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    • i shoot predominantly concept driven, composite, self-portraiture–so for me–keeping in mind all the parts that have to be created/shot in order to reassemble them in photoshop to ultimately tell the story i am trying to portray would have to be the most difficult part

      i generally have a clear vision of what i want to see in the final image and part of the challenge is figuring out how to shoot all the components to make that become a reality

      take for example this image i created of myself as the comic book anti-hero Ghost rider

      for this shot to come about it took several independent shoots to create all the elements that went into the final image. and not just one shot from each but sometimes multiple shots of the same element that then would be pieced together. elements like the chain, fire, and even the body posturing all were shot separately and then chosen based on how they fit into the final piece. i took a over 500+ images and then culled through them to find the parts that worked the best

      here is a small gallery of just a few of the shots it took to create the final image

      ghost rider behind the scenes gallery

      to see how it all came together i created a speed edit video that shows the entire process

      if you have any questions feel free to ask

    • Show off! Haha, just kidding. You do such amazing work. I'm so glad I've been able to get to know as part of the scavenger hunt these past several years. I am starting a new job and need a headshot for a press release and I decided to just do my own headshots--that's definitely a stretch for me as I'm a landscape guy, but I decided to just go for it. Paul would be proud too!

    • Like @Glenn_Smith I am truly an amateur photographer, and afficiando, not a working paid pro, though I have sold a few images along the way to folks who tracked me down and parked at my front door.

      The question is posted as: What are the most difficult photos to take? It does not ask what are the most complex to create after capture in image editing software, so I am going to limit my comments to the actual act of image capture, not image creation after capture

      I truly enjoy seeing the fantastic images created today by photographer/imaging creators with modern cameras and software and computers, but that is an immense field to discuss, and one I know only a little bit of what I have read on the web.

      The interaction/relationship between a photographer and his/her human subjects can vary from the dispassionate high school portrait shooter for the yearbook or the tech at the Department of Motor Vehicles, to a deep and significant interaction where the photographer lives intimately with their chosen subject for days/weeks or even months at a time. This can be seen as difficult or very pleasant depending on a lot of other factors, but are not what I am choosing to discuss.

      Modern digital cameras are now enabling us to photograph scenes we cannot even see with our own eyes - This runs the gamut from deep infra-red photography, to very high speed photography, and long exposure photography, and finally UV and X-Ray photography.

      Modern imaging is truly part of the technological revolution we are all living through.

      While I choose to shoot IR at times, and readily shoot long 15 stop ND filters at the beach occasionally, and I shoot high shutter speeds of birds in flight frequently, what I find challenging is the photography of the night sky - complete with very low light intensity, moving objects, and moving photographic bases ( the Earth ), along with varying atmospheric conditions leads to a large field of new things to learn and practice.

      I began shooting the night sky with standard photography equipment, fixed tripod, a long lens, and a digital camera with a cable release. I managed to capture lunar and solar eclipses with this gear, but now as I begin to explore this arena, I find I need to make a big step up in knowledge to capture images of planets, moons, and other celestial bodies.

      Getting a decent telescope is just a web page and a fist full of money. Even getting a German Equatorial mount is easily available now. What I hadn't really given thought to, is getting access to ground with a great view of the sky in 360º in the mid-west with its tree strewn horizons. I may have to begin to talk to a realtor yet - my yard will be very limiting. What I would love to find is a nice open hill in a dark zone and a good local astro-photography club.

      I will have to be satisfied with

      l will add more to this post as I progress in my quest

    • This is a fascinating question that had me thinking all day yesterday. I have loved photography since birth and I’ve tried my hand at most forms of it, sometimes professionally.

      I worked at SmugMug for 13 years so I got exposed to thousands of photographers who became my heroes.

      I feel the most pressure and nerves when I’m trying to shoot photos of people that I know and love and I want to tell their story. It’s one thing to take a pretty, smiling photo, but what about one that truly tells who they are?

      At a motorcycle rally I was struck by Gwen, this loving mother, who had brought her autistic son Jonathan a long way on the back of her motorcycle. His face lit up as they talked about it. So I asked them to ride with helmets off in the parking lot to see if I could capture the joy and love they have for each other.

      The next morning as they left for home I got word they had crashed and I rushed to the scene. I felt intense pressure to capture the emotion of the scene and their love. Some people shouted at me to put the camera away, but Gwen shouted to let me shoot.

      Fortunately, Jonathan was okay and Gwen put a 30x40 image of them on the motorcycle in his room.

      One of my limitations is I’m emotional and photojournalism that juxtaposes tragedy with innocence wrecks me. Photojournalists who can do it are my heroes.

    • thank you much!

      for the flames, i took a mannequin head and covered it with aluminum foil then wrapped that with a black t-shirt and put it on a light stand in my backyard and waited for night to come. once it was pitch black outside i doused the head with lantern fluid and then lit the whole thing on fire

      i had my camera on a tripod and was firing it with a remote so that i could grab the stand with the head and move it around to get different trails with the flames. it was an effective way to get a lot of flame shots without burning down my studio 😁

      as for editing, i use a wacom cintiq monitor with a stylus and have been working with one for the past 20yrs or so in one form or another. i can't imagine doing the type editing i do any other way

    • What a great topic.

      I would say i encounter three types of challenges: Cultural Sensitivity, Emotions and Physically challenging or life threatening photograph.

      Cultural Sensitivity

      Women is extremely culture sensitive issue in our part of world, taking photographs women in street and then posting on internet has many folds of cultural issues including violence and even murders. On the other hand, we have national poet who attributed colors of universe to existence of women, which is a fact and i always felt my portfolio will always remain incomplete without some colorful photographs of women.

      While travelling to Tharparker in South East of Pakistan, region known for colorful daily life of Hindus in a huge desert, while roaming around i met a police man on inquiring he got very interested about my plans to capture beautiful culture of village, i found it a great opportunity to present my desire to capture photos of a women (after so many failed attempts that day). A man giggled and said no worries just follow me and he took me to his very traditional house and allowed me to take photos of her mother. Ladies were so shy they simply felt uncomfortable infront of camera and i didn't force to reveal the face.

    • Emotional

      Child abuse is one of the taboo topics to discuss, only now people have openly started to discuss the issue. Especially young working kids are most vulnerable. Some years ago i was traveling to North of Pakistan through Karakorum Highway and found myself stranded in a tiny town for a week until road reopened after massive landslides. Town lacked facilities and only one or two small restaurant were there which survived the landslide.

      There were two kids working in restaurant serving clients who were mostly truck drivers it was complete disaster to see these kids running around serving clients while constantly abused by clients. One evening i out of my frustration asked the owner that why he was always silent on such abuse and his reply was even more frustrating. i had seen documentaries on plight of kids working in such setting, and experience changed me forever.

    • Dangerous and Life Threatening

      Probably easiest subject to photograph as horses don't mind getting photographed. I barely survived many time while taking photos of horses, since i am also aging and bending down for lower angle is another challenge, it is a charm to watch photos later :)

    • Wow Awais, you are one of the most inspiring photographers I know. I don't see commentary and photos in my various feeds like you produce where I learn so much about the culture in places like Pakistan, Turkey and Mexico — and get a visual feast. For example:

      we have national poet who attributed colors of universe to existence of women, which is a fact and i always felt my portfolio will always remain incomplete without some colorful photographs of women.

      That got me curious and I went hunting for the quote and something about the poet. Is it Fatima Asghar?

    • Thanks Chris, Cake is really helping me in adding narration to my photos. The poet i referenced is Alama Iqbal and here is part of poem with English translation. One interesting common thing in Fatimah and Iqbal is that they both share Kashmiri roots and migration.

    • That’s beautiful, Awais. I often think women are the best photojournalists in some situations, and that photojournalism is often the most challenging form of photography.

      These two quotes from Carol Guzy, four-time Pulitzer Prize winner, stick with me:

      “Truly the only way to tell a story with genuine moments is to walk the journey with people and establish trust that you are there not to merely take pictures but to give an understanding of their situation to others.”

      “To be a photojournalist or even just a caring person you can’t overemphasize having empathy,” she adds. “It’s a blessing and a curse — it undoubtedly helps me create images that resonate and connect viewers to the narrative of others, but also makes any heartbreak a thousand times harder. We are not walking cameras and what we witness changes our soul.