Picture This

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Staff  |  Jan 21, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2013  |  1 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Going Around in Circles” and readers sent in what one could characterize as “active” and “passive” interpretations. The active ones literally show something or someone going around in circles, a kind of visual pun on the topic, while the passive ones are more found objects and scenes that use the circle as a starting and strong point of the composition. We appreciated the irony of the former and the point of view of the latter. We also are continually struck by the high level of image making we see from readers, and have to say that this was one of the toughest assignments for us to edit down to the images you see selected here.
Staff  |  Aug 16, 2011  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2011  |  0 comments
The world is rich in symbols, some more apparent than others, but if you put yourself in a “graphics” frame of mind, as we asked readers to do for this month’s assignment, you’ll find more than your share of images to capture in the world around you. The nature of this assignment was to find abstractions, to use context merely as a frame and not a reference, and to find the image within the image where a graphic presented itself. In many cases the frame becomes a canvas and the image something that abstract expressionists would understand. While we did receive some composites for this assignment we favored images made “in the field” that used cropping and a “graphic eye” to make the shot.
The Editors  |  Oct 06, 2017  |  0 comments

Although this assignment might have seemed pretty straightforward, it really touched on the key to all great photography, which is great lighting.

Staff  |  Jan 12, 2012  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2011  |  1 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Handheld Pan, a shooting technique that involves a long shutter speed and some sort of motion while shooting on the part of the photographer. We generally do everything we can to keep the camera steady and make sure there is no photographer-induced motion in a shot, including using image stabilized lenses, often elaborate tripods and heads, and even mirror lockup. The assignment requested just the opposite—adding motion to a shot that might include following a subject in motion across a plane, jiggling the camera to make lights record as lines rather than points, and even moving the camera in a circular motion to completely abstract the color and form.
The Editors  |  Apr 12, 2018  |  0 comments

There’s a thin line between seasonal photographs being cliché or stunning. We, obviously, asked you to come up with something stunning for this assignment. As the name suggests, we wanted your images to showcase any of the four seasons: spring, summer, winter, or fall. 

Staff  |  Feb 05, 2013  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2013  |  0 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “In the Forest,” and judging by the number of images we received it’s clear that readers love to spend time and photograph in the forest as much as we do. As you’ll see, the photos ranged from mystical to magnificent, with patterns, color, and light and shadow play all playing a part.

Staff  |  Dec 16, 2011  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2011  |  4 comments
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Industrial Design. While nothing can beat the variety and beauty of nature, where patterns and designs have their own rhythm and pace, certain objects have a beauty and grace that speak to an aesthetic that is inherently human. Products of handmade origin or the Industrial Age that satisfy the need for function while maintaining a beauty of form are sometimes taken for granted, and sometimes, with a photographer’s keen eye, transformed into sculptural objects that seem to transcend their utility. We can contemplate them less for something we would use as a tool and more as objects of wonder or beauty that appeal to a deeper aesthetic sensibility. That’s what we sought, and found, in this month’s readers’ images.
Staff  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2012  |  1 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.
Staff  |  Jun 14, 2013  |  First Published: May 01, 2013  |  0 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.
Staff  |  Apr 02, 2013  |  First 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.
Staff  |  Jul 01, 2014  |  First 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.
Staff  |  Jun 06, 2017  |  1 comments

What makes a great travel or landscape photo? Many things, of course, but we’ve found that the best images always tell some sort of story. 

The Editors  |  May 17, 2018  |  0 comments

Photographing trees is harder than it seems. First of all, everyone knows what trees look like so how do you capture them in a unique way that showcases their natural beauty?

The Editors  |  Jan 30, 2018  |  0 comments

Trains are an ever-popular photography subject but we didn’t want to limit this assignment to just one mode of transportation. Instead, we decided to do a riff on the Christmas movie classic “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and let readers decide which speedy subject they wanted to shoot. We weren’t, necessarily, looking for action shots of these vehicles for this assignment but adding an element of motion in your images did not hurt. 

Staff  |  May 05, 2017  |  0 comments

Long a favorite photo subject of Shutterbug readers, this month’s assignment was your chance to share all your crazy, beautiful images of the world’s weather. We were looking for anything from lightning strikes to dust storms to deep powder to swirling tornadoes (but not too close!). 

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