Ever since I got on Google+, which is a great platform for photographers and a great way to admire a plethora of crisp and large images, I’ve caught on to the Photowalk bug. A few weekends ago, my team and I organized our first Photowalk at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco – part of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk initiative – and we had a great time exchanging pointers on photography as well as getting to know all our participants. We ended the day feeling really good about the event, but imagine our surprise when we logged into Google+ and saw all the exceptional photographs that resulted from our walk. As promised, we selected two winners for our Photowalk contest – Father-Photographer-Realtor-Golfer-Geek-Author-Fly Fisherman Keith Cuddeback (image, top) and New Media Designer Karaminder Ghuman.
See 12 honorable mentions below and visit our Photowalk album to see other entries. In addition, Rohith Thumati , we will be sending you a Lowepro strap as a token of our appreciation for being such an awesome contributor. Don’t forget to scroll down to see a summary of the events of the day ☺
When we pulled into the winding roads of Golden Gate Park, my lighting director, Ryan, studio manager Trish, her boyfriend Mark and I were all pleasantly surprised at the ease with which we were able to find a parking spot. Right then, I knew the day was going to be fabulous! For days leading up to my first Photo Walk ever, we were concerned about all the possible odds that were stacked against us that coming weekend. There was the Strictly Hardly Bluegrass Festival, which reportedly expected 700,000 people blocks down the same park. There was the possible fog so famously celebrated yet dreaded at the same time in San Francisco. And, yes, there’s the parking situation – or perhaps more appropriately, the lack of parking in the city, especially at the weekends.
Against all these odds, we enjoyed a few hours of gorgeous, sunny weather, starting at the Japanese Tea Garden, where we had a fun group shot taken by contest winner Keith Cuddeback and everywhere you turned, there was someone with a camera! At the De Young Museum, I gave an unconventional portraiture lesson using Trish as my model and Ryan also gave a lighting lesson nearby at the Music Concourse Bandshell, where we shared our tips on our favorite California Sunbounce reflector. It wasn’t just all lessons on photography of course; everyone had a blast getting to know each other over drinks at The Little Shamrock just outside of the Golden Gate Park – see more images by superb photographer Carl Costas here. Thanks to everyone for coming out this year and to my team for putting this awesome event together – until next year!
In Greek Mythology, the muses were goddesses who stoked the imaginative fire of countless creative geniuses. My own creative energy has been inspired again and again by the myriad of intriguing cultures and the mesmerizing energy of people I’ve experienced throughout my photography journey. Last month, I kicked off my CHS Exploration of A Muse Contest to find the most beautifully executed shots and visually creative interpretation of the “Muse” theme. After reviewing the many exceptional entries, my editors and I narrowed down to 2 honorable mentions, who each get a premium 500px Awesome account.
Congratulations, Brenda and Ronen, both your entries blew us away. Of her portrait, Brenda (picture, top) from Long Beach, California, says, “My entry was shot in the Cenotes of the Mayan Riviera. Water is my muse. It has always been magical, mysterious, and otherworldly to me. I love to explore this realm (where few people go), and share how I see it with the world.” For Ronen (picture, bottom) from sunny Tel Aviv, Israel, his portrait “Master Magician” is part of an ongoing series he has been working on for the past 5 years titled “The Surrealistic Pillow” Project. “Reconstructing my dreams into visual creations – conveying happiness, sadness, exhilaration or sheer paranoia – as dreams often do. ‘Master Magician’ speaks of my muse – the art of photography itself – A tool in which we, photographers, like magicians – can spellbound and excite through visual trickery.”
See the 8 other finalists, including the Voter’s Choice Tamara, who also wins a premium 500px Awesome account.
VOTER’S CHOICE WINNER: Tamara Pruessner
Originally from New Mexico, but now lives in Tucson, Arizona
“My entry is called ‘Zeus’ Playground.’ My muse is Mother Nature herself. She has completely captivated my attention. I find myself hoping, praying, for lightning storm in the evenings. I have my tripod and my camera ready at a moment’s notice and will drag my family out at midnight to chase the awesome strikes she produces.”
“This shot is a great example of how I’m inspired in Photography. Travel is my Muse. I’m trying to find the less known places to see uncommon things. After getting lost on the Magdalen Islands I found this small fishermen harbor with this dramatic sky on the background.”
New Braunfels, Texas
“This photo represents who I am through an endless amount of aspects you might see in my picture. Not only does it reveal my physical features, it also helps to reveal my thoughts, aspirations, and creative outlook on life itself.
Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England
Annabel is my youngest daughter (almost 4). My kids are my muse. I love recording their development in pictures, and they are the reason I first picked up a DSLR – nothing special, just a Sony A200, but it suits my purposes.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
“The photo is of my muse, my wife, Pamela. She is my muse because she always encourages me to follow my instincts and shoot what I find interesting, which is often not what others do.”
The ocean is my muse. This was a day that I was out shooting on the coast of Santa Barbara when a young boy climbed up on a rock in front of me. I decided to make the boy part of my composition because he looked so striking and confident. I named the photo “Rise Up” in honor of my friend Matt who had just lost his father.
S Jessica Deal
His Medusa-black hair is stained with thick playa dust – his piercing black-lined eyes rest intently in the direction of my lens. Even amid fire dancers, bare bodied beauties and thousands of bohemian Burning Man pilgrims, Eric Hudock cuts a striking outline against the stark landscape. Armed with my Canon 5DMII, I find myself invigorated by this close friend and muse, the subject of many of my fine art photographs. His striking features, complexity, and willingness to be vulnerable inspire my perpetual craving to explore the depth of human character.
I’m searching for the most unique, creative and visually appealing photographic interpretation of the theme “Muse.” What is your muse? Is it a person, a place or a thing? Let your imagination run wild!
We’re giving away three annual premium 500px Awesome accounts to 3 exceptional entries. The winning images will also be published on Catherine Hall Studios blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+! Thank you 500px for supporting the arts and sponsoring the contest!
HOW TO JOIN
To join the contest, you need to be in my Google+ Photographers circle. Leave a comment on http://bit.ly/GPlus-Original-Contest-Post and I will add you to the circle. I have to manually add you, so please be patient if you are unable to upload your photo yet. It may look like I live on G+, but I actually have a business to run – please excuse any delays *wink* :)
1) Add me +Catherine Hall to your Google+ circle.
2) Add a comment to this original post on Google+.
3) After I add you to my Photographers’ Circle, go to http://bit.ly/ExplorationOfAMuse2011PhotoContest
4) Click “Add photos”.
5) Caption: Add your Google+ name before your description. See example.
+Catherine Hall: Eric Hudock on the Playa at Burning Man. Eric is my muse…
6) Share this post with your friends!
The deadline for entries is August 28 11.59 p.m. PST. Voting ends Sept 2 at 10 a.m. PST.
Voters determine the People’s Choice Award and each “unique” comment counts as a vote. The qualifying entry with the most number of votes wins – so please share it with your friends :) Here’s what qualifies as “unique”:
1) Multiple comments on the same photograph by the same voter counts as 1 vote.
2) Participants’ comments on their own entry do not qualify as votes.
Two other entries will receive honorable mentions. I will personally select two exceptional photographs based on their technique, composition, impact, creativity, visual appeal and effectiveness in conveying the theme.
To enter, you must be at least 18 years of age.
Images must be 1920 pixels on their longest dimension and saved in JPG format.
Multiple Entries per Person
You may submit any number of entries into the contest.
Obscene, provocative or otherwise questionable content will not be considered. Catherine Hall Studios retains sole discretion as to what constitutes inappropriate content.
Any entry you submit must be a photograph taken by you. You must be the sole owner of the copyright of any image submitted. Your submission of the photograph is your guarantee that you are the author and copyright holder of the photo and have permission from said subject to distribute the image.
By entering the contest, entrants agree to have their submitted photograph displayed on Catherine Hall Studios website and used by Catherine Hall Studios in promotions directedly related to the Exploration of A Muse Photo Contest. Catherine Hall Studios reserves the right to disqualify and delete any photographs, without notice, and for any reason.
The qualifying entry with the most number of votes will be the People’s Choice Award winner. Catherine Hall Studios will judge two other entries on the basis of technique, composition, impact, creativity, visual appeal and effectiveness in conveying the unique contest theme. All contest decisions are final. Entries that fail to comply with these Official Rules may be disqualified.
The winners will be notified by email within one week of the winner announcement date through Google+. Please note that the Peoples’ Choice winner of any Catherine Hall Studios 2011 contests are not eligible for another Peoples’ Choice Award; however, their image will be considered for honorable mention awards.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Google. By participating, you hereby release and hold harmless Google and Catherine Hall Studios from any and all liability associated with this promotion.
Human beings have an odd fascination with our selves, our features and it’s even more so for us artists and photographers. Perhaps it is a sort of rite of passage we each have to go through before we are able to extract and capture the essence of our subjects. Following my curiosity with the power of self-portraits, I partnered with Lowepro to find the most visually creative and beautifully executed shots. And the results, as you can see, are no short of amazing.
After a grueling and difficult process with my editors, I narrowed down 2 honorable mentions, who each get a Lowepro Slingshot 100 AW. Congratulations, Jeremiah and Sofia, both your self-portraits blew everyone at Catherine Hall Studios away. Of his portrait, Jeremiah (picture, top) from Austin, Texas, says, “I was thinking of magic when I went to take this picture. On how could I translate my thoughts into an actual factual image, and make it speak not only to me but everyone else who saw it.” Sofia (below), on the other hand, is from Naples, Italy.
See the other 11 finalists, including a notable mention for Laura, who created a mysterious portrait that reminds one of an bygone era. Of course, not to mention her courage for posing nude!
Vero Beach, Florida
“While enrolled in a photography class, we were assigned to do a self portrait. I wanted to do something totally different, and eye catching! We also had to use an old fashion manual camera. No digital. My props included an old swing, and antique mirror. I was going for a vintage nature look.”
I took this photo during a very hard and stressful time in my life. I was struggling with the things that every 24 year old deals with in addition to some family members have medical issues. I was simply “Down And Out”. It was shot with a strobe and a softbox.
Born in Romania, Living in Austria
I tried to make something memorable for those who are still reading the “paper” newspaper, not the online versions of them every morning.
New Braunfels, Texas
This photo represents who I am through an endless amount of aspects you might see in my picture. Not only does it reveal my physical features, it also helps to reveal my thoughts, aspirations, and creative outlook on life itself.
This day was a rainy winter sunday afternoon, not shaved, alone with my camera… Well, it’s me :)
Originally from Ohio but has lived in San Diego, CA, since 1997
I had a great time making that portrait. I was having some trouble finding creative inspiration so I decided to just work on some technical stuff to keep improving the craft side of my photography. Things started out sort of serious and technical, but then my imagination got going and I thought up the Bugs Bunny idea. By the end of the evening, I was laughing and inspired to do more self portraits and make up more characters.
Originally from Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, but currently residing in England.
It was late; I was editing a wedding when I decided to play with my new flashgun. Flashgun held to the right at 45 degrees and synced with a cable, flash overexposed to darken background. Face resembled my mood induced by long editing hours. Pleased with the light catching my eye!
Asheville, North Carolina
I was testing out some new speed lights and reflectors and the pics came out pretty good.
In this photo, I was at my grandparents (and wanted to go into the fields) and used the wind and the color of the wheat and my hair to create a play of colors.
I couldn’t believe I came across a road that was identified with the Number of the Beast! This sort of thing doesn’t happen in England. I was feeling particularly impish at the time (as you can tell)! This was taken on New Year’s Eve 1990, with a Canon 35mm. Yes, actual film! So I had no idea whether I had the shot or not until the roll was developed back in the UK! One shot, no crop!
Congrats to Awais Inayat of Pakistan, who won a Lowepro ProRunner x450 camera bag valued at $429.99. You are the People’s Choice! Awais is from Rawalpindi, which is a neighbor of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. I’m so glad to have supporters from all over the world, like you, Awais! Here’s Awais’ statement for his self-portrait:
“I was very glad while I was exploring the new camera I got. [I] took a few random shots and then placed it on a table nearby me, made a few photos. I like this one the most. So, I submitted it in the contest and I’m glad that it has [won].”
I will announce honorable mentions and feature other phenomenal self-portraits in a special post on Monday. Look out for an exciting upcoming new contest. You could be our next lucky winner.