Picture This

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Staff Posted: Mar 17, 2015 0 comments

This month’s assignment was “bokeh,” which is the beautiful background blur you get when you capture an image with a shallow depth of field. Bokeh, which is derived from the Japanese word for “blur,” is typically achieved by using a lens with a wide aperture (f/2.8 or faster is ideal) and a nine-bladed diaphragm, to create an almost painterly background with highlights broken into soft glowing forms. Just as critical to creating a great picture utilizing bokeh is the sharp subject matter in the foreground, which draws the viewer’s eye in like a laser beam. Here are our 10 favorite examples of bokeh from Shutterbug readers.

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Staff Posted: Feb 13, 2015 0 comments

Backlit subjects can be tricky to deal with which is why we were so impressed with the terrific entries for this month’s “Backlight” Picture This! assignment. We were looking for images where backlight or strong directional light danced with the subject and boy did we get them. From unique uses of sunrises and sunsets to spotlight a silhouetted subject, to plays of light through fog, morning rays through a window, and many beautiful backlit scenes of nature, readers posted some fantastic images on Shutterbug.com for this assignment.

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Staff Posted: Feb 03, 2015 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment this month really made everyone see Red. We were looking for images where the predominant color is red, or where a red accent makes a powerful statement within the frame. Perhaps the boldest color, red always catches the eye and many images entered for the assignment were just that: bold and eye-catching. We were also looking for images where other colors complemented and enhanced the presence of red within the frame. On the next few pages check out the photos we thought screamed Red the loudest.

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Dec 19, 2014 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment this month was Panorama and thanks, in part, to some recent technical leaps in digital cameras, we received an array of impressive panoramic images. Some were created with panoramic “sweep mode” (in-camera stitch), which has made creating a panorama as easy as pressing the button and sweeping the camera in front of the vista before you. Others were comprised of a series of images that were stitched together in software on a computer. While there was really no wrong way to do it, because the process has become so easy, many images looked very similar. On the next few pages, check out the grand panoramic images we felt really stood out from the pack.

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Staff Posted: Nov 07, 2014 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment this month was Echoing Forms and we received a fantastic group of images showing this compositional technique, where forms seem to “echo,” or repeat within a frame. Submissions ranged from images that captured repeating patterns in nature such as the leaves on a tree or blades of grass, to more made-made forms, including images of machines and architecture. There were even several eye-catching images where animals seemed to echo each other, in a true expression of “copycatting.” Please check out some of our favorite Echoing Forms images from readers in the next few pages.

 

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Staff Posted: Oct 03, 2014 0 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Rich and Color-Full, and we asked readers to submit images that displayed an intense play of richly endowed images, with vividness married to content and that also showed how photographers see and interpret our many-hued world. Readers responded with everything from natural to man-made subjects. While we accepted some “juicing” using hue and saturation controls, we tried to pick those that did not stray too far from what the eye and camera could record.
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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Aug 29, 2014 0 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Super Deep Depth of Field and readers responded with urban, nature, and landscape images that made great use of this creative technique. Depth Of Field (DOF)—the relationship of foreground to background focus in an image—is determined by three factors: lens focal length, camera to foreground subject distance, and aperture. Some readers used a variety of combinations of the big three to come up with some startling images, stills that the unaided eye cannot encompass in one “blink.” Others bypassed many of the classic techniques and relied on software to do the trick.
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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Aug 12, 2014 0 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Silhouettes and readers responded with a wide variety of images that used shadow and background effectively. In essence, the inversion of context and figure was used for both compositional and contextual ends. Often mysterious and elusive, images using this technique more often than not coax our mind to form a picture of what lies within the deep shadow. Think of Thai Shadow Puppets and the way their forms play along the screen, and how the drama of the play becomes somehow more poignant when we fill in the blank, if you will, with our own references and dreams.
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Staff Posted: Jul 22, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 0 comments
This month’s Picture This! assignment was the “Power of B&W” and we were thrilled by the many and varied images we received. Clearly there is a love and appreciation of monochrome photography, and we saw images that ranged from portraits to abstracts to intense studies of line, form, and tonality. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of black and white is the ability to interpret the image through contrast and tonal manipulations (even constrained HDR) without verging into the kinds of tricks to which color seems more prone, all while maintaining a certain photographic “credibility.”
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Staff Posted: Jul 01, 2014 Published: May 01, 2014 0 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Night Light, and readers sent in a wide variety of images from places around the world. The great photo ops of night lead to some unusual images: those made with long shutter speeds and high ISO settings to capture the often dim light; those that show a combination of still and motion, some subject and some photographer produced; and most of all the way photography allows us to see “into” the night in a way that no human eye can.
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Staff Posted: May 27, 2014 Published: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
This month’s Picture This! assignment was Still & Motion, the premise being that photography can capture what the naked eye can’t see—motion within a “still” image. Steady hands or a tripod, a slow shutter speed, and a sense of visual juxtaposition were key. It’s all about the physics that only a camera can reveal. Readers sent in a wide variety of images ranging from cityscapes to sports to a casual passing of a moving subject, all showing us an abstraction of our usual perception of time and space.
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Staff Posted: Apr 25, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 1 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Architecture/Composition,” and we were seeking compositions that created an abstract from the entire form. These details often echo the overall design sense of the building itself, but also create an interesting composition in their own right. Readers sent in a wide variety of images that honed in on the play of shadow and light in building interiors and exteriors, with quite a few more than usual in black and white.
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Staff Posted: Mar 28, 2014 Published: Feb 01, 2014 1 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Twilight Time, the moments when the light of the rising or setting sun creates a magical light that is the delight of all photographers. Readers sent in a preponderance of nature and scenic images and each shows the beauty that only natural (and directional) light can deliver.
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Staff Posted: Feb 27, 2014 Published: Jan 01, 2014 0 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Stacking, the lingo used to describe the optical effect that makes subjects at some distance from one another seem closely packed together through the use of a telephoto lens. But given the right point of view and arrangement of forms, some readers also sent us successful shots taken with “normal” focal lengths as well. We received a wide range of subjects, from ancient towns to nature studies, all with apt points of view and good application of technique. It all goes to show us that there are simply some images that can’t be mocked up after the fact and that there remain many ways to create an effective image in camera via composition, the proper lens, and a good understanding of exposure control. In that we can all still take heart.
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Staff Posted: Jan 21, 2014 Published: Dec 01, 2013 1 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Going Around in Circles” and readers sent in what one could characterize as “active” and “passive” interpretations. The active ones literally show something or someone going around in circles, a kind of visual pun on the topic, while the passive ones are more found objects and scenes that use the circle as a starting and strong point of the composition. We appreciated the irony of the former and the point of view of the latter. We also are continually struck by the high level of image making we see from readers, and have to say that this was one of the toughest assignments for us to edit down to the images you see selected here.

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