Ways of Seeing

Challenge series hosted by jezsik. Challenges start on Saturdays.
Going beyond pointing the camera and releasing the shutter, we examine techniques and compositions that challenge the way you see.
Finished (61 challenges)
Entries: 100
Winners announced: 9th October, 2010 GMT
Winner: Cottam Mist
Long exposures blur moving objects. Exposures of several seconds can create mysterious light streaks, misty oceans, gossamer cascades or smudges of pedestrians. With the camera in a fixed position, use an exposure of at least three seconds to show a lot of motion.
Entries: 100
Winners announced: 2nd October, 2010 GMT
Winner: foto04
In portraiture, the term "high-key" refers to an image with lots and lots of light. It's not about overexposing the image, but about washing the subject in a light that all but eliminates shadows. High-key portraits typically present white (or light colored) backgrounds. Demonstrate your understanding of high-key portraiture. Note Additional rules.
Entries: 100
Winners announced: 25th September, 2010 GMT
Winner: After the rain
Nearly all of our images are taken from eye level. Lie down and your perspective changes. Show us your images of the world from a Lilliputian point of view. (Note the very important, and extensive, Additional rules!!!)
Entries: 97
Winners announced: 18th September, 2010 GMT
Winner: Petra. View of Monastery
A foreground frame helps draw the viewer's eye to your subject. Submit an image that includes distinct, but OUT OF FOCUS, foreground elements that frame your subject. See the "Additional rules" and refer to the sample images for illustration.
Entries: 100
Winners announced: 11th September, 2010 GMT
Winner: SPEED
A slow shutter speed, with the lens held on a moving subject, makes that subject stand out against a unique streaky background. Demonstrate your ability to keep a steady hand while panning an object in motion ... and there should be lots and lots of motion and blur in your image.
Entries: 90
Winners announced: 4th September, 2010 GMT
Winner: Stasya
The first and final hour(s) of the day, when the sun is just above the horizon, provides unusual natural lighting opportunities. The low angle of the sun creates long shadows and simultaneously diffuses and warms the light. This "golden hour" allows for quite dramatic portraiture. Show off your best golden hour portrait image. (Note additional rules.)
Entries: 100
Winners announced: 28th August, 2010 GMT
Winner: Rio Carau
One of the easiest ways rookies can improve their photography is to apply the "Rule of Thirds." It takes conscious effort to break away from the habit of putting the subject in the middle of the frame and to actually think about the composition of the image. Before you enter, learn all about the rule of thirds then demonstrate your mastery of composition by submitting a textbook example of the...
Entries: 99
Winners announced: 21st August, 2010 GMT
Winner: Yellow?
Yellow. Lots and lots of yellow. One shade of yellow, multiple shades of yellow, colored objects on yellow, so long as the image is predominantly yellow.
Entries: 100
Winners announced: 14th August, 2010 GMT
Winner: blue
Blue. Lots and lots of blue. One shade of blue, multiple shades of blue, colored objects on blue, so long as the image is predominantly blue.
Entries: 99
Winners announced: 7th August, 2010 GMT
Winner: Strawberry Lips
Red. Lots and lots of red. One shade of red, multiple shades of red, colored objects on red, so long as the image is predominantly red.
Entries: 17
Winners announced: 31st July, 2010 GMT
Winner: What Are We Giving Them
Superimpose multiple images to create a unique image.
Entries: 21
Winners announced: 24th July, 2010 GMT
Winner: Waterfall
Who needs reality when you're a master of photo manipulation? Start with an image with a clear and obvious subject. Manipulate the surroundings to put that subject in an otherwise unrealistic location. For example, put a swimsuit clad sun-bather on a snowy mountain or a giraffe walking down main street. IMPORTANT: explain the manipulations (not the technique used, but what you have done to the...
Entries: 9
Winners announced: 17th July, 2010 GMT
Winner: Lotus Blossom - At Night
How many times have you looked at a photographer's image and thought "I'd have done it THIS way"? Well, let's see what you've got. Submit an image as soon as you can. Wait a day or two and take a look at the other images submitted. Pick the one you think you can improve, reinterpret it the way you want (either rephotograph or edit/retouch), withdraw your original entry and submit the new...
Entries: 198
Winners announced: 10th July, 2010 GMT
Winner: Summer shower
When looking at one of our own images, we are often faced with the challenge of how to prepare it for viewing. How should it be cropped, should the color be enhanced or reduced, use subtle tones or high contrast, make it sharp or soft focus? Prepare two versions of the same image. Use whatever technique you want, make whatever adjustments you want, but make the two images substantially...
Entries: 51
Winners announced: 3rd July, 2010 GMT
Winner: my son Ric
A collage is a composed of different images pasted together to create a single work, usually with unifying style or theme. The idea is not to create a realistic or surrealistic scene, but to let the images stand on their own within a unifying framework. NOTE TO VOTERS: View the large version of the collage so you can see the interplay of images.
Entries: 43
Winners announced: 26th June, 2010 GMT
Winner: Umbrella
Street portraiture refers to candid photography with a documentary feel. The subjects are typically in public places (normally urban settings) and are usually unaware that their photo is being taken. Demonstrate your courage to get out in public and your technique for capturing a slice of everyday life without a paparazzi look. THIS CHALLENGE IS OPEN ONLY TO THOSE WHO HAVE PLACED AT LEAST 2000...
Entries: 18
Winners announced: 19th June, 2010 GMT
Winner: "The Afghan Girl"
"Good artists copy. Great artists steal." Most of us got where we are today through the positive influence of other photographers. Some images inspire us to create new ideas, but many are so brilliantly executed that we can't help but want to replicate them. Show us your best effort recreating a great image.
Entries: 87
Winners announced: 12th June, 2010 GMT
Winner: Modesty Be Gone
Think you're good? Prove it! Has someone actually paid you for your photography? Submit an image for which you received hard currency ... and give us the background story. (If you don't provide a sufficient background story, prepare to be disqualified.)
Entries: 100
Winners announced: 5th June, 2010 GMT
Winner: Sommelier
Still life refers to commonplace objects arranged in an artificial setting. The idea is not to capture what you see, but to create an arrangement with a pleasing composition. Demonstrate your creative talents by submitting a proper still life image.
Entries: 53
Winners announced: 29th May, 2010 GMT
Winner: Sky's the limit
This challenge is a knock-down, drag 'em out, tag-team match between the ultimate challenge participants. To enter, you must have placed at least four thousand votes in previous challenges. That's right, four-smegging-thousand. We don't want no namby-pamby, panty-waisted, mamma's apron string tuggin', hypocritical Milquetoasts entering THIS challenge, by god! Post your digital images ... and...
Entries: 66
Winners announced: 22nd May, 2010 GMT
Winner: Gone with the wind
This challenge is a cage match between really serious challenge participants who recognize that there's more to this competition than just submitting an image. To enter, you must demonstrate your commitment to the challenges by having placed at least two thousand votes. Post a most worthy digital image.
Entries: 87
Winners announced: 15th May, 2010 GMT
Winner: The Billiard Table
This challenge is a no-holds-barred match between serious challenge participants. To enter, you must have proved your willingness to participate on both sides of the challenge by having placed at least one thousand votes in previous challenges. Post a suitable digital image.
Entries: 106
Winners announced: 8th May, 2010 GMT
Winner: Balloons over Bagan, in Burma/Myanmar
This challenge is friendly match between active challenge participants. To enter, you must have placed at least five hundred votes in previous challenges. Post your favorite digital image.
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 1st May, 2010 GMT
Winner: Big Sand
Painters discovered that the inclusion of an s-shaped curve in their composition added a sense of movement to an otherwise static image. The s-shape is aesthetically pleasing and is capable of standing on its own in an image. Show us an image where the "S" curve serves as the primary focus of your image.
Entries: 149
Winners announced: 24th April, 2010 GMT
Winner: Far City Lights
Images shot with light tending toward the blue end of the visible spectrum are described as cool. Choose an appropriate subject, using the right light, or by making minor adjustments to the image's color balance, demonstrate your ability to produce a cool image. (See Additional rules.)
Entries: 148
Winners announced: 17th April, 2010 GMT
Winner: sunset lupines
Whether by capturing a subject n the light of the magic hour, effective use of reflected light or just using your software to carefully adjust the image toward the red end of the visible spectrum, a warm image imparts a sense of comfort and familiarity. Demonstrate your ability to create an image that expresses warmth through color and subject. (See Additional rules.)
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 10th April, 2010 GMT
Winner: Vertigo
Surely 90% of all photos are taken at eye-level. Break out of the mold, rise to greater heights and get on top of something and shoot down. Demonstrate your ability to take a photo from this atypical perspective. (See important Additional rules.)
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 3rd April, 2010 GMT
Winner: Sleepy Classic
Leading lines refers to a composition technique whereby the viewer's eye is attracted to lines that lead directly to the principle subject in the image. Show us an example of an image using leading lines composition. (See Additional rules.)
Entries: 149
Winners announced: 27th March, 2010 GMT
Winner: Golden Gate suspension cables
Discovered by Renaissance artists, the vanishing point refers to the convergence of parallel lines in the distance. For artists, it creates a sense of perspective. For photographers capturing reality, it's just plane (sic) fun. Present an image with a really clear vanishing point. (See Additional rules.)
Entries: 27
Winners announced: 20th March, 2010 GMT
Winner: MMII
The shape of the human body has fascinated artists for centuries. Long ago, photographers discovered the parallels between the curves of the human form and natural landscapes. Demonstrate your ability to capture a landscape image made entirely with the human body without venturing anywhere near eroticism. (See Additional rules.)
Entries: 102
Winners announced: 13th March, 2010 GMT
Winner: Red Costume Mask
Hundreds of people had gathered for the outdoor presentation, but while the speaker addressed the crowd, their attention was focused on the photographer shooting the presenter. Why was he using a flash in the middle of the day? Only a few knew the answer. For this challenge, show how using your on-camera flash can make your image stand out by filing in shadows or darkening the background of a...
Entries: 152
Winners announced: 6th March, 2010 GMT
Winner: Shell Support
Many photographers started in medium format with a camera that shot 6x6 cm negatives. This square format could be cropped vertically or horizontally, depending on requirements. However, many photographers realized that the square format created a unique challenge for composition as it broke the mold - so to speak - of the standard image ratio. For this challenge, submit an image that works well...
Entries: 149
Winners announced: 27th February, 2010 GMT
Winner: Shadow Business
Film noir usually refers to Hollywood films of the 40's and 50's that dealt with "hard-boiled" characters and featured lots of shadows. For this challenge, read up on the film noir movement and submit an appropriate image. Make it dark, make it gritty, make it heavy, cool and dramatic - and be sure to de-emphasize colors.
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 20th February, 2010 GMT
Winner: Bond Falls Cascades
Exposures of several seconds can turn moving water into a blur. Longer exposures can create misty oceans or gossamer cascades. If you don't have the heavy neutral density filters to do this technique properly, you can overlay multiple exposures to achieve a similar effect.
Entries: 64
Winners announced: 13th February, 2010 GMT
Winner: no winner
For years, photographers demanded - and received - sharper and sharper lenses. Some photographers bucked that trend, realizing that a slightly obscured lens could create dream-like photos. They tried to increase this "soft focus" effect using a special lens, petroleum jelly applied to a clear filter, shooting through gauze or special filters with diffused coatings (e.g. Cokin). Most filters...
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 6th February, 2010 GMT
Winner: Falling Tour Eiffel
Generally, people feel that the camera should be steady when shooting, thus the proliferation of tripods and image stabilized lenses and bodies. Whether deliberately or accidentally, camera shake can create images that capture an altogether different feeling. Show us an example of an image where an unsteady hand created a better image.
Entries: 149
Winners announced: 30th January, 2010 GMT
Winner: Fascination
In portraiture, the term "high-key" refers to an image with lots and lots of light. It's not about overexposing the image, but about washing the subject in a light that all but eliminates shadows. High-key portraits typically present white (or light colored) backgrounds. Demonstrate your understanding of high-key portraiture. Note Additional rules.
Entries: 149
Winners announced: 23rd January, 2010 GMT
Winner: Twight Serenade
Photographers who have studied B&W have a pretty good idea how filters affect the final image. While the green filter gets used in some landscapes to lighten the foliage, it is also good for portraiture. It filters out excess blue and adds tone to pale complexions. The green filter was a favorite of bygone portrait photographers because it brought out those strong features in men. Start...
Entries: 158
Winners announced: 16th January, 2010 GMT
Winner: armored
Most photos have a subject. This challenge is for images withOUT a subject. Show us an image that consists of entirely of texture. Make sure it's well lit so we can see the texture clearly.
Entries: 22
Winners announced: 2nd January, 2010 GMT
Winner: Bee Orchid
Multiple exposure images can give a sense of motion even if the subject is totally immobile. Any combination of camera movements (e.g. rotation) can create a feeling of motion when shot as a multiple exposure image.
Entries: 65
Winners announced: 26th December, 2009 GMT
Winner: Pelican Dive
Multiple exposure images can reveal the motion of the subject when your camera is set in a fixed position. Capture a moving subject, with a static background,using multiple exposures that record the movement. if you can not create the multiple exposure in-camera (I'm talkin' to YOU, Canon), you must use software.
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 19th December, 2009 GMT
Winner: Golden Ice
No other color is more inspirational than gold. Whether used for decorative arts or industrial processes, no other metal has the same qualities as gold. Show us your golden image, not yellow, not orange, but gold ... lots and lots of gold. The gold color must dominate the image. It doesn't have to be real gold, just posses the golden properties. See Additional rules!
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 12th December, 2009 GMT
Winner: roofs
Show us a COLOR image that says "Gray!" Show us lots and lots of gray. Multiple shades of gray is ideal, but make sure we can tell that it's a color image. Is your image gray enough? If a viewer doesn't say "Whoa, that's almost depressing it's so gray!" then it's not gray enough. Ideally, aim for 18% gray, but just make sure it doesn't look mostly black or mostly white (or mostly black and...
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 5th December, 2009 GMT
Winner: reflection
Show us a color image that says "Black!" Show us lots and lots of black. Black on black is ideal, but make sure we can tell that it's a color image. Is your image black enough? If a viewer doesn't say "Whoa, that's really black!" then it's not black enough.
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 28th November, 2009 GMT
Winner: A tree
Show us a color image that says "White!" Show us lots and lots of white. White on white is ideal, but make sure we can tell that it's a color image. Is your image white enough? If a viewer doesn't say "Whoa, that's really white!" then it's not white enough.
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 21st November, 2009 GMT
Winner: Parking ends here?
Traditionally, photos are always taken level with the horizon. That's because that's the way we see the world ... but it's not always the way we feel about the world. An image with a tilted horizon is disturbing to our senses, but that's exactly why it can be powerful. Show us an image that gains power through a tilted angle. (Note Addition rules)
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 14th November, 2009 GMT
Winner: Face
Beginning photographers have a tendency to keep well back from their subject. The acronym SCUFI (Shoot Close-Up For Impact) was coined to remind novices to get in close and fill the frame. Using a STANDARD FOCAL LENGTH lens (between 35mm and 65mm equivalent), demonstrate your ability to get in and fill the frame with your subject. Be careful not to crowd the frame, just get in close to prove...
Entries: 57
Winners announced: 7th November, 2009 GMT
Winner: Out with the old in with the New
A hundred years ago, to create a color photograph required painting a black and white print by hand. At the turn of the century, a few practitioners still remained, carrying out their arcane art in a world overrun with color film. While hand coloring prints is practically a lost art today, you can achieve a similar effect digitally ... without having to resort to special filters and plug-ins....
Entries: 141
Winners announced: 31st October, 2009 GMT
Winner: An old man recalling his life
High-end formal portraits are almost always shot with elaborate studio strobes. The old masters demonstrated that window light provides ideal lighting (of course their exposure times measured in days or weeks). A subject is close to a window is awash in a soft light enabling a pleasing portrait. This challenge calls for a carefully arranged pose of a single person, looking at the camera,...
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 24th October, 2009 GMT
Winner: In Vino Veritas
Finding a good, well-lit subject is the first challenge faced by a photographer. The second is how to compose the shot. One technique calls for "framing" the subject with foreground elements; this helps draw the viewer's eye to the subject. For this challenge, submit an image that includes distinct, but OUT OF FOCUS, foreground framing elements. See the "Additional rules" and refer to the...
Entries: 148
Winners announced: 17th October, 2009 GMT
Winner: last landing
Sometimes you focus your lens on one thing but end up with an image of something entirely unexpected. It may be due to an incorrect setting (e.g. mis-focused) or something happening within the frame that you couldn't anticipate (e.g. a new element entered the frame). For this challenge, describe the shot you had intended and explain how the resulting image differs. This is not about how the...
Entries: 104
Winners announced: 10th October, 2009 GMT
Winner: Salmon Bothy at St.Cyrus
The arrival of the camera on the art scene caused some, including poet Baudelaire, to decry the eventual death of painting. One group of artists rebelled by creating a whole new type of art: impressionism. The camera, they realized, could only capture reality, while the artist could record impressions and feelings. Advanced photo editing techniques allow modern photographers to create...
Entries: 151
Winners announced: 3rd October, 2009 GMT
Winner: "Simply Kate"
A portrait is an image of a person's face that clearly displays their likeness and may often display some aspect of their personality. A formal portrait is not a snapshot but a carefully arranged pose under effective lighting conditions. For this challenge, submit your best formal portrait of a single person looking at the camera. (Note Additional rules!)
Entries: 147
Winners announced: 26th September, 2009 GMT
Winner: Cloud Art
In ancient times, when Pan-F and Tri-X roamed the planet, clever B&W photographers used a red filter to darken blue skies. This made for startling landscape images. It's impractical to carry a red filter with you today when you can achieve the same result by using your editing software to do a color (channel) separation of your image. This technique gives you three different B&W photos, one if...
Entries: 85
Winners announced: 19th September, 2009 GMT
Winner: Lights on the Creek
While commonplace in cinema, a forward or backward motion with a still camera is quite difficult to accomplish and seldom seen. Done properly, the motion streaks create an almost surrealistic tunneling effect. To accomplish this shot, use a slow shutter speed while you and your subject move in synchronization going forward or backward. A similar effect is achieved by changing the focal length...
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 12th September, 2009 GMT
Winner: Standing Alone
Sunsets might well be the most photographed subject in nature. As one of the most beautiful sites on the planet, they can be seen everywhere. How do you differentiate your sunset from everyone else's? Add an additional element in the composition. In this challenge, submit a dramatic sunset (or sunrise) with an overwhelming foreground object in silhouette. (Note the Additional rules.)
Entries: 147
Winners announced: 5th September, 2009 GMT
Winner: Patience
One of the easiest ways rookies can improve their photography is to apply the rule of thirds. It takes serious conscious effort to break away from the habit of putting the subject in the middle of the frame and to actually think about the composition of the image. Before you enter, learn all about the rule of thirds then demonstrate your mastery of composition by submitting a textbook example...
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 29th August, 2009 GMT
Winner: Fun in the sun
Amateur film used to come with tips - including how to light your subject by putting the light source behind you (shoot with the sun at your back). By now you've probably recognized that shooting into the light can create a dramatically different look ... if you get the exposure correct. For the best effect, make sure your subject is against a dark background. Show us your best example of a...
Entries: 160
Winners announced: 22nd August, 2009 GMT
Winner: POW WOW RIBBON DANCER
The first and final hour(s) of the day, when the sun is just above the horizon, provides unusual natural lighting opportunities. The low angle of the sun creates long shadows and simultaneously diffuses and warms the light. This "golden hour" allows for quite dramatic portraiture. Show off your best golden hour portrait image. (Note additional rules.)
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 15th August, 2009 GMT
Winner: Tori on the Tracks
With few exceptions (e.g. macro), nearly all of our images are taken from eye level. Lie down and your perspective changes. Show us your images of the world from a Lilliputian point of view. (Note the Additional rules!)
Entries: 150
Winners announced: 8th August, 2009 GMT
Winner: InTheRace
A slow shutter speed, with the lens held on a moving subject, makes that subject stand out against a unique streaky background. Demonstrate your ability to keep a steady hand while panning an object in motion ... and there should be plenty of motion in your image.