My Splitsek100 challenge so far...
22 Jul, 2018

My Splitsek100 challenge so far...

I’m now half way through my splitsek100 challenge that I joined in the beginning of 2018. It has been a ride, and this article is a little extract of some the things I have learned so far.

I joined Splitsek100 to challenge myself and my photography during 2018. Having to submit two images each week may sound trivial, but it actually poses quite a challenge - especially if you lean towards perfectionism as I do. Like I have stated before, I’m not a guy that’s gifted with a lot of creativity, so when joining the challenge, I made a mental list of things I hoped to change or improve upon in the process. The most notable items on my list included:

  1. Stop doing photography as a task I plan and set time aside for. Start thinking about images daily instead, and try to bring my camera along on trips I would normally not have “planned” for photography.

  2. Start using my iPhone much more regularly as a camera instead of only thinking of the DSLR as a camera for quality images.

  3. Leave my comfort zone doing images I know I can do well, with strong visual expression, and start taking every day images that tell a story instead.

  4. Stop being a gear and tech head!! Instead of reading about photography and joining discussions, try to do some actual photography - regardless of the gear used!

  5. Challenge myself with doing images using focal lenghts I rarely use.

"I joined Splitsek100 to challenge myself and my photography during 2018"

How did I do so far on this?

Overall I’d say I kinda failed the class up until now. The successes are few, but on one count I have definitely improved. While I still plan my photography fairly often, I have gotten A LOT better at thinking about images on a daily basis. I was really afraid that I would have a lot of submissions based on a forced last minute effort to meet the deadline. While that obviously has happened, I has been rare and well within my own “that’s life” limits. This is the great success so far of the challenge!

This also means I have started to use my iPhone a lot more, and many submissions has been from that camera. I have yet to accept my iPhone images as proper quality images that warrants importing into lightroom and storing in my catalog. So far they are only deemed okay, and I store them in my iCloud with edits made in Snapseed.

Regarding the other items on my list: You have to search a bit to find the improvements...
Sure, I have tried to leave my comfort zone, and I have submitted quite a few images from daily life. But I’m not impressed with neither the quality nor the amount of thought and ideas that I put into those. I really need to up my game on this one - and while I’m at it, using anything longer than 70mm would serve me well. Apart from portraits, i still rarely use any sort of tele with the compression and new opportunities that brings.

Where I have failed miserably is on spending time shooting images instead of reading and discussing on my iPad. I’m reading and participating WAY to much on photography related sites instead of actually shooting... That’s just pathetic, and I’m currently considering purchasing an electric fence to shock me whenever i touch my iPad - apparently that’s the only way to get me off that thing 😢

"I was really afraid that I would have a lot of submissions based on a forced last minute effort to meet the deadline"

Finally I have decided to comment on three of my keepers - and explain how I made them. I’ll leave the disasters alone for now😝

4/2 - Black Hole

This image was actually a submission based on a restriction i made myself. The subject for the image that week was to be: Black Hole.
At the time I defined the restriction, I had no idea how to complete the challenge, but I quickly decided that i wanted to interpret the subject from a science point of view. It is a broad subject where you could illustrate it as a feeling, a monetary situation or even an actual black object.
After a getting inspired by drawings of a deep space black hole, I thought about how to do spirals on an image. First of I tried with a lamp we have - it didn't work :-(
Then I thought of my air pellet gun and the rifling in the barrel.... That caused a trial and error process shooting down the barrel with several lenses, and trying with both light and no light at the end. Finally a solution came up with using my Macro, and turning the barrel end towards the natural light through our windows.  

Before: Black Hole Before: Black Hole

As you can see the image requires a bit of post processing. I wanted the spirals to fill the image, but set in black space. So a good crop along with some colour adjustments made the image. I didn't use Photoshop - it is lightroom only, so the black dot is made with a clone brush from the dark area in the image.

After: Black Hole After: Black Hole

7/1 - Casting a Shadow

This image is a great result of the "thinking in images" process the challenge has given me. First off my sons and I went to Aarhus to do some gocarting and get a good burger. I decided to bring the camera - something I would not have done if it weren't for the challenge. In Aarhus we decided to visit the Salling rooftop garden. While standing there the sun was really low on the horizon, and very long shadows was everywhere. Looking down on the street below, I noticed the shadows cast by people walking there, and it was a simple matter of waiting and composing the shot in my mind.

Before: Casting a Shadow Before: Casting a Shadow

At the time of capture, I was a bit constrained by the focal length, my shooting position and the 2:3 image ratio of my camera. It was actually a fairly difficult image to get somewhat right - and straight - in camera. So I knew I would need to crop the image to get what I really wanted. The image also needed a bit of colour adjustments, but the real challenge was the littering and the wire crossing the image. In the end I elected to live with almost all of it, as I'm not to fond of heavy photoshop'ing. I really like the end result, and I really like the process and the way the image came to me (very little planning included).

After: Casting a Shadow After: Casting a Shadow

9/1 - Exact Measures

This image is one of the last minute images where I - due to time constrictions - had to get creative in the evening at the deadline. Luckily I had a couple of hours and could avoid the quick snap, with no real thought behind it.
After looking around in the house, my interest was focused on a loupe my wife uses for her sewing. I wanted to illustrate the point of using a Loupe: The need to see the finer details, to make sure you are doing exact and detailed work. To illustrate the "exact" part, I thought a measure tape would be good, so I placed the loupe with the measure tape beneath it, and used a shallow depth of Field to put focus on only the loupe enlarged part of the measure. 

Before: Exact Measure Before: Exact Measure

For once I already had a B/W image in mind, so I started right away by converting it in lightroom - B/W is usually something that comes to me by testing on images in lightroom post capture. Other than that I needed to really hit contrast and clarity, because the image was not as crisp and clear as I would have liked (missing light at the time of capture). There was also a need to enhance the brightness and white levels, to really make the image pop with contrast. But nothing lightroom couldn't do :-)

After: Exact Measures After: Exact Measures


I'm really happy about creating and joining the Splitsek100 Challenge. It has certainly started a process within to think about images - to stay creative instead of forcing/planning it. While I have several really poor shots submitted, I also have several keepers that would have never been made was it not for the challenge.

I can highly recommend you create or join a challenge yourself. It really works if you decide to put in the effort.

You can see my Splitsek100 gallery here: My splitsek100 Challenge

I also created a little gallery with discarded images that failed in an attempt to capture a challenge submission. You can see them here: The Rejects