August Theme Challenge – “In Your Community”

f/8, 1/80, ISO 3200, @35mm

This month I encourage you to go out in to your community or any town close to home and see what you can find. This month is an open category which basically means go out and make an image of any subject of something you enjoy or challenge yourself to try something you haven’t photographed before.

Time to practice what you have learned so far; exposure, composition, finding a interesting subject, timing, and making use of the available light. Similar to previous challenges, it doesn’t matter what camera you have, even the camera in your phone will work. Depending on the gear you have it will allow you to take different images.

Below are some examples for some ideas.

Wildlife; This time of year there are lots of animals and birds to photograph. Getting out more often with your camera is the key. With some animals it depends on the time of day and sometimes being in the right place at the right time. Foxes can be found anytime of day usually around feeding time. Beavers are usually around early morning or late in the day when the light is challenging, which may require pushing your ISO higher and lowering the shutter speed which then requires you to push the shutter at just the right time. There are also many birds and butterflies as well, so just get out and you won’t be disappointed. Get down low as close to eye level with the subject, sometimes its not possible but just try to get as low as you can.

Boats; There is a lot of boating activity this time of year and with the right equipment or access you can get some great images of sailing boats and kyaks. It’s typically ok to photograph people when they are in public places as long as the photos are for personal use and not for stock photography. However, if its possible, ask the person(s) first and offer an email with the photo (remember to carry a few introduction cards with your email so they can contact you).

Interesting Subjects; Go out for a stroll and see what you can find in your area, even a town near by. It’s always interesting what you will see. The image of the Blue Cadillac below was taken with a longer focal length across the street to get the right composition. The image of the excavator was taken with a telephoto lens as well with a tripod as it was just prior to sunset. The image of the garage with painted sunflowers was taken with an iPhone when there was dramatic clouds, leave enough room when taking your photo so you can make vertical perspective adjustments during post-processing to straighten out the building removing the lens distortion.

Flowers; There are lots of flowers. Take your time choosing the right aperture and composition to get a clean background. You can also take colored sheets of paper to hold behind the flower to get a nice background as well. Remember to try Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) which also helps with blurring the background. Try not to move the camera too fast, you still want to be able to recognize the subject.

Sunsets or Sunrises; Go out when the sun is rising or setting to get that golden light. Make use of reflections and think about creating a story, such as the image with the tree stump symbolizing the end of a life with the end of day and the reflection reminds us to reflect on a life to remember.

Stretch your creativity and let’s see what images you create this month.

Students are encouraged to develop their ability to tell a story or invoke an emotion, as well as how to plan and troubleshoot while creating their images. As such it’s important to not only create the image but to also include a “title”, and write a short paragraph about; how they came up with the idea, any interesting back ground that compelled them to make the image, and describe any techniques on how they overcame any obstacles.

As always with our monthly theme challenges we try to seek out an instructional resource, below are some YouTube video links to help with some important tips, hints, ideas, or just something to think about.
Photography In Your Community instructional aids:
Photography Tips: How to find photos when the location’s ‘boring’ by: Mike Browne (11min 50sec)
Making Photography In A Small Town by: Evan Ranft (10min 30sec)

An important part of improving your photography is practice, which is one aspect of the monthly theme challenge, in addition you have an opportunity to learn about different genres, techniques and tips.

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