We were walking through Boston’s Chinatown district this afternoon and saw this happy group of locals playing a very animated card game near the paifang (gate). As it says on the back of one of the player’s shirts – it’s wicked good fun!
As I mentioned previously I am playing catch up with a few of these challenges. I finally got around to this exercise and also decided to make it a black and white image as I liked the subtle shadow.
WEEK 22: Portrait: Hands – Usually the face is the strongest element in the frame; with the hands being second. Make the hands the most important element in your image this week.
Chennai is a bustling, modern city in many ways, with many well dressed locals walking with cellphones attached to their ears like any other urban scene. But there are also many locals who cannot hope to afford the western lifestyle and for whom the local stalls and stores are an essential part of life. It is quite odd to see bill boards advertising a new shopping mall that will contain GAP, and other corporate retail outlets alongside the more modest stores, many of them on carts or in the front of people’s houses. These stores have been giving service to the locals for generations and forming an essential part of the community – something that is lost by the corporate giants with their never-ending quest for growth.
The snowfall had been unexpected and fairly heavy. It was not unusual for a few inches to fall in a day but the blizzard had deposited nearly 2 feet of snow overnight, and it was even deeper where it had drifted or, to be more precise, had been blown by the wind.
He had been obliged to break his journey and find shelter in an abandoned barn during the storm. Now he was behind schedule and the deep snow that covered the track would make journeying onward much slower. However, he had no choice as he had a valuable cargo to deliver in his backpack. Many people were relying on him getting through to the outpost, and his return to his kinsfolk with the medicine would be eagerly watched for.
He kicked some snow into the morning fire to make sure it was extinguished, and placing a wad of tobacco into his cheek, he pulled on the heavy pack, tightened the straps and wearily headed West…
Week 5: Landscape: Black and White – Look for a scene with great contrast that will make a great black and white.
The recent snow came to my rescue a second time in the challenge. As I was driving home from an appointment yesterday evening I was pleased to still have what was left of the evening light available, so giving me an unexpected opportunity to make a start on this week’s challenge. I turned off the main route and took a few back roads on the Delaware/Pennsylvania border and was able to get a few shots. I was very short of time though and, due to having no place to park on these recently plowed roads, I had to resort the to taking some shots from the car. I was pleased with the composition of the shot below but, to be blatantly honest, it is not as sharp as it could be, since I was too rushed (lesson learned there!)
So this morning, on my way back home from an indoor hockey game I stopped off at another open area and put together this shot. I really wanted to capture the texture of the tree, fence and wispy clouds, but as I am still forcing myself to stick to my trusty 20mm f/1.7 lens I was forced to be a little creative. I took 3 overlapping portrait shots and then stitched them together using the free Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE).
Therefore, I offer up not one, but two images for this week’s challenge, although technically the second image is actually 3 photos in itself!
Week 4: Portrait: Headshot – You shot a selfie, now shoot a “selfie” of someone else!
As I mentioned in my earlier post on this subject ‘… (portrait) is largely unexplored territory for me to date, other than through reluctantly granted periodic “family portraits,”’ so I felt that this was going to be a tough assignment.
Help came though in a totally unexpected way – through Winter Storm Jonas! Bizarrely, as the storm was heading towards us, the majority of my family left to go on a pre-planned ski trip in Vermont, thereby missing the storm in its entirety. I, on the other hand, was left at home in PA to look after the place, but mainly because I no longer ski due to an accident in the Austrian Alps 10 or so years ago. Staying with me was one of my daughters, and as I was spending 8+ hours shoveling snow to dig a path to the road she, obviously, decided to build an igloo.
Aha! I thought, I will strike a bargain and, as part payment for providing some material for her to use as a roof, she agreed to let me take a few pictures of her. I particularly liked her choice of headgear and I had her pose inside her igloo too to provide an interesting backdrop. I admit to taking several shots over a short period (1-2 minutes) and I stuck to using my 20mm f1.7 (40mm equivalent) lens simply because I wanted a large aperture as the light was fading.
After some minor touch up in GIMP I also tried a black and white version, so this week I offer up two images to the challenge!
I would be interested to see which one is preferred, as it’s a tough choice for me.
In late December I stumbled across this “52-week challenge” for photographers compiled by photographer Dale Foshe. The internet is full of many similar themes (or memes?) this time of year but this one was the first I saw so I am taking it to heart and going to try to see how long I can stick to it. I won’t repeat the whole list here, as you can use the link above to find it, but I will try to post the relevant image I have taken each week to show my progress. I know from my previous experience on such challenges that it is going to be tough to try and keep to this but I will try, and at the very least it should ensure I have one blog item posted each week throughout 2016, so I have no excuses for getting “writer’s block” for this year! I will also include some thoughts about why I made each image (getting a little philosophical here, perhaps…)
Week 1: Portrait: Self-portrait – Start things off right with a “selfie!” Explore the self timer setting on your camera
OK, well I have partially fallen at the first hurdle! I remembered it was a selfie but, until I came to write this blog post I had forgotten that it said to use the self-timer! With today being the end of the first week of the year I’m not going back now and I’ll explain my reasoning (deep breath):
I don’t normally take many pictures of myself and, as the “family photographer” I am generally the one behind the shutter at most family gatherings. I also am not overly keen on being in photos, to be honest. However, in thinking about this (albeit incorrectly, it would now seem) I considered that the only time I actually see myself is when I am shaving in the morning, eyes half-open, face covered in shaving soap as I squint into the mirror. So, here’s the shot:
Note that I have reversed the image so that it represents how I see me, not how the world sees me and the only other artistic liberty I have taken with this is to keep it in black and white, oh and to smile slightly!
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