Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood

It’s here: our first phoneography challenge!

To kick this off, grab your phone and head out the door. That’s right — get on your feet and go outside to explore — and document — where you live. I want to see your neighborhood: The path you take for your daily morning run. Your local coffee shop or dive bar. The nearby alley of street and community art. A shot of the intersection that perfectly captures the bustle of your own corner of town. Or a serene landscape view of your village:

path view

The countryside path to my mother-in-law’s home in Kent, England. Taken with my iPhone 4s.

For this inaugural phoneography challenge, document where you live with just your phone. I’ll leave it to you to decide how best to capture it; you can post a shot like the one above, or get creative with angles. Maybe you want to get low, as suggested by our recent guest photographer Christopher Martin, as shown in this street shot in Oxford:

Low-angle street shot in Oxford. Taken with an iPhone 4s.

Low-angle street shot in Oxford. Taken with my iPhone 4s.

Or perhaps you want to zoom out and show us a view of your entire city from a favorite spot, like this shot of Los Angeles from up high in the Los Feliz neighborhood at the Griffith Observatory:

Wide shot of Los Angeles from the Los Feliz area. Taken with my iPhone 4s.

For this challenge, I really encourage you to use your camera phone to snap a picture, then create and publish a new post from your app. (I covered mobile app basics in Wednesday’s “Blogging on the Go” post, so take a peek if you need a refresher and download the app you need to get started.) But ultimately, use any camera you’d like for this and future phoneography challenges — we won’t disqualify your submission if you simply can’t stay away from your regular camera.

In addition to your image, type some text in the editor screen, too — tell us about the snapshot and more about your neighborhood, town, or city:

A post preview in the WordPress for iOS app.

A post preview in the WordPress for iOS app.

You can publish a single image in your post, but if you’re looking for an advanced challenge, upload multiple photos and tell a story with a mini photo essay — created entirely on your phone.

In a new post created for this challenge, share a picture that reveals your NEIGHBORHOOD.

A few tips to consider:

  • Get lost in the details. Capture details particular to your neighborhood: Brick wall exteriors of nearby buildings. Rare plants on the path to the park. Storefronts. Road signs.
  • Capture a panorama. Want to capture your city’s skyline at night, or the creaky wooden bridge at the edge of town? Take a wide establishing shot. For example, on the iPhone, click Options at the top to use the panorama setting. Or on the Android, select the panorama mode and touch the green button to pan across the area you want in your image.
  • Select a focal point. Let’s say you post a photo of a street corner, or apartment building, or wall inside your favorite café. Lead your viewer to the image’s focus. On some mobile apps, like the iPhone and Android, you can tap the part of the image you’d like to focus on; on the BlackBerry 10, drag and move the cursor on the screen to change the focal point. You can also run your photo through a camera app, like Instagram or Focus Camera, and manually focus. (We’ll give you bonus points for choosing an off-center or unexpected focal point that reveals something interesting about your neighborhood!)
  • Experiment with motion. At the end of the day, your camera phone is a mobile device — which means you may not be able to avoid movement. Place your phone atop something to keep it steady as you shoot. Use the iPhone’s grid option (accessible via Options) to create a level horizon in your composition. Or if you’ve got a BlackBerry, enable stabilization mode if you’re on the move. But sometimes unexpected movement creates a cool picture — try taking a photo of street traffic at night and see what you come up with, or experiment with an app like Motion Camera for your Android and see what beautiful blurs you can capture.


cheri lucasLooking forward to seeing what you come up with!

— Cheri

New to The Daily Post? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’re invited to get involved in our Weekly Photo Challenge to help you meet your blogging goals and give you another way to take part in Post a Day / Post a Week. Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. You can also link to this post to create a pingback here and to encourage more people to participate.

3. Subscribe to The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.

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      1. If you read the post and earlier comments, you will see that they are working in some phoneography challenges into the Weekly Photo Challenge for “phoneography month,” but you can choose to use a regular camera if you want and still participate.