Picture This

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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 0 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 0 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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Staff Posted: Dec 20, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 0 comments
A sense of scale is created by the juxtaposition of objects and subjects within the frame that establishes a size relationship based upon that juxtaposition. That sense of scale can be based upon distance, on the “true” relative sizes of the elements, or on the use of optics that exaggerate the relative sizes through near-to-far relationships that are established with the clever use of depth of field. While wide-angle lenses are most suited to creating the latter effect, in fact the setup can be made with virtually any lens, given a certain point of view of the photographer. In most cases a deep depth of field works best, since the mind can better grasp the intention when all objects within the frame are sharp. Readers sent in a wide range of images, some almost surreal and others that showed an awesome world in which we are merely the smallest of spectators.
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Staff Posted: Nov 08, 2013 Published: Oct 01, 2013 0 comments
This month’s Picture This! assignment was Color Play, where we asked readers to include as many colors as possible within the frame. Interestingly, the large majority of images we received were of subjects of man-made origin, perhaps showing that as humans we are so taken with color that we see it as an essential element in all the things we make. All in all, this assignment was a colorful one indeed.
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Posted: Oct 01, 2013 Published: Sep 01, 2013 0 comments
This month’s Picture This! assignment was Shadow Play, the role played by shadows in a photograph’s composition and, often, meaning. Shadows define form and shape, but they also can add an aura of mystery and intrigue, one where the recognizable subjects are altered by their presence. They can also be the subject of the image, and dominate the frame to create an abstract view of the world. Readers sent in images that accomplish all the above, with photos of people, places, and things that are enhanced by the sense of depth and space created by these light-formed elements.
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Staff Posted: Sep 17, 2013 Published: Aug 01, 2013 2 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month dealt with the entirely photographic and visually arresting technique built around the idea that foreground/background sharpness differentials can create both a painterly effect and a more prominent foreground subject, thereby adding a sense of dimensionality in what is essentially a 2D medium. This approach considers more than just what is sharp and unsharp, but also has a profound effect on compositional decisions, where the placement of the unsharp portion of the image can be used to juxtapose or, more likely, reinforce the color and design of the subject that sits at the main point of sharpness. Readers sent in a wide variety of images, with the preponderance being natural subjects, which for many seemed to be a perfect way to express this technique.
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Staff Posted: Aug 20, 2013 Published: Jul 01, 2013 1 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Construction Compositions” and we requested images that incorporated the color, design, and abstractions that building and industrial sites offer. Readers sent in images that showed the complexity of potential for rich images these places afford through the use of an intermix of angles and textures, the hubbub of human activity that goes into building, and in some cases ironic images that show the effect of all that effort on nature and within the cities we live. We also received photos that were almost lyrical in nature, with plays of light and color that an abstract painter could admire.
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Staff Posted: Jul 19, 2013 Published: Jun 01, 2013 1 comments
Our assignment this month was Urban Art, and I am happy to report, based on the wide range of images we received, that the art form is alive and well. Photos ranged from the wildly colorful to the nostalgic, with a good seasoning of irony and surrealism thrown in for good measure. A number of areas seemed to inspire photographs based on the artfulness and placement of work, which helped us create a list of places we’d love to visit someday with camera in hand. In all, we hope you enjoy the diversity of art and points of view as much as we did when viewing the work.
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Staff Posted: Jun 14, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 1 comments
Our Picture This! assignment was multiple exposures, combining two or more images either in camera or later in software. Multi’s take planning and exposure execution, and readers sent in images that show both that previsualization and the final work that was applied. Images ranged from bursting fireworks to imaginative constructions to tricks for the eye and mind. Some show careful alignment; others count on the seemingly random layering of effects and images that can always reveal a visual surprise.

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