With the winter darkness quickly taking over more and more of my day, the holiday season always comes as something of a relief. Just as I start to feel truly blue about the 5pm sunset, small twinkling lights suddenly begin appearing all over town. They dance between light poles, twirl around trees, and light the way home. It’s hard to be blue when the whole town seems to be prepped for a party.
For this month’s P.E.T. Photo Challenge, focus your camera on the light sources around you. From twinkling strands to streaking headlights, giant billboards to a solitary candle, there are so many interesting ways to add light to a scene. See what happens when you turn the light itself into your subject.
If you’re shooting buildings or other outdoor scenes, keep in mind that lights often look their best just before the sun has set—when there’s still enough light to make out the scene, but it’s dark enough to see the effect of the lights.
If you’re in need of a little inspiration, here are some good places to start:
- This is a great opportunity to try your hand at capturing bokeh (seen here in Liz’ photo). The soft, dreamy, out-of-focus light can add a lovely touch of whimsy to a photo—and is in perfect keeping with the season. Check out Laurie Excell’s article “Bokeh: Getting the Perfect Soft Background” from the September/October 2008 issue. If you’re ready to get more creative with it, read Liz Ness’ fun tutorial “Transform Your Light“ (September/October 2011).
- Photos tagged with “lights” at 500px.com.
- Photo tagged with “ holiday lights” on Flickr.
Most importantly, have fun!
Any subscriber can participate in the monthly P.E.T. Photo Challenge. In addition to photographs, you can also submit collages or other images you’ve created in Photoshop Elements. Submissions must follow a few simple guidelines:
- You must take the photo within the challenge month (after all, there’s not much challenge in digging through your library to find an old photo)
- You must own the rights to any image you submit. (If you use third-party frames or embellishments, please make sure this usage is allowed under the sale terms.)
- You are encouraged to interpret the theme creatively, but keep in mind that photos that seem entirely unrelated may get overlooked.
You can submit your entries to either the P.E.T. Gallery or Elements Village Gallery as you would for Subscriber Showcase. When uploading your image to the Elements Village Gallery, please enter the phrase “Photo-Challenge” exactly as shown (without the quotes) in the Keywords field. For the P.E.T. Gallery, please enter “Photo-Challenge” in the Description field when uploading the photo.
When the month is over, we’ll showcase our favorite entries on the website. (Click here to see the top picks from our previous challenges.) A few entries may also be featured in the magazine. Our selections for the November Motion challenge will be online around the 15th.
Have fun and Happy Holidays!