The Daily Focal Point

December 16, 2008

Results! Photo Challenge: Lights

Filed under: Light, Photo Challenges! — cabenelson @ 12:36 am

Dude… are you freezing or what? Is it not the coldest it’s been in a while? I’M FREEZING and I’m in California!

So how was this challenge? I’m sure it forced some people to have either a very steady hand or busting out that old tripod of yours. It’s a challenging shot but just like always, I’m super impressed with the level of talent.
Again, I hope we all learn something new or take a different perspective in our photography.

Our first photo this challenge comes from Rob at Dusty Lens at Dusty Lens – North Metro. Visit Rob’s site and take a look at his “Urban Art” photo, it’s a beautiful picture.
Great colors and wonderful glow! Rob says, “It was darn cold here as it was 8 degrees (f) and windy as I was out taking some photos. I was shooting at a shopping mall with an outdoor pavilion area. I was approached by mall security who asked what I was up to. I replied I was shooting the Christmas display. He told me he didn’t mind me doing this just so I keep from photographing the shops. The shop owners don’t like photos of their place nor does the mall owner approve of their property to be photographed. Thanks to an understanding security guard, I got my photos.”
Don’t you hate it when “the man” comes down on us? And what’s the harm in taking some pictures, It’s not like we’re the Paparazzi! Great photos as usual Rob. I’m glad you got the shot.

Our next Photo comes from Sheila at I’m loving her blog and it’s not just because her photos are great (which they are -very talented) but it’s because of her writing. She has the ability to put fluidly put together a good story or capture what she was wanting to convey. I fully respect that because I can’t do it. As evidence of my terrible grammar and structure.
Pewter Hope
Sheila has a wonderful story that goes hand-in-hand with this picture. If you’re going to view the picture, you’re going to need to read the story. I love pictures like that, that mean so much to someone they have to explain it because it’s only 50%. You’ll need to click here for the story. I love the photo and the story. My wife and I went through that earlier on when she was living in Australia and I was in Texas. I almost, almost cherish those times because it shaped us so much. Okay, blah! I’ll stop. Great photo Dr Cason.

Our next two photos come from Stacy. Stacy has a great eye for photography and I’m very excited to see her at Christmas (we’re family) I think she thinks of me like Cousin Eddie.
I love the line in this last shot and how you framed it on the left side of the field. Stacy said this, “Here are my shots for the week. I must say that I’m not very happy with my shots. I kind of waited until the last minute to do these today. It started to rain and it’s like 12 degrees today. So needless to say this isn’t my best work. lol. Here they are. I like the Light Path better than the green lights but these were the only two that looked semi-decent.”
They look great Stacy! Can’t wait for us to go shoot together when I get home.

Our next set of photos come from Nana. Again, I couldn’t be more stoked that Nana chose to participate with these challenges. Nana has a wonderful view and eye for photography.
tunnel of lights
I absolutely love the first one and the second one has wonderful textures and layers. These layers make your eyes have a fun time following it up close and then further as the lights go back. Very cool!

This photo comes from Gail at From The Back Deck. Gail had a recent post on her love/hate relationship with photography and it hit me. It’s the same feeling I have my hobby/passion. Read it, chances are you might feel the same way. It can be found here.
Quiet at Last
Great mood! It’s perfectly framed. Gail said, “The wind blew and the temperature fell. Snow flurried and roads closed from ice and snow. No elegant picture of holiday lights planned in advance. Just simple candles.” Looks great Gail.

Our next photo comes from Ginger at Ramble Ramble. I’ve mentioned this before but Ginger has a great eye for photographs. And this picture is great!
Ginger says, “Just like in my Christmas decorations, I’m running late with this challenge. This is the ONLY shot I could pull off this weekend that wasn’t horrible…photographing the lights with no tripod made for some crazy bad pictures.
But, I really like what’s happening with this one–of course the macro setting helped make me more comfortable!”

Dude Ginger you must be on Valium or something because you’ve got some steady hands! Very impressive without a tripod. Great shot! You labeled this photo tangled and the word “tangled” being associated with Christmas lights gives me the chills.

Our final shot of the challenge comes from Mary Elizabeth. Who I always love when she participates and I love looking at her photos.
Okay, I had to look at this shot for a while. My first initial response was, “I love it!” Then I thought I was viewing it form the wrong angle, or you provided it to me not rotated. And then I realized that nope, this was it and that it didn’t matter. It wasn’t about the light themselves, rather it was about the light from it. Mary Elizabeth, you successfully created a great mood with this picture by just capturing the light reflect from the walls. At least that’s how I see it! Mary Elizabeth said, “i really struggled with capturing the Christmas lights how i wanted to, but this was one of the last shots i took and i ended up really liking it. i was just laying down next to it, and i noticed how pretty the lights on the tree lit up the ceiling so i began to shot from that angle. i’m pleased as punch as how it turned out (considering i couldn’t get a single other shot i liked!!)!”

Great shots this week! Again, very talented group and I couldn’t be more pleased with the participation I’m getting from everyone, it’s just awesome.

So which ones did you like?

I’m contemplating taking a hiatus this next week. I’m sure most people are going to be busy and I didn’t want to issue a challenge and have it be one of those things on your mind, “Crap, I need to send something in” at a time when you should be hanging out with family. That is unless people are up for it? Is everyone okay with a challenge this next week? Who would be in?

Thanks All!

December 12, 2008


Filed under: Light — cabenelson @ 1:41 am

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE! I know super lame…

Okay, I was thinking about this. Think of photography in a VERY basic way… Photography is nothing more than capturing light. Obviously photography goes into composition, structure, subjects etc and can get complicated from there. However, it still remains that basic photography is simply capturing light reflect from objects. It’s how the light reflects off the subject in order for the camera to read the light or for the light to be burned into 35mm negative film.
What other time of the year is your city, town, house, or living room lit up this brightly? So much of photography depends on lighting conditions and terrible pictures are often attributed to “bad light” or “too blurry” all dealing with light. Not only is area around you brighter but it’s more COLORFUL too! Red lights, green lights, blue lights. It’s a beautiful time of the year.
So you challenge this week is capturing lights. Take a photo of your outside lights, your Christmas tree; heck even your neighbors lights. Have fun with it. It is going to be a challenge and might require you to mess with the manual side of your camera.
Here are my shots



(I nearly had a seizure from so much Christmas joy with this shot)

AGAIN, SEND ME YOUR LIGHT PICTURE BY EMAILING ME THE HTML FLICKR LINK TO YOUR PHOTO. If you DON’T have a Flickr account DON’T WORRY! Just email me your photo as usual. But if you do have a Flickr account, just follow these simple instructions.

* Upload your photo to Flickr
* Click on the “All Sizes Tab” right above the photo
* Select the “MEDIUM” sized (500×335)
* Then just email me the “Copy and Paste the HTML link into your webpage” link

Again, email me your favorite pic (via link or attach it) to cabenelson (at) gmail (dot) com. ALL ENTRIES MUST BE EMAILED NO LATER THAN MONDAY DECEMBER 15TH

The Holidays can get pretty crazy. Grab your camera, take a breather, and go enjoy the lights!

December 8, 2008


Filed under: Abstract Photography, Photo Challenges!, Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:38 pm

So who got freaky?! How was it? I’ve heard that this was one of the hardest challenges we’ve done. Was it challenging for the mindset you needed to get into or was it challenging to actually take the picture? I’m telling you, abstract photographs can be some of the most beautiful pictures out there. I had high hopes and you all did not disappoint. So, let’s do this!!

Our first AND second photos comes from Sheila at Dr Cason
Pink Puff
Pink Puff

Extra Gauzy Lights
Extra Gauzy Lights
I think she only wanted for me to post one picture but both are excellent and really capture the challenge. Sheila says, “OK, this was tough for me. I couldn’t get very far out there. I’m still more real life but here’s two”
Two pictures, TWO THUMBS UP DUDE. I really like the second picture. Great mood and wonderful lighting! I also wanted to publicly thank Dr Cason for her recent post. Sheila created a post on what advice you would give to a new father… me. I was so incredibly touched by it. Thank you again Sheila and also to each of your readers who also posted advice.

Our next photo comes from Kevyn (AKA KJ) at Twelve Little Feet
abstract overload
I love the series of photos here!* This is a fantastic representation of natural abstract photography.

*A bunch of people have asked if multiple pictures is against the rules… my response is RULES?! What is this the DMV? Do whatever you would like as long as you have fun and you think other people will enjoy it!

This photo comes from Rob at Dusty Lens – North Metro. I’m enjoying Rob’s unique eye for photography. He seems to capture some of the most beautiful photos of individual subjects. Check them out.
I love this photo. Rob says, “I am currently working on my Thursday photo challenge. I have one shot so far of a Tangled Ball of hooks. Hooks to hang Christmas ornaments from the tree. I’m not 100% satisfied with this shot, then again, are we ever really satisfied with our own work?”
Rob, you should be satisfied with this shot. Not only does it match the abstract challenge, it falls right in line with the holidays!

Our next photo comes from Ginger at Ramble Ramble
I notice a lot of similarities between how Ginger frames her subject and how I frame mine. Ginger says, “This was quite the challenge, but I like what I got. My husband had to ask me what it was, so to me that fulfills the abstract rules!” I love that it’s all about shapes and shadows. Very cool picture… what is it? 🙂 I’m going to say it’s an upwards shot of a canopy.

This photo is by The Daily Focal Point’s newest friend Lisa. Her recent post and pictures on her visit to Sierra Madre is awesome. Check it out!
nurses' hands
I love this photo, great use of light and lines. It makes your eye follow the palm and the wedding bands are a great subject in the frame. Welcome to The DFP. Great first photo and we can’t wait to see more of your shots on here!

Our next photo comes from Kathleen at Tinkerbell’s Momma Kat.
Kat says, “I used one of my favorite “finds” for my home in this picture. It was taken with my Kodak Easyshare CX7300 3.2 megapixel camera. Thanks for this challenge. It was actually a lot of fun…”
Wonderful use of light and great moody feel! Now… what is it? I’m guessing it’s a reflection of some kind.

This photo comes to us from another Daily Focal Point first, Ulrika! Ulrika added me as friend on Flickr and I’ve loved looking at her uploaded pictures. Check them out here!
I love the hard lines, it’s a very coarse picture that works so well as an abstract shot. Ulrika says this about it, “I have tons of abstract because I love it all so much. I am also an artist – oils. have nothing much to say about this photo – I like it’s movement – it is not static and it swirls and the reds reminds me of unrest and the darker side of life, even though it is not a black photo – it is red like the fires of hell. (sorry to be so graphic – you can tweak my comment any way you wish).”
Um… I wish not to change it. 🙂 It’s a perfect description, AND FINALLY! Someone who reads as deeply into pictures as I DO! (I’ve been razzed a couple of times) Great pic Ulrika, I can’t wait to see more of them in future challenges.

Our next photo comes from Nana and I couldn’t be more excited that Nana decided to participate. Seriously, check out Nana’s blog and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Absolutely wonderful pictures.
Such a great use of light and shadows. It makes your eye follow it the picture all the way to the right side. I love it.

This photo comes from Gail at From The Back Deck who’s Flickr pictures are just amazing.
Orange Swirls
I was blown away by the color in this picture. Gail says, “I love fast cars, hot cars. It was a delight to explore angles and intimate details of these cars, dating back clear to the 1900’s. I hope this is abstract is ok enough. It’s as abstract as I’m going to be able to get with company here and Christmas on the way…..”
Such a great use of color, lines, and shapes. Beautiful car and beautiful picture. Part of me was excited because it was abstract the other car junkie side of me wanted to see the entire car! 🙂 Great picture Gail, can’t wait to see more.
(I’m restoring an old 76 BMW HERE I’m hoping to have such beautiful pictures of it when I’m done)

This photo cracked me up. It comes from my second wife’s wife Abby at Belina Blue Eyes.
I thought I had some pretty freaky photos but dude… LOOK AT THEM! Just not in the eyes… Belina Blue Eyes says, “I wish I had taken the time to get a better shot of this, but it was just in passing as I walked by. Either way, I think it provides some interesting things to look at. I like to call this photo “Perishable Heads”. When I was at the Sisters Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon last July, I was prowling around an old clock shop and happened upon a closet with no door. Inside the closet were these mannequin parts. It was so unusual and, quite frankly, frightening, that I had to take a picture. My favorite part is the expiration date on the box, Best Before APR/21/05. That gets me every time.”
I love that they’re in a Kirkland Brand box like you just picked them up fresh at COSTCO or something. Yeah, watch that EXP date. I’ve eaten some mannequin that had a little bit of funk coming off of it… not so good.

This photo comes from my good friend and family member who has been with me on The Daily Focal Point since I sarted this. Stacy. Check out Stacy’s latest picture on her blog. It’s awesome.
I LOVE the textures in this photo. Stacy said, “Well I didn’t have time to go shoot this weekend, so I pulled up an old photo that I thought was somewhat abstract. I kind of struggle with black and white a bit, but I thought that it was fun to try and work with it more. This picture is actually a picture of a sculpture at the Nelson Atkins Museum. It’s a really cool place, I think you would love it. They have a lot of really great sculptures out on their grounds. The museum is always featuring photographers. Anyway, hopefully this photo somewhat fulfills the requirements of the challenge.”
Uh… What? “You HOPE it meets the requirements?” Dude, this picture is spot on! Absolutely beautiful in B&W. I love that you can see the details close up. It’s perfectly framed and its a beautiful shot.

Our next entry comes from the talented Mary Elizabeth who I love looking at her images. They have such great style to them. Each time I check out her site I see that she’s been shooting more photography sessions than ever. It’s all because of your submitted photos on here isn’t it? 🙂
Great depth of field! I love that the very right side is the only thing in focus and the net surrounds the image. It’s a great image.

Finally our last picture comes from my good friend Danny who sent in this gem.
Danny says, “I love people watching, especially in locations where you may see a wide variety of people from different cultures and lifestyles. One of my favorite places to people watch is Venice Beach, near Santa Monica, California. The street performer is interesting enough, but I like seeing the different reactions he gets from the people around him. The lady on her knees at the far left of the picture is just floored by this guy. The man on the right is pretty indifferent whereas the man in the middle looks like he wants to go get wasted with the street performer.” Danny, great idea for the image. Not focusing on the main center of attention, you deliberately captured the individual people’s responses. I envy those that can take people or life photography and are able to capture real moments and reactions. And check out them SWEET roller blades. Has anyone ever seen the Dog Whisperer? If you have you know what I’m talking about. Cesar Milan has a pair and wears them all the time when we walks his dogs.

I just wanted to say how impressed I am with everyone’s skill set and submitted images. I’m even more impressed with the sheer amount of courage it takes to post your pictures side by side with people you’ve never met before. I know it’s intimidating, I do it every day!

Oh and I got inspired. Here’s a sneak peak at our next Photo Challenge! I was thinking what the Holidays have in abundance of, besides the crazy uncles we all have? LIGHTS! The Holidays are packed with lights. Think about it. Candles, fires in the fireplace, Christmas Lights galore, beautiful Christmas trees lights etc. What other time of the year is your city/town/house lit up this brightly? Especially with different colors, shapes, and sizes! Next week’s challenge will be all about capturing lights. Drive down your street, look out your window, heck even look in your own living room for some.
Here’s one of our Christmas tree:
It doesn’t have to be as funky as this shot. So be thinking about it… I’ll explain more in detail on Thursday!

December 3, 2008


Filed under: Abstract Photography, Photo Challenges! — cabenelson @ 10:09 pm

Okay… who’s ready to get weird?!? I was going to say, “Who’s ready to get freaky” but that could have been taken another way. This week’s challenge is going to seem difficult but really it’s not that hard. ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY-
In my view abstract photography can be pretty wide open. It’s not like Portrait or Landscape… it’s SUBJECTIVE. To me, abstract photography is all about lines, textures and/or color. It’s suppose to make you ask yourself, “Uh… what?” for a split second but still be beautiful/interesting. You know you’ve reached abstract when someone says, “I have no idea what this is, but it’s beautiful”
Abstract can be freaky weird, but most of all it’s just suppose to be of something different. Look through your viewfinder on your camera using different angles. Top down, bottom up, off center, crooked etc. BE CREATIVE AND ARTISTIC! GET OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
This will be a difficult challenge in one area. It’s going to be a different mindset for most of you. It’s going to be difficult to push yourself into taking pictures of something you wouldn’t ever normally take pictures of. Plus, since it IS different, your photo library’s might not be chock full of abstract photography. It might force you to get out and take some photos specifically for this challenge. But you know what? Once you get into the mode, you’ll see that you can make nearly anything abstract. And if all else fails, go take pictures of “something” abstract. That weird sculpture they have downtown or the freaky art piece at your local park.

It’s hard to describe abstract, it’s just one of those things that you have to see.

Here are some of my examples of Abstract Photography:

Ocean Sky


Crying Eye

Blue Light Swirel

Get into the mindset of artistic/creative photography. What always helps me is to listen to music. This song isn’t for everyone but I love it. Give it a listen… Go on!


If you need some more inspiration click here.

AGAIN, SEND ME YOUR ABSTRACT PICTURE BY EMAILING ME THE HTML FLICKR LINK TO YOUR PHOTO. If you DON’T have a Flickr account DON’T WORRY! Just email me your photo as usual. But if you do have a Flickr account, just follow these simple instructions.

* Upload your photo to Flickr
* Click on the “All Sizes Tab” right above the photo
* Select the “MEDIUM” sized (500×335)
* Then just email me the “Copy and Paste the HTML link into your webpage” link

Again, email me your favorite abstract pic (via link or attach it) to cabenelson (at) gmail (dot) com. ALL ENTRIES MUST BE EMAILED NO LATER THAN MONDAY DECEMBER 8TH!

In case your wondering, the reason why I chose abstract was because it can be some of the most beautiful photography. Based on past challenges alone, I know that we’ll see some very cool pictures! So… who’s stoked!??

December 1, 2008


Filed under: Food Photography, Photo Challenges! — cabenelson @ 11:48 pm

So how did everyone do for this challenge?! Did you all find it difficult or pretty easy? I’m telling you, food photography is one of my greatest handicaps. Frankly, I totally suck at it and I thought it would REALLY be a challenge for everyone. As was discussed before, the main issue with food photography is simply a lack of lighting. Given the high degree of difficulty with this challenge I’m just amazed with the quality of photos you all submitted. So before I go on WAY too long about how AMAZING each shot is and how I can probably read WAY to deep into pictures, I’ll just jump into it.

Our first photo comes from Sheila at Dr Cason
Cranberry Hands
I love this photo. It has wonderful textures and color. Sheila says, “Okay this isn’t the greatest so you can’t wax on all nice about how inspiring it is. It’s just cranberries and my little girl’s hands.:)”
See I told you… I can go on and on. But this photo is excellent!

This photo comes from Rob at Dusty Lens – North Metro. Rob posted just an aboslutley amazing B&W photograph of a downtown city scape that really is amazing.
I love the lines in this photo. I’m guessing they’re acorn squash? Whatever it is it’s a great photo! This is Dusty Lens’ first photo entry into The Daily Focal Point’s Photo Challenge! Thank you Rob, I’m looking forward to seeing more of your photos in future challenges

Our next photo comes from Ginger at Ramble Ramble who’s becoming a staple around here!
Ginger says this about her photo, “I’m using an older photo, because frankly, it’s a photo that is so me to anyone who knows me (I’ve been known to eat a full jar of pickles in one sitting.) It’s so indicative of who I am, I couldn’t pass up the chance to share it again”
Well, I’m a fan. The lighting in this shot is just perfect! And I can see your reflection in one of the pickles, no joke. Great photo Ginger!

This photo is by my good friend Danny who said that he took this last summer at a farmer’s market in San Francisco. Great pic Danny! I love the shapes and the angle you chose to take this at. It’s cool that it is framed lengthwise.

Our next photo comes from Kathleen at Tinkerbell’s Momma Kat.
Kat, I’m so glad you participated this week! Kat says this about her photo, “Decided to photograph this potroast in my crock pot while I was preparing it today. Yum, it is good too!”
She goes onto say, TITLE FOR MY FOOD PHOTOGRAPH: “What a Crock”
I love it Kathleen! Thank you for your first entry. I love the seasonings on top and the title, YUM is right!

This photo comes to us from KJ at 12 Little Feet. Her most recent posted pic is beautiful and needs to be checked out.
I love the soft lighting in this shot. KJ says this about it, “I took it this fall at an apple farm I went to while visiting my family in California. But don’t think I’m forgetting that key word…CHALLENGE! I am going to make an effort to improve this type of photography. Maybe you can do another food photo challenge later in the year and see if we get better!”
I think that’s a perfect idea KJ. I’m planning on doing followups to all of our Challenges later on next year to see if we’ve all improved etc. Great pic KJ. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your pics!

Our next photo comes from Mary Elizabeth
I always enjoy seeing her photos. This is what Mary Elizabeth says about her picture, “Food is so tricky for me. I am constantly taking pictures of food, seriously… all the time. But I somehow just cannot get it right. I’ll keep working at it though, hopefully one day I’ll get the hang of it. I took my friends little boys One Year old pics on Saturday, and the last few shots we had him eating one of these cupcakes. So, after the shoot I gave the cupcakes a mini shoot of their own, lol!
I love the color and the composition. It’s just a fun picture that pops!
Mary Elizabeth, was this taken in a studio? What kind of lighting did you use?

This photo comes from Gail at From The Back Deck
I love this photo because of the story that goes behind it. Seriously, everyone needs to hop on over to Gail’s blog and read how her and Nephew set up this shot. Her little nephew sounds like the coolest kid ever. In a nutshell Gail said this, “This is a joint entry from my nine year old nephew, Shane. He’s going to be a great photographer. We had a wonderful time this morning putting this shot together. We call it “Old School Fruit and Wine.” Thanks for the fun.
Oh, by the way….Shane has a message for the other contestants…”Our pic is better than all of yours.”
Tell Shane you guys TOTALLY have the BEST shot! Your nephew seems like the coolest kid. It sounds like you both had a lot of fun setting it up, and that is what this challenge is ALL about.

Our second to last photo comes from a first time poster on the DFP but her pictures (especially this one) are wonderful. This is from Sarah AKA SOXY’S DIAMOND
Pasta - Lines
For those of you who are wondering, “What is it?” it’s pasta. How awesome is that? I love that angle and the lines in it. I’m curious to know what you did to it to make it this way? Anything in Photoshop?

Our final photo for the Photography Food Challenge comes from Stacy
I LOVE the textures in this photo. The image is broken up with that large stainless steel band that goes across the the bowl.Stacy said, “Seriously though lighting in our apartment is horrendous. But I did like the texture in this photo. The apples in the colander against the wall that is textured, was visually appealing to me. I just hope that I didn’t over photoshop this picture.”
It’s a wonderful split and the lighting works beautifully. Stacy, the photo doesn’t look Photoshoped at all, what did you do to it?

Well I hope everybody had a great time with this weeks difficult challenge and that you all are learning something from each others work. I know I am. So… which ones do YOU like?

P.S. I’m going to be giving out this weeks Photo Challeng EARLY because it also is a difficult one and the more time the better… THIS WEEKS PHOTO CHALLENGE WILL BE… ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY! Think about it… what do you think of when you hear abstract photography?

I’ll be posting more photos later for an example… ooooh!! Get ready!

November 27, 2008


Filed under: Photo Challenges! — cabenelson @ 12:35 pm

Doesn’t it feel like we just did this?!!? Hopefully you all aren’t burned out of this little contest. I know I’m having a blast seeing each of your pictures and hearing in your words, what you wanted to accomplish in the pic you usubmitted. REMEMBER this is a platform to learn from each other and to challenge yourself!

I’m so excited for this weeks challenge. I think I’m more excited to participate than I am to actually host it because the challenge is a difficult one for me! I wanted to build it around a major Thanksgiving staple… FOOD!

You’re challenge this week is to capture an image that showcases food. It doesn’t have to be of a Thanksgiving meal (although that would be ideal) or of any type of food specifically. Just an interesting image that makes the food look interesting and stand out. If you’ve never photographed food before YOU WILL FIND THIS A CHALLENGE! SO DO IT!

Okay maybe I’m making it sound more difficult than it actually is, I guess I just suck at it. Here is my initial entry (I’ll be challenging myself and submitting a photo with you all next week)

Food Photography

These are fried sweet potatoe fries and they are wonderful. You can also do food related products if you would like, such as these.

Food Related

food related 2

We’re going to extend the date you can submit your pic to me until Monday. So you have until Monday to send me your favorite food shot. We’re also going to change the way you email me your photos. Instead of attaching the picture to an email and sending it off to me, most people have a Flickr account. SEND ME YOUR PHOTO BY SENDING ME A FLICKR LINK TO YOUR PHOTO. If you DON’T have a Flickr account DON’T WORRY! Just email me your photo as usual. BUT if you do have a Flickr account, just follow these simple instructions.

  • Upload your photo to Flickr
  • Click on the “All Sizes Tab” right above the photo
  • Select the “MEDIUM” sized (500×335)
  • Then just email me the “Copy and Paste the HTML link into your webpage” link

Again, email me your favorite food pic (via link or attach it) at cabenelson (at) gmail (dot) com by Monday December 1st.

So before you stuff your face today (I know I will) grab your camera and take a few shots! Regardless if you participate or not, I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2008


Filed under: Insert Here!, Photo Challenges! — cabenelson @ 11:16 pm

I don’t know about you, but I love these photo challenges. I love seeing each of your very different and very talented perspectives. I was telling my wife tonight (as I was showing her a preview of all of your pictures) that THIS is the reason why I wanted to do this. I wanted to create a platform (no matter how small it is) for OTHERS to showcase their photography talents with a group of individuals who love it just as much as they do. Just like last week, I am extremely impressed with the talent of those who chose to participate.

So let’s get to it!

This photo comes from Belina Blue Eyes. Belina is one of my closest friends and actually what I like to call my “Second Wife’s” wife. She’s actually my business partner’s (who is called my second wife) wife and just so happens to be best friend with my REAL wife. Have I lost you yet? Kimba and Belina met when they were six years old and have been inseparable ever since. So it’s fitting that their husbands should be business partners no?
Belina says this about her photo, “I haven’t doctored it up or anything because I don’t really know how to. I just took it out in my garden one day, and it’s of the center of a sunflower, which I didn’t know had tons of mini flowers inside. I thought it turned out really cool!”
Yes it did Belina. I love the burst of color and the sheer detail in this entire photo. It gives your eye a significant amount to take in and play with. Doesn’t it make you want to reach out and touch it? It’s a beautiful photo. Also, if you check out her blog quick you can see a picture of her on a moose. No joke…

The next photo comes from my newest friend Trish and the picture she submitted is just serene.
Trish decribes her photo saying, “This is a sunset over the beach at Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur. This was very much both the peace and turbulence I was feeling at the time and saw the opportunity to capture it.”
I couldn’t agree with Trish more. There is a sense of hope AND despair that comes across in this picture. The mood seems to shout that times are turbulent now but there is hope. (atleast that’s the way I take it) It’s a wonderful shot. She has many more beautiful pictures on her blog of her trip to Cabo that you need to check out.

This photo comes from one of my childhood friends from the city we both grew up in. I was so excited when he found this P-LOG and had no idea he and his wife had a love for photography too. Danny and I have had some really good times over the years and we are both grateful for a strong group of friends.
Danny’s shot is just warm and beautiful. Danny says, “This picture was taken in Jackson Hole last fall. I asked Maddie where she wanted to go anywhere in the world for a honeymoon and she said she just wanted to to to Jackson Hole with the camera. So we spent 5 days in Jackson, the Tetons, and Yellowstone filling memory cards and came back with quite the selection. This is one of my favorites. We got up before dawn to photograph the sunrise one day and as we were driving around I thought this was really picturesque, so I pulled over and snapped a few shots. I love the variety of effects that the rising sun has on the trees. On the left the trees aren’t back illuminated, so they just appear as a clumped silhouette. In the middle (beyond the road) they are being lit from behind as is the sky, which creates a neat effect. Then on the right where the sun is shining through, the lighting highlights every detail of the branches.”
I love the warm lighting and the curve in the road. For some reason curved roads and old rusted out cars in B&W are some of my favorite things to photograph. This is a beautiful shot Danny.

This photo comes from my very talented and wonderful friend Dr Cason. For those of you who don’t know Dr. Cason, she lives on Guam with her family and works as a Pediatrician. Her life on Guam is an amazing experience that we all get to be in on as she shares her experiences and pictures regularly.
Froggy Instrument - Copy
Dr Cason describes her photo saying, “This is of a little frog instrument I got in Bali. I bought it for my son and loved the dark rich rustic tones of it. I tend to like things with texture and character so this fit it for me.”
This is one of my favorite parts of “macro” shots. You can stare at it for 30 minutes and still not be able to figure out what it is but that’s not the point. The point in many macro shots (such as Belina’s above) is to create striking photo all based on tones, texture, and color. I love this photo. The dark tones of the carved wood makes this wonderful and exotic. One thing that might get overlooked here by the rustic tones is how perfect the lighting is.

The next photo is from KJ at 12 Little Feet . KJ is a jet setter, which is convenient as that’s the title of her newest post. She seems to have traveled so many different places and I envy her exotic photographs. Seriously, last week she posted a photo from Chile and she has some fatastic pictures recently posted on her blog.
KJ bellies dancing
This photograph is absolutely stunning. It blew me away when I first saw it. Exotic right? The angle is perfectly captured and the colors is what makes the photo a 10. Absolutely, beautiful. It’s just a fun and vibrant picture. I love it.

The next participant is Ginger from Ramble Ramble. Ginger always seems to have wonderful photos that are well composed. Composition seems to be her style (and is mine) and her photo’s are wonderful.
Ginger says, “I love the fact that, unlike most of my photos, the subject is dead center. It really only worked that way too, to get the symmetry of the circle. I also love the mixture of old rusty metal with the organic bright green grass. The juxtaposition between those textures, and colors, makes this one kind of cool.”
I tend to get into a grove to place the main subject not in the center of the frame. In this photo it wouldn’t work if it wasn’t. It’s a wonderful picture showcasing texture and shape. It’s a powerful photograph that would go well on a wall with three others of similar shape and size. Beautiful eye and a wonderful photograph!

Our next photograph is from my new friend Gail at “From the Back Deck” This photo is a beautiful use of placing the main subject just out of the middle of the frame and it is shot PERFECTLY.
Gail says this about her picture, “I know, trite. But I love flowers. This one is not a perfect flower, and this makes it just a little more unique.”
You wouldn’t be able to compose this picture any better. These are one of my favorite plants (we have about 6 growing on the side of our house now) and the lighting really shows off the glossy leaves and the soft part of the flower. It’s a wonderful shot.

This one comes from our vetran participant who has been with me since the beginning of this site. Stacy is a wonderful friend has has an amazing eye for photography.
This photo is almost dreamlike. It’s a beautiful use of textures and lines. It pulls your eyes in different directions and has you follow the illuminated wheat. I don’t see the main subject in the photo as being the man in it. Rather, in my opinion it’s overpowered by the vegetation and that’s a good thing. The placement of light in relation to the subjects works very well together.

And finally, our last entry is from Mary Elizabeth who’s eye for shooting portraits and people is fantastic.
Mary Elizabeth
This photo really blew me away. Mary Elizabeth gives us the background on this photo. “It is a photo I took back in September of two of my best friends. As I have just started to seriously get into photography, earlier this year I would ask my friends if I could take pictures of them. For this shoot we went out to Antelope Island on a stormy afternoon. The setting could not have been prettier. The gray skies made everything so vibrant and full of life. This shot is by far my favorite from that shoot. One thing I love the most about it is that it wasn’t a posed shot. This was one of the first ones I took, I don’t think my friends even knew I took it! It was just as they were walking down the hill to get to were I wanted them to go to start taking pictures. I love that they are holding hands (the ground was super unstable!) and the way their hair is blowing and the colors and the feel. Definitely a fav. I hope you enjoy it as well!”
Really this photo just stunned me. The setting, the tones, the colors, the two girls, EVERYTHING works with this photo. It’s an epic picture that needed ALL of these to come together in order to get the shot. Well done!

Thank you everyone for participating this week! I didn’t think we could be the quality of the photos last week and I was wrong. All of these pictures are just amazing. So, which one’s do you like? Which photo grabs your eye?

November 17, 2008


Filed under: B&W Architecture, Photo Challenges! — cabenelson @ 4:18 pm

I am completely blown away with the pictures this week. I was sitting in church yesterday and I got like 4 of them in a row on my Blackberry. (I know, on my Blackberry in church… Please don’t strike me down) I am still so excited with the high level of execution each of you had on this challenge!! Seriously ask my wife, I’ve been flipping out about it.

So before I start talking about how crappy my photo was in comparison (which it is) here they are in no particular order.

Stacy B&W Architecture
Stacy sent me this one in color and in black in white. She explains, “So I’m really liking this picture that I took yesterday, but it looks a ton better in color.” Stacy, I couldn’t agree with you more which is a big deal for me, I love black and white and it usually takes something big for me to change. There is something about it in color that makes it pop even more and that’s the funny thing, there isn’t a whole lot of color but it’s enough to give the different parts of the building tone. I love the texture and shapes with the dome. It’s a great main subject highlighted by the circular windows below. This picture is perfectly framed by the brick building to the left and the white lettering on the red brick is the icing on the cake. Stacy, this photo is awesome and it was beautifully captured. Part of the reason it looks better in color is that it brings out some of the dynamic to it. Stacy asked in her email, “Do you have any suggestions to what I can do to the black and white photo?” My suggestion would be if you DO put it in B&W you’ll need to lighten parts of the picture and darken other parts. The photo can look flat in B&W because it loses some of the tone. You won’t be able to accomplish this by simply messing with the Brightness/Contrast as you’ll lose a lot of great detail in the left side of the photo. You’ll need to use the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop and dodge (or lighten) the pigeons on top, the lettering, the contrast in the brick building. And you’ll need to burn more of the dome shingles to add more texture and allow the picture to “POP” more. BUT, in color it’s beautiful and why mess with a beautiful thing? Excellent Photo! And check out her most recent post here, great photos!

Sheila Movie Theatre Black and White Adj
Everyone this is Dr. Cason. I’ve had a blast getting to know her over the past few weeks and her photos are beautiful, you need to check them out. This photo is absolutely mesmerizing as it goes beyond what few pictures are able to accomplish, it creates a mood. I didn’t know what it was about this photo but after looking at it for a while I’ve realized that Sheila has perfectly captured a mood altering picture. Sheila, I hope you take this as a good thing but this photo is fantastically depressing! I love it. The high contrast gives it a harder look which goes hand in hand with the run down building. The movie titles really set the mood to the photo. First thing I thought when I saw it was, “DANG! They don’t get movies in Guam until 5 years after they come out here!”
Great photo Sheila, really it’s awesome.

Mary Elizabeth B&W Architecture
If anybody hasn’t visited Mary Elizabeth’s Photography site you need to do so, her portraits are amazing. Seriously, have you ever noticed why I haven’t posted portraits on this site? It’s because she’s out there… taking these.
This is an excellent photo and has everything that (in my opinion) a good architectural photo should look like. It has high contrast, textures, shadows, and a ton of shapes and lines for your eyes to be pulled into different directions. Just the sheer amount of detail in this photo is awesome, from the rigid lines in the brick to the soft curves of arches and columns. Sometimes taking a photo of a building can be daunting as it’s usually hard to frame. I love this as Mary Elizabeth has taken a very specific part of the building to photograph. I also love that the angle is not head on, it’s off to the side and that creates a much more dynamic photo.

KJ santiago BW
I was so stoked when I saw this one. This is by my new friend KJ and this photo is stunning. I was so excited about it mainly because of how exotic it is. She said she cheated as this was an old photo (that’s okay mine was an old photo too!), it was taken in Santiago, Chile. I mean COME ON! (What brought you down to Chile anyways?) This is a complete polar opposite from Mary Elizabeth’s up close photo and it works beautifully! It’s tricky to take a photo of an entire building and make that the main subject, it’s like BAM, there’s the building! But when you angle it like KJ did and place it into proportion with the pedestrians it creates a great reference to the size and showcases the building’s true architecture. I love how KJ placed the other building behind it as a main subject in the photo. The angle provides an excellent depth of field. This is a perfect picture for showcasing architecture, you can also interpret the old world vs. new world with the two buildings. Great photo!

Ginger Archesbw
And last but certainly not least is my friend Ginger. I heart archway shots in B&W. This is wonderfully done and is a perfect example of linear perspective. The image drags your eyes to the left side and you follow it all the way down. This photo is all about lines. Check out the carved lines in the arches, the vertical lines of the pillars partnered with the horizontal lines of the white light across the hallway. Ginger also claims she cheated as this photo was taken last week but I don’t care because it’s beautiful.

Man! This really has been an amazing Photo Challenge. All the pictures that were submitted were just stunning! I did this so that we could all learn from each other but I think I learned the most and had a change of perspective. I’ll be making this a weekly thing so if anyone has any suggestions please let me know. Again, I’m just blown away with these pictures. Great job everyone and I can’t wait for next week’s challenge. I love seeing everybody’s perspective!

November 10, 2008


Filed under: Composition, Photo Challenges! — cabenelson @ 11:11 pm

Last Thursday I threw out a challenge for all who wanted to join in. The challenge was issued to capture a photo showcasing composition. To be honest I didn’t think I would get anybody to participate! Or maybe my mom would feel bad for me and post a picture she copied from Google Images and claim it as her own. (Hey my mom thinks I’m cool) But this has actually been very fun! I’ve got three great photos from three amazing photographers. Let me just say how impressed I am with all of them. They truly showcase placing the subject in the proper place of the frame to work for the rest of the surroundings. So in no particular order here are the results from the photo challenge!

This one was taken by my very talented family member Stacy. I’m a sucker for black and white photographs. To me this photo stands out in two ways; texture and lines. The texture in the brick and the stone and the lines in the carvings and grout in-between the bricks. This is an excellent photo as it draws your eyes in different ways. It’s an excellent usage of composition.

I love this photo. This was taken by my one my newest friends Ginger No only does she have great photos (check out her latest pics at Balboa Park… amazing) she has fantastic taste in some indie music (Ongio Bongio! Dead Man’s Party? I mean come on!) I love this photo for a couple of reasons. I love that there really is 3 main subjects; the flowers, the fence, and the meter in the background. It’s perfect in that it takes all of those elements into a way that they all work together. This is composition-

Deer_Hunt_2008_158 Color
This was by my wonderful friend Heather. I love silhouette shots. They are some of the more simple photos when you look at them but they are extremely hard to effectively capture and to make the interesting. There are three things that I love about this photo; the increase of the hillside with the weeds, the placing of the boys with the sun, and the clouds. I love how everything flows together for a striking picture.

Thank you for all participating! I love seeing other people’s perspective on photography. I’ll post another one soon. More than anything else it’s an excuse to spend some time viewing the world differently for a while.

And finally, I give you the PHOTO OF THE WEEK!


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