Dogwood 52: Assignment #25 "Silhouette Portrait"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Portrait] Silhouette: Expose for the background and let your subject fall into shadow. Shape is important this week.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Bryan

See attached for week 25/silhouette portrait. I was visiting New York and was walking around the High Line for some amazing city views. I'm not used to a constant barrage of tall buildings attacking the sky, so the negative space of the sky in the cityscape really got my attention. The cloud reflections off this building was an added bonus.

Joseph

This is technically a throw-back but it was a really good silhouette. More than the silhouette itself I liked the street art in the background. Cartoon humans in focus with actual humans lost in the shadows.

Kento

Helped a friend move today. Wrapped up with a round of drinks on the roof. It was a really hot day, and I think the glaring sun helps convey that. Probably would've been a prettier shot an hour later, but that wouldn't be true to the hard labor we'd been through.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #24 "Sparkle"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Artistic] Sparkle! Shoot what inspires you this week, just make sure it sparkles.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Bryan

This is the door of a professor's office at MIT while visiting Boston this week. I thought light streaming through the glass "bubbles" created a cool fantasy sparkle pseudo-bokeh effect.

Kento

I've gotten worse recently about carrying a camera around at all times. But on this day, I had my camera and I had my inspiration. This sake tasted like heaven. A bit yoghurty, I think from the acidity and some unfiltered fermentation process. Also, single light pictures with no diffuser can be difficult.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #23 "Weather Landscape"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Landscape] Weather: This week should be as unpredictable as the weather! Feature the weather in this week's landscape.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Bryan

I went camping over the weekend at Henry Coe, the weather was hot (for California), and the sky was unbelievably clear with no clouds or wind. I was able to take this shot of a grassy landscape with the stars shining down.

Sony a7S, Rokinon 24mm, f/1.4, ISO 1250, 20 sec

Joseph

I was in DC this week and the weather... was not really cooperating for a nice, dramatic landscape. But there were these great wispy clouds that could easily become abstract shots like this. Again I'm using the high contrast black and white trick to accentuate them.

Megan

Inspired by Gray Malin. First beach day of 2017. 

Kento

Not yet rainy season in Tokyo, but it's been raining a good bit recently. Better rain than the muggy heat that hits other days. I need to get better at wrapping my camera up for use in rain...took a few tries to remove glaring reflections. 

Dogwood 52: Assignment #22 "Hands"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Portrait] Hands: Usually the face is the strongest element in the frame; with the hands being second. Make the hands the most important element in your image this week.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Bryan

See attached. This was from the SF science march over the weekend. There were countless signs with great (and terrible) puns that people were holding. I focused on the hands this time, and I think they can tell a story by themselves.

Kento

I thought this would be easier to frame, but it turns out walls and holds get in the way a lot. I've been going to this tiny local gym since January, and they just replaced half of their holds with brand new stuff so now my hands are getting torn up. Time to train some more.

Joseph

Ah, hah. This one was definitely a bit of a cop-out. Here I am, reaching for the sky! I guess? The most fun part of this was the editing in post where I used a nice trick of converting to black and white and mapping blues to very dark colors. Instant super-dramatic skies!

Megan

 

If you can believe it the majority of this shoot was done in a Zaxby's parking lot on our way home from a quick weekend vacation.  I've been studying a lot of natural light photography techniques lately and I decided to use our hands shoot to test them out.  This shoot was a combination of elegant lens flare, shooting with the proper settings to get the cigarette smoke to illuminate and of course where to put the sun to capture different effects.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #21 "Fantasy"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Artistic] Fantasy: Is this real life, or is this just fantasy... Your artistic inspiration this week is fantasy.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Bryan

I had the fortune of visiting an ice sculpture park in Alaska. There was a lit-up sculpture that looked very surreal, with its rough and smooth textures bathed in a technicolor light. I tried to magnify that effect by using a shallow depth of field (f/2.0). 

Kento

I was just reading about how overused the Orton effect is, and I figured I'd jump on that train. As for the location, I found this weekend gardening thing going on with these portable gardens that just looked out of place. Perfect. 

Joseph

I kind of whimsically participated in a long nighttime bike ride along the Boston Marathon trail. It's a surreal feeling to be wrapped in the dark night but have hundreds of bikes zooming past you lit up with their flashing lights. I wanted to capture that.
Additionally, I took a few from the Boston Public Gardens just before that. In particular, I have two from this very dramatic (and dramatically lit) statue.

Megan

Dogwood 52: Assignment #20 "Nightowl"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Landscape] Nightowl: A tripod is going to be handy this week... time to shoot a night landscape. Look for some light for the scene! Car lights, city lights, or maybe just moonlight.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Bryan

This was taken doing a little urban exploring on some train tracks. Using some noise reduction I'm fairly happy how it turned out without using a tripod. I like how the town backlights the shot, as the train tracks lead the eyes to them. (Sony a7s, 28mm, f/2.0, 1/40 sec, 25600 ISO)

Kento

I climbed a couple of towers/skyscrapers, but the pictures kinda looked flat and all the same. So clearly the solution was to shoot from low near the ground. I jumped in just to give a foreground, I promise I'm not starting to enjoy being on the wrong side of the lens.

Joseph

I was out in SF for this week and took a few cool shots of the city. Cities at night are always dramatic to me. Cities themselves are deep and complicated and full of mystery. During the day they're crawling with people busy in their own lives and those stories seem to dominate. At night, the City itself is alive.
Or, less dramatically they're just full of contrast between the lights and the darkness. I chose the photo above as my favorite because the light temperature of street lights in Portrero Hill simply could not be matched with the cool light of the city. So, instead I tried my best to balance between the two and just show them as completely alien from one another. It feels artificial, so I made it a little more artificial with heightened contrast, but it also tells how it feels to look into the city from that quiet hill.

Megan

Dogwood 52: Assignment #19 "Messy Portrait"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Portrait] Messy: Take an amazing portrait of someone, make a mess while you are doing it.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Joseph

This one was hard. I wanted to do a candid portrait as usual, but it's hard to "make a mess" without making it obvious what's going on. But then, I went shopping and realized that it's always a complete mess there. I was greedily hoping for there to be a mess in an aisle—I wasn't going to make it, obviously, but I thought it might be good enough. Instead, I realized what a mess running checkout is and took that as my setup.

Kento

I was watering some plants and thought putting a camera in the pot might make a cool shot. It ended up taking quite a few attempts to get a cool pattern in the water - it usually ended up looking just like a thin wimpy stream. Continuous shooting mode and a nearby hose were the necessary ingredients for making this shot.

Megan

This challenged the definition of messy. And it turns out not everyone is super willing to get dirty for no reason.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #18 "Textures"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Artistic] Texture: The artistic inspiration this week is texture. You should almost be able to feel the image.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Megan

I enjoyed the shooting this pile in my apartment yard. I feel there are a variety of textures in the wood and the light. It requires some awkward body contouring to get the right angle ;-).

Kento

My grandparents live in an old school Japanese house with sand walls, paper doors, and tatami mats. All of those things are textured differently from what we expect in Western construction, so I figured it'd be a good subject. Anyhow, the grains of sand on the wall gave decent contrast even with the uneven natural lighting in the hallway, and I toned down the colors to emphasize the graininess.

Joseph

Had a few different textures I was looking at, but this one from a new Poké place in Davis Square caught my eye. The shredded seaweed weaving in and out with that pearlescent sheen caught my eye. Normally food photography isn't my favorite, but this is just full of textures!

Bryan

This photo was taken at high elevation at the Pinnacles National Park where the elusive California Condor roosts. I think the shadows at dusk play nicely with the curved yet rough surface of the rock. I took this long-ish exposure (2 seconds I think) to try and also get some cloud texture in there as well.

Eric

The rock in Joshua Tree is like sandpaper. It has tiny little sharp crystals that just grate away your skin. This is Andrew at the base of an apparent climb.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #17 "Urbanscapes"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Landscape] Urbanscape: Most Landscapes are wide open spaces of natural beauty... this week find the beauty of the urbanscape/cityscape.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Bryan

See attached. This was taken at Stanford University. I like the vanishing point and arch aspects of the photo, and the shadows and highlights it creates. I was lucky to have a person standing in the middle of the corridor, in shadow which provides a good focus subject. I cropped a lot of the original photo out to have the person really stand out.

Megan

Not much to say other than my current obsession with the ATL skyline has shown itself full force in my recent submissions. This one elegantly framed with an outdoor architecture piece.

Joseph

My urbanscapes lately have been covered in snow, so I went outside with an eye for more high key shots that would blur the distinction between an overcast sky and the weird frozen waves on the ground. I liked how that played off the varieties of green shades in this image from the garage door, to the reflected trees, to the hues in the snowbank.
One trick I've learned for shooting overcast days in high key is that you're going to lose a lot of detail in the skies which can leave giant empty patches all over. These don't do to terrible on computer screens but they will look absolutely horrible printed out. To avoid this, I adjust the curves a little so that white maxes out at very light grey. It makes the whole scene hazier, more overcast and also means that even in the brightest zones we still have actual information and texture.

Kento

I thought Christmas was over two months ago, but what do I know. I'm torn about the number of people shown in the shot - I want more or less, but this isn't the right number. I suppose I could use a tripod and do multiple exposures, to either add or remove people. Or use a heavy ND filter to blur everyone out.

Eric

I went more abstract with this one. And here are my other explorations of Seattle ... too bad I didn't run into Megan! or maybe I did and didn't know

Dogwood 52: Assignment #16 "Movement Portrait"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Portrait] Movement: Most portraits are stationary, so this week explore adding some movement. Dancing, twirling, or even hair flips.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Kento

It's probably a stretch to call this a portrait, but it came to mind when I thought of movement. There's always a mass of people near Shibuya station, waiting for others or busily going on with their lives. That makes for an interesting juxtaposition of stationary and moving people. I thought about sneaking a shot from groundlevel, but Japan's really sensitive about secretly taking pictures of people, so yeah, I'll have to think about how to do more candid street portraits.

Joseph

Motion blurs mean that the subject of a portrait isn't really anyone you associate with or connect to—they're more an abstraction, a feeling, a memory. These folks cut through the hole in the snow leading up to the church entrance—like everyone who lives around here they're kind of just shadows, part of what I see when I myself am focused on moving from place to place. Nice boot, though.
Motion blurs create a lot of bizarre effects.

Bryan

It was really foggy so I went out on a highway bridge to get some eerie shots of the cars passing. Unfortunately it was brighter than I was expecting, as I was hoping for a longer exposure. But with some editing in lightroom it came out close to what I was hoping for.
35 mm, f/22, 1/8 sec, ISO 100.

Megan

I knew I wanted to have something in motion surrounding a more traditional portrait. I'm mildly satisfied with the outcome. Wishing I had used more tissue paper and they were a bit more blurry.

Eric

a motion shot that is a bit too blurry... and another attempt at moving water:

Dogwood 52: Assignment #15 "Metal"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Artistic] Metal: Cold, hard steel. Shiny Aluminum. Or even rusted and broken down. Find your inspiration in metal this week.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Eric

I love the gritty, intricate machinery of climbing gear. Here is an Omega Pacific linkcam, a piece of climbing gear with expanding lobes used as an anchor to the rock to catch the climber in case they fall.

Kento

An incredible amount of metal moves around the city of Tokyo and Japan in general, in the form of trains. It's the most common method of transport here, with something like the top 23 busiest train stations in the world all in Japan. And it's not just the train, but the rails, the stations, the fences, all in metal. Now if only I could blast babymetal through pictures.

Joseph

Honestly this was a bit of a cop-out shot this week for me. I did not feel terrifically inspired by "metal" so I just took a picture of the brushed metal sheen of my coffee pot. I thought the wood + metal contrast would be nice and I used a flashlight to create emphasis. Hopefully it's a little hard to tell, but I also focus-stacked a few images to get as much in focus as I could. You can kind of see the effect if you look at how the light shines off the "middle layer" of the coffee pot—it's blurrier than physics ought to allow. But I think I got what I was after!

Bryan

This is a shot from the underside of a mountain bike, a perspective people don't usually see. I like the rusted, scratched elements of the bike frame, along with the imprinted serial number. The pedals provide some nice symmetry as well.

Sanjay

Similar in theme to the showerhead (below), here I'm trying to play more with the light available in the scene in addition to the contrast between the fixed metal and the falling water. I tried to slightly underexpose the metal (could have gone further I suppose) to give it a relative sense of "cool" compared to the "heat" of the sunlight in the scene. (18-55mm zoom at 27mm, F4, ISO 800, Shutter 1/320)

Below left: I wanted to keep to the metal theme while trying to also get something dynamic. Perhaps a cheap shot to freeze water from a shower head, but it it's simple and attempts to contrast the rigidity of what looks like at "floating" square of metal against the falling water. (18-55mm zoom at 18mm, F3.5, ISO 800, Shutter 1/400)
Below right:  Honestly, my fist thought on reading the prompt was to think about taking pictures of my bicycle(s). I saw there were some other submissions that used the drivetrain of the bicycle as an object of focus. My goal with this image was to try and balance symmetry with chaos. I purposely tried to shoot "through" some of the chain and spokes while keeping the rear cog of my fixie in sharp focus in an attempt to contrast the seemingly chaotic spokes to the symmetry of the rear cog, all while using the chain to draw the viewers attention to the rear cog (amid the chaos of the spokes). In retrospect, I should have taken this as a monochromatic image to doubly emphasize the aesthetic nature while retaining the grayish color that already dominates the image. (35mm prime, F4, ISO 100, Shutter 1/25)
Upon further reflection, I realize that it might have been interesting to slow the shutter a bit and spin the rear wheel to create a more dramatic tension between the symmetry and chaos. I'll follow up later today with a mono image that includes some of that motion before moving on to this week's portrait assignment.

Megan

I wanted something rusty with a lot of texture. And I wanted some color. Something that's not always easy when you think of "metal" in its pure sense. Nothing super fancy about this image but I was working on my composition and line work. This valve was a bit higher than I could comfortably shoot so I ended up skewing the image a bit vertically to show the right proportions.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #14 "Zoomed-in Landscapes"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Landscape] Transportation: Our world is one defined by how we get around. Literal or interpretative, find inspiration in transportation.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Eric

I got on my roof, zoomed in, and searched the horizon.

Bryan

The original photo was taken in Kauai, Hawaii. I went back through my Hawaii photos and zoomed in on a wide landscape picture I took. The tree outline and fog really caught my eye, and the new crop really makes a big difference.

Joseph

I used the zoom lens on my film camera. I need a scanner really badly if I'm going to keep doing this. These were all hand scanned using my digital camera and a loupe on a lightboard then photo stitched back together. Totally not worth the effort, but created some nice photos for what it was worth.

In this case, I was interested in exploring the "zoom flattening" effect by finding layered scenes. This man on a smoke break was perfect especially the way the trees were planted all in a row. Other attempts were less successful, but I've been living in a wide-angled world for long enough now that the zoomed affect is very, very remarkable to my eye. Definitely something I'll have to play with more in the future.

Megan

I present to you Atlanta, GA as a zoomed in landscape. If given another opportunity, I would have pulled over and taken this shot with my x100s instead of with my phone while stuck in traffic on the connector. Details.

Kento

So it turns out a silhouette of Mt. Fuji is visible from Tokyo in the right light, right before sunset. That necessitated that the foreground be completely in shadow, and so I tried to get the radio tower to give some texture other than just flat black.

Payal

I was walking on Frenchmen Street in search of some good live music and stumbled upon an arts market that was out of this world. I loved the details of this Market -- the drum as a table, the cage as a gazebo, the distinctive and odd crafts on sale, and even the people were different to me, but all worked together in this world I had walked into. The details seemed minute and easily overlooked, but someone obviously cared enough to have them all there.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #13 "High Key Portrait"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Portrait] High Key: Expose to the right and create a light, airy high key portrait.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Bryan

I have never shot a photo with these theme, so this is my best interpretation of "High Key" portrait. I may have broken the rules, but I was messing around with my dark hair blending in with the background to bring out my overexposed portrait. I am in the process of moving so I wanted to have some messiness bokeh in there for fun.

Joseph

I wanted to use film for this assignment so I set up flashes, adjusted exposures with my digital, posed for a couple rolls of hash light flashes hoping to get something nice.
And then disaster struck! I home develop and my two pieces of film got stuck together during development. About 10 shots were completely destroyed and many of the rest were wrecked with weird stains and very, very low contrast.
It was actually brilliant, I think! I like high key film with lens flares and distortion. It creates a spacey affect that is very unique. In my case, these were even more emphasized along with rough film grain. I ended up with exactly the shots I was hoping to get!
I meant to get a shot of my setup, but forgot. At least in this strip you can see that I'm holding one of my flashes in my hand out of frame. It's got a soup container from a thai restaurant stuffed with paper towels on it so make a really diffuse flash that I thought would look nice.
Notes for the future: using a cookie to cast shadows in my flash would have worked a lot better, so would have including something that was reflective; HP5 in Diafine is really smooth and actually wiped away a lot of the harsh flash lighting my digital picked up; film grain is great.

Kento

Hallway in the middle of the night...probably not the best time for the "airy" portrait, but alas here I was. And it's not every day I see blonde hair in Tokyo! There's a style of Japanese dining that revolves around red lanterns, and that would need to be my light source. There's a surprising amount of dynamic range just along the lantern surface, and I like the red hues it highlighted on the model's face,

Eric

Can't go wrong with Miami beach lighting for a high-key portrait.

Megan

The Littlest Brother. I had every intention of trying studio lighting for this assignment but I was unable to set something up within the time constraints. So instead, you get my slightly blurry brother at a wedding. Turns out trying to take pictures of 18 month olds is challenging.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #12 "Transportation"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Artistic] Transportation: Our world is one defined by how we get around. Literal or interpretative, find inspiration in transportation.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Bryan

Here's a picture of me shooting a photo from my bike. Bicycling is big part of my life so here is a first person view of my everyday commute. I tried to capture the traveling motion by steadying my shot as much as I could, with a slower shutter speed (1/25 s). 
Rokinon 12 mm, 1/25 sec, f/8, ISO 100.

Kento

Playing with toys is a form of transportation, right? From the mundane to wherever imagination takes you. Unfortunately I left all my Star Wars toys somewhere in the past, but trucks will have to do. Edited in a tilt-shifty manner to emphasize the toyness.

Eric

a rail way in new Orleans

Joseph

Going into the light! I'm always a little fascinated with the dark world of underground subway lines so I decided to take a few shots there. The Kendall stop in Cambridge is very near to a place where the train exits into daylight so I thought seeing that in the tunnel was nice.
Also, I went cross country skiing recently and thought a lot about what it'd be like to have skiing as your mode of transportation. I brought my camera and took a few shots of this icy world criss-crossed with XC tracks.

Megan

I had too many options to choose from for this assignment. The reflections were magical in this rare afternoon fog. The film lifted up the subtle color changes making for a surprisingly rich effect. Explore some others below! And based on this adventure.... more film to come.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #11 "Reflections in Landscape"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Landscape] Reflection: Find a way to show your landscape/natural beauty in reflection. The mirror world revealed.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Joseph

I was on the train going in to Boston and saw the city skyline reflecting on the newly freezing river. It was such a neat effect that I knew I wasn't doing it any justice shooting through the dirty window of the train. I came back that evening as the sun was setting to have another go and discovered this amazing world of silhouettes. So, while the city and sun reflecting in the water is more minimized than before these were some great shots that really captivated me. I still feel these silhouettes, lit from reflected light off the Charles, are a kind of parallel, reflected world. Without the reflected light they would never be so stunning.

Kento

Tokyo has lots of glass buildings and lots of mirrors in those glass buildings. I figured some different surface would be more interesting. So I present to you a cafe in granite. I'll have to keep reflecting on this one, it turns out composition is harder when you're limited by the location/angle of a particular surface. Landscape shots with bodies of water, or vertical shots at a very shallow angle, make for nice somewhat symmetrical shots; less reflective surfaces need a much sharper angle, and that proved more difficult for me.

Zinnia

Captured the reflection of the sunset at Saguaro Nat'l park in the window of our rental car. The colors on the car window were just as vibrant as those in t

Eric

I tried to superimpose reflections of the prayer flags onto another image where the flags might be in reality. I don't think it worked out the way I intended, but it's something I'm going to play with more.

Payal

Whalehead Club -- Corolla, NC

Megan

I'm back and excited to jump right in! This shot was taken on an inherited Nikon F3 with Ektar100 film. This was the official 3rd shot on the roll. I had never shot with this camera or film so I was excited to see the results. I couldn't be more in love with the combination! And it was such a relief to see the skillset of my high school photography classes come back to life. This picture is straight from the film. No edits. Welcome to the painted palm trees on asphalt.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #10 "Environmental Portrait"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Portrait] Environmental: Show a subject in their natural habitat. Their place of work or hobby is a great start. Tell their story with the environment

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Megan

This is more accurately faceless environmental portrait but it perfectly summarizes two roles in their element. A coach and gymnasts watching routines. The gymnasts observing and asking questions while the coach intakes and answers questions. This place is considered my second home so it's hard to go unnoticed while taking pictures. I wanted to make sure the bright colors transferred to convey the upbeat atmosphere and cheerfulness of the subjects. 

Eric

A day-old baby being cared for in the maternity ward. 20mm MFT at f.17 ISO 320. The runner up shot of my climbing partner.  I feel the newborn photo is more fitting for the assignment though.

Joseph

I had grand plans but in interest of time during the holidays I didn't really get to any of them. That said, I love environmental portraiture and think that done well it takes lifeless headshots and turns them into images with real, powerful stories. Portraiture without the environmental context just seems like it's not saying anything so far as I'm concerned.
In this case, I played with it a little bit. This square window reminded me of a hanging portrait on a wall, and so I waited for someone to take position within it and took a shot.

Zinnia

So the photo, I really wanted to take for this was at the Station North Tool Library, of this guy sitting on a stump with soundproof earmuffs and an apron on, carving a wooden spoon out of a block of wood clamped to the stump. I was too shy to ask and didn't bring my camera, but it was the perfect shot. Instead, I have a photo of my dad from our recent trip to Arizona/Nevada/California playing wildlife photographer. He got some cool shots of jack rabbits and normal rabbits.

Kento

Here's my natural environment. It's been weird acclimating to Japanese society. It was really nice to find a comfortable place not too far away. Note the double layer of material here.

Payal

An Ava Dog, in her natural environment, wagging her tail and eating.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #9 "Shadows"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Artistic] Shadows: The opposite of light is dark, the absence of light is shadow. Interpret this into a masterpiece.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Kento

The paper window covers have a really cool texture, and the light was coming in quite nicely through them on this particular overcast day. At first I shot with just the window, but it was lacking a bit so I thought I'd practice my modeling skills a bit. I like the amount of reflectivity on my hands, and how they stand out from the shadow.

Joseph

For this assignment I immediately jumped to thinking about high-contrast night photography. With the contrast pumped up and the exposure dropped just a touch you take pictures of what seems to be a different world where black and white are separated by hard edges. It's the same world evoked by, e.g., the Sin City franchise. Images are immediately abstract and relatable if gritty and, well, exactly noir. In this case, we have a bar with a few patrons in different layers. I would have liked to fill flash to get the layers more clearly, but the bright bar lights rim light the couple by the window which is good enough.
I'm also posting some more "dark world" images I took while walking around in this shoot. Together they're not unlike the place I live, but they tell a story which oozes with intrigue even if I just think of these places as familiar and homely normally.

Eric

I live in a creepy old house that was built in 1912, originally as a bakery.  Rumor has it that a horrible accident happened, and the bakery couldn't stay open anymore.  I'm not sure if the shadowy nature of the house comes from its dark history, or from the fact that I live with several pathologists.

Megan

When I first took this picture I did not anticipate it being an appropriate fit for the shadow assignment. It wasn't until I was scanning my images and started playing with it that it started to show its impact. I love how the hallway frames the window and creates contrast for the light and shadows to stand out. This may be a stretch as far as a typical shadow picture, however, I feel the shadows are what make this image. 

Zinnia

I was looking through my photos from the last few months and came across this one. I really liked it because it captures the shadowy silhouettes of our figures as we are walking to our climbing destination. The shadowy silhouettes are somewhat messy with bits of rope sticking out and shoe shadow lumps sticking out, but the rope in the foreground, while the rope in the foreground is stacked more neatly.

Payal

First, I tried to use household objects to create shadow effects. After getting sufficiently bored of trying, a fellow photographer bestowed upon me his flash. I played with this handheld flash as I trampled through my backyard trying to figure out how to use it AND get a photo in a flash. (ha) 
But after the initial desperation wore off when I couldn't really find shadows, I began to play with items in my backyard and flash angles to examine their effects in creating shadows. It was even more fun to edit these in Lightroom and watch details that I didn't even know were there just emerge from the photo.

Christmas in South Carolina

I went home to my parents' house in South Carolina for Christmas. We played with dogs, fried a turkey, and sang songs by a bonfire. While I was only there for a couple days, it's the best way to spend Christmas.

Christmas (Eve) Morning

My brother and his girlfriend were also there, but as they were going to head out early Christmas day to see her family we just pretended like Christmas Eve was Christmas Morning and opened presents and played with the dogs anyway.

After this, we spent a little time talking before we had to get ready to deep fry the turkey. A 24lb turkey barely fits into the pot we had so it definitely took three people and three glasses of scotch to get it done right. Honestly, this is the perfect recipe.

Preparing for Dinner

Then it was time for an early Christmas (Eve) Dinner. Again, the dogs played a major part ensuring that no food dropped on the floor was left there to become a mess.

Bonfire after dark

After dinner we moved outside as the sun set to my parents' backyard next to the fire pit and the river. We drank more and sang songs.

It was a beautiful night and a great way to spend Christmas Eve.

Dogwood 52: Assignment #8 "Panorama"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Portrait] Faceless: Tell someone's story without showing their face.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.

Kento

This temple is on the way home from my new workplace. This spans about a 180 degree view in the middle of Tokyo, and I was somehow able to keep bright skyscrapers mostly out of the shot. I might be revisiting this site with a camera with a bigger sensor to get more detail, as I like the idea of this shot.

Eric

I rode a cyclocross race today, I also had my new 9mm wide angle MFT lens (18mm equiv) so I played with action photography.  Neither my lens nor my legs were fast enough, but at least I finished the race and got a decent shot. I should've paid more attention to my ISO settings to ward off the blur, these guys were also pretty damn fast.

Zinnia

I convinced my friends to go to Great Falls to do the Billy Goat Trail with me this weekend, partially for selfish reasons so I could get my pano-shot. I chose this photo because I liked how the perspective is distorted. You can see both sides of the river giving it somewhat of a sweeping feel. 

Joseph

Pano's normally are of beautiful, huge scenery. You need the width to give that sense of grandiosity. Unfortunately, I didn't go anywhere this week with a sense of grandiosity so instead here's another way pano's are useful. There is no camera angle which can catch both walls of a tight corridor—but you can stitch them together.

Megan

After some severe overcast and rain we got some killer sunsets and sunrises. Forced to use my phone on this one so the color is a bit flat. 

Payal

I was fortunate enough to be in the Outer Banks for this assignment, on a series of days with a beautiful exchange between the sun and the clouds. I got really cool cloud/sky effects in my East-West panos as both changed dominance in different parts of the sky. I experimented a lot with lines, shadows, and objects for context for these shots and selected a few, along with my main photo, to demonstrate the different ways I played with these effects. The iPhone pano effect can really do interesting things with lines and distortions. So I thought including those lines and objects in different ways would give both context to the shot while teaching me about how photostitching impacts lines.
The one I ultimately chose was of my mom walking on a very empty beach, with no one in sight for miles.