Sunday, December 7, 2014

Photo Challenge #1: Go Black & White!

After playing along with Erin's 30 Word Thursday weekly challenge on her Treasures Found Blog for the past year I have finally taken the plunge and started taking photography more seriously.  Starting with my iPhone, I soon found that the limitations of that device were getting to me.  Upgrading to a Cannon Eos Digital Rebel SL1 camera, I have started experimenting more with technique.  I have also invested in Photoshop Elements 12 and most of my post-production on photos will be from that program.  As a way to force myself to try new things, I'm going to start a weekly photo challenge--with each week focusing on a different photography or editing technique.  Some of these may be simple and others more difficult.  I encourage any of my readers to take part in the challenge!  I'll try to post a link-up every Monday with the results of last week's challenge and the rules for the following week.

So for my first challenge I set the rules of changing 2-3 pictures from color to black & white format.  I figured that this would be an easy one, since most photo software can quickly do this for you.  I discovered that it was more difficult than I thought to find pictures with enough contrast to really pop in black & white!  I also realized that subconsciously when taking pictures I actually earmark many of my more "industrial" pictures like old machinery, ironwork details, and brewery equipment as future B&W pictures.  All the pics I was drawn to initially for this challenge had little color in them and were already close to monochrome!  So I worked hard to dig out a few more unusual pics for this one and forced myself to stretch a bit.

This was taken in Ghent, Belgium at an unusual modern structure surrounded by ancient stone buildings and churches.  The patterns were odd and out of place, but intriguing!  I think the contrast is more noticeable in the B&W version.

This was taken in Chiny, Belgium during last summer's trip.  We saw big trout jumping in this river and wandered the forested banks.  I think the effect is very different in B&W: with the texture of the ripples more noticeable than the green trees and weeds in the color version.

This one is my favorite of the three!  Taking a brightly colored (yet having all shades of green) picture and then showing the off the gradations of that color in the B&W version makes this look more impressive to my eye.
So there you go!  First week down and many more to come.  I'll be focusing more on editing effects for a while, since Minnesota winters are not ideal for picture taking.  If you want to try this along with me, feel free to post your own blog links below on the Inlinkz widget.  I'll keep that open for the whole week to encourage more playing along!  Also share this challenge with any of your friends who are into photography…especially newbies!

Next week's Challenge #2 is another easy one, but a technique that is essential to modern photography: Cropping.  Since this is a pretty easy one I'm making it a two part challenge.  First I want you to fix a picture (by cropping) that is "ruined" by somebody's head, random passerby, car driving by, etc.  Second I want you to take a picture that is "good" on its own but needs to be cropped to either get closer up to the subject or to move it to a more pleasing spot in the frame.  I'll post my link next Monday for this, so you have a whole week!

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