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    • Here is a list of our current Daily Photography Challenges:

      1. Monday - Macro

      2. Tuesday - Urban

      3. Wednesday - Black and White

      4. Thursday - Creatures

      5. Friday - Nature

      6. Saturday - Action

      7. Sunday - Best of the Week

      Are these still the right topics? Any additional thoughts on the way we're doing these challenges?

    • I think when there is potentially a wide diversity of participants, with so diverse skill & equipment levels but more importantly various exposure to opportunities, things are... interesting! I've enjoyed every one's posted pictures thus far, will try and bring some of mine when I find them. Here is an example, from Asheville arts district.

      I'll try and take more pictures, without motorcycles! 🤣

    • I picked "challenge" because it is challenging for me to post daily an interesting photo on a specific topic. But I'm open to any other descriptions. Maybe "Shot of the Day"?

      What word would you use instead of "challenge"?

    • My thoughts, FWIW. Toss or use as you see fit.

      -Every week, you should create a new post announcing last week’s winner. No one is going to go back to the first post of the conversation where you’ve been announcing the winner: so currently there’s not the feeling of competition.

      -In the first post of the Daily Challenge you should provide an explanation of the rules for entering today’s challenge, as well a description of the other challenges in the series and/or links to them. New users will then get quickly up to speed, and hopefully participate that day.

      -At the end of the first post, provide a link to the new post for details on the winning shot. And of course, change the conversation photo to last week’s winner.

      -Combine Saturday and Sunday’s Challenges into a Weekend Scavenger Hunt: for example, the scavenger hunt is to share a photo of an animal sleeping on a chair/hammock/couch. Make it easy enough so that if a photographer doesn’t have it in her archives she can easily create the photo that weekend. And let the winner decide the theme for next weekend.

      -Provide tips to improve photo skills each week. I think most folks are hesitant to critique others’ photos for fear of unintentionally offending someone. But I think everyone could benefit with “How To” examples of when to apply borders like @Apocryphal has done, where to find the tool to create them on iPhone and Adobe Photoshop, how thick the borders should be, etc. Maybe use some of the photos from your archive as examples. I think for some tips, it would be interesting to see the raw photo and then your explanation of how a professional improves it: the slider tip you shared last year for the Darkroom app is still something that I use when a photo I’ve taken is too dark.

      Like I said, these are suggestions and most of them are probably crap.

    • It's a tough one. The only people I want critiquing my images are my Art Director and my Publisher.

      But for the non-pros it's a different learning scenario.

    • I have mixed feelings about the photo challenge conversations we've had so far. I am always curious about how a photo was taken - camera and settings - and not interested in the processing that was used. If I have a question about the processing I will ask.

      I'd like to see more people participating but I don't have a good sense of how to encourage that.

    • Dang. I linked the wrong Python skit for that "Falls to the ground" quote.

      I was suffering from Comedy Theory recollection deficit. It wasn't Anne Elk at all.

      It was "Stake your claim."

    • I like to see some of the images but as others have said not really too challenging and having random people pull apart your work, I don't think this is the place, it just seems like opinion more than critique.

      My photography professor (early 80's) would allocate us a challenge weekly as we worked through our degree and randomly select a adjective or verb from a dictionary or some such place (before computers) and send us out to come back with something creative related to that word and how we interpreted it, and the story or challenge behind taking the image that related to it...just my 2 cents

      Nowadays you could use something like this -

    • Like I said, these are suggestions and most of them are probably crap.

      👆 The real reason there's no poop emoticon. 🤣

      (I'm just kidding - there's good food for thought, there.)

      I agree, they aren't really challenges. The collection of challenge posts as a whole are not really any one thing, actually. They are:

      1. Goobers sharing a picture as a story (as I think @DangerDave put it)

      2. A competition (sort of... the categories are only loosely defined and there isn't really a proper selection criteria for the winner). I'm not sure how many people really see it this way.

      3. A challenge (to what - share more photos?)

      4. An educational opportunity, which has profited some of us - but that's not really the focus, is it.

      So, maybe there should be different threads to deal with these different things. Me, I'm happy with #1, would really like more of #4, and am kind of interested in #3, but the challenge I'd most like would be along the lines of what @StephenL suggested above (though I wouldn't restrict it to a weekend - maybe a whole week, and I'd change the theme often and keep it broad, like the F-Stoppers challenges I spoke of previously.) See some ideas below.

      Personally, the things I like most are learning and improving, so I'm glad we have some pros and top-notch amateurs who are willing to share. I've already learned specific techniques from @rtwPaul (hip shooting, but also seeing how he edits) and @Awais (macro) and @Glenn_Smith (flash+macro), and I see the learning potential from too many other people to name in these two weeks. So I hope those opportunities continue. It might be nice to know when it's safe to offer a critique or ask questions of someone else's work. For my part, please consider it always safe to do so. I'm not expecting many questions, but happy to hear if someone think I could improve something.

      Some specific challenges that might be interesting:

      a. Post a bad photo that you think has potential and see if cream rises to the top through collaboration.

      b. An occasional editing challenge - someone shares an unedited photo and people turn in their efforts to improve it - with the understanding that they will also be willing to explain how they did it.

      c. As mentioned above, a 'best shot this week' challenge. Maybe not so challenging for the people who shoot every day, but quite challenging for those of us with (mainly) office jobs, I should think.

    • My photography professor (early 80's) would allocate us a challenge weekly as we worked through our degree and randomly select a adjective or verb from a dictionary or some such place (before computers) and send us out to come back with something creative related to that word and how we interpreted it, and the story or challenge behind taking the image that related to it...just my 2 cents

      We did something similar - I quite enjoyed that, and learned a lot through the doing.

    • Thanks for this. I think for me part of the reason I have been slow to get involved is that I have an iPhone and while I enjoy taking photos with it, and being and pretending to be artistic while I take photos ... they don’t stack up against the real (better) cameras.

      So any chance the photos could come back to the enthusiastic but camera-less?

    • While I prefer using my camera there are times when the only camera I have with me is my phone. Today's phones are very capable of producing wonderful photos.

      If you remove camera functionality from the equation I think you are left with composition - and that's a very important part of photography.

    • I'm with @Denise

      I own several cameras, from full frame pro level 1DX Mk II to m/43s cameras, to point and shoots. And yet, I have entered several images in the challenges shot with my iPhone X.

      I don't think one can say whether a sledge hammer is better than a tack hammer, until one defines the task at hand. Driving tacks with a sledge hammer seems doomed to failure in my hands. I don't want to carry a sledge hammer unless I really need a sledge hammer.

      I don't think the cameras are the limiting factor, it is the eye, and the brain, behind the camera that really matters - JMHO, for what that's worth.

      I find it interesting to learn how images were created, whether with hardware or software, or both.

    • So any chance the photos could come back to the enthusiastic but camera-less?

      I petitioned for a phone photography day but was told to pound salt ... I mean my suggestion was carefully considered but other ideas won out. 🤣

      Seriously though, I created the W&Bshot Wednesday series with the idea of making it a welcome place for point-and-shoot amateurs to share their photos alongside more technically advanced photographers.

      I’m a horrible photographer and therefore figured that my weekly submission would make other amateurs feel comfortable sharing: “I can certainly come up with something no worse than StephenL’s photo.” Sometimes I would forget that it was Wednesday and would literally shoot something within ten minutes and then post it, so the bar for entry was quite low. And the great thing about focusing on black and white photography is that smartphone cameras produce phenomenal shots with little to no editing.

      So a good composition is all you really need to create a respectable submission.

      At the same time, the pros like @rtwPaul felt welcome to share their photos and we had some good conversations on technique as well as location.

      I gave up W&Bshot Wednesdays for the greater good, but I’d be happy to continue to host it as a “non-challenge” day. We had a nice cast of weekly regulars for the two months that I hosted it.

      Again, these are all brainstorming ideas, “brain sprinkles,” and I’m good with whatever the community wants to do.

    • That thread, btw, encouraged me to look a second time at a number of photos I had previously discarded as unworthy and re-evaluate them as quite effective B&Ws, so thanks for that.

    • Composition is frequently better evaluated in a monochromatic representation of an image - so that the color doesn't interfere with composition. Bright colors are distracting from shapes and forms, so get the black and white composition sorted, then decide if the color adds or detracts from the image.

      I posted an image in the B&W challenge that was shot as a color image, but was actually better, I think, when the color was removed. That image was of the hood ornament of a 1920's Packard.

      I spent three weeks on the road in January, driving to and from Yellowstone National Park, and over two weeks inside the park, so I have been busy and not posting quite as much, but I hope to get back up to speed in the next few days or so. I do have several images from winter in Yellowstone finalized. Whoever knew foxes could fly!

    • ... they don’t stack up against the real (better) cameras.

      I was not too long ago quite unaware of what makes photography good. I mean since I knew merely nothing other than pressing a button, I bought over the years few decent enough cameras and never truly used their full potential. I was getting OK pictures that could not be done with a phone, merely because having zoom lens allows much better framing of the scenes and subjects.

      But what really helped me get off the ground from what appeared a daunting task of 'where should I begin' after wasting countless hours watching "experts" on youtube explaining, was a book someone just gave me as a gift. It's called "Understanding Exposure".

      The magic about this book was that it helped me understand the basic principles of photography, meaning, how a camera operates, and what are it's most crucial things to know. To the expert and advanced, it's second nature. To someone that really wants to take better pictures, they need the basics first. Then later, comes composition and creativity, but because it really helped me escape the frustrations, and without chasing illusory classes or expensive schools (after all my goals are not commercial), I feel that's the correct order someone could start learning photography.

    • Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful feedback: @Apocryphal, @rtwPaul, @Denise, @Pathfinder, @Dracula, @DangerDave, and @StephenL!

      As you have already noticed, I made a few changes to make these conversations better:

      1. "Daily Photo Challenge" is now called "Photo of the Day." Based on your feedback, this format seems a lot more appropriate and better describes the conversation.

      2. The focus is now on the story behind the photo. It seems that photographers, like artists, only want to hear feedback about their photos when they ask for it. A photo is an art piece presented as-is.

      3. No winners. As in, everyone who posts gets to play! There were no proper selection criteria other than reactions and posts, but they often don't tell the whole picture. So, I would instead not pick a winner. It was confusing to update the first post with a photo of a winner from the week prior.

      4. Anyone can start a Photo of the Day conversation. We could even do multiple photos of the day conversations on any number of topics.

      How's this?

    • Look, what I really love is when people open up and an amateur gets a bit of some of the professional's knowledge, in layman terms he or she can use. That doesn't mean an amateur can't have better inspiration or 'eye' and therein lies the conundrum of sharing and appreciating, as a group.