Picture This

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Staff Posted: Jul 14, 2011 Published: Jun 01, 2011 2 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Art Filters,” those in-camera special effects processing scripts that seem to be all the rage in cameras these days. Rather than have users spend time with computer software these days, camera makers are incorporating some interesting tricks into their imageware. You can think of them as subsets of Scene modes, as shortcuts, as fun filters, or as preprogrammed image processing effects that go right from camera to memory card. Readers responded with a host of images that display many of the “art” options and special effects available today.
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Staff Posted: Jun 14, 2011 Published: May 01, 2011 5 comments

This month’s Picture This! assignment was Painterly Backgrounds, the use of various photographic devices—namely depth of field—to create a field of color and design for a backdrop to the main theme. The technique not only removes what could be a distracting background but also brings the main subject more into the visual attention of the viewer. It also can be used to complement the color, shape, and design of the entire frame, adding to the emotional content of the image. Readers sometimes used their digital darkroom skills to enhance some of the effects (noted in captions), but, as with other assignments, we view image processing as something that can be used to emphasize the image from the camera, not obtain it entirely from software techniques.

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Apr 01, 2011 1 comments

Our reader assignment for this month was to explore a quality of light that brought out a glow in subjects and scenes. For the most part that meant working with strong backlight and sidelight in hazy or low-light conditions, but readers also, we note, added glow of their own through some post-processing steps. While this was okay with us for the most part, adding excessive glow that was not...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Mar 01, 2011 1 comments

Our Picture This! assignment was “Reflections” and we received many excellent images that took the assignment to the next level. Readers responded with reflections from many possible surfaces, including ponds, glass buildings, metallic objects, and more. The idea was to make the reflection part of an overall composition, to have it further reinforce the design, color, and forms of...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Feb 01, 2011 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment for this month was on Trick Lenses and how they help us to see in ways that our normal perception does not allow. Readers responded with images that used accessory lenses, as well as glass that distorts light in fascinating ways. Some used scanners to create imagery, while others “squeezed” light through pinhole apertures. While photography is mostly used...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Jan 01, 2011 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment this month was for images made at flea markets and antique stores, where the sellers act as impromptu art directors and assemble their wares in often interesting ways. The assignment was to go on a kind of treasure hunt for those found still life photo ops, and to make framing and compositional decisions that created a cultural mix through juxtaposition of objects and...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Dec 01, 2010 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Graffiti: On the Wall,” and we asked readers to submit images that showed the best of a most decidedly urban and exterior art form. What we sought were mural artworks that by definition were mixed media, with the environment forming the canvas and the context often hinting at or defining content. We tried to avoid gang defacements and...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Nov 01, 2010 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment this month was the Rule of Thirds, a compositional guideline that relies on balance and “weighting” of subjects within the frame that follows a general tripartite pattern. That’s not to say that images made with this “rule” in mind need strictly follow it, as shown in the images here. But it is a starting point for compositional...

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Staff Posted: Oct 01, 2010 1 comments

Most every camera sold has a built-in flash but many times we don’t make use of this handy item, keeping the flash on Auto (which with Auto ISO these days might just boost the speed rather than activate the flash) or turning it off for fear that it might ruin the natural light component of our images. The Picture This! assignment this month was using a touch of fill flash to add something...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Sep 01, 2010 0 comments

We continue our compositional assignments this month with “Leading Lines: S-curves and the Diagonals” (the July issue was “Into Infinity”) and readers responded with fascinating images that show why these compositional devices are so visually enticing. The S-curve runs the eye from front to back, playing with movement through both vertical and horizontal space, while the...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Aug 01, 2010 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment for this month was “Shadows and Form,” images where the shadow plays an important role in the composition and point of view of the photographer. Shadows can redefine form, create volume and space, and can both echo and abstract form. Readers responded with images of landscapes, architecture, and even portraiture. In all cases the play of light and dark, of...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Jul 01, 2010 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Leading Lines: Into Infinity.” We called for images that brought the viewer’s eye into the frame with various compositional techniques, including leading lines, S-curves, and parallel lines that seem to meet at infinity, or vanishing points. Readers responded with a host of architectural, urban, natural, and highway images, all of...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Jun 01, 2010 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Night Moves: Time and Motion” and we asked readers to send in images that incorporated not only nighttime photography, which is challenging enough, but also a sense of movement through the frame. Of course, working in low light usually requires a longer shutter speed, so the challenge became creating a sense of motion through the dark...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: May 01, 2010 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Light Patterns: Cast Shadows,” and this turned out to be one of the most difficult for us to choose as we received so many excellent entries. The use of shadows in images allows the photographer to bring enhanced form and content into scenes where other lighting conditions might have been less dramatic and graphic. Shadows not only allow us...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Apr 01, 2010 0 comments

Judging from the number of entries we received, readers really enjoy getting down…low, that is. We received images made in the middle of the road, on forest floors, and inside city parks and palaces. All the images share a low vantage point and look up at a world not often seen. This point of view can be quite startling, especially with deep depth of field employed.

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