Tag Archives: september

Setting the Mood: September’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

Images can tell stories and set a mood by the way the subject is framed, by the quality of light, the angle of the shot…and more.

I’m guilty of taking many, many photos of my favorite places and subjects…sunsets and waves, seagulls and surfers, dandelions and bumblebees, lavender…and my cats! The beauty of taking multiple photos of similar subjects and places is that I have the opportunity to view them through from different perspectives…and notice the moods they evoke.

Sometimes my shot of a seabird is not just about the bird, but about the energy in the background.  This one sets a hurried mood for me as I see the still image but notice the speed of the bird and the force of the ocean.


Other images feel tranquil, washing me with calm and cool with the lack of color and reflected light.


There’s a mood of urgency set by this image of a military chopper hovering low over the shoreline…is there an emergency they are attending to?  (And I love the seagulls in the frame!)


This image definitely feels upbeat and energetic with the musicians belting out their songs, bringing the audience to their feet, dancing and tapping their toes!


Sometimes distance can give a sense of isolation…and even seriousness.  This photographer creates a mood of isolation…alone in the overcast with only distant surfers visible.


And other times, the selected use of color and a pair of empty chairs creates a feeling of wistfulness, wishing for a sunset, waiting for a couple to fill the chairs…


Perfect light on a sunny afternoon can create a reflective mood as the light creates distance and perspective…perfect for thinking and remembering.


And there is the giddy mood of floating in the wide blue of the sky above and sea below, a bird’s eye view!


So for September take another look at your favorite subjects and places and see what moods those images can set.  And to help you vary your shots and stimulate your thinking, here is a list of moods for each day of the month!

  1. lonely
  2. amazed
  3. amused
  4. frustrated
  5. hesitant
  6. energetic
  7. anxious
  8. shocked
  9. inquisitive
  10. powerful
  11. pensive
  12. satisfied
  13. indifferent
  14. confused
  15. courageous
  16. isolated
  17. eager
  18. serious
  19. overwhelmed
  20. jealous
  21. tranquil
  22. happy
  23. excited
  24. peaceful
  25. irritated
  26. distant
  27. apathetic
  28. fulfilled
  29. confident
  30. astonished

And as always, our challenge will allow us to learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. Every day of the month includes a word prompt to inspire and challenge you as you work to set moods through your images. You are welcome to follow them in order, mix them up, or throw in a new word prompt for the rest of us to try. You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life.

Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them! You can share on Twitter (follow me @kd0602), on Instagram (@kd0602), in the CLMOOC community on G+, on Flickr, or even link back to my blog here.

I’m looking forward to seeing how you set September’s moods through your lens!

Get Creative! September’s Photo-a-Day Challenge

September is one of those limbo months.  Summer is ending, schools are beginning, we are beginning to get hints of fall.  And where I live the weather is warm, often warmer than we have experienced during the “official” summer months, confusing our bodies and senses.

It’s that time of the year when you might find yourself in the creative doldrums as you move from summer vacation mode back into work and family routines.  So that means that September is the perfect month for a creativity focused photo-a-day challenge!

This month’s list is meant to encourage experimentation and challenge you to break out of some of those routines that have become uninspiring and maybe a bit monotonous.  Each prompt this month asks you to try a specific technique, a particular subject, or to break a rule of photography or try a rule of photography.  For example, it’s common as photographers to shoot with the sun over your shoulder to light your subject and ensure that the color is good. But sometimes, it is perfect to shoot into the sun–especially if you want to capture a silhouette like this photo of the lifeguard tower.  (And I was lucky enough to snap just as the lifeguard walked into my shot!)

lifeguard silhouette

It’s not unusual to take photos of your food, but perhaps it is less usual to try to create a shot that showcases the food as though it is an advertisement.  I’m not sure this photo is that quality, but I do love the color of this unedited shot–especially of the mango salsa.

fish tacos

Sometimes it is the difference in positioning yourself or your lens that creates a new way of seeing your subject.  You might try shooting from above like in this shot of the subway train in Pasadena.  (And you might try going from color to black and white for added effect!)

from above the subway

Or in this case, climbing up a ladder and shooting up in a tight space to capture a glimpse of the light in this lighthouse.

unusual angle

Sometimes I get stuck taking shots of things that stand still.  So sometimes the creativity comes from trying to capture action as it happens.  Here’s a sandpiper (and his shadow) just as he lifts off!

taking flight

I’m still experimenting with taking photos of weather…and there isn’t a whole lot of weather to experiment with in my parts.  I was excited about seeing this family in their yellow slickers walking toward me on a rainy day in Yellowstone.

family in yellow slickers

And who doesn’t love a photo of flowers?  I particularly like this shot where the large poppy in the foreground is crisp and the others are slightly out of focus.


And water is always a source of inspiration for me.  I have to work at creating something new and different from my photos of the ocean, but this shot of the top of the waterfall was a novelty for me.

top of waterfall

So September’s challenge is to inspire your creativity by pushing yourself to try different subjects, different techniques, different angles and more.  And to help you stretch creatively, here are some prompts—one per day—to push you out of your ordinary routines.

1. get low

2. shoot into the sun or create a silhouette (or both!)

3. create a photo that is stunning in black and white

4. shoot something ordinary in a new and interesting way

5. make something ugly look beautiful

6. create a self portrait

7. take a photo of traffic

8. make people your centerpiece (strangers if you dare!)

9. shoot from above

10. use the rule of thirds

11. find a natural frame (a branch, a bridge, or ???)

12. shoot on a angle, what happens if you make it extreme?

13. photograph your pet (or someone else’s)

14. photograph water in a new way

15. capture movement

16. photograph an abstract pattern

17. shoot from an unusual angle

18. what’s interesting about windows?

19. where do you find reflection?

20. make your subject off center

21. capture emotion

22. where do you find texture?

23. take a shot of the weather

24. what’s interest about clouds today?

25. something old

26. something new

27. focus on light

28. flowers

29. take a shot of food–would it work in an advertisement?

30. feet

Once you stretch your creativity and take that shot (or many shots), post a photo each day with the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices to Twitter, Instagram, Flicker, Google+ and/or Facebook (the more the better!), so that we can all enjoy the posts.  If you are game for some more playfulness, compose a blog post about a photo, a week’s worth of photos, write a photo essay, make a video or slideshow or try a learning walk! You are invited to create a pingback by linking to this url or post your blog address in the comment section. It’s fun for me to see what others are doing with the same prompts I am using!

So stretch yourself this month and feed those creative urges!  You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life. You can play this game by posting your pictures in the order of the prompts or post the one you find on the day you find it.  You get to make your own rules!  Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them!  So go out and get creative!  I can’t wait for you to share what you are seeing through your lens!

Noticing Texture: September’s Photo-a-Day Invitation

September arrives on our doorstep tomorrow and announces the unofficial end of summer. There’s something about the way Sssss roll off the tongue that suggests a texture that you can feel if you pay enough attention.  This month, for the September photo-a-day challenge, you are invited to notice texture in your world and capture it in photographs.  There are no rules–you are in charge in determining whether your photo fits the category!

The #scaly inside of a mushroom.

The #scaly inside of a mushroom.

Take a picture each day that captures the spirit and feeling of the texture and post it to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr using the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices.  (You can post anywhere—if you want others to be able to follow your photos, Instagram and Twitter are best!) For more information about posting click here.  At the end of each week let’s add an additional challenge:  curate your pictures from the week and select one to highlight.  You might post it on your blog along with some musings about why you selected it.  If you don’t have a blog of your own, you have a couple of choices—you can create a blog (be sure to share it with us by including your blog address in the comments here—or better yet, tweet it using the hashtag #sdawpphotovoices) or you can post to the SDAWP Voices blog.

September 1-8:   smooth

September 8 or 9: reflect on your week and share your thinking and picture (or collage) on the link up

September 9-15:  scratchy

September 15 or 16:  reflect on your week and share your thinking and picture (or collage) on the link up

September 16-22:  scaly

September 22 or 23:  reflect on your week and share your thinking and picture (or collage) on the link up

September 23-30:  silky

September 30:  reflect on your week and share your thinking and picture (or collage) on the link up

As an extra invitation, at the end of the month, pick your five favorites to inspire a bit of writing or art or something else you want to make.  Be sure to share your creativity and what you discover through the process.

What will you find to photograph as you explore the texture in your world?  Join us…for a day, a week, or the entire month!