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Bruce's Photo Blog
Bruce Foreman | August 2013

The Challenge

The monthly “challenge” has proven to be a much more popular and enjoyed club activity than I thought it would be.  It seems if we “goof” and fail to come up with a “challenge” for a given month several members express disappointment.  So we try to not “forget”.

 

I first saw the challenge for still photos being used by the Abilene club, I was familiar with the concept from my participation in video challenges.  In the video world most of the time you declare intent to “participate” ahead of time with the challenge “topic” not yet announced.  On the start date the topic and any special requirements (prop, line of dialog, etc.) are announced and there is a specific time to complete and submit.  Typically this will be anywhere from 48 hours to a month.   The 48 hour competition is a REAL challenge!

 

For still photography there is a running flow of challenges found on dpreview.com, and I've seen some very nice work there.

 

Something I see some of us do is to bring in work we've done in the past that meets the challenge topic declared.  Think about it, this kind of defeats the idea of a challenge which really means that we are to take the “challenge” to go out and shoot something specifically for it.

 

Why?

 

What a “challenge” does is exercise our visual sense and photographic skills to come up with something on demand.  It can be tough, for sure, but that's part of what it's all about.  So what I've tried to do with each one of our challenges is to try to shoot something specifically for that challenge and pick the best no matter how good, mediocre, or sorry I feel it is.  If I show up at a meeting with nothing to show, I accept that I've literally “hung my hide up on a wall of shame” for not having been able to attempt anything.

 

But if I attempt anything on a club challenge I do pick what I think are the best few images and show them for what they are worth.  Even if I've done something in that vein in the past and had it turn out pretty good, I shoot something new and in the process exercise that visual sense and whatever photographic technique I feel best applies.   Sometimes I come up with a different “twist” or new approach, sometimes I “relearn” something I already know but had forgotten somewhat.

 

So I suggest the best approach is to “take the challenge”.   It will make you a better photographer.

 

---Bruce Foreman