Here is an index of the various Photo Assignment threads. I will update it with each assignment and include the description of the assignment. Each entry will include a link taking to that particular thread.
In the opening thread of this intriguing series of Photo Assignment threads KBasa described the origin and purpose of this enjoyable exercise.
”There was some discussion of photography in another thread and I thought it might be fun to start a sort of clinic, where interested folks could submit their photos for critique by a couple folks who seem to know a thing or two about photography.
These aren't meant to be public lashings, humiliation or anything of the like, but rather, an opportunity for all of us to improve our photographic skills. I don't know about you folks, but I've learned a ton about photography by having someone that actually knows what good composition and exposure are provide me with comments on my shots.”
Here are the simple rules:
• Photos must be shot this weekend: Fri, Sat, or Sun.
• You must provide the EXIF information if asked (we'll help you, if you'd like to know how to get it).
• No photoshop alteration (we're looking to improve your skills with your camera, not software).
• Your photograph must adhere to the theme, which will be described below.
• Post only one photo per post, so that commentary can be easily provided for that photo. You may post more than one photo, but try to keep it to a handful.
• Title your photo so it can be referred to later.
• Post your photos in this thread only. Do not start a thread in reply to this assignment. Please post your photos no later than next Wednesday.
• And, the most important rule: have fun! We're looking to spread the joy that many of us derive from taking pictures, particularly ones that tell a story of some kind.
09/08/2007: A Long Way to Go
This week's theme is "A long way to go". You can interpret this however you'd like. Pictures of roads, pictures of little kids learning something, you make the call. It's just like those writing assignments they gave you in high school where you had to write about "pride" or something.
09/12/2007: Where I Want to Be
This could be a location, a stage in life, what you want to become. . . . Or many other interpretations. (You have NO IDEA how hard it is to think of a theme!) I hope it is open to innumerable interpretations, motorcycle and otherwise.
This could be an item, a composition, a stage in life, a color study, what you want. . . . Or many other interpretations. We were thinking it might be nice to make some of our "Photo Challenges" instructive for those trying to improve their picture taking. So this week, we invite you to work on composition (this is optional). Try to consider the "rule of thirds" or the "golden mean" when taking the picture for this week's assignment. Commentators will focus on this consideration when providing feedback on the photos.
As with the others, let this theme speak to you and interpret it in whatever way you can or wish. I don't have a particular photo skill in mind, but was impressed with last week's compositions. Lots of really nice stuff, as usual.
Blue can be a color, a state of mind, a musical genre, a political affiliation, a mood, and many other states of being. As with the others, let this theme speak to you, and offer us your photographic interpretation of blue.
10/13/2007: Group Dynamic
Our friends at Wikipedia define group dynamics as "the study of groups, and also a general term for group processes. In psychology and sociology, a group is two or more individuals who are connected to each other by social relationships. Because they interact and influence each other, groups develop a number of dynamic processes that separate them from a random collection of individuals. These processes include norms, roles, relations, development, need to belong, social influence, and effects on behavior.
As with other challenges, interpret this theme as you will. I merely offer the definition above as a jumping-off place. You need not limit your definition of groups to "individual" humans.
10/19/2007: Shadow of a Doubt
"Beyond a shadow of a doubt" is an English idiom, which as you know, means absolutely certain or completely unambiguous; however, this theme invites the interpretation of, "there is" or "there is not," a shadow of a doubt. This theme also offers the connotation of shadow, something dark or mysterious or less substantial than the thing itself.
10/27/2007: Open Wider
Certainly this familiar phrase connotes the confinement of a dentist's chair or the taste of bitter medicine. Perhaps this may involve trick-or-treaters, as well. Could be what we like to do to our throttles. Certainly this theme captures the feel of the great outdoors, too.
This theme could also be interpreted as "wide open." You may (but are not required to) want to play with depth-of-field here. For those of you unfamiliar, depth-of-field refers to how much—or how little—is in focus in front of and behind the subject.
11/03/2007: Pure & Simple
"Pure and simple" can refer to ingredients, one's version of truth, the old days, or many other ideas. What does it mean to you? Take a photo and show us. And for fun, try to include a title without the words "pure" or "simple."
Beyond its obvious association with music, harmony connotes agreement or accord. It can refer to a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts or congruity.
What does harmony mean to you?
It doesn't take a geometry teacher to recognize a triangle. This three-sided shape is arguablly one of the most basic and recognizable forms. It is also, by definition, two-dimensional. Sure, you can find a triangle and take a picture of it, but where's the sport in that? Can you find something triangular (not pyramidal) in your composition or subject matter?
11/24/2007: Gratitude – Thanksgiving Special
It's Thanksgiving. For what--or for whom--are you grateful? Tell us in a picture.
In last week's theme there arose a discussion about the joys and challenges of photographing people, specifically portraits. So for this week's theme, I invite you to try your hand at a portrait. Now, you don't have to. If you're grateful for that new F800 and want to photograph it, by all means do. But aren't you grateful for your mom? Your brother? Your riding buddy? Give it a whirl if you'd like and teach us something in the process.
For our purposes, "element" should be defined as "a fundamental, essential, or irreducible constituent of a composite entity." In other words, when considering that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, what exactly is one of its parts?
This week you are invited to take a picture of a part of something. This should not be a general or major part, like the top half of a tree, but of one its essential, constituent, and irreducible parts, like a branch or a leaf.
In addressing this theme, I encourage you to think about composition. What will you include in the image, what will you exclude? Look at your screen, or through your viewfinder, and think of that as the final picture. Which part do you want to show, at what angle, and why?
This week's assignment is up close and personal. All I'm asking is that you do your "part."
This week you are invited to take a picture of a pattern. Could this be a pattern of behavior? A tartan or a plaid? A system of repeating elements? What does "pattern" mean to you? Show us in a picture.
Once again, I encourage you to think about composition and see your viewfinder as a finished print. What will you include within--and exclude from--it's borders and why?
12/15/2007: Holiday Warmth and Motorcycling
This week you are invited to take a picture of that sums up the Holiday Season and motorcycling. Could this be a motorcycle parked in front of snow? Santa on a motorcycle? Eight motorcycles pulling a sleigh? A motorcycle menoraha? What does the Holiday Season and Motorcycles mean to you? Show us in a picture.
Three seems to be a mystical number, the one magic numeral in equations, formulae, Pi, even the holy trinity. How does "Three" inform your photographic aesthetic? Let's see what you've got. I'll offer some feedback on these next year.
01/05/2008: Close Up
In keeping with requests for learning techniques, this week, please take a photo utilizing a close focusing distance, sometimes referred to as "macro." Most P&S cameras have a built-in macro setting, often the minimum focusing distance with the lens at wide-angle. DSLR cameras with zoom lenses often have this same arrangement. For DSLR cameras, you can buy close-up filters fairly inexpensively. Some of us even have macro lenses capable of focusing closely enough to reproduce a subject at life-size.
Very simply put, just focus as closely, or nearly as closely, as you can--no purchase necessary.
There are several factors you should bear in mind:
1. In many circumstances you will need plenty of light. Shoot outdoors or use a supplementary light source or reflector, white cardboard, for example. If you use a desk lamp, don't forget to switch your white balance to that light source.
2. Depth-of-field will be a factor, so shoot at a smaller aperture if you are able.
3. A smaller aperture will result in a slower shutter speed, so. . . .
4. you may need to use some form of support, i.e. your braced arms or a tripod. A small bean bag or similar item makes an excellent support.
By no means is it necessary that your photo be microscopic. Just get in close and shoot a detail of something. Bonus points for anything motorcycle related or any subject that is not immediately identifiable.
01/19/08 : My Town
This week's photo assignment is a photo essay. Don't just show us, but tell us about where you live, and do so only by showing us three photos. Please no text except for a title. Do it. Remember, this is not your house, but your place, town, or location. Of course not all of us live in towns or cities, but you get the idea. Illustrate where you live photographically. You may post only three shots, no more or no less, please. The three shots can be shot at the same time, or at different times, or even on different days. All three must be shot within the time limit above, though.
Spend some time thinking about what you want to photograph, then set out to do it. Consider whether you want all three shots to be similar or wildly different, and what that says about where you live. Perhaps you want all three different, one wide, one telephoto, one close up. Indoors or out? Daytime or night? Snowy or sunny? I've extended the time because we're all dealing with weather, but I didn't want to wait until spring. These photos will be of locations, but will you include people? Will you put your bike in one of the shots?
To recap: Three shots, no text, post test shots and comments over here, and have fun. Show us your town.
Many of us are suffering from cabin fever and simply can't ride. Others of us are be inundated by torrential rains. Some of us live in sunny locales and are gleefully riding day in and day out. What does winter mean to you? Try to avoid walking out the front door and shooting the snow in your yard; instead, take your time and compose a thoughtful photograph that says, "This is my winter."
This assignment may prove to be a challenge for those of us in the Southwest and Southeast. Remember, this photo doesn't have to be stereotypically winter, but should say "winter" nonetheless.