Dogwood 52: final day

Using a little bit of deviousness and “artistic license” I have managed to complete the #dogwood52 challenge today. I started 07-Jan-2016 and finished 06-Jan-2016, exactly one year!

I was really struggling with the backlit portrait for week 46 but following our first snowfall of the year last night and a beautifully bright morning with a clear sky I decided to combine this with the week 52 self portrait. To be honest this was more difficult that I thought, too! Using a selfie stick and my iPhone 6S I thought it would be an easy shot but of course the flash (for fill) doesn’t work on the front camera, so I had to adopt the old trial-and-error approach to getting the shot!

So, here’s the summary of the final assignments:

WEEK 46: Portrait: Backlit – The sun makes a great back light, as well as a flash. Don’t forget the fill light. A flash or reflector can be used to fill in the subject.

WEEK 52: Portrait: Another Self Portrait – For your final challenge, we end where we started. Take one last self-portrait, and be amazed at how far you have come in a year.

170106_52Wk46+52.JPG

Overall, this has been an interesting challenge. It spurred me on during the year, and also became a real challenge later on. I think it has pushed me to think more creatively and I am pleased to have completed the task, even though I really pushed the interpretation of a few of the assignments 😉

Next stop – to figure out how to complete my own Reasons to be Cheerful Challenge, although that’s really more of a long term project…

~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 45

WEEK 45: Artistic: Nostalgic – Use nostalgic as your inspiration this week. Long for the moments we want recapture. The good times.

There’s something nostalgic about certain foods, or at least there is to me. Whenever we cook lamb at home I am transported to the ramshackle old farmhouse that my grandfather lived in, or to be more specific to the blue-painted kitchen where he was roasting lamb chops and the adjoining walk-through pantry where he used to hang the turkeys (or capons) at Christmas.

There is also a nostalgia associated with old buildings, so for this week I combined the themes and came up with an artistic shot of the sign above the old disused Mom’s Diner in Woodbridge, New Jersey. I stumbled across this old dining car earlier in the year and did a bit of research afterwards. It’s not in a good state now, but was a classic American dining car – all shiny steel and red leatherette seats. I can almost see Al Delvecchio standing behind the counter listening to Arthur Fonzarelli in his leather jacket. You cannot get much more nostalgic than that!

170104_52Wk45Nostalgic.jpg

~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 43

WEEK 43: Portrait: The Elderly – Tell the story of an elderly person through the power of your camera. Capture the lines of their life.

OK, I’m really stretching it for this one.

As I am not a Garry Winogrand style photographer and I do not relish sticking my lens in people’s faces, nor do I feel confident in snapping away at crowds, in the style of Martin Parr, I thought I’d need to very creative here. In the end I opted to use a photograph of the “old man of the woods,” or the Sumatran Orangutan, taken at Philly Zoo a few weeks back.

Sugiwara (Sugi) was 21 years old on New Year’s Eve 2016,  which makes him middle-aged for an orangutan, rather than elderly, but I still think I meet the challenge due to the nickname for these wonderful primates and also because it shows him in a calm contemplative moment.

170103_52Wk43Elderly.jpg

~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 49

WEEK 49: Portrait: Dancing – Whether it’s a professional dancer, or just some kids in the street. Try experimenting with slow and fast shutter speed to both blur and freeze the subject.

 

To use British vernacular, this was a real bugger to do.  The combined challenges of poor lighting (from a photography perspective) and the relatively small aperture of my zoom lens when fully extended meant that there was a fair bit of trial and error with getting this shot. Again, I opted for a black and white composition as there was a fair bit of noise caused by the stage lighting and high ISO setting.

170102_52Wk49Dancing.jpg

~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 50

WEEK 50: Landscape: Symmetrical – Often considered one of the hardest compositions to pull off, Symmetry. Challenge yourself this week by shooting a symmetrical landscape/urbanscape.

I used this evening’s trip to Longwood Gardens to see the light display to my advantage here. The Italian Garden afforded a great opportunity to use formal garden symmetry to fulfill this landscape requirement, with an added twist of being a night shot too.

170101_52Wk50Symmetrical.jpg

~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 51

WEEK 51: Artistic: Art – It is time to really challenge yourself. Your artistic interpretation should be art, about art. So meta.

 

Interpreting art can be difficult so how about looking at two pieces through another one… I shall not say what these are, although I have given a few clues for those who wish to play Sherlock Holmes…

161231_52Wk51Art.jpg

~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 40

WEEK 40: Portrait: Sitting in a Chair – Either a formal sitting portrait or a re-interpretation of this classic. Photography your subject sitting in a chair.

With the lack of willing models available to me I decided to get creative with this one. At a recent visit to MoMA in New York City I was looking through the blinds in the cafeteria and into the museum’s courtyard below. I took a couple of shots focusing on the blinds and then the courtyard and have merged them, having desaturated the main subjects, to emphasize that they are outside, yet still inside the museum confines.

161231_52Wk40Chair.jpg

~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 42

WEEK 42: Artistic: Minimalist – Isolate your subject using the minimalist approach. Inspire someone with your art.

Wow, I am at the last day of the year and I still have 9 photos to complete for the 52 week challenge! This really has been more difficult that I expected, especially after I lost momentum in the summer months. I started on January 7th, 2016 so I still have a week to try to do as many as possible.

161231_52Wk42Minimalist.jpg

This piece is called Red Room Redux as it was a color photo that I desaturated to make it look more moody.

~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 48

WEEK 48: Artistic: Bokeh – A shallow depth of field is often used to isolate the subject. Create an artistic interpretation using shallow depth of field.

 

The term bokeh is used to describe the quality produced in photography by having parts of the image out of focus. I like to use this effect in many compositions but, seeing as we are nearing xmas I decided that I could use the lights on our tree to convey the shape of the tree itself without actually showing the tree. This is really an extreme bokeh effect. Let me know what you think.

161128_52Wk48Bokeh.jpg

~Richard

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