January 2014 - Big Mix

February 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Wow! After two months we're back on stage, bringing you the best of the January Challenge. Let's see how everyone fared using their skills to play by the theme rules: Fashion, Texture, High Key and Abstract. January was an abnormally dry month and it was pretty discouraging going out for landscape shots and seeing everything so dead and dry. Hopefully, we'll get a slug of rain in February and March.

Personally, this was a very busy month for shooting (I've posted 5 times on my photo website). Sunrises, mostly. Below freezing this morning on Hwy 88, about a mile north of the Mokolumne River. Barb and I had been to Sutter Creek and Jackson last Saturday, so I scouted the best trees to shoot when we drove. The latest Stockton Record challenge is 'silhouettes' so that was my plan. Oak tree silhouettes at sunrise (http://wordydave.zenfolio.com/p947176127). Went pretty well except for no cloud drama in the sky and my fingers got numb and wouldn't work right before I called it quits. Didn't know your fingers hurt so much when they're 'waking back up.' Ha!

 

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Our first entry was sent by Ginnie, but belongs to her granddaughter, Jordan, who was using Ginnie's camera at the time. It is a fashion photo of a magazine page. "This month's contribution was captured by granddaughter Jordan while on her own with my camera.  I think it fits all four categories; Fashion, Texture, Abstract and almost High-key.  Not to mention the cornflake near the bottom." Pretty cool, Jordan. I think you'll do a great job with our February Challenge theme: The letter "F." Shoot anything that is associated with the letter "F."

 

 

 

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Don did a masterful job creating a number of High Key photos. High key is a style that incorporates a maximum of white and a minimum of contrasting color or black, like when your flash fires and everything is super over exposed. It is popular in portraiture and abstract, bordering on line drawing artwork. He says, "The topics this month were a bit of a challenge for me. Elements 11 got a work out! I have 3 shots that fall into the high key category, 1 that falls into texture/fashion and the landscape would be texture. The high key shots I over exposed in the camera and then tuned them in Photoshop. I think the first pic is my favorite. It almost takes on the appearance of a pencil drawing."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It's interesting that just about everything around us has an element of texture. Dave's 'Fashion' photo of Liz was taken with the 55-300mm zoom lens with a large aperture. This did a great job of blurring the background, so the entire focus is upon her, and not the fence in back of her. You can see the whole set here: http://wordydave.zenfolio.com/p749960269  She did a great job of posing. I used a few posing positions from an app I downloaded to my hand-held device.

 

 

 

This next photo fits the high key theme with some abstract thrown in for good measure. Taken on a horribly cold and miserable morning at the Cosumnes River Wildlife Preserve, I waited for the Coot to get in the right space before getting the shot. Like Don, I de-saturated the color a bit, bumped up the brightness and contrast, and kept fiddling until I was happy with the balance.

 

 

 

Also taken at the Cosumnes River Preserve, this next grab would have been overlooked if I hadn't seen the feather lying on the leaves by the trail. So there are two textures at work here, both contrasting or complementing each other, depending on your point of view. They compliment each other philosophically (both found in nature), but contrast in that leaves feel and look entirely differently than the softness of a feather (my point of view).

 

 

 

 

Close up photography is an easy way to create an abstract, and a lot of what I photograph focuses on finding the unusual in the usual by getting close.  These next shots were taken in Sutter Creek at the now-closed Knight Foundry. They combine abstract and texture. Again, taken with the 55-300mm zoom lens. You can see the whole set here: http://wordydave.zenfolio.com/p594527627, where there is a lot more of these two themes captured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That's It, Folks! As mentioned earlier, the February Challenge is wide open, as long as you shoot something that begins with the letter, "F." Using generic terms like "fauna," "flora," are okay, but it's much more fun to be specific, like "fedora," feathers," "food," or "Fred." You get the idea. Be creative and have fun.

Again, try to keep the pictures you email me (wordydave@sbcglobal.net) under 500kb in file size and under 1300 pixels wide. If you can't, don't let that stop you from entering them. Black and white, color, HDR, artistic filtering, whatever you want to do is okay with me.

Until we meet again, have a nice month and happy shooting!

Dave


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