Last week someone told me about the Fred Miranda website. OK – where have I been? I love this website – www.fredmiranda.com. There is a little bit (or a lot) of everything here – reviews, a store, info on software, and a forum. The message boards are great. I love photo challenges – you know the whole get a theme and you take photos about that theme. They have weekly and monthly challenges at Fred Miranda. And – the best part – you can only submit ONE photo for the theme.
In our photo club we have monthly themes. It is fun and interesting and stretches people to take photos that they may not have taken if they did not have the theme challenge staring them in the face. Our theme for June was "Night." The theme coming up for July is "Rhythm." In the past we have had themes like self portrait, water, transportation and macro – no bugs, no flowers.
When we chose the themes for the next twelve months we had a great discussion of what would make good themes. I had been thinking all along that giving a broad, general theme would be fun – to see how it could be interpreted. But, another member had an idea of giving a very narrow idea – for the same reason – to see how it could be interpreted. Our themes reflect both – broad and narrow – it will be interesting to see how everyone chooses to go with them.
Back to another thing I like about Fred Miranda's site – the fact that you can only choose one photo for the theme. I think having to edit yourself down to only one photo is a challenge in itself. It is easy to have a handful of photos – even if one is a little weak, chances are one or more are pretty strong and it looks like a good series. But – if you only have one photo to portray "night" or "rhythm" or whatever – you have to think a little bit and practice editing your work.
Learning to edit your work is a skill that many never master. I try to edit mine all the time and end up overwhelming myself with a stack of photos that one minute I think are all excellent and the next minute I think they are all disasters. But just think, if I am overwhelmed, if I were showing my work to someone else and showing too much of it, wouldn't they be overwhelmed as well?
When I set up our club's Flickr site – I chose to limit the number of photos each person could post per week – they are limited to two. This is an exercise in editing and a little challenge rolled into one. First, you should think about it and place your best into the group pool. Some weeks it may be harder than others. If you have a really great week of photos – it would be difficult to choose only two – but that is the challenge.
That is what I love about the Fred Miranda challenges – great themes to really make you think like: doorway, geometric shadow, my addiction, and deep. And – on top of a tough theme – only one submission.