52 Weeks Of Photo Challenges

A theme based photo blog


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5. Butterflies And/Or Bees

One of the things that I like best about doing the 52-Week Photo Challenge is how it makes me look at everything around me a little bit closer. The themes get lodged in my head and just swim around in there until I find a photo that fits.  As the year progresses it gets a little harder to do something a little bit different than everyone else. And on top of that our numbers have almost doubled this year, which makes it even more challenging. And more fun if you ask me.

I thought of something pretty quickly for the butterfly part of this challenge.  A statue in downtown Sarasota titled “The Butterfly Lady.”  She was sculpted by August Moreau and donated to the theater and arts district by Paul Passerat and Jack Wise in November 2000.  I’ve actually stopped and photographed her in the past. I find her to be full of grace and whimsy.

butterflylady2

butterfly lady-textureI found my perfect “Bee” while sitting at a stop light with my husband! I think he’s getting used to me wanting to take photos of random things while squealing about things fitting this theme or that theme. He patiently crept closer while I fumbled for my phone so I could get a couple photos before the light turned green. What a guy!

superbee1

superbee2

 

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27. Musical

When I am out taking photos I usually try and snap a few photos of textures from the area. Later I sometimes add a texture overlay to enhance the photo or even use it as an accent border. Over time I have collected hundreds of texture photos.

Most of the time I use Adobe Photoshop CS6 for my photo editing. I also use Adobe Creative Cloud and I am trying to warm up to Lightroom. Because I love to experiment with textures I was very curious about a new feature in Photoshop CC called Adobe Exchange.  There you can download actions, templates and other items. These items are created by Adobe and by members of the community. Most are free of charge. However, you may find tryout versions listed by individual developers.

Because I love to experiment with textures I downloaded Adobe Texture Paper Pro by Russell Brown. I used a photo of a man playing the guitar on the street in downtown Sarasota. I put a couple bucks in his guitar case and asked his permission to take his photo. He was very cooperative and even instructed the 2 other men playing in his street band to stop singing and just hum. It made me chuckle a little but was very helpful. It’s hard to get a nice photo of someone when their lips are moving! Anyhow, sorry, I digress.  I used the textures by Russell Brown to edit the photo. I dropped a texture behind him and 3 or 4 over the top. I used the erase tool to soften the textures over his face. I also used the dodge and burn tool so that I could try and place the emphasis on his eyes. I wanted his gaze to be the focus of the photo.

music man on main

 

 


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11. Favorite Room

I knew right away what I wanted to do for this theme. Hands down my favorite room is the room I use to take photos. It’s my happy place. I have a large window that I use as a natural light source. I love to experiment with different types of reflectors both made by me and purchased at the fancy camera stores. My favorite is my 4×8 piece of white styrofoam. I bought 4 plastic shelf brackets at Home Depot and attached them to the bottom. It allows me to bounce light when I am working alone in my favorite room. I can easily drape the styrofoam with what ever my imagination can think up to use as a back ground. Sometimes that is something as simple as a piece of black velvet. I love using the styrofoam boards as painted backdrops as well when I am taking portraits. I can easily change a whole corner of my room into a bright cheery color or a lovely neutral gray.

I love to take creative portraits. I have recruited friends to dress up in lace, silk and shine so I can experiment and grow as a photographer. I have made my own tulle skirts to go with  pieces I have found while searching through vintage shops. My shelves hold many treasures that I are available for when ever my imagination runs wild! Sparkly jewels, hats, beautiful wraps, funny glasses, pillows, baskets, stools, chairs, ottomans, a wind machine, a bird in a nest, baby headbands, a tutu, sea shells, mirrors, frames, bean bags, flash lights, wigs, a genie lamp, a tiara, christmas lights, glow sticks and of course a lot of false eyelashes….  because why would anyone want to be photographed not wearing false eyelashes?  Well other than my assistant Lola. She isn’t into makeup but she does know to sit at a 45 degree angle with her chin over her shoulder if she wants to be my practice model.

favorite room

favorite room collection


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26. Masked

Today I took a stroll through the farmers market in downtown Sarasota. That is one place that you are sure to find a photo or two that will fit one of our themes.
It didn’t take me long to notice this very cheerful woman walking down the street with her market purchases. I loved her brightly colored umbrella that she was using to shade herself from the bright sunshine. I imagined that she bought herself fresh flowers every week to brighten her downtown apartment. Next to the vase of flowers I picture a wooden bowl filled with fresh fruits.
I chose to do a layer “mask” on the photo in hopes to show others what a scene looks like to me when I am holding my camera. Sometimes it feels as if I have tunnel vision. My eyes dart from person to person, place to place. My mind imagines what people are thinking, where they are going, what they are feeling.
I saw this video post recently on a friends Facebook page. I think about it a lot when I am out walking around taking photos. You just never really know what’s inside others’ hearts.
masked


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38. Selfie

I’ve needed to do a new head shot for awhile now. But I’ve made a bunch of excuses why NOT to do it.
1. I didn’t want to waste all the time is would take me and not get several uses from it. If I did it before August 1st I wouldn’t have been able to use it as a theme.
2. I’ve been trying to grow my hair out… But as anyone knows, hair can go through a lot of ugly stages before it gets to an “ok, finally” stage. That explains why I have been wearing it in a pony tail for awhile now!
3. I have 1 business card left.
4. I have had to apologize to the last 2 people I handed a business card to because it looks nothing like me on said business card.
So today I finally did it. I set my camera on my tripod, unpackaged my new wireless remote trigger (thank you Liesel Walsh for recommending a good one), curled and puffed my hair and propped a mirror on the wall across from me.
This is as good as it gets…. I’m sitting in my Indiana t-shirt and sweat pants now. And the florida humidity has already flattened my hair. I will probably still get funny looks when I hand someone my business card. Oh well, I tried!Mindy Towns


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Happy Photo Blogging!

Hello all you 52-Week Photo Challenge bloggers! It’s finally here, day 1 of our new challenge year!
For anyone reading about us for the first time let me tell you what we are all about. We are a group of photographers of all skill levels. We use our cell phones, point and shoots or digital cameras to take photos that fit into a list of 52 predetermined themes. You can see them listed in the tab at the top of my blog page titled 2014-2015 Themes.
Once a week we post a photo to our blogs and give a brief description of why we think it fits the theme. You can blog about the themes in ANY order. Our only rule is that you can not use a photo that was taken before today, August 1st.
If you look to the right hand side of this blog post you will see all the other bloggers that are currently participating. That list is growing every day. If you are interested in joining us let me know in the comment section below and I will send you a pdf file that tells you step by step how to set up your photo blog. Before you know it you will be looking at everything around you and trying to match it to a theme. It IS addicting!
We love to see how each other interprets the same theme! We encourage each other by following, liking and commenting on each others photos.
If you would like to read the article that our local newspaper, The East County Observer, did about the 52-Week Challenge click here.

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