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Weekly Monday Contest

Published by Diana Tula · August 6th 2013

Want to get featured on our blog? Every Monday a theme is announced and you have until Sunday to submit your entry. You may already have a photo that suits or you can see it as a weekly photo challenge. Continue reading to discover new announced theme, deadline and how to enter.

Gallery

Last week we announced Lines & Curves theme and have received over 1.6K entries! We have chosen 15 from all the contestants to share with you today. These are gallery thumbnails and you can click on each for a full size photo. Let us know which one is your favourite in the comments below :)

New theme: Housewives

1. Select photo that fits this theme. Upload image to your 500px profile or pick an existing photo.
2. Add a tag "housewives".
3. You are done. To track all entries click here.

Theme is open to your interpretation and creativity, so get snapping and tagging. Deadline is August 11th at 12PM (EST). To make your efforts worthwhile there’s a random draw giveaway for all who enter for a chance to win 2 months Awesome membership. Lucky draw winner is Gerard Hermand.

Good luck this week!


     

Rural Japan and Keiichi Soneta

Published by Diana Tula · July 30th 2013

Discover rural Japan the way you have never seen in before, captured through Keiichi Soneta’s lens. Keiichi is an award winning nature photographer and 500px member. Photographing with a trusty Nikon D7000 he documents simple scenery and tranquil light that magnifies the realism of his subject matter. Take a look for yourself and enjoy...

To see more of Keiichi Soneta’s work and to add him to friends visit his 500px page. Don’t be shy and say “Hi” :)

We want to introduce you to new and up-and-coming talents, whom you may have not discovered yet. If you’d like to be featured email blog@500px.com.


     

Weekly Monday Contest

Published by Diana Tula · July 29th 2013

Want to get featured on our blog? Every Monday a theme is announced and you have until Sunday to submit your entry. You may already have a photo that suits or you can see it as a weekly photo challenge. Continue reading to discover new announced theme, deadline and how to enter.

Gallery

Last week we announced Sakura theme & have chosen twelve photos from all the contestants to share with you today. These are gallery thumbnails, click on each for a full size photo. Let us know which one is your favourite in the comments below :)

New theme: Lines & Curves

1. Select photo that fits this theme. Upload image to your 500px profile or pick an existing photo.
2. Add a tag "lines500px".
3. You are done. To track all entries click here.

Theme is open to your interpretation and creativity, so get snapping and tagging. Deadline is August 4th at 12PM (EST). To make your efforts worthwhile there’s a random draw giveaway for all who enter for a chance to win 2 months Awesome membership. Lucky draw winner is Masuki Iizuka.

Good luck this week!


     

Gabriele Liaudanskaite, a food photographer

Published by Diana Tula · July 26th 2013

To discover more about the living life behind a lens we started portrait interview series featuring 500px photographers. Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriele Liaudanskaite, a 17 year old food photographer from Lithuania. Photography is her hobby and here’s the story of how it started.

Hello Gabriele, could you tell us about your photographic journey?

My first attempt to make a food photograph was someday back in 2010 or early 2011, if I remember correctly. I just wanted to capture the moment. The result was a simple, amateur photo of a very tasty cake from a very bad angle :) After that time, somehow I realized how beautiful food is (even though my first camera didn't). So many patterns, so many colours and finally — so many tastes!

What I love most about food photography is the moments. They never repeat again.

Do you cook yourself for the photos? Or is there a family member or friend who helps out?

No way, I don’t like cooking myself. My photos would be nothing without the help of my mum. She is the one who deserves a medal.

The colours in your photos are very crisp and the light is natural. Do you do any post-processing adjustments to achieve this effect or is this just intuitive decision when taking a photograph?

I shoot photos in natural light, usually on the kitchen table near the window. Also, I use Photoshop to adjust the photos a bit but I try to never over-use it. People who see Photoshop as a witch from the medieval times that must be burned down should take it easy.

What camera settings do you usually shoot with?

When I shoot something important, I use automatic settings, and when I want to ‘play pretend as a photographer’, I switch to Av mode. Oh, and I like manual focus! Sadly, my shaking hands don’t.

What is your camera and preferred lens that you like to shoot with?

My beloved Canon EOS 1100D has only one lens to be friends with. It’s EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II. (I said I am an amateur!)

You have mentioned that you are an amateur photographer. Is it safe to assume that photography is your hobby only?

I made an agreement with myself — when I start earning money from what I do with my camera (commercial photo sessions or something like that; selling photos on 500px doesn’t count), it will no longer be my hobby, it will be my job.

Have you tried or are you considering to turn this passion into a profession?

There were many times when I thought about that but I believe it is a must to ‘make a name’ first.

Could you share with us any favourite childhood memories tied to food or cooking?

When I was 4 or 5, I had a wonderful dish set made of colourful plastics. Once I decided to ‘make a soup’: I took some fresh peas, a leaf of a cabbage, a raw potato and poured some milk. It was awful.

What’s your favourite food dish?

Sushi. Definitely. (All the Japanese readers out there — arigato for such eatable masterpiece!)

Besides the beautiful and cheerful food photos your portfolio is filled with quaint indoor details, romantic photos of the outdoors and close-ups of life. Do you think there’s a reason why you gravitate towards such subject matter? 

I am still learning how to see objects, how to capture them and how to express the moment that I saw. Many of those ‘other‘ photos deserve a ‘Delete‘ button but somehow they are still there. 

I know you have won a few 500px Monday contests and got featured on 500px Editors’ Choice. How did it make you feel or what are your thoughts? Did you participate in other photo contests outside of 500px? 

Winning a Monday contest together with other 11 people usually makes my day. And when talking about Editors’ Choice… Shall I mention tears or not? :)

I have participated in many different, usually internet-based photo contests and I’ve won in several of them. Nevertheless, my biggest luck was to be among few other laureates of Lithuanian schoolchildren‘s photography contest. It was a blast, really.

Do you feel more encouraged now to promote your work or more confident to enter contests?

No, every time I achieve something, my holy bar of requirements for myself rises.

Who are you favourite food photographers or chefs?

My biggest muses are Katie Quinn Davies, Linda Lomelino and famous 500px‘ists (is it even a word? :D):

Could you share advice that you’d give to any beginner photographer. Be it advice in food photography or just advice on how to get started?

One should not be afraid to begin with ordinary pictures: blooming tulips in grandma’s yard, oh-my-god-how-awesome clouds at sunset, touristic pictures of famous landmarks from a very boring angle, close-ups of friend’s new puppy or kitty or whatever. Only after taking such photos one will start to feel the need to become different.

Thanks Gabriele for the interview and thank you for reading! Feel free to leave a comment or question to the photographer below, we love your feedback.

Send your interview suggestions to blog@500px.com.


     

Discover Contemplative Photography

Published by Diana Tula · July 25th 2013

We love guest blog posts! Today’s article on contemplative photography is by Kimberly Poppe, hobbyist photographer from Lodève, France. Kimberly started to practice this genre after an inspirational talk with a friend and now she wants to share her experiences with you. Please enjoy...


Photo by Joni Jarvinen

What is contemplative photography?

Contemplative photography is a method of seeing and photographing the world in new ways. Integrating meditation into each image that you take. Along with it being great fun, this is a real practice of introducing reflection into the everyday — off the cushion and walk around the world. The practice is to see and photograph the world in new fresh ways, to reveal richness and beauty that is normally hidden from view. For example: capturing the beauty of shadows, elegance of lines or clash of colours, the elements which a passer by could just ignore to see. It is something anyone can try.


Photo by Nobuo Furuhashi

Introduction

When I was studying English literature, I remember being particularly struck by this passage in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own:

“What is meant by ‘reality’? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable—now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now in a daffodil in the sun. It lights up a group in a room and stamps some casual saying. It overwhelms one walking home beneath the stars and makes the silent world more real than the world of speech—and there it is again in an omnibus in the uproar of Piccadilly. Sometimes, too, it seems to dwell in shapes too far away for us to discern what their nature is. But whatever it touches, it fixes and makes permanent. That is what remains over when the skin of the day has been cast into the hedge; that is what is left of past time and of our loves and hates.” 

I have always been slightly obsessed with those moments of “reality” and the idea that they could be less erratic and more dependable, which is part of what has led me to the practices of both meditation and photography. 

One day a friend of mine mentioned Contemplative Photography while talking about a book by Andy Karr & Michael Wood. My friend thought I would connect with it as my photographs naturally seemed to be leaning in this direction. What resonated with me was that it was a way to align photography (my creative outlet) with what I was trying to cultivate in my life. I was inspired that photography could actually be used as a way to be more fully present and as a way to be able to see and experience the world more freshly or more purely.

I used to photograph before I started practicing contemplative photography, but I feel like a beginner to both photography and contemplative photography still. There is so much to learn!


Photo by Kimberly Poppe

How to practice

When I started contemplative photography I used "Seeing Fresh" assignments as a guide. I have practiced those assignments often and continue to go back to them. I find that by simply trying to focus on either colour, or texture, or simplicity or light it brings a clarity and new perspective to both to my mind and my photographs.

I’d really encourage other 500px photographers to explore and play around with these tutorials and I look forward to seeing the effect that it has on their work.

Did my photographic style change after I started to practice contemplative photography? Yes and no. I still tend to veer towards abstraction, but since I started practicing contemplative photography it has brought me more into touch with my own natural ability to see (which we all have) and has given me more confidence in it.


Photo by Matt Hanson

Discoveries

Exercising contemplative photography has helped me to come to know my own mind more. I am more aware of how and when I judge something as “good” or “bad”, before I have even let myself experience it. I also notice more detail when I am seeking after what I perceive as a “good shot”—and the hopes and fears that can come with this—and by being so focused on achieving that “good shot” I miss the real shot that is right in front of my eyes. Through being more aware of my concepts, ideas, judgments, and thoughts, it has helped me in attempting to let go of all these concepts and be a bit more free in both my mind and my photography; even if just a little.


Photo by Angie McMonigal

Examples

After a bit of research and digging I have come across contemplative photographers on 500px. Some I found while searching for “contemplative photography” and “miksang” (which is Tibetan for “good eye”), and some I came across by accident. Some of my favourite contemplative photographers on 500px are: Sara Feld, Alexi Wiedemann-Orrego, Tasso Dikaios, Sharon Steele, Sebastian Reggiany, Anne-Laure Amayon and Yuri Bittar.

Whenever I see a “fresh” photograph I am immediately drawn to it and then I try to investigate the photographer’s work more. It is my real hope that more wonderful 500px photographers start to experiment with contemplative photography and I am really looking forward to seeing their work.

I talked to some of the contemplative photographers that I did find at 500px, but not as much as I would like to. What really interests me is the process that goes on in the mind of the photographer and what this practice can lead us to discover about ourselves. It is difficult to convey this information through writing comments or messages only. What I would also really like to know is how the viewer experiences contemplative photographs.

I can only imagine and hope that contemplative photography brings that same feeling of freshness, clarity and space to the mind of the viewer, even if just for a moment.


Photo by Kimberly Poppe

Thanks for reading. If you'd like to add Kimberly Poppe to friends visit her 500px page.

Looking for more guest posts? Take look at Your Camera Is The Key by Pete Collins and How To Get A Photo Pass for Concerts by Brad Moore. Do you want to write an article for our blog? Get in touch, email blog@500px.com.

Share your contemplative photos in the comments below!


     

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