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Dogwood Photography Challenge Weeks 1-4

Dogwood Photography Challenge Weeks 1-4

Photography, Texas

Hey guys! As I mentioned in my last monthly recap, I’ve started a 52 week photography challenge. I don’t know what inspired me to do this but it’s been an adventure so far.

The weekly challenges fall into three categories: story telling, technical, and artistic impression. This challenge is already testing me so far. I rarely plan out photos. Usually I just take my camera with me on adventures and capture things that inspire me. This photography challenge is requiring a lot more planning of the spontaneous. I’m having to look outside more and put a lot of thought into my photos. Artistically and technically.

But since I’m doing this challenge, I need some kind of accountability. Which is where you guys come in…

I actually hope that this challenge is inspiring. No great photographer is born and everyone takes bad pictures. That’s part of the learning process!  Usually just the best of the best is displayed, however, I do want to challenge my skills. Otherwise how will I keep growing as a photographer?

This challenge is sure to have some ultimate fails. I can already tell looking at the weeks ahead. Just promise not to laugh at me guys okay?

Here goes nothing!

Week 1: Story: Rule of Thirds

Week 1 of this challenge was about using the rule of thirds to tell a story. That week, I went hiking with Henry and Juno in Caprock Canyon and this is the story I wanted to tell:

Week 2: Technical: Straight Out of the Camera

This challenge meant no editing. The goal was to take a beautiful photo straight out of the camera. I think editing is crucial to photography-it’s the chance to really define your photo artistically. However, I think it’s just as important to not rely on Lightroom or Photoshop. Your camera is your tool. You need to know how to use it to take compelling shots and I’m pretty sure that was what this challenge was getting at.

I have a confession to make though. I did week 1 and week 2 on the same day. I was behind schedule so had to make up for lost time! This photo is straight out of camera, and also from Caprock.

Week 3: Artistic: Land

Since this challenge fell under the artistic category, I got to use land as an inspiration. Luckily, Lubbock has plenty of flat landscapes to inspire so I just wanted to shoot that. Light is pretty harsh here during the peak of the afternoon so I made Beka wake up with me for sunrise. We drove out to Ransom canyon. We couldn’t find the best spot for a sunrise shot showcasing the canyon however. Should’ve scouted out a location in the daytime instead of dark!

However, I did spot some trees in the distance that made for a compelling subject.

We also, briefly because of the cold, played with shadows in the sun. Not exactly land inspired but I liked the effects which is why I included the photo as my featured image!

Week 4: Story: Mirror

This was probably the hardest week. I had one idea for something but timing didn’t work out. So I tried to tell a few stories with a mirror:

Personally I don’t like these photos and it was a bit rushed for timing. However, this challenge made be think about composition in photos, how I could improve the shots, and made me practice technical skills. Maybe I’ll throw in some more mirror shots next month!

Month 1 down! I’m already excited, and slightly nervous, for the next 4 weeks!

For all you other photographers out there-happy shooting! 🙂

Any inspiring photographers out there? What do you do to improve your skills?

About the author

I got my first taste of long-term travel when I took a gap year before beginning college. I lived and worked in Australia in one of the most transformative years of my life. Like many others, I caught the wanderlust bug and now I'm always busy adding to my bucketlist. Besides traveling, I'm into hiking and photography. I'm currently finishing up my senior year in college and planning my next big adventure!