Note: Anyone can participate in 52Frames. The whole point, to me, is to look around you, see what you can use for the weekly challenge, and play with it. If you like taking pictures, whatever level you’re at, and you want a new year’s resolution that’s fun, sign up at 52frames.com.
The fall set of photos for my 52 Frames challenges has focused a lot on trees, as you’ll see. Except for one photo, all the rest have been outdoor images, reflecting the nice weather I enjoyed most of the time.
I was up at Lake Powhatan, outside Asheville, North Carolina, when I looked up at the leaves on these trees and took a snap. I played with it in Lightroom, keeping enough of the “shape” of it to be recognizably trees, but not as you ever see them in real life. Sometimes it’s fun to color way outside the lines and that’s what I did with this image.
Challenge: Mobile Phone
I take a lot of my images with my iPhone XS because, as someone once said, “the best camera is the one you have with you.” The challenge for me, then, was to do something different than just a “here’s a pretty iPhone picture” as I wandered around the campground and trails at O’Leno State Park in north central Florida. This is a bare tree reflected in the still waters of the Santa Fe River. I wanted to emphasize the spookiness of the branches so I went with B&W instead of the brilliant blues and greens of the original image.
As it turns out, it’s rather hard to find a circle in a forest. And I’ve been wanting to try a flat lay image. I was doing dishes when I realized I had a lot of circular things so I rummaged through my trailer looking for round objects. Lightroom let me change the colors to be mostly purple so that the items looked related to each other (that green cap not withstanding).
Again, a challenge that is definitely in my wheelhouse. I had so much to choose from that it was kind of overwhelming. I took a lot of shots, from closeup of trees to some egrets and clouds. This shot, cropped to remove some distracting foreground, was the one my small group on Facebook helped me select. I agreed with that. Being outside on such a beautiful day was something I wanted to share with people who haven’t had the chance to get outside for much of 2020.
Challenge: Choose a Color
Orange isn’t my favorite color by any means, but the big fungi I found on a walk was irresistable. I cropped it down to show the inner curves of it and emphasized the orangeness of it. Someone commented it looked a bit like a rose, which now I can see that. Nature’s patterns repeat in different places; if I had not looked closely at my image, I would have missed the pattern repeating here.
Back to trees, sort of, with this challenge. Walking around Gainesville, I found one house where the owner hadn’t bothered to bag all the leaves that had fallen. I did minimal cropping and just some minor adjustments to emphasize the textures of the leaves. I hope it makes you feel the leaves underfoot and hear the crackle as you scuff through them.
Challenge: B&W Minimalism
To round out the fall images, here’s a black swan in high-key silhouette. Near where I’m staying in Gainesville, there is a little pond where two black swans live. There they were as I walked by, bobbing those long necks under the water for breakfast. I used the Photoshop Express (PE) app for iPad to edit this into B&W and remove everything but the swan. The PE app is way easier to use than the full-featured desktop version of Photoshop.
One more week left in the 2020 challenges, and it’s a doozy: 2020 in a single shot. I am so tempted to try a dumpster fire, except (1) big fire, hard to put out and (2) kinda illegal. So I am thinking how I can represent all that 2020 has been in one image. Hmm…
If we don’t take time to play, we face a joyless life of rigidity, lacking in creativity. The opposite of play isn’t work, but depression. If we’re going to adapt to changing economic and personal circumstances the way that nature armed us to do, then we have to find ourselves having some play time virtually every day.
Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughan