52 Frames Submissions

I am participating in a photo project called 52 Frames (https://52frames.com).

52Frames has a single mission: to turn you into a truly awesome photographer. We believe that the recipe for creating awesome photographers is actually pretty simple.  We call them the 3 C’s:

  • CONSISTENCY: Like any skill worth having, learning photography takes practice. And hard work. And patience. That’s why the core of 52Frames is the weekly challenge. Every week we present a photographic challenge designed to stimulate your creativity, expand your expertise, and refine your personal voice. Don’t miss a week – the consistency is kind of a big deal. I even said so in a TEDx talk.
  • COMMUNITY: You don’t become great all by yourself. (Well, that one guy did, but we can all agree he was a jerk, right?). It takes a community of support, motivation, and the occasional tough love to help someone grow. At 52Frames, that means offering great critique, sharing inspiration, or even just walking around town with some other eager photographers.
  • CREATIVITY: And the 3rd, maybe most important C, and that’s creativity. Because at the end of the day (or week?) you are gifting yourself a slice of creativity in your otherwise busy life. In this chaotic world of e-mails, meetings, and diapers, we invite you to take a little “me-time.” To identify the beauty that surrounds all of us. To look through that viewfinder… to wait for just the right moment… and to click.

Each week nearly 800 photographers share their view of the weekly assignment. Here are my submissions.

Night: Looking North on Maryland Avenue at the Bolt Bus Stop in Baltimore (week 33)

6862 MarcoCiavolino Night POST

Looking North on Maryland Avenue at the Bolt Bus Stop in Baltimore

Along the east coast, particularly between NY and Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, there are about a dozen discount bus lines that provide rides at a low as a few dollars per ticket (if purchased way in advance). The Bolt Bus stop right in the middle of Baltimore on a bridge. Go figure.

Camera: NIKON D7500
Format: Raw at 5568 x 3712
Color: sRGB
F 5.6
Exposure 1/80 second
ISO 12,800
Focal Length: 140mm
Cropped Square and sharpened in Photoshop CS

Assignment:  Going on a night photo shoot sometimes feel like exploring new territory. Everything looks just a little bit more different in the night and even very familiar places or objects have a totally different ‘atmosphere’ about them. Some views are more romantic or breathtakingly beautiful at night. While other places (which is actually totally boring during the day) have a sinister and scary feel about them during the night.Going on a night photo shoot sometimes feel like exploring new territory. Everything looks just a little bit more different in the night and even very familiar places or objects have a totally different ‘atmosphere’ about them. Some views are more romantic or breathtakingly beautiful at night. While other places (which is actually totally boring during the day) have a sinister and scary feel about them during the night. This is your challenge this week, creative Framers. Go and have a night adventure! Show us something beautiful, or scary or maybe even something magical…Experiment with your camera’s setting and always be aware of your light sources. Play with the absence of light and help us create a magical night photography album!

House of Squares (2018 Week 32)

6862 MarcoCiavolino Squares SUBMIT

I started looking around (which is one of the major points of 52frames) and was amazed at how many squares are part of my daily life and part the memories extending back over 30 years of marriage. A square is like vanilla icecream. It is just a perfect shape.

Shot with a NIKON D7500
Various settings.
Cropped and composited in Photoshop CS.

Assignment:  Chocolate squares and dice, quilting fat quarters and windows and elevator buttons, and not to forget SpongeBob Squarepants! The square shape is probably not an organic shape but we definitely like to make square things, don’t we!? Maybe because it is so solid and symmetrical, but it is definitely a shape that one sees everywhere in various sizes and flavours. So this week, creative Framers, we are going to have to be square! You can photograph square objects (and then keep noticing squares for the next two months!) or you can play a bit more with this week’s theme. You can take photos of life in the village square, people doing a square dance, calculate the square root of a number, show us how to fit a square peg in a round hole or even turn a pyramid upside-down because as you know, it is is hip to be square!

What is it? An Alien Invasion? (2018 Week 31)

6862 MarcoCiavolino WhatIsIt DSC 0087 Submitted

Amazingly engineered to seek a secure footing. Our bedroom is slowly invaded.

You can see the answer here:https://enktesis.com/innovative-projects/52frames#whatisit

Assignment:  Our photos are usually portraits, landscapes, objects arranged in an interesting way, or other real things that we identify with as soon as we see the photo. We play with the light and composition to show these things or people, or views in a flattering or eye-catching manner.  This week, however, we want to tease the viewer and make them take a second look at the photo, maybe turn their head sideways and then STILL wonder “What IS it??”. You can approach this week’s challenge from various angles. You can either shoot an abstract photo or a macro photo, take a photo from an unusual angle or take a photo of an unusual phenomenon or object. You can even crawl underneath a table and take an artistic photo of the chewing gum stuck there! So creative framers, show us the world through your weird and creative eyes. We need to make an album this week that will puzzle the viewer and make everyone ask: “WHAT is this!?”

6862 MarcoCiavolino WhatIsIt DSC 0087 Solution

Elements of the Centuries Starting Before 1772 (2018 Week 30)

6862 MarcoCiavolino Elements DSC 0077 Submitted

This is the main fireplace in a house owned by a friend of mine. Its first appearance on the tax rolls was in 1772 and it was standing well before that. So here you have the elements that have been in use for nearly 250 years. Fire in the fireplace. Metal for the pot. Water in the pot. Earth in the bricks. Wood for the fire. Every time I'm there I try to imagine the thousands of converstations that were had, the debates won, the love stories told, the children fed. And during prohibition it was a speakeasy. More stories to imagine.

6862 MarcoCiavolino Elements DSC 0080 House Web

Assignment: The five elements (earth, wood, fire, water, metal) refer to a Chinese philosophy that says that the five elements constitute everything in our universe. These elements do not just stand on their own but also have specific interactions and relationships with each other. It is a huge philosophy and used in Chinese medicine, feng shui, fortune-telling, and martial arts. You are welcome to focus on one of the five the elements, a combination of two or more of the elements or of the interactions between the elements.

Extreme Contrasts of Contrasts (2018 Week 29)

6862 MarcoCiavolino ExtremeContrast Submit IMG 20180716 191208

What is all this nonsense. The tabloid racks are the contrast of contrasts. Stories of the super wealthy who manage to have petty problems. Jon Benet's killer found for the four thousandth time. Diets that can never achieve the results shown. Sex that no one can have. Stories of people's lives who will never have any impact on ours. Recipes we will never cook. Shocking untold stories. Trapped again movie stars. Torn apart by monster moms. The hottest bodies. Jen finds love again. Who cares? Not my life or your life and never will be.

Assignment:  High contrast photography usually refers to tonal contrast – the contrast between the lightest and darkest areas of a photograph. Meaning, the shadows will be very dark and the light areas very white. There will be hardly any shades of grey. Just lots of strong whites and blacks. Our challenge this week, however, does not have to be just about the light (for a change!) Contrast can add an extra level of depth to your photos and there are quite a few ways to use them. The use of complementary colors will allow you to add color contrast to your photos. And content contrast is added to photographs by playing with rough and smooth textures, straight and curvy lines, small and large elements, and so on. High contrast photos are not the soft, ‘misty morning, diffused light’ type of photos. They are usually shot with strong or harsh light and are dramatic and confrontational and have a strong message to convey. So fill the album this week with high contrasts creative Framers, there cannot be a yin without a yang!

Golden Light (2018 Week 28)

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Peeking Moon

Here you can see the sun peeking through the trees with the moon heralding its soon rising.

Assignment:  The golden hour (also known as the magic hour) is that period of the day just after sunrise and just before sunset. It is sunlight’s first and last appearance of the day. And yes, it totally deserves the name ‘golden hour’ because this gentle soft-hued light gives everything and everyone a beautiful yellow glow.

Details (2018 Week 27)

6862 MarcoCiavolino Detail Posted

Smart Carts

For my entire life I have faced long lines of parked shopping carts that force you to walk all the way from one end to the other and wait for each person get a cart. Some smart manager figured out that putting the carts in short rows the entire process would be much easier and faster. Simply brilliant.

Assignment:  Detail photos are not merely macro photos. It can be of any subject that is small in size or small in relation to the background. They are often used to tell the story of a situation by focusing on only a small portion of the big picture. You can draw the viewer’s attention to these small details with depth of field, panning, leading lines, complementary colors or by having your subject lighter or darker than the background.

Mirrors (2018 Week 26)

6862 MarcoCiavolino Mirrors Posted

Mirrors on the Ground

6 mirrors give us a view the flowers and the sky.

Assignment:  Mirrors at first glance (!) can be useful for taking a really cool reflection photo. However, we really want to encourage you to enter a new realm this week. You can create mirror abstracts, play with shards or small mirrors, mess around with optical illusions or make interesting composites.

Overexposed (2018 Week 25)

6862 MarcoCiavolino OverExposure Submitted

At The Charles

We went to see 'Will you be my Neighbor' at the historic Charles Theatre in Baltimore, MD. Great film. Great theatre.

Assignment: This week, creative Framers, we want you to break one of the firm rules of photography and create an overexposed photo. Technically, an overexposed image is simply a very bright image. You can create it by shooting into your light source (just be careful please!), add more direct light to your scene, adjust the aperture or slowing down the shutter speed. So yes, this is an excellent opportunity to experiment with your camera’s settings again.

100 Steps (2018 Week 24)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 100Steps HR Submitted

All The Tools in the World.

My neighbor, Mike, of 12 years has worked for Snap-on Tools for decades. That means he has every tool I could ever need. Big plyers, tiny plyers, pullers, pressers, turners, chargers, finaglers, and more. It's 100 steps I've taken many many times. Every body needs a neighbor like Mike.

Assignment:  We often hear about how social media distorts the reality. People tend to post photos and write about the special occasions in their lives. We get to see photos from that trip to Greece or a special event such as a birthday but not of the husband snoring on the couch or the unkempt garden. So this week, creative Framers, we are re-distorting reality and showing the beauty right outside our doorsteps. As a matter of fact, 100 steps from your door. We will leave it up to you to decide exactly which door to start counting from. It could be from the door of your apartment building, the front door of your house, the back door or the door from your workplace or a regular hangout. It must just be a door that you personally regularly use.

Partners (2018 Week 23)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180609 Partners Submitted

Last Days of a Good Dog

My lifelong friend Bill with his dog of 15 years, Tucker. His dog has a rapid neurological failure that is making it hard for Tucker to walk and breath. He's been Bill's constant companion for years and it is not likely he will live more than a couple of more weeks. Tucker was a wild and crazy puppy and is now a quiet, affectionate friend.

NB: They had to put Tucker down about two weeks after this photo was taken. 

Assignment:  Howdy our creative paaaardners in photography! This week is all about partnerships. It can be your better half, a friend, a child, a workout or dance partner or maybe a partner in crime!! A business partner, a pet, or your favorite food. If there is an object that makes life that much sweeter for you, then this is the week to take a photo of it. It could be a coffee machine, a handbag, a tablet or your bicycle. Let’s celebrate all those people, things or animals that are near and dear to you and show us who your partner is in your life right now!

Tools (2018 Week 22)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180603 Tools Submitted

Today's tools are Unprecedented

Today's tools are incomprehensible. One person, one work area, two computers, five monitors, television, webcam, three printers, label printers, studio speakers, stunning bandwidth, 6 cores, 12 threads, gigabyte Ethernet, four IP phones. Typical day allows for video, audio, spreadsheets, photoshop, illustrator, and more. The previous output of 100's of people is now at my disposal. Unprecedented.

Assignment:  This week creative Framers, we are celebrating our unique tool-using abilities. Human beings are the only species on this planet that use and make tools, except some chimpanzees and bonobos of course. Our ancestors not only started using rocks as tools but they also used other rocks to shape these tools in the way that they needed them to be. Since then, we have come a long way and there are tools today for just about every task you can think of. There are literally a million examples of tools that you can shoot from surgery tools to measuring tools to drawing tools to electrical tools. You will get extra credit on top of the extra credit if you photograph a truly unique or strange tool this week!

True Black and White (2018 Week 21)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180519 TrueBlackandWhite Submitted

Gray Cat on a Black Guitar Case

Cats will sleep anywhere and seem to find solace it perceptually enclosed spaces. I left the guitar case on the couch and Darcy has found it to be a particularly cozy place for deep cat sleep. Of course he also sleeps on a piece of paper on the table, a small keyboard box on my floor, and at the end of our bed. He is a good friend.

Assignment:  Usually a black and white photo is taken in color by your camera and then desaturated or filtered in your photo editor into black and white. For this week’s challenge however, you shouldn’t use your photo editor to turn the photo in black and white. This means that you are going to have to look for, or create a scene, that is already black and white…aka "true black and white."

Things I Dislike (2018 Week 20)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180519 Dislike Submitted

Death by Any Means is Death.

I dislike death. I dislike the death of innocents. I am flabbergasted by the contradictions surrounding abortion. We rejoice when a celebrity has a baby. Yet in the same day, infinitely valuable little human's lives are terminated hours or minutes before birth. We talk about 'baby bumps,' instead of swellings of insignificant tissue. We live in a country where one can be arrested for killing a puppy, but not baby. We live in a country where if even a toe is still in the mother the brains can be sucked out of the baby. We've made it so easy to kill we've forgotten how to care. How did we get here? When did the vagina become the passage to freedom and life? The moral and societal consequences are staggering. Learn more at https://invisibleinfants.com.

Assignment:  There is something that everyone dislikes whether it is doing the laundry for the 30 millionth time, the sound of a baby crying, inconsiderate smokers or the daily commute. We are pretty sure that you will not have to think for very long to think of something! This is however an ideal challenge to tell a story with your photo. Are any senses shown in the photo? Why do the viewers realize that your photo show something that you dislike? Maybe it is something universal that we all dislike or maybe they can see the reason in your photo.

Negative Space (2018 Week 19)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180507 NegativeSpace Submitted

Beauty fills space.

Walking into the Wegmans in Abingdon, MD, I saw this great negative space behind the flowers with colorful plants and a nicely textured wall. I moved plants away, leaving only one plant. I then brought the image in Photoshop at 13x19in @300dpi and sharpened the image. Then I cropped just the plant on a new layer and increased the saturation to 80 the made that layer 60% opaque.

Assignment: Negative space is one of the most important composition concepts in photography. And not just photography. Negative space has been used for hundreds of years in art, design, and architecture. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘white space’. Negative space is the area in the photo around the subject. So in the example above, the wall is the negative space. The young girl is the main focus in the photo and we want the user’s eye to go straight to her. The negative space plays a supportive, though very important, role by making sure that the subject gets all the attention. The wall ‘blocks’ other elements that can steal the viewers’ attention. The use of textures and colors create a contrast to make the subject stand out even more. And the lines in the negative space also point towards the subject.

Body Parts (2018 Week 18)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180505 BodyParts Submitted

Double body entendre

In spite of increasing automation, there are many industries that rely exclusively on the skilled labor of experienced technicians. Auto body work is one of these. Thanks to great folks at Jones Junctions Body Shop & Collision Center in Fallston, Maryland, I got this great shot of the fine art of auto body repair where experienced hands return badly damaged cars to new.

Assignment:  One of the advantages of becoming a photographer is that we to see the world with a totally new mindset. We start noticing patterns and shapes and the play of light during the day. Our eyes look for the less obvious and re-consider the ordinary with different angles or another point of view. For this week’s challenge, you must direct your honed photographer’s eye and shoot a very familiar landscape, those of our bodies. Look carefully and slowly at your hands, arms, legs, face, etc. Clench a fist or stretch your feet as far as you can. Pay attention to the wrinkles, spots, veins, and curves. There’s so much beauty in our temporary homes, free your mind and capture it! You can choose to photograph unusual angles of body parts, bodyscapes or creative abstracts of the body. Please note – if you are submitting a nude photo, tick the appropriate checkbox on the form so that we can comply with Facebook’s nude policy. We will redirect your photo with a link in the description.

Circles (2018 Week 17)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180426 Circles Submitted

What's more circly that speghettios?

When I sat down and thought about circles I realized they are everywhere. But favorite circle as a kid was a bowl of O's. And you get to say, "Uh oh! Speghettios!" If you don't know what we are talking about watch this https://youtu.be/34Vp6dvqC7Y And, of course, I consumed these for dinner after the shoot.


Assignment:  he rectangle and square frames of photographs are the norm and we don’t even think that it could be different. We also have design ‘rules’ such as the rule of thirds, balancing elements and leading lines that all support this format. But this week, creative Framers we want you to use circles to focus the viewers’ attention to the middle of the frame. Strong harsh circles can suggest containment and defined limitations but if you look for circles in nature you will find them to be softer, inviting and pleasing to the eye with their never-ending frames. In both scenarios, however, the circle forces us to look inwards and deeper into the photo. Once you start looking for circles, we guarantee that you are to start seeing them everywhere! We want you, however, to look beyond the obvious circles such as steering wheels and road signs and look a bit deeper for more unexpected circles.

Abstract (2018 Week 16)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180417 Abstract SUBMITTED

Abstracting the Master: A Tribute to Alexander Calder

Composited in PhotoshopComposited in Photoshop

I abstracted the challenge to try something I had always wanted to do: create a photo mosaic. So this photo was made in my mind.
When I was about 8 years old my parents to me to an Alexander Calder show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. That visit was a formative part of my understadning of art. Why? Because in the midst of his flowing, abstract, works, was real craftmanship and skill. The welding and balance of his big pices and the intricate details of his wire sculptures all impressed me with the need to express art through skill.  I stood, as an 8 year old, in front a large Picasso abstract and thought, "I could that. It's just so much splashed paint." But with the Calder works I realized I would have to maste a number of skills to begin to reproduce his work.

So here is an image of Mr. Calder abstracted with 1200 images from the the last few weeks of 52 Frames.

If you go here: https://findpagenow.com/go/52frames20180316

You can see the original photo of Calder, my colorized version, and also download a super large version of the mosaic.


Assignment:  There is something that everyone dislikes whether it is doing the laundry for the 30 millionth time, the sound of a baby crying, inconsiderate smokers or the daily commute. We are pretty sure that you will not have to think for very long to think of something! This is however an ideal challenge to tell a story with your photo. Are any senses shown in the photo? Why do the viewers realize that your photo show something that you dislike? Maybe it is something universal that we all dislike or maybe they can see the reason in your photo.

Too Much Stuff (2018 Week 15)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180410 Kitchen SUBMITTED

Too Much Stuff

When we were growing up we never had a set of matching dishes or silverware. We had two cast iron pans and cast iron griddle that made everything. But today the choices are endless and affordable. I would say, "Ill take one of everything." My kitchen would never recover.

Assignment:  Kitchens all over the world, now matter how humble or how fancy they are, definitely deserve the label of being the heart of the house. We cook the food for our loved ones in the kitchen, we meditate over a cup of coffee in the kitchen, we often treat the kitchen as the command center for running our families’ lives. This week, creative Framers, the challenge is to use this amazing space as background or inspiration and show us what is going on in the kitchen. You could photograph abstracts of your kitchen utensils, or macros of the fruit and vegetables in the fridge or any baking, cooking, eating or other random activity that takes place in the kitchen. You could capture the afternoon light coming through the window, or capture your kids having a food fight!

Motion Blur (2018 Week 14)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180407A SUBMITTED

Cat Jumping for A Treat

My cat, Darcy (from Pride & Predjudice) jumps on the hutch for a snack any time I walk in the kithen. I wanted to see how he jumped. I shot this in video mode, extracted the frames in Premier, then composited the photo in Photoshop.  While it doesn't have all the blur I expected, it still an interesting study because cats are just cool.

Assignment:  Dear creative Framers, this week we are going to see some action….but just a bit blurry. Our challenge, motion blur, requires some type of movement that is captured with your camera by utilizing what’s called a long shutter speed. Camera blur is often avoided in preference of sharp and in focus photos. This week, however, we are going to use motion blur to add a three-dimensional feel of movement to our photos. The shutter speed will generally be longer than a second but it really depends on the subject you are shooting. Note that the challenge should not be confused with an “out of focus” shot, or focus blur. What we are after here, is what’s called motion blur.

Smell (2018 Week 13)


Easter flowers at our local Giant supermarket shot with a spherical camera.Easter flowers at our local Giant supermarket shot with a spherical camera.
I have more than 9.5M views of my photospheres on Google Maps.

You can see them here:  https://www.google.com/maps/contrib/113541788084055653910/photos/

Assignment: Your challenge this week, smell, is quite easy to introduce but it is not going to be so easy to photograph. How can you visually capture something that you cannot see? You are going to have to be as creative as you can and imply smell in your photos. It can be a good or bad smell. You can have people, animals or aliens doing the smelling or you even photograph an object, for example, an overflowing dumpster, that will convey the sense of smell to your viewers.

Black & White (2018 Week 12)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180324 BW

A scene from our kitchen showing the watercolor our mortgage broker gave us of our house when we purchased it and the bottles of sand, rocks, and soil, we have collected from our various family trips over the years.

I pulled out my Olympus XA, purchased in 1981, and ordered  roll of Tri-X 400 from Amazon. You can see camera here in the folder '20180324 BW Support Photos' https://findpagenow.com/go/52frames20180316

Assignment:  We have been able to take color photos for a very long time now. As a matter of fact, Kodachrome film was invented in 1935! And yet black and white photography is as popular as it always has been. It definitely still plays a very strong role in just about every genre of photography. Looking at the world in black and white (as a photographer!) will force you to see things differently. Color is no longer a distraction and you can focus more on what makes a black and white photo pop – the relationship between light and dark. Your challenge this week creative Framers is to pay attention to the contrasts, the textures and patterns and the play of light when you shoot in black and white. Your photos will not only have a timeless, classic feel to them but your creative eye will sharpen even more.

Candid (2018 Week 11)

6862 MarcoCiavolino 20180316 Candid Posted

Liz Matory, candidate for Maryland's second congressional district, shares her campaign and message with a potential supporter.
I found my old Sony Mavica Mini CD Camera and did the same shots.  You can see the shots and the camera here in the folder '20180316 Candid Support Photos'https://findpagenow.com/go/52frames20180316

Assignment:  In candid photography the photographer takes photos of people who are unaware that their photo is being taken. You will often find this type of photography in magazines such as TIME and National Geographic. You are catching people in the act of living and documenting the beauty and weirdness of everyday life. We are however adding a twist to the assignment this week. You must SET UP a portrait, photography session, fashion shoot or street scene to make it look like a candid moment.

Sky (2018 Week 10)

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Last snowy sky in Maryland.

Assignment:  We have all heard of landscapes where most of the attention goes to the ‘land’ part but there is also such a thing as a skyscape where we focus mostly on ….yes, on the sky. This week creative Framers, your challenge is to keep your eyes on the sky, wait and look and search for something dramatic and then photograph it. It is up to you to decide if you want to capture clouds, the sky during the blue hour, the sunsets or sunrises, the night sky or to even shoot the moon. The sky, as they say, is your limit. You also don’t have to photograph JUST the sky. You are more than welcome to have foreground elements, people, silhouettes, etc. and whatever. As a rule of thumb, the sky in skyscapes usually take up two-thirds of the photo. In landscapes the sky is often limited to one-third or even less. This however, is merely a suggestion. Your sky photos are totally dependent on your own interpretation and the strength of your neck muscles.