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Monthly photo themes

Selected OLLI Photo Club Themes for 2016/2017

MONTH Theme  Themes explained: OLLII PHOTO CLUB
January Shadows Silhouettes have a fixed shape that mimics the object blocking the light. Shadows are not fixed in shape. A shadow will change in shape, definition, and color based on the positioning, quality, and color of the light creating it. It will also change characteristics based on the object that it falls upon. This opens up room for a lot of creativity. A shadow can be deep in tone and have a hard defined edge. A shadow can also be broad, soft, and with a feathered almost imperceptible edge. A shadow can be twisted and manipulated by changing the shape of the object casting the shadow. A shadow can be almost translucent. A shadow can be colored! You can do a lot of cool things with a shadow.
February Cemeteries Why should you consider exploring cemeteries with your camera? Here are a few reasons:

* Beauty – Some landmark cemeteries are full of very elaborate and ornate sculptures, many of which can be considered works of art.

* Character – Older gravestones and statues often have a weathered look that can only be produced by decades or centuries of exposure to the elements.

* History – Cemeteries chronicle the history of cities and towns. Even a casual examination of gravestones can provide clues into customs, tastes, and norms of a given era. Reading some of the inscriptions can provide touching glimpses into people’s lives, how they lived, what they valued, and how they were thought of by others.

* Atmosphere – Regardless of the season or weather conditions, cemetery scenes can evoke quite a bit of emotions on the part of the observers. A dark moody sky set against the end-of-day’s streaming sunshine can produce some vivid imagery.

* Wildlife – Cemeteries in rural settings often border wooded areas. As such, it is not unusual for some to become veritable sanctuaries for wildlife.

March Cityscapes A dramatic cityscape is one of the powerful images we have in photography. It can convey a sense of wonder, power and beauty, often all three together.

For cityscapes, focal lengths between 12-35mm are a good bet. Not a necessity, but you will appreciate the wide angle, more often than not. This will allow you to capture a nice skyline without having to be miles outside the city, and allow you to include an entire skyscraper in vertical format, while standing near its base.

Just like for landscape photography, leading lines are an integral part of three-dimensional cityscape composition. They add perspective, depth, and intrigue to any image, while taking the viewer on a journey from one point of the frame to another.

In cityscapes especially, leading lines can create a strong sense of coherence in an otherwise chaotic scene. Think of train tracks for example. Rows of tracks, surrounded by eager commuters and tall buildings, could easily appear cluttered and frenetic (which could be a good thing, or could seem unfocused).

April 6 or 8 Legs Go out and find those little critters

You can make an image of the whole insect or focus on one part of it. It is great practice in macro photography.

May Something You See Every Day Choose an object from your home or property that you see every single day. It can be your coffee mug, car keys, lamp, outside light post, mailbox, etc. Any item that you use or pass by mindlessly every day will work for this because it’s a

great way to change your perspective and expand your photographer’s eye. Once you have your object, take an ordinary, mundane picture of it.

Now that you have your base, “boring” picture it’s time to switch the angle you’re shooting from. Many amateur photographers start by taking pictures from the angles they naturally use to view objects, which is eye level. They tend to shoot objects below them from a standing position and this perspective isn’t overly interesting or unique. However, when you get down (or up) to the level of your subject matter, you can shoot images from a perspective that most people don’t see regularly

When you’re shooting a mundane object, you don’t need to worry about it growing tired of posing, so have fun with the project and take as much time as you need.

June People at Work  Often, pictures of people at work identify destinations better than landmarks or scenery. Nothing describes life on Cape Cod better than a picture of a lobsterman unloading his day’s catch, or identifies London like a shot of a bobby up to his neck in evening traffic.

One advantage of photographing people working is that you have built-in props. Holding a tool or a product makes people less self-conscious and solves the problem of what to do with their hands—a basket weaver can display a work in progress, for example. Use a normal lens to isolate your subject and the work, or if an interesting or exotic background warrants, use a wide-angle lens to include it as well; a telephoto will let you zoom in on a craftsperson’s hands and tools.

With your ISO set to higher speeds, such as 800 or 1600, you can photograph people in surprisingly dim conditions—even by candlelight. Just be aware that at higher ISO speeds you may experience some digital noise (a granular-like pattern of random colors spots).

July Sports Sports and Action photography is all about timing. It’s about reacting. It’s about being in the right place at the right time and it’s about execution. These are all qualities of the athlete and those of the photographer as well. Each sport has predictable and unpredictable moments, so you should know your sport so as to understand what to watch out for. For instance, in basketball, you will have opportunities to photograph layups, jump shots, free throws, etc. Understanding the timing of these predictable actions allows you to capture the peak moment, when the action is most dramatic.
August No meeting scheduled
September Photos of People taking Photos This is a part of storytelling. Why is the photographer taking this image? Can you get close enough to see the other photographer’s camera, but far away enough to create a larger story?
October Silhouettes In photography, a silhouette is defined as an outline that appears dark against a light background. More specifically, it is where your subject is seen as a black shape without detail against a brighter background. This is an artistic outcome that many photographers like to perfect. This effect can be achieved with any kind of bright light source, but of course the most commonly used is the sun around sunrise or sunset. The backlighting from the sun shadows everything towards you and produces this effect.

When you are getting ready to take your silhouette pictures, there are a couple things to keep in mind. Make sure you never point the lens directly at the sun. If there is too much light, the light will fall on your object. If there is not enough light, your background will become gray. The main key to silhouette lighting is having your background lighter than your object, but this can be done in more ways than one. Many photographers focus on a certain time of day, where their subject is, what kind of weather there is, and where the sun positioned in the frame.

November Have Fun With It When you are photographing a mundane object, you don’t need to worry about it growing tired of posing, so have fun with this project and take as much time as you need. Try different angles, lie on the ground, climb up on something, do whatever it takes to snap pictures that transform ordinary into extraordinary. For more inspiration, pay attention to other photographers when you are out at a popular attraction and observe their positions. Try mimicking their positions to see what they are seeing because even if you look odd, the great photographs you take are worth it.
December Open

If comments or critique have been requested, they will be below the on-line photo, like this:

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