Our August challenge is:
On the Camera
This challenge is a little hard to explain in just a few words, so the longer version is this: we are going to find ways to use the features of our cameras and lenses to create some fun images. Now, this isn't just for fancy cameras--there are ways we can use our phone cameras creatively too!
Some ways we can do this challenge:
Many of you are probably familiar with in-camera double-exposures and free-lensing. But let's not stop there! We can also do some reverse-lens macro, use a tilt-shift or specialty lens, bracket our exposures, crop creatively as we shoot, over or under exposing on purpose to create a certain look, shoot a scene blurry on purpose...and probably 20 more things that I can't think of!
This month may be a great time, to pull out the old owner's manual, give a quick look through and see if there's something new you can do, or open the menu in your camera a play around with a setting you haven't used before. It may also be a great time to check out renting a specialty lens, or finding a friend close by who has something you can play with!
I'll give you a quick overview of what some of those things I mentioned up above are.
In-camera double exposure is where you make 2 pictures into 1, by taking two successive pictures in a row. All models are different, and some cameras don't have this feature. It take some thinking and time, and using it with blurry lights is my favorite way to do it!
Free-lensing is when you detach your lens from your camera, and then bend it slightly to get a small point that is in focus, and the rest out of focus. It's tricky and takes practice, but oh so fun when you nail it! If you want to use a lens like a macro lens, just flip it backwards and try out what's called reverse free-lensing!
Cropping different from the normal, or blurring an image on purpose are both some easy ways to add some creativity to the norm.
Bracketing is used a lot by landscape photographers to combine 3 images using different exposures together. When combined in post-processing, it can become an HDR image (High Dynamic Range), which means it basically takes the best exposures from each of the 3 pictures. (So, it will use the lighter exposed image for the shadowed areas, the darker exposed for the sky.) A tripod is necessary for this, as well as a non-moving subject, but it's a fun one to try!
And while we're talking about exposure...don't forget you can under or over expose on purpose to create an image that has a high-key (bright & white) feel, or a low-key (dark & moody) one.
Here are just a few examples from specialty lenses I've used. Just call me an enabler. ;)
The Lensbaby Composer Pro is one of my favorite ways to be creative with a lens. The Composer Pro is the base, and then you can use different optics for different results. I have the Twist 60 and Edge 50. There is also a Sweet 35 and Sweet 50 and Edge 80 that I know of. They're fun, but expect to spend a little bit of money for them. Also, there is a mobile phone version that looks fun to play with, though I've never purchased it.
Another fun option is the Helios 44-2. It's a vintage Russian lens, so everything on it is manual. They have been retro-fitted for most modern mounts, so if you do a bit of searching, you can easily find one! Best news? It's dirt cheap! I got mine for less than $50! It has the most amazing flare when paired with the sun, gives your images a creamy look, and does some great reverse macro. Be aware that they do ship from Russia, and it can take weeks to get one, so if you want to order one for the challenge, do it soon!
The two pictures below were taken within minutes of each other. The first one was taken normally with the Helios lens. Then, I took it off, flipped it around and did a bit of macro free-lensing with it. You can see the dreamy quality as well as the light leak give it a whole new feeling!
Of course, there are a ton of other specialty lenses out there that I've never tried before.
Mobile Photography Options
I know there are a few mobile-only photographers who are doing this challenge with us, and since most of us have a phone with a camera, I thought it'd be good to mention that there are options for mobile phones too.
You can purchase extra lenses for your camera--they range from dirt cheap ($15) to expensive ($200). I love the kind that has a macro, wide-angle and fisheye lens as a set, because there are so many fun options! Don't forget cool apps as well! There are apps for sooooo many things, like multiple exposures, tilt shift, etc.! I couldn't even possibly begin to name them all. If you want to see what's available, just go to your app store and search "camera". I guarantee you'll find something fun!
To participate this month with us on Instagram, please use the tag: #2017creative_camera.
If you're not on Instagram, we've started a Creative Inspiration Community page in FB so we can push our posts directly there. If you'd rather see posts there, find and follow the page here! We use it solely to push our posts from IG to FB, so there's not much interaction over there. It's basically set up so anyone not involved with IG can still see what we share.
If you haven't joined the Facebook group yet, and would like to, go here. It will send you to the FB group page, and you'll need to request to join. You will have to be approved before you can get in, as it's a private group. Ya know, to keep the weirdos out. ;)
Thank you to all of you who have joined in with me on this challenge! I've learned so much this year already, and I can't wait to keep creating with you!
Happy creative shooting!