2020 Photo Challenge #1

Once upon a time I ran a challenge for those of us who love photographing benches (2015) and although some fellow bloggers have suggested running that challenge again, I think benches have had their time in the spotlight. However, I have been thinking of ways to challenge myself (and possibly you) this year and decided to challenge myself by trying out various photographic techniques, skills or concepts. If you would like to join in then I have a 2020 Photo Challenge page set up to explain the simple guidelines and proposed monthly assignments.

January’s theme / technique: Composition and Framing

Composition and Framing is dictated by the camera and lens equipment as well as where you can and cannot stand whilst viewing the subject. Challenge yourself by using a prime lens or not using the zoom on your lens so you have to physically move to take the shot. Often the more creative images come about from taking the time to move around a subject. We’ll explore some of these techniques over the coming months, but for now consider these tips:

    1. Horizontal vs vertical – which looks better? Why?
    2. Missing parts of people or objects irritate the viewer and create an incomplete image. It distracts the eye. So watch the edges of your image.
    3. Rule of thirds
    4. Look for frames – These come in two types, natural or man-made. Natural would be an opening in trees or a rock formation with a hole in it. Man-made frames are doorways, windows or arches. All of these help contain the subject or scene in a form that is very pleasing to the eye.
    5. Watch your background. Make sure that there is nothing there that would detract from your subject. Things like chimneys or lamp-posts growing out of heads and other subjects diverting the eye from the main subject. You want balance by not going in too close but including enough of the environment of the subject or object to contextualise it.
This week's assignment - clearly identify your subject. Begin by explaining your choice. How will you draw attention to it?

I am going to use the same subject throughout this month, but you don’t need to. Each assignment will look at different ways of arranging the subject elements and to recognise the key ingredients of a scene.

My subject this month is the Godrevy lighthouse. Photographed many times and from many different angles and locations. I’ll begin with a photo taken from the town of St Ives itself which overlooks St Ives Bay and towards the north Cornish coastline. On a winter’s day the colours are rather muted shades of ochres and grey and white instead of the usual vibrant colours. The lighthouse quietly lurks in the background, roughly using the rule of thirds by positioning it in the top third of the frame, whilst in the foreground is a blurred observatory tower which I thought neatly balanced the image, the rounded cupola echoing the rounded shape of the rock on which the lighthouse stands.

Unfortunately a branch from a tree mars the bottom right of this image but I was reluctant to crop that out as it altered the balance of the photo so on point #5 I failed.

[Olympus E-M10 Camera with a 40-150mm zoom lens, focal length: 125mm, F.stop: f/5.4]

If you would like to join in with my 2020 photo challenge then please take a look at my 2020 Photo Challenge page.

No complicated rules, just a camera required 🙂

    • Create your own post with some information about how you composed the shot.
    • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
    • Add the tag #2020PhotoChallenge so everyone can find your entry easily in the WP Reader
    • Get your post(s) in by the end of the month, as the new theme comes out on the first Sunday in February.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

25 thoughts on “2020 Photo Challenge #1”

  1. I don’t have photo skills (ref NY Resolution #1 from 2019) so I won’t participate but I’ll look forward to learning bits from your posts. It is actually one of my goals this year to take a photography class and learn how to use my camera properly.

    1. I have looked into photography classes, but they are pretty pricey and the beginners class covers lots of stuff I already know along with things I don’t, so a bit of a waste of money. At the end of the day I believe that photography is more about having the eye for a shot, not necessarily the technical skills. (Unless you want to be a professional, I don’t) I’m just trying to be more creative this year rather than do the same old shots. So you can join in and learn along with me. Auto settings and point and shoot are allowed!!

      1. The local camera club runs a pretty reasonably priced intro course which is what I have my eye on. I don’t know much at all (my camera sits on Auto mode) so it would have benefits I think. But I’ll follow along with what you’re doing and maybe I’ll feel confident to join in at some stage. Especially if Auto settings are allowed. 😉

    1. I know. But I wanted to demonstrate how hard it is sometimes to get that ‘perfect’ composition. This photo wouldn’t win any prizes.

  2. A great idea, Jude. Your challenge focuses on creativity rather than technicality, but it may well prompt us to learn a new technique to achieve the image we want to show. This is a good introduction shot and I like the use of layers of foreground, middle and distant.

    1. Thanks Debbie, I’m not clever enough to try and teach technical aspects, but I hope that my prompts will challenge me and others to look at the way we take pictures.

  3. I think you’re pretty darn good at the technical stuff. Since acquiring my latest point and shoot I’ve been too lazy to even work out how to take it off Auto, but this more sophisticated model irritates me so I might be happier if I did. But I really only want a swift capture of what my eye sees. My camera is more a diary than a piece of technical equipment, but I do admire photographers like Debbie and Sue. 🙂 🙂

    1. I rarely take mine off the auto settings, but I do use different lenses which can make a difference. My challenge though is not technical, rather an explanation of how to compose your images so they look good, plus some ideas to expand creativity. I think with digital cameras we tend to just snap any old how and by setting myself (and others if they wish to join in) weekly assignments hopefully we will take more considered shots. I know I have slowed down a lot in recent years, but I still take too many pictures! And I have much to learn.

    1. Thanks for joining in PP. I have had a quick glance at your post, and it looks lovely, but will have a longer look tomorrow. It’s rather late now and I really should be in bed! 😴

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