

365.130
365.130 by i_shoot_minolta

Talk of the town
Talk of the town by Roaming Vegas

Blue Houses
Blue Houses by Bryan Davidson

Packed (229/366)
Packed (229/366) by Bryan Villarin

Pig
Pig by Amberture


Untitled by jasesim

The vapors
The vapors by pau.la

Pinhole Fábrica
Pinhole Fábrica by Ana Pratas

Five Dollar Hustler
Five Dollar Hustler by Eric Parks

Loch Raven
Loch Raven by cliff2n

15 Street Photos From Our Readers

[tweetmeme]Last week I announced that we would be running a new feature here on the blog: The Epic Edits Flickr Challenge. For the first topic, I chose “street photography” and asked you to submit your best photos to the Flickr pool. In a week, we had over 70 entries and I narrowed my selections down to 15.

It was tough choosing a favorite, but I ended up going with the image below from Victor Bezrukov. So now he gets to choose the topic for challenge #2.

happy runner
happy runner by Victor Bezrukov

Victor has chosen the topic of “analog photography” — basically anything shot on film. Any format, any type of camera, etc.

CHALLENGE #2: “ANALOG PHOTOGRAPHY”

FLICKR TAG: “EE-ANALOG”

And don’t forget that your photos must also be in the Epic Edits Flickr Pool. Winner of the next round picks the next topic. I’ll post my selections in about a week.

Here are the remaining selections from Challenge #1:


Untitled by versusnyc82

Fear and Loathing on the People Mover
Fear and Loathing on the People Mover by Cherie S.

staten island ferry
staten island ferry by versusnyc82

Rainy Day
Rainy Day by chris honiball

Vidas Paralelas
Vidas Paralelas by portafolio fotográfico – William López

Untitled #31
Untitled #31 by Peepin Pixel Piker Pepper

Sunny Days
Sunny Days by Bryan Davidson

Just Passing Through.
Just Passing Through. by demosthien

Merry-Go-Round
Merry-Go-Round by Bryan Davidson

Street Scenes - The Apprentice
Street Scenes – The Apprentice by KBTimages.co.uk(uk_photo_art)

late for a date
late for a date by KBTimages.co.uk(uk_photo_art)

geese
geese by rince_77

Faith
Faith by ✪ th1rt3en ✪

Sundial
Sundial by ✪ th1rt3en ✪

The July Challenge is Coming!

as if the sky was about to kiss them
Creative Commons License photo credit: ~ fernando

Trevor is at it again — the July Challenge will be starting up soon. The topic of the month will be LIGHTING FIXTURES. You can shoot street lamps, head lights, tail lights, desk lamps, chandeliers, and whatever else you can find that can be called a lighting fixture.

If you’re new to these Photo Challenges, let me lay it out for you. The idea is to follow a predefined topic set by Trevor. Typically, you push yourself to take a photo every day for the entire month on that topic. When you upload your photos to Flickr or other photo sharing sites, you then tag your photos with the tags that Trevor sets on the project kickoff page. Trevor then highlights some of his favorites each week or at the end of the month.

I’ve participated in a few of these projects, and each time I do I learn a tremendous amount of new things. Focusing on a single topic for an entire month can really get your creative side going and expand your skills. So if you’re looking for a little project or a fun way to challenge yourself, check out the July Challenge.

Visit the July Challenge Official Announcement

The “April Challenge” Has Arrived

It’s time again for another “Photo Challenge” — a whole month of photographing a single topic. The April Challenge is all about “entropy”… degradation, devolution, and things falling apart. Below are some examples of photos that would fall into this category, and Trevor (the guy in charge of the challenge series) has already posted his first photo for the month.

These challenges are great sources of inspiration and a clever way to unlock some hidden creativity – I would encourage you to participate if at all possible. I’ve completed the October Challenge (sort of), the December Challenge, and the February Challenge. I’m really glad I did, because I learned a lot by participating and I added several skills to my arsenal.

With that being said, I regret having to say that I won’t be participating in the April Challenge. I’ve got too many other things happening this month and I don’t want to feel stressed over taking photos and posting them. That’s not to say I won’t take some “entropy” photos this month with the challenge in mind, but I’m not signing up for the 1-a-day part of it.

But don’t let that stop YOU from participating! Just make sure you tag your photos with “aprilchallenge”, “aprilchallenge2008″, and “photochallenge” so Trevor can find your photos for the end-of-month recap.

Destined for Retirement
Creative Commons License photo credit: auer1816

detroithouse.jpg
Creative Commons License photo credit: groovnick

Please Open Door Slowly
Creative Commons License photo credit: splorp

. . to flickr riddlers
Creative Commons License photo credit: jef safi

60% of Photoshop Users are PIRATES!

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot,
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

So here it is… the one week results from our previous poll on software piracy. In that short time, we’ve had nearly 500 photographers cast their votes and the outcome is quite interesting. It looks like Adobe’s high-end photo editing software packages (like Photoshop and Lightroom) are hot items in the pirated software market.

I’m not here to make judgments or anything — I’m just presenting the results from our little study. I’d also like to mention that my computer is 100% free of pirated or “borrowed” software and that the poll results are no indication of my own habits.

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Each of the results below have two graphs. The first is a measure of how many of us use a particular piece of software: users versus non-users. The second graph takes the users and splits them into pirates and non-pirates. Also, I’m going to leave the polls running for a while to see how things progress over time.

PHOTOSHOP USERS

58% Pirates

Wow… I expected the number of Photoshop pirates to be high, but not quite that high! 58%?!? So for every legal copy of Photoshop, there’s a pirated counterpart… and then some! An equally interesting observation from the poll is that 87% of the people who read this blog are Photoshop users of some sort. I’m sure we represent a higher density population of Photoshoppers, but my guess is that well over 50% of digital photographers have access to Photoshop.

LIGHTROOM USERS

55% Pirates

Although Lightroom isn’t quite as popular as Photoshop with the general public (with only 58% of the voters), the users of Lightroom are just as willing to pirate the software. I assumed that Lightroom would be less pirated because it’s newer software and because the price is slightly lower than that of Photoshop. I assumed wrong. Then again, if you’re going to pirate a copy of Photoshop, why not Lightroom too?

OTHER SOFTWARE USERS

38% Pirates

We have quite a few “other software” users in the mix too. I didn’t break down the polls into every piece of software on the market, so I clumped everything other than Photoshop and Lightroom into this category. Interestingly, the rate of piracy (at 38%) is much lower than with the high-end Adobe products. I can’t imagine that other software would be more difficult to steal, so this lower number is probably a factor of popularity, price, and availability.

FREE & OPEN SOURCE USERS

0% Pirates

And out of the four groups in the poll, this was the only one with absolutely no piracy. Go figure. I’m actually impressed at how many people use free and open source software for photo editing — 64%! And only 19% of those are using the software that came with their cameras. The rest is all open source and freeware/shareware. Good for you guys! Although, there’s probably some percentage of free software users who have pirated copies of commercial software.

What do you guys think? Are the results surprising? Should Adobe care about this? I’m sure they’re aware of Photoshop and Lightroom being pirated, but I wonder what their position is on the topic.

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February Challenge Recap

February Challenge

The February “Colors” Challenge is officially done and over. This was a really neat project because it made me focus on a specific color as the main subject rather than just some object, person, or scene. Each color has its different quirks, both in capturing and post-processing, so it was good to explore those things and learn about them.

My biggest benefit from participating in the February Challenge is that it’s given me a new appreciation for black & white. After a week or two of shooting and processing nothing but color, I started getting really frustrated that I couldn’t turn some of the photos black & white. Luckily we had a photowalk in the middle of the month, so I really cranked out the black & white photos from that. I think I’d probably feel the same about color if I were forced to shoot nothing but black & white — I need both to be satisfied.

Here are my photos from the entire challenge:

CLEAR

Glass Flower

Liquid IceShot Glass Mirror

Clear was kind of fun and challenging. I guess most people wouldn’t consider it a color, but we tend to speak of it as if it were. In my first shot, I was going for the wild color display since clear takes on whatever color happens to be behind it. In the next two shots, I wanted to capture more of a traditional clear “color” by removing anything colorful from the surroundings. After finishing the whole project, I’ve got to say that clear was the most difficult color to capture — so I’m glad the first week was a short one!

YELLOW

Yellow Tail

Piña RefrescoTonkaMAG 30Peppers and PeanutsPedestrian CrossingChinese Art

Yellow was also a fussy color to deal with. There aren’t a lot of things out there that are yellow, and the things that are yellow tend to be somewhere between green and orange. I get the feeling that nobody can agree on what yellow looks like. The Legos I shot for the Tonka Truck picture were from several different sets. Not only was yellow the least available color of all the blocks, but each brand had a different yellow.

RED

Red Glass

Silver on Red22 LanesHappy Little Men

After picking two slightly difficult colors, I decided to go with something a little more friendly. Red was kind of fun to shoot, and it seemed to be more readily available than yellow. One lesson I did learn about red is that the tail lights in traffic are far less bright than the headlights. My long exposure traffic shot barely registers the red lights, and there was about the same amount of traffic on either side of the road. If somebody knows the secret to getting the tail lights to stand out more in these types of shots, I’m all ears.

GREEN

Cabbage

StickersGuacGlide

I was initially going to avoid green because it’s the most abundant color out there. I gave in though — I couldn’t keep passing up all that green just for the sake of being stubborn. One good place I found to shoot green: the produce section at the grocery store. I think the employees at the local grocery store are over me by now. I’ve been in there about a dozen times with my camera.

BLUE

Powering Down

I would have like to shoot more blue photos, but I just started winding down at the end of the green week. My goal was to shoot a photo every day, but I ended up missing one day during green. Then blue came along and I just kind of stopped picking up the camera. Oh well, too late now.

February Challenge: Day 12 – 22 Lanes

22 Lanes

WEEK 3 = RED

Long exposure of traffic on Interstate 5 where it splits into the 5 and 805. Can you believe that there are 22 lanes at this point and it’s backed up during rush hour every day?

I’ve never done one of these long-exposure traffic shots before. It turns out that the white lights are much brighter than the red ones. Plus there wasn’t much traffic, so it probably could’ve turned out better. Here are a few others from that night as I was messing around with different amounts of focus and shutter speed:

14 Point Star 8 Point Star Octogons Short Exposure Moderate Exposure Long Exposure

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.