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52Frames: A New Challenge Every Week

An online Facebook contest helps build photography skills
A flock of starlings near the southern Arab Israeli city of Rahat, in the northern Israeli Negev desert, on February 2, 2015. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)
A flock of starlings near the southern Arab Israeli city of Rahat, in the northern Israeli Negev desert, on February 2, 2015. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)

Every Sunday around 7pm Israel time I get excited. I have many things to get excited about in my life. My beautiful wife and three amazing children are constantly adding excitement to my life (at times even more than I know what to do with), but on Sundays it’s something different. Every Sunday around this time, the latest 52Frames album is uploaded to Facebook and I’m lucky enough to be a part of this collective collaboration.

As Laura Ben-David so eloquently wrote almost two years ago describing this online phenomenon in her blog article entitled ‘Fifty-two shades of grey… color too’, 52Frames is a weekly collaborative photo album. For many, including myself, it’s so much more than that.

I first saw a 52Frames photo album posted on Facebook back in 2014. Since then I followed the page for a few months without participating. Then, in March 2015, I plucked up the courage and requested to join the group. But what did this mean? It meant that every week, the people behind 52Frames, Shai Davis and Yosef Adest set a photographic challenge and I would do my best to understand it and submit a freshly taken photograph complying with the guidelines of the challenge.

When I first joined the group I was an avid photographer due to taking thousands of pictures of my children over the past 13 years. But now, after joining the group and attempting to submit a new photograph every week, I feel that I am learning something new every week. It’s really easy to look at a photograph and say ‘that’s a good picture’ or ‘that picture sucks’ without understanding what the photographer was trying to achieve.

For every weekly challenge that is set, there is a technique behind the challenge and links to resources which explain these techniques. As someone who has only ever enjoyed taking pictures and seeing instant results, I had never really paid attention to photographic techniques. For example, the subject of one of the first challenges that I submitted was ‘Week 13 – Levitation’, to picture an object or person frozen in mid-air. The challenge included tips and a cool video how to achieve this effect in post editing. On top of learning something new, I found that I really enjoyed setting up the picture and playing with it afterwards in Photoshop.

Raising Ariella

The model for this shot is my 11 year old daughter Ariella.

Then came the moment of truth. As the clock ticked and the album went live on Facebook on a Sunday in March around 7pm, overcome with anxiety, I scoured through the album to see my published picture. As I scanned through the album I saw that the quality of the submissions were incredible. Other 52Framers had managed to capture some amazing shots. A big part of the group is the constructive criticism offered by fellow photographers. Most Sundays I stay up late just to look at each photograph and read the comments written on the submissions.

Panning

In the challenge set in ‘Week 24 – Transportation’ an explanation of a technique called ‘panning’ was detailed. I’d seen photographs using this technique but didn’t even know it had a name and had often wondered how it had been achieved. The tutorial very clearly and concisely detailed how to achieve this effect for moving objects such as bicycles and cars. And so I tried it out on the streets of Tel Aviv.

One of my favorite challenges to date has been ‘Week 17 Macro’. Every time my wife would see a spider and scream I would run for my camera and tell her to hold on. Here is one of my macro shots.

flower_bee (1 of 1)

I feel that 52Frames has really taught me a lot about photography and I’m still learning new techniques on a weekly basis. It has brought a new lease of life into an existing hobby and put me in touch with many other people who share the same passion. Thank you 52Frames – Yosef and Shai and all of the wonderful people within the 52Frames community.

About the Author
By day, Michael takes photographs of anything and everything including Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs, Family Portraits, Wedding, Britot and Events. By night, self proclaimed connoisseur of good whiskey and writer for pleasure and kicks.
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