TRY THE 10 METER CHALLENGE / LEARN TO “SEE A PHOTO”

people looking at laptop
Photo by Fox on Pexels.com

If you have been a follower of this blog for some time, the one thing I hope everyone learns from these blogs, is “HOW TO “SEE” A PHOTO”.

I, along with other photographers, believe that there are photo opportunities missed every day, right around us. If we would just look around us and see what you could take and make it “artistic”.

black man standing with cup of coffee and croissant near akita inu
Can you make some “interesting” or “artistic” photo of your pet? —– Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels.com

I recently saw this idea called: THE 10 METER CHALLENGE (Around 30 feet). A photographer instructor said to take the challenge, you would look around you and within 10 meters, find something to photograph.

The ability to take an everyday scene and construct from it a superb image will require your application of some or all of the following:

  • vision to see the various elements that might be included in an image
  • concentration and time to develop the idea and assimilate all the components
  • awareness to recognize the potential of a color, shape and form
  • observation to study the scene and time enough to mentally collate the aspects of the image and to try them out in camera
  • willingness to try something new
woman with outstretched arms standing on hill with grazing goats
Photo by elifskies on Pexels.com

Once you have selected your particular environment, and isolated some elements for a composition, then take some time to arrange and rearrange them in your mind. Walk around, kneel, lie down and test different perspectives. Work the opportunity and let the image evolve, don’t rush it. You may get a few strange looks in certain circumstances, but that is the price you pay.

Pick your spot: outside or inside, and look around you from there.

If you choose to stand outside, in your backyard, you could select objects like: Birds, leaves in the light, different perspective of the trees, etc.

If you choose inside, pick house plants, your children, a portrait of your spouse, etc.

morkies resting on bed near infant
Photo by Sarah Chai on Pexels.com

If you want to wait until you have a stormy or cloudy day, then that would be fine. But, in this challenge see if you can find at least 10 to 20 different things to photograph. Once you have completed the assignment, would you like to share your photos with everyone? We have a website just for sharing photos : photos@smartphonesmartphotographer.com

UNDERSTANDING YOUR CAMERA SETTINGS – 101

crop unrecognizable woman looking at photos in camera
Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

Probably the scariest thing that can happen to a new photographer who just purchased a SLR (Single lens reflex) camera is the settings on the camera.

Let’s look at each of these settings and help you out a bit.

Mode dial - Wikipedia
Automatic setting

This “auto” setting is the one setting most photographers will use until they understand all the others. It’s fine to use, but, as you go along, you will find it doesn’t always get the results you want.

Digital camera modes graphy Digital SLR Mode dial, Camera, camera Lens,  aperture, shutter Speed png | PNGWing

The “M” or “Manual” setting is where the creativity begins. In this mode you have to use the shutter speed dial, and the aperture setting to get what you want properly exposed. However, keep in mind that shutter speed control will give you a unique photo ability, and the aperture setting will give you a unique ability as well. We will go over those tomorrow.

A Simple Explanation of the Camera Mode Dial
The “Green” mode

Some cameras have an automatic mode called the “green” mode. It is the same as automatic, other than the camera manufacture programmed to recognize certain scenes and give you a better exposure, without you having to do anything.

Av Mode

Why these camera manufactures came up with some of these dial names is beyond me. But, the Av mode is “Aperture Value”. With this, if you understand what the aperture setting will do for you, you can set the aperture at your desired setting, and the camera will set the shutter speed automatically for you.

The Shutter speed mode

Tv, you guessed it: Time Value. This is the control where you can set the shutter speed at a certain setting, and the camera will set the aperture automatically to get the perfect exposure.

Camera Controls | Learn the Basics of Your Digital SLR Camera
All the mode settings on a DSLR camera

Then, all cameras seem to have these icons that will get you certain results. The head is for portraits, the mountains is for scenery, and flower is for close-ups, the guy running is for sports photography, and the starry, starry icon is for night photography and the crooked arrow with a line through it, means NO Flash.

All cameras have other buttons and settings on the camera, but, those are for convenience, and not necessarily to help with exposure. And every camera has something different on their camera to help you take better pictures.

Now, if you have any questions about your camera, then feel free to ask me any questions, and I will personally answer any question you have:

THE PERFECT ADDITION TO YOUR LANDSCAPE PHOTOS: “CLOUDS”!

body of water during dawn
Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

ANOTHER ONE OF THE AMAZING THINGS THAT COULD HELP YOU TO BE “DIFFERENT” THAN ALL THE OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS THAT TAKE LANDSCAPE PHOTOS, IS TO BE A “SKY” PHOTOGRAPHER. SO MANY TIMES WE FOCUS ON THE LANDSCAPE OF THE LAND IN FRONT OF US, WHEN WE COULD SERIOUSLY LOOK AT THE SKY AND BE MESMERIZED BY THE BEAUTY ABOVE US. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE SEEN PHOTOS OF CLOUDS, OR EVEN APPROACHING STORMS, AND WISHED YOU HAD CAUGHT THAT PHOTO? YOU CAN, AND TRY TO BE THE ONE TO BE A “SKY” SCRAPE PHOTOGRAPHER.

This incredible sky and sunset illustrate why a good a photographer is never caught without a camera. (Via Imgur.

It’s a common habit among photographers to always make a point to carry a camera around for those “just in case” moments. Many great photographs were captured this way and the image above is no exception. The photographer, based in the Netherlands, took the shot just as the sun was receding into the plane to create the stunning image:


Using a Canon 650D and a Sigma 18-35mm, the photographer says he was enamored with the dramatic feel of the sky and took that into consideration when selecting the composition. He says the only editing he added to the image was a slight increase in clarity and contrast.

“The colors were like this in real life. It was an amazing evening. Will never forget it.”

COULD YOU SEE A PHOTO LIKE THAT HANGING IN YOUR HOME? EXACTLY. THE COLORS AND THE BEAUTY OF A PHOTO LIKE THAT WOULD BE ONE THAT WILL BE TALKED ABOUT FOR A LONG TIME. AND THAT IS WHAT YOU CALL “ART”.

sea under white dramatic sky
Photo by Arthur Brognoli on Pexels.com

THE RULE WITH TAKING PICTURES OF THE SKY, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE CLOUD IS THE MAIN SUBJECT IS TO MAKE SURE THE SKY HAS NO CLUTTER OR OBJECTS IN THE FOREGROUND TO DISTRACT FROM THE CLOUDS. LIKE AN APPROACHING STORM CLOUD, MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE NOTHING IN FRONT OF THE CLOUD THAT WOULD DISTRACT THE VIEWER FROM THE CLOUD. THE SUBJECT IS THE CLOUD, AND THAT IS HOW IT SHOULD BE.

WELL KNOWN SUBJECTS CAN BECOME EVEN MORE SPECIAL IF YOU CAN WAIT FOR A LITTLE MORE DRAMATIC EFFECT IN THE BACKGROUND.  LOOK FOR THOSE PUFFY CUMULUS CLOUDS TO ADD A LITTLE MORE BEAUTY AND “PIZZAZ” TO THE PHOTO.  EVERYBODY GETS A PHOTO OF THE “ARCH”, BUT, HOW MANY GET A GORGEOUS PHOTO LIKE THE ONE ABOVE WITH BEAUTIFUL PUFFY CLOUDS IN IT?  MAKES IT MORE OF A MASTERPIECE. 

OF COURSE, EVERYONE TAKES PICTURES OF SUNSETS.  THIS IS SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE TAKES PICTURES OF.  BUT, THERE IS SPECIAL WAYS TO DO SUNSETS.  SOMETIMES LOOKING AT SUNSET PHOTOS CAN BE BORING.  BUT, WHAT MAKES SUNSET PHOTOS MORE DRAMATIC THAN EVER IS IF YOU CAN GET TWO THINGS TO HAPPEN.  THIS PHOTO HAPPENS TO HAVE BOTH, AND THAT IS RARE, BUT, IF YOU CAN HAVE AT LEAST 1 COMPONENT, YOU MAY HAVE A REAL KEEPER.  AND THAT IS 1-  DRAMATIC CLOUDS TO YOUR SUNSET.  AND 2 SOMETHING IN THE FOREGROUND THAT WILL MAKE IT HAVE DEPTH.  IN THE ABOVE PHOTO, THERE IS ONE MORE THING THAT MAKES THIS UNIQUE, AND THAT IS THAT WE HAVE THE “TWILIGHT COLORS” AS WELL IN THIS PHOTO.  THAT IS WHEN YOU GET THE “BLUES’  AND THE PURPLES OF THE SKY, WHICH USUALLY HAPPENS AFTER THE SUN GOES DOWN.  THIS PHOTO JUST HAPPENS TO HAVE IT ALL…… AND NOTHING WAS ENHANCED OR RETOUCHED ON THIS. 

Photo by Joel Olives; ISO 100, f/13.0.

IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE THE SKY ONE OF YOUR MAIN POINTS OF YOUR PORTFOLIO, THEN YOU MUST LEARN TO BE PATIENT.  WHEN TAKING PICTURES OF SUNSETS, YOU MAY TAKE MORE THAN 10 PHOTOS OF THE SUNSET AS IT PROGRESSES THROUGH IT’S CONCLUSION.  BUT ONE OF THOSE PHOTOS COULD BE THE MOST COLORFUL, MOST INCREDIBLE PHOTO YOU HAVE EVER TAKEN.  PATIENCE IS DEFINITELY ONE OF THE BEST THINGS YOU WILL EVER LEARN TO BECOMING A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER, EVEN IN TAKING PICTURES OF THE SKY.

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Here is some special buys on “cloud products”:

WHY YOU SHOULD PRINT SOME OF YOUR PHOTOS

photo of forest with fog
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

There seems to be in the photographers world, a strange phenomenon. It is called: “Lonely pictures”. No really, I am just as guilty as most of you, and it is interesting because back when there was just “film” for your camera, people printed more photos than they do now, per photos taken. It is probably because it’s just so easy to just “save” your photos, and if you need one, or want one, you can just print it.

How often do you actually see them, so you can enjoy the fruits of your efforts? How often do these images give you the repeat pleasure of reminiscing about when you were somewhere special—or with someone special? When do you take the time to actually enjoy your images? How you captured them? The delight in the surroundings? So much pleasure and delight, foregone—perhaps even forgotten?

A great photo with special memories. Making a print should be natural.

The above photo is one of my favorite photos. It is a perfect photo with the natural “twilight colors” and it’s my son out in the lake. It’s the best of all worlds. Printing this photo would be a perfect thing to do, because it brings back memories, but, makes me take the time to show off some of my own photography.

I also have a zillion images on my hard drives, but I try to pick up the few gems that I capture so that I can make the most of them.

Printing adds a whole new dimension to our photography and helps us to really appreciate our special images. We can see and appreciate them regularly. Bringing them into the physical world can stop them from getting lost on our hard drives.

There are two different ideas of printing your photos.

1- Photos for the “photo album”

Photo by Kirk Cameron on Unsplash

Photos of your family, that might go in a photo album is best printed by a professional photo lab. These small photos are generally so inexpensive, it makes sense to print this way, rather than waste a whole sheet of paper just to print 1 small photo that would go in an album. I use a good lab in my neighborhood, and I think they only charge 25cents for a 4X6 print.

2- Photos for the “wall”

Photo by Dan 7th on Unsplash

Photos that would go on the wall, with a frame, can be printed on your good photo printer from your own computer, or you can order them online from a photo processing store.

This is where the “artistic” photos should be displayed. It would be a place where you can think about the way this photo was taken, and actually learn about how you accomplished this piece of art.

Once you begin to print images at a reasonable size, you will find that your appreciation of your own photography develops and you will become more creative.

You are really beginning to discover the second half of the photographic process, which is what you do with your special images.

Give serious consideration to printing enlargements for the wall, and memory size photos for your album. It will add so much more to the pleasure of photography.


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TRY ENTERING A PHOTO CONTEST TO SHARPEN YOUR SKILLS:

Winning Photo by Marco Gualazzini
Italy
Somalia: the resilient Nation (life returns in aftermath Al- Shabaab) – 2017 1st place winner in “All About Photo Contest”

The reason to enter photo contests, besides the money, recognition, showing off your talent, and learning the right composition after all these years, IS you really have to concentrate on the photography you take, and study it out in your mind, how you can create a winning photo. So many people learn from entering a photo contest.

Now, if you win any of the prizes or recognition from winning, then that is just a bonus. There isn’t anyone who has entered a photo contest that didn’t come out of it with the thought: “I learned more taking these photos, than I would have ever imagined”.

4th Place winner in “All About Photo” awards —-Chad Cowan
United States
The Chase

We are approaching the end of the year, and here are some photo contests you can enter or think about right now:

Sony World Photography Awards

The Winners Of The Sony World Photography Contest

Sony World Photography Awards is the world’s leading photography competition. Held by the World Photography Organisation, in association with Sony, it is one of the most coveted competitions in the global photography space. It was started with the mission to support photographers worldwide so that photographers of all ages and abilities can celebrate and show their work and be a part of the global voice for photography. Entries for the Sony World Photography Awards 2022 are now open. The contest is divided into four competitions, listed below, with sub-divided categories that photographers can choose from, based on what suits them.

Professional Competition – Entry: Free. Ten diverse categories to enter, with a series of 5 to 10 images per category
Submission dates: January 14, 2022 at 13.00 GMT
Enter the Professional Competition 

Open Competition – Entry: Free. Ten diverse categories to enter, by submitting single images taken in 2021
Submission dates:  January 7, 2022, at 13.00 GMT
Enter the Open Competition 

Youth Competition – Entry: Free. Open to all 12-19 year-olds submitting single images taken in 2021
Monthly competitions with a changing theme running from 1 June to 31 December 2021
Enter the Youth Competition

Student Competition – Entry: Free. Open to 18 to 30 year-olds undertaking a full-time photography prgramme
Submission dates: 30 November 2021 at 13.00 GMT
Enter the Student Competition

For the Sony World Photography Awards, Pixpa has partnered with World Photography Organization to celebrate the best imagery and photographers from all over the world. 

The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest

Open to young photojournalists ages 18-33, this photo contest from Russia honors the memory of Andrei Stenin, a photojournalist who died while on an assignment. This photo competition aims to be a platform through which talented photojournalists make a name for themselves. In 2019, the competition saw 6000 entries from 80 countries. 

The categories in this competition are Top News, Sport, My Planet, and Portrait. There are also yearly additions to the categories. 

Entry Fee: Free
Prize:
700,000 rubles (equal to $12,383)
Submission Dates: December 22nd- February 29th

BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition

The Big Picture 2021 - bioGraphic
The Big Picture 2021 – bioGraphic

The BigPicture photography competition aims to showcase the rich diversity of life on Earth with the hope that these images will be a channel of inspiration to protect the environment. Award-winning photographer Suzi Eszterhas is the Jury Chair of this competition. This photography competition calls for high-quality nature, wildlife, and conservation images from around the world. The winning shots will be exhibited at the California Academy of Sciences. 

The seven categories for the BigPicture Photography Competition are: 

  • Art of Nature 
  • Aquatic Life
  • Winged Life 
  • Landscapes, Waterscapes, and Flora
  • Terrestrial Wildlife
  • Human/Nature
  • Photo Story: Pushing the Limits

Entry Fee: $25 for up to 10 single images; $10 for one photo series.
Prize:
$5,000 and $1000 cash will be awarded to the winners of the seven categories
Submission Dates: December 1st – March 1st

iPhone Photography Awards

iPhone Photography Awards
Jashim Salam – Bangladesh Grand Prize Winner. Shot on iPhone 7

Compete for the IPPA Photographer of the Year Award in 18 categories. Photographers must use an iPhone or an iPad. 

The categories for this iPad and iPhone photography contest are Abstract, Animals, Architecture, Children, Floral, Landscape, Lifestyle, Nature, News and Events, Panorama, People, Portrait, Series (3 images), Still Life, Sunset, Travel, Trees, Other.

Entry Fee: $3.50 for one image and there are no limits on the no. of images you submit. 
Prize:
A Gold Bar from the most recognizable private gold mint in the world for the first prize winners in the 18 categories. 2nd and 3rd prize winners in the 18 categories will receive a palladium bar.
Submission Date: By March 31st

Sony World Photography Awards - New Catagories for 2020 - Professional  Photo Magazine
Sony award winning photo compliments of Professional Photo Magazine.

There are usually close to 50 to 100 photo contests going at any one time. Click through Google to find out which one you would like to enter.


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