I am so glad I didn't take on a 365 challenge as I'm struggling (failing) to keep up with a weekly challenge. Rather than doing them weekly, I find I'm doing a bunch at a time or when an opportunity arises, rather than deliberately setting out to do a challenge each week. Throw in some procrastination and perfectionism, it's a recipe for dipping out before the challenge is completed. But I am determined to see this through though, and today did a big push to catch up with the third quarter, even if some aren't my best work. Will I get the last quarter done by the end of the year? Feel free to place your bets!
Week 27 - Communication (Artistic)
I love how the light from her screen makes her face glow.
Week 28 - Portrait as Landscape (Story)
The idea with this challenge is to take a portrait of someone in a landscape setting. We were taking publicity photos for the electric boat at Zealandia, and I felt this photo caught skipper Chris in his element - doing what he loves best - messing about in boats!
Recently I made the creative decision to compose using a square format predominantly - this is proving an interesting challenge for landscapes, which traditionally are shot using - you guessed it - a "landscape" aspect ratio. I have also created my own Photoshop action to style my images in a particular way and to give them a deckle edge (thanks to Julieanne Kost's "Lynda" course on Photoshop actions that I recently completed).
Week 29 - Water Drop (Technical)
Many people chose to do the "drop of milk in water" shot for this challenge, but with all the rain this week I decided to try and photograph a rain drop instead. This involved standing in the doorway getting cold, shooting out into the night and using head lamps and flashes to try and illuminate the falling drops. This photo was taken with the new Sony a9 + 50mm/f1.4 - a fun way to push its limits. You wouldn't believe how many shots we took at 20fps to get a handful that had a focused rain drop!
Week 30 - Family (Artistic)
Instructions said "Since this is the advanced challenge no people can be in the image." I perhaps stretched the definition of "family" here to breaking point, but this photo to me represents generations of family: some old and blown out but still gorgeous, some at their prime, and some fresh young buds looking to take over. Titled "Making Way".
Week 31 - Frame-within-a-frame (story)
A classic compositional technique and I finally got a chance to put it into action on our recent trip to Sydney where we visited Cockatoo Island (which is like Matiu-Somes Island on speed). No cockatoos, but loads of seagulls (it's a nesting colony), heaps of interesting old buildings and artifacts, and a fascinating slice of Australian history ranging from convicts, to ship-building, to reform schools.
Week 32 - HDR (Technical)
In September, we headed back to the Bay of Many Coves in the Marlborough Sounds for Simon Woolf's natural environment wildlife retreat. At dawn, I was up taking HDR (high dynamic range) photos of the bay, when my focus and attention was diverted by a steaming long black! Most welcome it was too!
Week 33 - High Key (Artistic)
As a fan of the "dark and moody" look, my images are more often than not low-key, so this was a good push to try the other side of the histogram. Oh - and it's spring!
Week 34 - Stranger (Story)
I'm not brave enough to get permission from a stranger to take their photo, so I made sure to focus on the magnolia instead. I love how her jacket is the same colour as the magnolia "Black Tulip" - one of the stunning Jury magnolias from New Zealand. The Botanic Gardens was full with people enjoying a nice spring day. Finished with a Kim Klassen texture.
Week 35 - Stitched Panorama (Technical)
The stitched panorama technique is a regular go-to technique for me, as it can make it easier to shoot square without losing pixels (expanding the frame instead). So for this challenge, I took on the advanced version which was to use the Brenizer Method to give an even more shallow depth of field and a dreamy look. I shot this with the 50mm/f1.4 at f1.4 and it is stitched from 20 images. The resulting panorama is natively 86x86cm at 300 dpi - in other words huge! Definitely a technique I want to continue experimenting with.
Week 36 - Low Key (Artistic)
Maybe not overly artistic, but definitely low key. This gorgeous wee fella is a scaly-breasted lorikeet, who kindly posed in front of a dark background. Unlike some of the bigger birds in Taronga Zoo, the lorikeets had lots of room to fly and there were enough of them to be able to socialize more normally. A number were paired up and their bonding behaviours were very sweet to watch.
Week 37 - Balance (Story)
The instructions said "Balance is the compositional technique of giving each area in a scene equal visual weight. You can achieve balance using color, tone, or juxtaposed subjects." I have no idea if I've succeeded, but I like the image and to me it tells a (personal) story. Feel free to give feedback! I do struggle to overtly apply compositional rules, preferring to let me eye guide me (this may be a mistake!).
Week 38 - 50mm (technical)
I don't need any excuse to go shooting with my Sony 50mm/f1.4 prime! I love this lens and it's shallow depth of field!
Week 39 - Water (Artistic)
Back to Zealandia, and was in the wetlands when I noticed the interplay of grass and water - each blade causing it's own little ripple.
Stay tuned for the final 13... will I get them up by 31 Dec? Only time will tell!
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Art of Birding Blog by Judi Lapsley Miller
Fine art inspired by the stories of birds and the natural world. Starting with photographs, I let my imagination take me on flights of fancy. What is real and what is imagined is blurred. What is physical and what is virtual is disrupted. Bursting with colour and life.
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