Monthly Photo Challenge: Urban Seasons/Cleveland — January 2016

Cleveland, OH: July, 2014 at dusk.


Welcome to a new year! As indicated in my last post, this year I will be focusing on urban photography. Besides expanding my skills by delving into new territory photographically speaking, I hope to learn more about this, my adopted city. I grew up in the south and am told I still speak with a bit of a southern drawl. Relocating to Cleveland, OH,  a city situated on the shores of one of our great lakes, Erie, is a culture shock to say the least.  I work in the city but at times still feel like a stranger. Choosing to focus on the seasonal changes in the city seemed like a no-brainer for me. Little did I know how very different nature photography is from photographing city sights!

Unlike the organic lines, lights, shadows and shapes found in nature, urban landscapes are a juxtaposition of straight lines, harsh angles, crisp shadows, and all things concrete and metal. As you will see, I found it difficult to frame shots that didn’t look wildly distorted, tilted, and/or contrasty. I intentionally shot some photos at angles to hide the fact that I couldn’t get a good perspective no matter how hard I tried.

Another challenge to me was simply where to begin. I quickly discovered that going out to shoot photos in the city bewilders me. There is simply too much of everything: buildings, interesting streets, storefronts, lights, automobiles, etc. This month’s post is a hodgepodge of photos from different areas of the city. The black and white photos of the bridges and tavern were shot in an area known as “The Flats.” The color photos (with b&w thrown in) were shot in “Little Italy” and “Cleveland Heights.” Going forward I will choose one area of focus and concentrate in that area or on one subject. Otherwise I will get flustered and too discouraged to see this through to the end. Yes, this year will be quite a challenge. I hope you will feel free to offer constructive criticism as the year progresses. This project is a work in progress and is truly a learning experience for me. In other words, HELP! 😉

The photo that heads this post was shot a couple of years ago from a lakeside park looking east toward Cleveland after the sun had set. My plan is to use this as the header of each post in this challenge throughout the year, unless of course I get something better.

I hope you enjoy this months photos. I have mixed feelings, but look forward to improving with each month’s post.

As indicated last month, with this 2016 challenge I will highlight one photograph to “play” with, try something new, or edit in some way that will help me grow as well as enhance the image. This month I chose to experiment with the image I shot looking through the front window of my car (while stopped at a traffic signal). The window was still frosted around the edges as I peered at the red car in front of me.

I downloaded Picassa, a free post-editing program that I think will enhance my post editing skills, experimented with it and the following photo is what I came up with. Of course I never wrote down the steps to achieving the following photo so can’t comment much on it. I just fiddled with a few settings and here you see the finished product. Next month I will take better notes. Let me know what you think.


My first post processed print using Picassa!

As you can see, I have a LOT to learn this year. I look forward to reading your comments and seeing your images, too. Have a great 2016!