Picture This

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Staff Posted: Jan 08, 2013 Published: Dec 01, 2012 11 comments
This month’s assignment for Picture This! was “Made in the Shade,” photographs made solely in the shadow thrown by tree canopy or roof or even under overcast sky. While light levels might be lower, there’s nothing quite like the soft, diffuse light of shade to bring out every nuance of color and detail in a subject or scene. Using appropriate white balance and exposure settings, shade cast shots can look as if they were made using a large diffusion tent, all using natural light. And while HDR can help with excessive contrast, shade shots have the advantage in that they work entirely with one exposure and the most natural sense of light. Readers sent in a wide range of images covering nature, urban, and portraiture, all of which have a quality of light that bright, contrasty sunlit shots could never display.
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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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Staff Posted: Apr 02, 2013 Published: Mar 01, 2013 2 comments
While it’s true that photography is “writing with light,” shadows often play an equal and important role. They define form and space, create dimensionality, and concentrate the viewer’s eye on the main subject of the scene. Our Picture This! assignment this month was “negative space,” and we asked readers to send us images that use this important tool of the craft to good effect. We received portraits, landscapes, still life and abstract images, all of which display a thoughtful use of the “dark side” of aspects of the image. Exposure plays a key role in creating this effect, as does a strong scene contrast that allows the photographer to “read the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may.” All this stems from the old days when photographers were often forced by their use of slide film to create deep areas in their images in order to keep the highlights from burning up. Now that we have HDR and other contrast-fighting exposure tools it is a conscious exposure decision made to add so much to an image’s effect.
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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: 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: Dec 10, 2012 Published: Nov 01, 2012 34 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Panoramics,” and we asked readers to send us a wide view unattainable by using a single lens, or to crop a wide shot so it had an aspect ratio that mimicked the format. The eye cannot possibly see all that a panoramic photo offers in one glimpse, whether it be in looking at the print or especially in the field.
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Staff Posted: May 07, 2013 Published: Apr 01, 2013 6 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Patterns, a subject near and dear to every photographer’s heart and eye. The challenge is to frame the scene so that the flow of the pattern is reinforced, or at times interrupted, in a visually surprising way. A pattern can be repetitive in terms of subject and rhythm, or it can be composed of diverse textures and forms that, through composition, become unified. Color, shadow and highlight, and creative use of depth of field all work together to create an effective image. Readers sent in images that covered nature, architecture, landscape, manufactured goods, and a wide variety of structures from all around the world. This was one of our most popular topics in terms of the number of submissions we received, so it was tough to narrow them down to the photos you see here.
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Staff Posted: Mar 06, 2012 Published: Feb 01, 2012 8 comments
There is a school of thought that says that all good human design is derived from patterns in nature, and that we have a natural sympathy for objects that echo what we see around us in the natural world. Indeed, even the most abstract of human creations, be it painting, architecture, or simple tools, all seem to stem from what nature has taught and revealed. The subject of this month’s Picture This! assignment is Patterns in Nature, where we requested readers to go out and find those most pleasing, often intricate, and quite mysterious designs that we discover in the natural world and reveal through composition, lighting, and point of view with our cameras.
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Staff Posted: Feb 07, 2012 Published: Jan 01, 2012 6 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Pen and Ink, in which we asked readers to send us images that emulated a pen and ink drawing, that is, reducing the image content to line, texture, and form. Software makes it easy to convert an image file to just about any type of illustrative format, from oil paint to pastels and more. There are many ways to achieve the effect, but as with all images it’s how the content matches the technique that counts. Readers sent in all types of subject matter and achieved the effect in various ways, all of which show how malleable images are these days and how working with software can open up new ways of seeing and sharing images.
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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Aug 01, 2005 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment this month was panoramas, and readers responded with a host of images made with panoramic cameras, cropped large format and a goodly number of stitched images, multiple shots made with film and digital cameras brought together with various software programs. It strikes us that the panoramic "genre" is back with more power and grace than...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Oct 01, 2004 0 comments

This month's Picture This! assignment was "Artful Architecture," and we were thrilled with not only the scenes and places we got to visit but with the artful way in which Shutterbug readers made the images. Using a range of wide angle and tele lenses, with many fascinating points of view, the photos gave us renewed faith...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: May 01, 2005 0 comments

Every color has an association, and each of us reacts to hues and their shadings in different ways. This month's Picture This! assignment was Blue Moods, and readers sent us in an amazing set of images that conveyed the range of emotions this most evocative color creates. While many relied on the cold side of this color in winter scenes, others found their blue mood in the...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Nov 01, 2004 0 comments

Our Picture This! assignment for this month was "Color In Black And White," and readers responded with a wide variety of monochrome images, all made using color film or with color files from digital cameras. The key to this month's selections is that not every color image need be awash with red, green, and blue, but that light and atmosphere can conspire to...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Mar 01, 2005 0 comments

There's an adage in photography that if you're not sure how to deal with the light just turn 90Þ from the source and shoot away, taking advantage of the way light shapes the subject as it streaks along a plane. Our assignment for Picture This! was directional light, and readers responded with images that played with light in many imaginative ways. As these...

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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Sep 01, 2004 0 comments

Picture This!

Picture This! - Our Next Assignment

Neon City
O f all the forms of artificial light neon is perhaps the most exciting and creative.

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