Picture This

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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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Staff Posted: Nov 16, 2011 Published: Oct 01, 2011 18 comments
Composition dictates that we place a frame around the world before us. The lens we use, the depth-of-field effect we choose, and most importantly the elements of the scene we choose to include and exclude make up the final image. There are numerous compositional gambits, including sense of scale, where we include familiar elements in a scene to help establish size, distance, and, metaphorically, our sense of importance, or lack of same, of the object or subject used to establish that sense of scale.
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Staff Posted: Dec 20, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 1 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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Posted: Oct 01, 2013 Published: Sep 01, 2013 1 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 07, 2012 Published: Jul 01, 2012 19 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Silhouette,” using exposure and composition to create an iconic form within the frame. The exposure technique involves choosing a brightly lit background, making a reading of that value and then having the form, or subject, sit between you and the light source. Readers responded with a host of subjects ranging from sculptural figures to wildlife to natural forms. We were excited by the many great images we received and choosing from among them was one of our toughest editing assignments yet.
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Shutterbug Staff Posted: Aug 12, 2014 2 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: 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: Oct 08, 2012 Published: Sep 01, 2012 2 comments
There are a couple of things about telephoto lenses that make them unique. First, and most obvious, is the ability to bring distant objects closer than working with a “normal” lens. Second, and the subject of this month’s Picture This! assignment, is a visual effect known as “stacking,” making subjects that sit at a distance from one another appear closer together, sometimes in an almost surreal way. We asked readers this month to send us examples of this effect, and responses ranged from nature to crowds to perhaps the most popular topic, architecture in urban centers. As you can see, there’s more to working with long teles than at first meets the eye.
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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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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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Staff Posted: Jul 22, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 1 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: Jun 05, 2012 Published: May 01, 2012 0 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Things Are Looking Up” and readers responded with a great variety of images with a skyward point of view. Many were architectural studies, and the fascinating compositions we received transformed the spaces in which we work, visit, and live. The abstraction engendered by taking a new point of view was certainly visually rewarding in all the entries we saw. It reminded us that some of the best images we can make are those that are made by looking anywhere but straight ahead, and we think when you look at the images below you’ll agree.
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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: 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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