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 (43 challenges)
Winners announced: 28th September, 2017 GMT
Winner: Blue Point
Photographs of anything, but must be taken with your camera sitting on the ground.
Winners announced: 10th August, 2017 GMT
Winner: 42 go next
This is my 42nd challenge, so DON'T PANIC -- just submit an image that has something to do with 42. Make it apparent what that something is.
Winners announced: 13th July, 2017 GMT
This challenge is for IMAGES THAT DO NOT USE A RECTILINEAR PROJECTION, BUT DON'T LOOK UNNATURAL. Conventional lenses, and even pinholes, generally render images such that straight lines from the scene stay straight: a rectilinear projection. Fisheye lenses, birdseye lenses, stitched panoramas, etc. use different projection formulas -- they bend straight lines in the scene. However, sometimes...
Winners announced: 19th May, 2016 GMT
Winner: Pinhole Dam Cold Water
April 24, 2016 was worldwide pinhole photography day, but your photos don't have to be taken on that day for this challenge. They do have to be taken using a glassless pinhole to create the image, which must be ELECTRONICALLY CAPTURED (no film nor other photochemical processes!) either by directly projecting the pinhole image on the sensor or by photographing the pinhole-projected camera...
Winners announced: 31st March, 2016 GMT
Winner: no winner
Let's see how extreme ND (neutral density) filters compare with stacking using milder or no ND filter. Extreme ND filters cut light enough to allow long, motion-blurring, exposures even in bright daylight, but there is another way: image stacking of shorter exposures. Instead of one 16s exposure, you could stack (average) a rapid sequence of 16 1s exposures using a much lighter ND filter or...
Winners announced: 3rd December, 2015 GMT
Winner: Playing with myself
This challenge is for digital photos taken now with camera equipment (BOTH body AND lens) that you used to use, but haven't shot more than a few photos with in at least 3 years. Normally, I'm the guy pushing new technology, so why this challenge? Cameras are just tools to help you make the photos you envision, but very often vision gets narrowed to what your equipment can easily do: you learn a...
Winners announced: 19th November, 2015 GMT
Winner: Two colours
Cameras have a lot of fancy features built-in these days: panorama stitching, HDR, scene modes, face recognition, smile shutter, auto-cropping to improve composition, etc. This challenge is for images captured using any camera feature that you didn't know your camera had until you read about it in the camera's user manual.
Winners announced: 22nd October, 2015 GMT
Winner: no winner
This is a challenge for images captured using the infamous lossy-compressed Sony ARW2 raw format that are great photos, BUT show horrible compression artifacts. I've built a free tool called KARWY that can fix a lot of that, but the controversial fact is that the artifacts are quite rarely visible... show us some great photos that have annoyingly visible ARW2 compression artifacts.
Winners announced: 27th August, 2015 GMT
Winner: Watkins Glen - Rainbow Falls
A challenge for images created by stacking at least three (3) captures of the same scene. The stacking must be done in postprocessing; in-camera modes combining exposures don't count. The stacking can be to enhance dynamic range/noise, depth of field (combining with different focus distances), bokeh (combining with different apertures), spectral range (combining with different filters), etc.
34. False Colors
Winners announced: 28th May, 2015 GMT
Winner: Before the Rain
This is a challenge for color images that were captured in a very different color space from that in which they are displayed. For example, color channels could be representing NIR or NUV wavelengths, color channels could be swapped (in RGB, YUV, or any other colorspace), or RGB could even be derived from other scene attributes -- such as distance from the camera.
Winners announced: 12th February, 2015 GMT
Winner: Half full Moon
Lots of cameras now have support for at least 1080 video, and some can shoot 4K, perhaps even with S-Log encoding to preserve more of the dynamic range. Video framerates can really help capture the precise moment in fast action, and 8MP with enhanced dynamic range sounds pretty good... show us how good. This challenge is for still images extracted from a 1080 or better resolution video sequence.
32. Up in the air
Winners announced: 4th December, 2014 GMT
Winner: Karavan on Cable Beach
Is it a bird? A plane? No, it's your camera. This challenge is for photos taken automatically or by remote control from at least 12 feet above ground. It could be on a kite, a quad-copter, an alien spacecraft, a 10-foot pole you're holding, or even just freely tossed in the air... whatever, as long as your camera is up there without you. (No shots from plane windows or standing on a ladder.)
Winners announced: 11th September, 2014 GMT
Winner: Shooting in the Rain
This is a challenge for shots taken in heavy rain or spray that caused VISIBLE DROPLETS on your lens. Waterproof housings, bags, or cameras might produce high-quality images in air or underwater, but a mix of air and water means shooting through distorting little puddles at the end of the optical path. Were you able to use that problem creatively to your advantage?
Winners announced: 4th September, 2014 GMT
Winner: German Autumn
Now that bodies with FF (24x36mm) sensors are reasonably cheap, what do you do with all those APS-C lenses? Before you dispose of them, why not try them on your new FF body? It turns out that some will cover a FF sensor just fine -- especially zooms used at certain focal lengths, or lenses used for closer subjects. This contest is for uncropped FF captures using an APS-C lens.
Winners announced: 10th October, 2013 GMT
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?
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?
27. Non-native Lens
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.
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)....
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.... ;)
Winners announced: 5th July, 2012 GMT
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.
Winners announced: 7th June, 2012 GMT
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...
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...
21. Motion DEblurred
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"...
20. Trap Focus
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...
19. In A Burst
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.
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...
Winners announced: 18th August, 2011 GMT
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.
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:).
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.
14. C-mount Scenes
Winners announced: 26th May, 2011 GMT
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,...
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.
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...
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...
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...
Winners announced: 7th October, 2010 GMT
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...
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....
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...
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...
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...
Winners announced: 22nd October, 2009 GMT
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...
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...
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,...
Winners announced: 28th May, 2009 GMT
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...
Most popular cameras
Beginner's GuidesGetting StartedIn-depth testingLatest Camera ReviewsBeyond the studio testsFeature Articles and Videossee how we seeSample GalleriesChoose the best camera for you2017 Product Roundupsreal world performanceField Test VideosThrowback ThursdayClassic Cameras from Days PastWhat's that Noise?Shedding some light on the sources of noise