Global Photowalk 002 Contest Announced

The next contest is bigger than the last one… we have an amazing prize from BacklitBox.com to give away, and contestants will have 48 hours to shoot and post. The contest runs this coming weekend, and as before, the theme will be announced at the start of the 48 hour window.

If you want to participate, head on over to Google+ at http://jal.bz/GlobalPhotowalk002 — and if you’re not in G+ yet, let me know in the comments and I’ll send you an invite!

I actually did a video on the prize, I thought this thing was so cool… check it out:

Google+ Image Editing Contest, Final Day

The current contest is coming to a close… and a new contest is less than a day away!

Yep, the week is finally nearly over, and I’ll be closing up the gallery for the first contest this evening. No set time, but really, it’s been up for a week now, so I think that’s OK ;-) — I’ll announce the winner right away!

The new Global Photowalk Contest, which I’m really excited about, is less than a day away! I can’t wait for this one—I’m super excited to see what you guys come up with. I’m still mulling the topic in my head, so it’s not even solidified. Makes it exciting for me, too!

Google+ Image Editing Contest, Day 6—and the NEXT Contest!

Google+ Contest

Current Statistics

  • 593 downloads of original RAW file
  • 274 submissions
  • 113 Google+ Shares
  • 29 Google+ +1’s

A little spike is nice…

Looks like I got a share from a Google+ official last night, which brought some more people in this morning. Nice! And a note for those just joining… if you feel like it’s not fair that your image won’t have as long to be judged, just remember that we’re all in this for fun, and I’ve been thinking about how to accomodate that for the next contest!

Next Contest? Oh yeah…

The next contest will be totally different! I’m going to announce a date and time, for example, Saturday from 1200 GMT to 1500 GMT, in advance. Everyone who wants to participate just needs to be in my Photographers circle (if you have participated in the current contest, you’re in. If you don’t think you’re in, comment on G+ and I’ll add you). I’ll announce the topic at that exact start time, and you’ll have three hours to shoot, edit and upload your photo. After the deadline, the gallery will be closed to submissions, and the voting will commence!

What will the topic be? Since it’s a universal time, not a local time, it won’t be anything like “sunrise”. It’ll be more generic or esoteric, like “tree” or “happiness” or “the color mauve”. Obviously it will be harder for people in some regions of the world to participate, but don’t worry… assuming this is successful I’ll do it again and again, and always shift the times.

The idea is a “global photowalk”, where we all go out at the same time, everywhere in the world, and shoot! I think it’ll be a hoot.

I haven’t quite figured out judging yet for this one. I want to do it by +1s, but there doesn’t appear to be any way to compare all the +1s in a gallery. The current one is tallied by comments, which is OK but isn’t ideal. I want it to be easy for people to vote, and obviously clicking the +1 button is easy. So I need to figure that out first. I’ve reached out to a couple people at G+ who’ve already stopped by this contest, but haven’t heard back. Fingers crossed! And of course if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

Once I have the logistics all figured out, I’ll launch it.

Oh, and my buddy Chris Fenwick reminded me yesterday that this was basically an idea he shared with me in July of last year. So shout-out to Fen, who gets credit for this concept, even if I forgot it was his :) If you need to know anything about advanced video editing, check out his blog at ChrisFenwick.com.

My version for Day 6

Today for mine I went back to textures, since that seems to be so popular. I chose to use my own preset pack again (hey, whatcha gonna do) ApertureExpert PresetPack#4 Textures using preset TextureStack 9 | RGB Subtle. These preset packs are made using Trey Ratcliff’s textures, so you know the source is good :) I tweaked only the first instance of Curves, reversing the curve to darken instead of lighten that portion of the image, and did nothing more.

If you’re an Aperture user and didn’t think you could apply textures without leaving the app… think again ;)

Treated only in Aperture 3 with ApertureExpert PresetPack#4 Textures (preset TextureStack 9 | RGB Subtle) Click to view in the gallery

Google+ Image Editing Contest, Day 5

Google+ Contest

Current Statistics

  • 559 downloads of original RAW file
  • 249 submissions
  • 93 Google+ Shares
  • 25 Google+ +1’s

The comments are rolling in!

Growth in the contest has slowed down, which is just fine, and I’ve been seeing a lot of comments come streaming past, so that’s great. Don’t forget to look at the other contestants’ photos while you’re in there… if you want them looking at yours, you gotta look at theirs! Ask questions of the artist, complement or complain, whatever you like… just get that dialog going!

It’s one of the greatest things about being a photographer in this age—the ability to share and learn from others so easily. I’ve never encountered a community online that’s as generous as photographers with information about their art. Don’t forget to be a part of it!

My version for Day 5

I went back to Aperture for today’s image, and used a plug-in that I don’t often use, but is from a company I love — Color Efex Pro 3.0 by Nik Software. This is one of their included presets, “Glamour Glow”, with some minor tweaks, a subtle crop, and a bit of burning on the wall to the right to push it farther into the background.

This version was treated with Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 3.0 based on the “Glamour Glow” preset. Click to view larger.

The Next Contest

Yep, I’m already scheming the next contest! It’ll be completely different than this one, and done in a much more limited time frame. I’ll work out all the logistics and post details tomorrow or the next day. Stay tuned!

Google+ Image Editing Contest, Day 4

Google+ Contest

Current Statistics

  • 534 downloads of original RAW file
  • 219 submissions
  • 92 Google+ Shares
  • 25 Google+ +1’s

Where we’re at…

Everyone seems to having so much fun with this; it’s really great to see. Hopefully many of us are learning new techniques and getting new ideas. I know I am!

I know I set out very few rules in the beginning, but there’s one suggestion I’d like people to follow. I deleted one photo (the first, and hopefully the last) from the uploads because I felt it was disrespectful to the subject (objects placed in the scene that weren’t originally there along with a potential corporate brand name concern). That’s a slippery slope to step on, but I stand by my decision. I’ve asked the artist to contact me directly but haven’t heard back, so either they understand or don’t want to discuss it, and either is fine with me. I’m sure the artist was just having a bit of fun, so no disrespect to them at all, but let’s keep it clean in there, m’kay?

Don’t forget to comment!

Comments are how you win this game! I’ve noticed some images don’t have ANY comments at all. I have realized (at least I think this is true) that a photo doesn’t show up in everyone’s stream until it gets a comment. SO with that said, when you post your own image, be sure to comment on it—that first comment can be a larger explanation of what you did, or even just copy/paste your caption. But I think that’ll get it kick started. Only one way to find out!

Someone asked how I’d accomodate all the self-comments in the final tally. Not that people are trying to vote themselves up, but that photographers are responding to comments in their thread. After thinking about it, I may not discount those comments at all. The thing about a comment count (vs. a vote count, not that there is one) is the winning photo becomes the one that generated the most discussion. If you, the viewer, want to ask the photographer a question, that’s good! And if they respond, even better! More dialog, more exposure, more thought. That’s the winning image in my mind.

As I said in the beginning, I reserve the right to make this up as I go, but I think we’re on the right track here.

My version for today

Yesterday I posted a version done entirely in the iPad; (and the few comments it got, people didn’t like it, awww), and today I wanted to go completely analog. So I printed the original on my crappy inkjet printer, then tried to “age” the paper using coffee, following a technique on wikiHow. I also aged a few more pieces of white paper, with the intention of setting up a shot in the attic as if I’d stumbled upon this ancient print in a box of other papers.

Sadly, my attempt to age failed pretty badly. Tip: injet prints run like mad when you touch them and they’re wet!! (d’uh). I was doing really well until I followed the step of messing up the surface of the page, which just spread the ink around in a soupy mess. Here’s an instagram photo of the results… I may or may not attempt to set up the final shot I envisioned; this “aged photo” looks pretty sorry.

Aging this photo print didn’t work out so well, did it!

Back to the contest… and don’t forget to vote!

Google+ Image Editing Contest, Day 3

The growth continues.

Thanks in large part to a mention by +Trey Ratcliff, (Mr. 50,000+ followers himself), I had another influx to the competition this morning. We’re up to 488 downloads of the original photo, around 200 requests to submit and 172 variations uploaded so far. It’s gotten intense.

“I wanna play, but I’m no good in Photoshop/Aperture/plug-ins” (or) “I wanna play, but I don’t have any of this software so can’t be creative”

I’ve seen a few statements like the above, and I commented back to one user that limiting the tools you have at your disposal can in fact foster and encourage creativity. Having too many choices can be hard. Limit your choices, and that’s when real creativity kicks in. Like in the kitchen… “how do I make an interesting meal with one potato and some dried herbs?”.

So for today’s personal submission, I decided to eschew the thousands of dollars in software I have at my disposal and instead see what I could just on the iPad. OK obviously not everyone has an iPad, but that’s not the point. I spent $9 on the software I used to make the following image, and I did everything on the iPad in a matter of minutes.

My version for Day 3, treated only on the iPad. Click to view in the Picasa galleryIn honor of Trey’s encouragement, I first used his own iPad app, 100 Cameras in 1 ($3.99). I used the “add effect” feature to keep piling on texture after texture until I got it where I wanted it to be. Then, I took the photo into Snapspeed by Nik Software ($4.99), where I added a border, defocused part of the scene, and added another border. I may have played with the colors a bit, too.

So, for a grand total of $8.98 in software, I was able to make (what I think is) a pretty interesting version.

Tomorrow, I’ll take a totally different approach to it. Stay tuned!

Morality

A conversation has sparked elsewhere on Google+ suggesting that what I’m doing here (allowing this photograph to be manipulated without oversight) perhaps isn’t ethical or moral, or if the blame isn’t with me, then maybe some users are to blame for being somewhat cavalier with the treatment of the images. I won’t publicly post the link to this discussion unless the host of it asks me to (I was only invited after speculation flew rampant about our, or my, intentions), but I will say a couple of things to hopefully easy the minds of anyone else who’s sentiments are going that way. 

  1. I own this photo, I made this photo, and the subject gave me permission to make this photo. I was being escorted by the local aid organization and had full permission to be there, and only photographed what I was given the OK to (or asked to) photograph.
  2. I haven’t transferred copyright to this image, but have granted creative commons (cc) for non-commercial use—so no one can run off and use this in an ad campaign with my, or the subject’s, permission.
  3. Within 24 hours of realizing the potential impact of this contest, I reached out to my contacts in Thailand to see if we can turn this into a fundraiser or awareness campaign for their hospital/hospice. No promises, of course, but I’m doing what I can. If there’s any direct financial gain to be had form this contest (which was never my intention, but if there is), then the funds will have a place to go.
  4. I’m not selling anyone else’s work here, and while some have suggested a book or ebook out of the results, if it goes that far, then see point #3.

You Have Until Friday

The contest continues until this Friday, Aug 05. So there’s still time to get involved! Head to the original post for all the instructions.

Google+ Image Editing Contest, Day 2

Well this sure got interesting.

I didn’t really know to expect, but as one user said, “this certainly shows the power of Google+”. I started this contest less than 24 hours ago, and so far nearly 300 people have downloaded the original image, and we have just under 100 entries, plus a ton of comments.

And most importantly, the different treatments people are throwing out are blowing me away. From simple B&W effects to turning the image into an ad campaign, making the subject look 40 years younger, and in at least one case, completely replacing the subject with someone much younger (funny!).

I’m loving seeing this, and where it’s going.

If you want to join in the fun, here’s the two links you need: 

The contest is done entirely by comment-count, so even if you aren’t submitting, you can still log in and leave a comment on your favorites.

Need a Google+ Invite?

Apparently G+ is in “trial” mode, so you need an invitation to get in. If you need one, let me know in the comments below (I just need your email address). I’ll keep inviting people until they cut me off! If you don’t want your email address public on here, just say so when you leave the content. I have to approve all contents, so if you request, I’ll just delete your comment without publishing once I send you the invite.

I said I’d share too

Since this isn’t a contest that I’m judging, I’m going to post a few of my own as well, just for fun. Here’s a B&W created in my favorite plug-in, Silver Efex Pro II. I started with the custom preset I built and have made available for free, and tweaked slightly from there.

 Click to view larger, along with the entries, on Google+

Image Editing Crowdsource (Contest!), Day 1

I mentioned this the other day on Google+, and I quite like the idea and how it evolved in my head, so let’s try it out and see what happens… it’ll be an interesting experiment on crowdsourcing and the reach of Google+!

Google+

Let’s get some basics out of the way… if you haven’t circled me in Google+ yet, head to my profile and circle me up.

To be able to submit to the contest, you need to be in my Google+ Photographers circle. I have to add you, so all you have to do is add a comment on the Google+ post, and I’ll go through regularly and ensure you’re in my Circle.

Concept & Contest

I find it fascinating how people respond differently to a photo depending on how it’s treated. If you take the same photo and make it saturated and bright, or B&W and dark, it’ll evoke completely different emotions and reactions. The treatment, or “look”, is up to the artist, and that look is often what separates a good photograph from a great one. Obviously you need a good photo to start with, but a good photo treated appropriately can quickly become great. It can also quickly become awful, or even confusing. A bright, colorful, saturated photo of a dark and depressing scene, or a dark and dismal rendering of a supposedly happy scene can be visually confusing—but still, neither is right or wrong.

As it is for all of us, adjusting a photo and creating a look for it is a process. Sometimes you know precisely how you intended to treat it when you shoot it, and other times, you’re looking at it on your computer screen weeks or months later thinking “what the heck do I do to this…”. You may try a variety of things until you have that “aha!” moment—but of course there’s no “right” treatment, and giving the same photo to 20 photographers will give you 20 results.

And that’s what I want to do here.

Below, I’m showing the original, untouched photo, and also my first variation of it. I’ve created about a dozen versions already, and will pick a different one to share every day for about a week. But I’ve also included the original, RAW file for you to download, and treat yourself, and share with the world!

I want to see what YOU do with it.

I decided to make this a contest, too… judged by YOU! And there’s a nifty prize at the end. Well, I think it’s nifty. But we’ll get to that. 

Guidelines

  • You can use any software, plugins, presets, or combination thereof to treat the photo. Color, B&W, HDR, whatev’s. Crop it or don’t. It’s up to you!
  • Share the post on Google+ so we can get as many people involved as possible! The more people that contribute, the more interesting it’ll be.

Submitting 

  • When you have a result to share, upload it to the shared album Image Editing Crowdsourcing Contest. (You have to navigate to it through Picassa to be able to upload, so just use that link).
  • Upload the photo at 1920 pixels wide, so we can all see it big.
  • In the photo caption:
    • Put your Google+ name, such as “by +Joseph Linaschke”. The Google+ view of the Picasa album doesn’t show the creator/uploader’s name, so this is important. You can see the creator through Picasa, but most people will be viewing through Google+.
    • Explain in as much detail as you can how you created your version. Unless it’s your secret sauce, but come on, this is all about sharing.
  • Submit as many versions as you like. No limits. But if you submit more than one, do make them utterly unique. No “this one is 0.1% darker than the other” versions, m’kay?

Judging/Voting

  • If you see a version you like, comment on it! Each comment counts as a vote.
  • I will look for the photo with the most comments, and *bam* that’s it, we have a winner.
  • Please don’t comment on the same photo 200 times to spike the results. I’ll see that and won’t let that photo win. My contest, my rules.
  • I’ll run this contest for a week, ending at the end of the day on Friday Aug 05, 2011.
  • If I’ve totally overlooked some obvious thing I reserve the right to update these rules and guidelines. 

The Prizes

Yes, this is all stuff that I’ve made… hey, this is my own little contest, not sponsored by a Big Company™, so this is what we’ve got to give! If the prizes don’t appeal (i.e. you aren’t an Aperture user, don’t shoot Canon and don’t have an iPad), you can always give the prizes to a friend. Participate for fame, not fortune! :-)

Enough Already, Let’s See the Original!

Download the original RAW file here (shot on a Panasonic GF1)

This is what it looks like.

The original, untouched photo. Taken in Bangkok, Thailand. Click to view larger.

My First Variation and How It Was Done

This is my first variation, and again I’ll continue to add more to the gallery, just like everyone else. But no, I can’t win. That’d be silly.

Treated in Aperture, using a preset (details below). Click to view larger.

This photo was treated entirely in Aperture 3, utilizing one of my own ApertureExpert presets, ApertureExpert PresetPack#1 Looks : Desaturated Film Look. This preset desaturates the image through a custom grain mask, which varies the desaturation based on the value of the mask. The saturation is actually set to zero, but because of the mask, some color remains. The mask looks like this:

This is a screenshot of the custom grain mask built into the preset

The preset also adds contrast to the image using the Curves tool, by creating an “S-curve”. This darkens the darks and brightens the lights while leaving the mid-tones the same. The curve looks like this:

Simple s-curve adjustment made in Aperture

That’s it, no further adjustments made.

Bring it on!

Ready to participate? Download the original photo, and upload your version. I can’t wait to see what you do!