Technology Enabling Art

Challenge series hosted by ProfHankD. Challenges start on Thursdays.
Digital cameras and digital image processing constitute a new medium for art. This challenge series centers on making artistic images in ways that take advantage of the unique properties and capabilities of the medium. The goal is to help people discover that they can do things with cameras and image processing that they never realized were possible. If there is a little advanced technology introduced to push the medium even further, such as in-camera scripting using CHDK or new image processing algorithms on your PC, that's even better.
Finished (29 challenges)
Entries: 3
Winners announced: 10th October, 2013 GMT
Winner: Curiosity
A challenge for photos taken remotely using WiFi to trigger the shutter of your camera. Lots of cameras now support this, often with apps like Sony's PlayMemories that let you see a live view and trigger the shutter remotely. This certainly lets your camera go places you can't. Is it helping you make better photos?
Entries: 12
Winners announced: 11th July, 2013 GMT
Winner: Water (SB)
Let's compare images shot using either a Full-Frame (FF) sensor or an APS-C sensor behind a "Speed Booster" (SB) or "Lens Turbo" (LT) focal reducer which approximates the FF view. Make sure you include (FF), (SB), or (LT) in the title to indicate which you used to capture the image. Have good APS-C sensors with SB and LT made FF sensors difficult to justify?
Entries: 61
Winners announced: 20th June, 2013 GMT
Winner: I'd like to be under the sea
Use any lens whose native mount is not the one on your camera's body. For example, Adaptall on a Nikon body, M42 on a Canon EF-mount body, or just about anything on a Sony E-mount NEX.
Entries: 12
Winners announced: 9th August, 2012 GMT
Winner: AFTER - BBMF
You're shooting and swapping lenses as needed -- the stuff you saw in the finder looked great. However, when you look at the images on a bigger screen, you notice that this huge hunk of dust settled on your sensor just before you took your best shots. This challenge is for photos "ruined" by sensor dust (marked BEFORE in title) and how they were saved in postprocessing (marked AFTER in title)....
Entries: 50
Winners announced: 26th July, 2012 GMT
Winner: Robber Fly_01
Some long lenses have a minimum focus distance as large as 30 feet... who thought that was a good idea? Put more space between the sensor and the rear of the lens and you can focus much closer. This challenge is for shots, macro or otherwise, made using a lens mounted on any type of glassless extension: tubes, bellows, an empty toilet paper roll and duct tape.... ;)
Entries: 209
Winners announced: 5th July, 2012 GMT
Winner: 11895674-lg
This is a challenge for photos that have been post-processed to not look like photos. It could be something as simple as a posterization or as complex as a custom "art filter." Your entry must include some text describing how you post-processed the image.
Entries: 18
Winners announced: 7th June, 2012 GMT
Winner: Daisy
Everybody knows you can use the flash built-into your camera to get more light on a scene... but unless you're using the flash as fill lighting, the built-in flash tends to give your subject that flat, deer-in-the-headlights, look. What you might not have known is that something as simple as a little piece of aluminum foil can deflect light from your camera's built-in flash to bounce off the...
Entries: 4
Winners announced: 26th April, 2012 GMT
Winner: group before
The Fujifilm X10 and X-S1 have become infamous for "white orbs" caused by blooming of saturated pixels -- this challenge is about using post-processing to replace these artifacts with something that looks less disturbing. In this challenge, you are to submit a pair of images: an original image that is ruined by orbs (BEFORE) and a post-processed copy of the same image (AFTER). As a service to...
Entries: 38
Winners announced: 1st March, 2012 GMT
Winner: (L) Elevation
This challenge is for photos taken under circumstances that surely should have caused motion blur, but did not result in a blurry image because the camera or post-processing removed the blur. The thing that kept the image from being blurred could be anti-shake hardware, multi-shot anti-blur processing in the camera (e.g., as implemented in Sony NEX), or it could be "blind deconvolution"...
Entries: 18
Winners announced: 12th January, 2012 GMT
Winner: More Pollen
Trap focus is a camera feature that allows you to manually focus and have the camera delay firing the shutter until you have pressed AND something is in focus. Originally intended to capture photos of the wedding party as they walk down the aisle, it works for many sports if you pre-focus where the action is headed. With a manual-focus lens, you can also use it to confirm focus by holding down...
Entries: 159
Winners announced: 24th November, 2011 GMT
Winner: Happiness Is A Dog In Snow
Sometimes, things are just happening too fast to think about. You roughly point your camera and hold down the shutter button to capture a burst of images at multiple frames per second. It's photographic "spray and pray," enabled by fast modern sensors and electronics. Later, you pick the best shot -- and enter it in this challenge.
Entries: 35
Winners announced: 13th October, 2011 GMT
Winner: PP-Thumbelina Ballerina
One of the more exotic specialty lens tricks involves tilting a lens relative to the film/sensor (TILT) so that the focus plane intersects your subject in a very narrow band, making full-size scenes appear to be tiny models.You can do this with a tilt-shift lens, a lensbaby, or a tilt adapter with a lens intended for a larger format -- or you can do it by post processing (PP). Let's see which...
Entries: 29
Winners announced: 18th August, 2011 GMT
Winner: hatchet_mt3
This USA motto means "out of many, one" -- and many CAMERAS now use this concept for blur reduction, noise reduction (stacking), improving dynamic range (HDR), showing a wider angle of view (stitched panoramas), etc. This challenge is for images that were CREATED BY THE CAMERA AUTOMATICALLY COMBINING MULTIPLE EXPOSURES TO SYNTHESIZE A SINGLE IMAGE. Specify which multi-shot mode you used.
Entries: 72
Winners announced: 30th June, 2011 GMT
Winner: TELE: The boss
For as long as there have been teleconverters (aka, tele extenders) to multiply the focal length of a prime lens, people have debated if using one really produces a better photo than cropping a prime lens capture. Let's find out. Enter your best photos that either were taken with a 2X or greater teleconverter (TELE:) or were cropped at least 2X (CROP:).
Entries: 137
Winners announced: 23rd June, 2011 GMT
Winner: Mormon Row
Although just about every camera saves images using JPEG compression by default, saving raw, unprocessed, sensor data is a common option. Raw formats allow more sophisticated post-processing (PP) and can thus produce higher-quality images. This challenge is for photos that show off what raw capture allows you to do.
Entries: 1
Winners announced: 26th May, 2011 GMT
Winner: winter
Originally intended for 16mm movie film and other small image formats, C-mount lenses can be adapted to mount and focus to infinity on mirrorless camera bodies such as the Olympus/Panasonic micro 4/3 and Sony NEX APS-C. These lenses often are tiny, very fast, and relatively cheap, especially for shorter focal lengths. My Instructable about using C-mount lenses,...
13. CHDK
Entries: 23
Winners announced: 28th April, 2011 GMT
Winner: Startrails 09.04.2011_filtered
The CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) allows people to run code in any of a variety of Canon compact cameras to give them new functionality, control camera operation, etc. This challenge is ONLY for images captured on cameras using CHDK.
Entries: 99
Winners announced: 3rd February, 2011 GMT
Winner: Me at the Liverpool Biennial
This challenge is for photos that you took, of a scene including YOUR FACE, using a camera with live view display positioned so that you could see yourself. On some cameras, this is easily done by flipping the rear LCD out. Some cameras can do this electronically by feeding the live view to an external display or computer. However, it's even ok to simply use an external mirror to reflect the...
Entries: 16
Winners announced: 16th December, 2010 GMT
Winner: B-24 Tail
This challenge is for images encoding "3D" as anaglyph stereo images to be viewed with either red-left/cyan-right or green-left/magenta-right glasses. There are many ways to produce anaglyphs. The easiest is by making a $1 filter you place in front of your lens -- see http://www.instructables.com/id/Use-Your-Camera-To-Capture-3D-Anaglyphs/. Alternatively, you can color-filter or post-process a...
Entries: 201
Winners announced: 4th November, 2010 GMT
Winner: Bachalpsee Pano
Most lenses use a rectilinear projection that keeps straight lines straight, but the widest rectilinear lenses barely cover 120 degrees and the projection becomes quite unnatural at that angle. In contrast, wide panoramas used to be captured by special cameras that rotated a slit and lens assembly during exposure, yielding a cylindrical projection that bends horizontal lines, but looks...
Entries: 46
Winners announced: 7th October, 2010 GMT
Winner: Bailey
Very large aperture lenses, those with an f/number of f/1.2 or less, don't just let a lot of light in. They also have vanishingly small depth-of-focus. That makes them hard to focus, but often results in beautifully smooth out-of-focus portions of the scene (i.e., very pleasing bokeh). This challenge is for photos shot using a taking aperture marked as f/1.2 or faster. Note that not all...
Entries: 50
Winners announced: 15th July, 2010 GMT
Winner: Heaven and Earth Must be Praised
This challenge is for photos taken with DIGITAL CAMERAS BUILT BEFORE JANUARY 2000. Why? When cars were new, various power sources were tried, and petroleum-based fuels won out... it has taken nearly a century to get back to using electricity. Similarly, the design space for digital cameras was explored more freely in the 1990s, and there may be some things we can learn from those cameras....
Entries: 199
Winners announced: 20th May, 2010 GMT
Winner: The Northern Lights
This challenge is about taking pictures in dim ambient lighting. On film this was problematic: long exposures suffered reciprocity failure and film ISOs didn't go much above 400 without "push processing." However, modern digital cameras can extract usable images from very poorly lit scenes using long exposures, sensor shake compensation, really high ISOs, noise reduction processing (including...
Entries: 71
Winners announced: 11th February, 2010 GMT
Winner: Bedouin camels
This is a challenge for inpainted images. When something bad -- dust shadows, red eyes, ugly obstructions, etc. -- appears in one of your photos, you can remove that bad thing and replace it with a credible thing that doesn't distract attention from the subject of your photo. General inpainting used to be very difficult, but digital post-processing tools like GREYCstoration and GIMP's...
Entries: 200
Winners announced: 12th November, 2009 GMT
Winner: Mt. Hood in Spring
Over the last 30 years, photographers have become used to a variety of convenience features such as wide-open auto exposure, auto focus, and zoom lenses. Unfortunately, these features cost us depth-of-focus preview, precision and robustness of physical construction, and the superior IQ of prime lenses. This challenge is for photos created combining the best of both worlds: modern digital image...
Entries: 200
Winners announced: 22nd October, 2009 GMT
Winner: .
Most of the photos people take use the camera to capture what people see; the challenge is to capture things that a person normally would NOT be able to see. The subject might be unseen because it is imaged in NIR (near infrared), happens too quickly (use a fast shutter or flash) or too slowly (use a long exposure or time lapse stacking) for human perception, is seen from a place your camera...
Entries: 133
Winners announced: 3rd September, 2009 GMT
Winner: The Burning Bush
There are a lot of really nice lenses out there, but there also are a lot of things that aren't "normal" camera lenses in any sense of the word. They may be special-purpose lenses (fisheye, soft-focus, telescope, microscope, etc.), door peepholes, pinholes and zone plates, mirrored stuff, various plastic or glass objects, water, etc. Use one. Digital imaging makes it easy to see and...
Entries: 195
Winners announced: 9th July, 2009 GMT
Winner: Colour Moon
Tone mapping has been a well-respected artistic tool at least since Ansel Adam's book "The Print" -- but it required a set of darkroom techniques that were difficult to master. Now tone mapping is possible in-camera using contrast and exposure settings, shadow adjustment, etc. Image editing software on a computer allows even more complex transformations: HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing,...
Entries: 128
Winners announced: 28th May, 2009 GMT
Winner: Neon
This challenge is for photos that you caused to be taken, but not by looking at a viewfinder or live display and pressing the shutter button when you wanted the picture taken. It might be that you set the self timer or used a wireless remote control so you could be in your photo, or it might be that the camera was triggered by motion detection to capture lightning (as many CHDK users do) or...