Creative Life: Daily Lettering Challenge With Pam Garrison And Creativebug

Continue reading “Creative Life: Daily Lettering Challenge With Pam Garrison And Creativebug”


Four Photo Contests To Enter During April 2015

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In the search of photo contests I came across several competition that their submissions close during April. As March ends, I find it useful to gather them in one post in order to keep a track of them. I’m already take part in some of them and I’m going to participate in the rest as soon as possible. I include deadline date and links to submit your work. They have several themes and their entry is either free, or they have a small entry fee

Submit photos showing people standing on an edge. The contest submissions will be judged based on the creativity, originality and in accordance to the contest theme. People’s Choice winners are selected through voting.
Deadline: 5 April 2015
Enter the contest – Official website:

○○○ Spring Contest on

Document nature waking up from a long Winter sleep for our Spring contest. But… all images MUST have been shot on a Nikon digital camera.
Deadline: 11 April 2015
Enter the contest – Official Website:

○○○ Wildlife Competition on Nikon In-Frame

Deadline: 15 April 2015
Enter the contest – Official website:

○○○ Monochrome on Blank Wall Gallery

This competition is organised by the Greek Gallery ‘Blank Wall’ in Athens. The winning photos will be exhibited in the gallery. For more information read here.
Deadline: 23 April 2015

Photo & Notes. Choosing Black And White Photography

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Photographer Paul Outerbridge, well-known for his early use and experiment in color photography, had mentioned the difference between monochromatic and color photography; black and white imply a suggestion, but the color makes a statement. Others, like photographer Robert Frank, had seen in black and white photography symbols like hope and despair, a reflection of real life. In the search of what makes a black and white photo stunning and how to achieve it, these questions are hard to be answered.

I feel that some photos are meant to be black and white for many reasons; because in color they would look very boring and common; because their forms and lines would be lost in a saturated polyphony; because their textures and details would seem insignificant when covered by vibrant hues; because in black and white they evoke the ‘right’ sense and the feelings we want to share with them. 

How to figure out which photo to turn in black and white and which to keep in color, it’s rather a matter of intuition and taste, except the case of being an exclusively black and white photographer. The only thing you can actually control is to make the best when you create a black and white photo. And, the basic guidelines is almost the same in every tutorial and article.

○○○ shoot in raw

I find it more time-consuming. I have my memory cards and my laptop full of raw photos that I have not yet process and published. But shooting in raw is definitely the only way to save the maximum information in every photo; textures, tones, gradients, shadows recovery, more shades of gray and details in highlights are all stored in your RAW file.

○○○ use low iso

How many times I wanted to turn one of my photos in black and white only to discover that the sky or other big surfaces were full of noise, covered with small bright spots everywhere. This is very common in even things that cover a big part of the photo like the sky. A way to avoid grainy appearance is to reduce ISO. ISO 400 and under may give a satisfying result, but keep in mind to adjust shutter speed in order to have sharp images.

○○○ intensity of light matters

In a composition that lacks colors, lightened areas substitute their role; they help us distinguishing objects and areas. Choosing an hour of the day with bright sun would make our monochromatic scene more clear and dramatic because the intensity of light would make the shadows more strong and highlights more bright.

25 Best Black and White Photography Examples and Tips for Beginners on

Chiaroscuro on

Robert Frank on

Ted Grant had written that when you photograph people in colors you photograph their clothes, but when you photograph them in Black and white you photograph their souls. Maybe all the things, not only people, hide something inside them, a kind of a ‘soul’ that is revealed to us by looking their monochromatic capture.

Photos & Notes. Tilted horizon and 45 degrees for Dutch angle

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There are many names to describe 45 degrees angle by a tilted camera: Dutch angle, Dutch tilt, canted angle, oblique angle, German angle, jaunty angle. All these terms describe the same thing; a shot from a camera rotated relative to the horizon or vertical lines in the shot. 

○○○ cinema

The primary use of oblique angles was to make the viewer feel unease, disoriented and stressful. Firstly appeared in the movies of German expressionism in 1920′ and 30′ (The Cabinet of Dr. CaligariMan with a Movie Camera) as an attempt to visualise madness and social destruction. That’s why it took the name dutch from deutch which means german. After ’40 the Deutch angle was used extensively in cinema to dramatize off-balance moments in many movies (The Third Man, Batman TV SeriesEdward Scissorhands and Ed Wood by Tim Burton, 12 Monkeys by Terry Gilliam, etc.), but also in horror video games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil.

Photograph Rotunda Black and White by Papanikolaou Joanna on 500px
Rotunda Black and White by Papanikolaou Joanna on 500px

○○○ photography

In photography, hats being placed at an inclined angle made popular the term ‘jaunty angle‘ as a creative shot that reveals diverse aesthetic and artistic experimentation.  But as the other overused techniques, like selective coloring that I described the previous week, it should be established by a reason – not only used for the use. And, it should be supported by a concept and by the composition.

When I photographed Rotunda, I hadn’t plan to photoshot Deutch angles. But, standing outside the yard from this position, I saw the tower in perfect symmetry with the railings and of course, I couldn’t let this detail go withou capturing it. In the other photos from a beautiful beach in Chalkidiki, I got bored of the same straight lines in the horizon; yellow sand, aqua marine sea, blue sky so after a while I tilted my camera to change the view and frame the same pretty lines in a different way. 

Horizon and scapes, architecture, portraits and street photography are ideal to experiment the Dutch angle in photography. But I guess is essential always to examine why you will tilt your camera in this shot. Like the film critic Roger Ebert said for the director of the science-fiction film Battlefield Earth (2000), Roger Christian: “He has learned from better films that directors sometimes tilt their cameras, but he has not learned why“.

○○○ sources / articles


Photos & Notes. Looking for Details

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I always take my camera with me and I always think how the scene I see, would look framed. It’s a game that I play with my mind in order to find what I really like to capture and create. But, sometimes the scene is not quite what I’m looking for, or I just don’t see anything interesting, or new; nothing dramatic, or very beautiful to worth to be captured. 
When this happens, I have a ‘secret’ way out to my creativity again. It is something that most of the time succeeds; I look closer the small details. I adjust my zoom on my camera and start photo-shooting close-ups. What looks like usual and common from a distance, may look so interesting and amazing when we see it closer. Like Immanuel Kant wrote once: “Look closely. The beautiful may be small“. And, he was so truly right.

Moreover, it’s amazing how many things one can learn from the details; new things that were neglected; useful natural findings that when we see them from far they tell us nothing. 

In one of my photographic walks in nature after a rainy morning, I came across a beautiful wild rose shrub, which had these beautiful red hips on it. They were shining, washed by the rain, and small water drops were hanging on them like jewels. They looked awesome.

At the same night, as I was talking with my friends and inhabitants of this gifted region and showing the natural findings I photographed during the day, I learned that from the wild rose (or, otherwise dog-rose, or dog-berry) hips, one can make so many delicious and nutritious things, like marmalade, tea, even a kind of liquer. Wild-rose fruits have a large concentration of vitamin C and there are many studies about their beneficial effects on human body. Who could ever imagine it? These red hips that grow almost everywhere in our land, could hide so many precious secrets? Surely, not me! My urban growth left many gaps in my knowledge about nature.

That’s why I always try to see not only the forest, but also the tree and stand as close as I can. Because sometimes the tree may reveal more treasures than the forest in which it exists; just like human beings and the place we live. Everyone is carrying a small treasure that when is seen in the whole, united with others, makes a land unique. 

All the photos and text are my original copyrighted work © All Rights Reserved by Ioanna Papanikolaou. 

Photos And Notes. The short story that worths stay and watch

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Photography and writing… In every tutorial, article, or book, story telling is one of the strong elements of a successful photograph. Is that because an interesting and beautiful image can become great, only when it satisfies our curiosity and confirms our expectations with an interesting plot, or the quote ‘one image equals a thousand words’ is only about photos that truly have a thousand words to say?
Every work of fine art has a background of choices and decisions, events and incidents that occur before, or during its creation; thus, everyone is willing to pour light in this hidden process and learn more about the result. This is one of the ways that helps us to understand and interpet what we see. 

For photography things are more complicated to be defined due to its “instant” nature. Although preparations, scheduling and post processing may last longer, in most of the times the creation is completed in one second with a click. And, all the interest is not only about what happened in the scene before, during, or after the photograph, but also what was chosen to be shown, or to be neglected inside the frame. 

Yesterday, I found this interesting book, The Short Story and Photography, 1880’s-1980’s: A Critical Anthology, Jane Marjorie Rabb that has stories about photography from important writers like Ionesko, Konan Doyle, Cortazar and others. And, I believe that gives many food for thought about photography and its impact as a visual medium of narration.

Many writers compare photography to the short story as the extraction of a few simple truths ‘worth the trouble to stay and watch’, as Cortazar puts it. Like taking photographs, writing requires the ‘duty to be attentive … waiting for everything to happen,’ shaping actions within a clear frame. Taking photographs is an ‘activity in which one should start becoming an adept very early…, teach it to children since it requires discipline, aesthetic education, a good eye … I’m not talking about waylaying the lie like any old reporter,’ observes Cortazar’s photographer, who feels compelled to give words to what led him to make his pictures. ‘I have write. One of us all has to write if this is going to get told.” (The Short Story and Photography, 1880’s-1980’s: A Critical Anthology, Jane Marjorie Rabb, University of New Mexico Press, 1998).
As Jane Rabb observes in her introduction of the book, photography has a capacity for both documentary reality and moral and psychological ambiguity. Moreover, this is an inevitable question to be answered; why this story and this unrepeatable scene was chosen to be captured eternally, before it is gone forever in the unseen and unknown archives of the past. Or, photograph just plays with its magic stick, adjusting the light and trapping the ephemeral and the common…

Photograph FOUNTAIN by Papanikolaou Joanna on 500px
FOUNTAIN by Papanikolaou Joanna on 500px

I don’t know about the others, but in my case these “short stories” are usually captured by my camera instinctively and sometimes I see in my pictures things I didn’t notice before and I wonder “How is this possible?” It’s so obvious that most of the times we see what we want to see and we find what we search for. And, once again photography becomes the window not only to the outside world, but also to our inner self. 

All the photos and text are my original copyrighted work © All Rights Reserved by Ioanna Papanikolaou.