Monthly Challenges 2022/23

The list of our Monthly Challenge topics follows:


June /July/August – It’s Summer: Get Outside!!  (Around Ottawa/Gatineau and the Ottawa Valley)

For the meeting on September 9th – Submit by September 2nd

  • Summer has finally arrived! It is time to get outside! There are so many things to see and do in and around Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley. Grab your camera and take some photographs of your favourite location, subject, or activity. Perhaps you want to get creative and take a photograph that has a unique perspective or is somewhat ambiguous. Try to stump our club members by having them guess what the photograph actually is about.


September – Transportation

For For the meeting on October 14th – Submit by October 7th

  • Transportation is generally defined as the movement of humans, animals, and objects from one location to another. It can be active or implied. Explore different or unique modes of transportation, perhaps employing different points of view, shutter speeds, lenses, or filters.


October – Circles

For the meeting on November 4 – Submit by October 28th

  • Circles are powerful universal symbols that can suggest strength and security. Alternatively, circles also be soft and inviting. They occur naturally in geological formations, in ocean and atmospheric currents, and in human-made objects and creations spanning thousands of years of history.
  • Circles are all around us. They can be seen in rocks, swirling water, wheels, household items, fruit and vegetables, patterns, shadows and even circles of friends.


November – Contrast

For the meeting on December 2nd – Submit by November 25th

  • Contrast is key element of photography. From a photographic perspective, it refers to differences, specifically differences between tones and colours that make up an image. It is the degree of difference between lights and darks or the difference between two or more colours in an image.
  • However, contrast can also be interpreted in a more general way, such as contrasting perspectives, opinions, or emotions. Get out of your comfort zone and explore creative ways of interrupting contrast.


December – Portrait Without a Person

For the meeting on January 6th- Submit by December 30th

  • This is a form of still life photography where you try to tell a story about a person (including yourself) by photographing items that the person is identified with.  Family, work, hobbies, accomplishments all make for elements that you can add to your story.  While this is primarily a still-life image, having a beloved pet in the scene can be part of your story.  People can be included, but only in an indirect way, for instance a picture of the person could be part of the story.
  • You don’t have to tell everything about the person in a single image; you can “specialize”.  If the person likes to cook or bake, you can do a portrait without the person just on this topic.  You can build separate stories about yourself, your spouse, children, parents, friends, etc.  A very poignant approach can be the memories of someone who is no longer alive as this can be a legacy that anyone who knew this person would appreciate.


January – Hands (old ones, new ones idle hands, busy hands, hands at work, at play or at rest)

For the meeting on February 3rd – Submit by January 27th

  • Hands reveal aspects of an individual’s personality. Hands can be busy or idle; they can be at play or at work.  Our hands can tell us much about life experience, age, and even occupation. Think of the skilled hands of a surgeon, the deft hands of a pianist, or the calloused hands of a labourer.
  • Renowned Ottawa photographer Yousuf Karsh was a master of incorporating the hands of his subjects to reveal character in his portraits.
  • This photo challenge asks that you think of how you can use the topic of “hands” in your photography to tell a person’s story.  Alternatively, you could interpret the topic “hands” in other ways, such as the “hands” of a clock, or of “lending a hand“ in helping a neighbour


February – Still Life

For the meeting on March 3rd – Submit by February 24th

  • Still life photography is a genre of photography used for the depiction of inanimate subject matter, typically a small group of objects arranged on an interesting background.  Similar to still life painting, it is the application of photography to the still life artistic style.  Tabletop photography is a sub-genre of still life photography, and one commonly found in amateur photography.  Food can be an interesting subject in still-life work.
  • Working indoors during bad weather when you don’t want to wander outdoors can be a great time to work on your still-life skills. 
  • For a full description of still life photography, see the Manfred Muellier’s Presentation, Still Life Photography – An Overview


March – Animals, Pets

For the meeting on April 14th – Submit by April 7th

  • There are approximately 17 million cat photos and 8 million dog photos on Instagram. Why are we so fascinated with photos of pets? Is it possible to take a photograph of your pet that is somehow unique? Rather than a pet, how about an animal that may not be quite so lovable and cuddly?


April – Out of Place, Outliers (what does not belong), Unexpected

For the meeting on May 5th- Submit by April 28th

  • Have you ever noticed something that seemed to be out of place, something that attracted your attention because it just didn’t seem to belong? Perhaps in your photography you intentionally placed something in the picture frame to draw the viewer’s attention to that particular object. Look for or place unexpected elements in your picture frame that catch and hold the viewer’s attention.


May – Pareidolia

For the meeting on June 2nd- Submit by May 26th

  • Merriam-Webster dictionary defines this as “the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern”.
  • This happens when you can “see” a representation that looks like something, usually a face or an animal shape in a something random like a tree or a cloud or a rock formation. It can be naturally occurring or man-made, like in a building. So, look around, use your imagination and your mind’s eye to spot some examples. To spur imagination, just Google pareidolia and click images to see lots of examples.