Friday, December 26, 2008

Community Photo Challenge- Something NEW!

NEW Blogger Banner

Our Challenge is finding Something NEW & posting on your blog. It must be a new entry posted between today & January 1st before 9 PM EST. Come back here & leave your link.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blogger's Community Photo Challenge-Ornaments

ornaments banner

Blogger's Community Photo Challenge wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas!

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
- Burton Hillis

Blogger ornamenttree

Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.
- Helen Steiner Rice

NOTE: If you can not see the whole image, try using another browser, such as Firefox , Safari, or IE. AOL does not allow you to view the whole image. You can click on image too.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Community Photo Challenge- Christmas Ornaments

ornaments banner

This week's challenge is Christmas Ornaments. I am looking for square photos, if you can, with either your favorite Christmas ornament or just an ornament. If you are not able to submit a square, I will crop to make it one. Like the last 2 challenges I will do a collage of all entries. Please post your entry between now & 12/18 no later than 9 PM EST, to be included in the Christmas Ornament collage. If you don't celebrate Christmas & would like to join in, you may include a decoration that would represent your holiday.

Festival Of Lights


Thank you Bob from Eaglesbrother blog for submitting Christmas lights for our Festival of Lights Challenge.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Community Photo Challenge-The Festival Of Lights!


This Challenge is...The Festival of Lights! It can be anything representing Hanukah. Menorah, dreidel, Star of David... it can be family gathered around the lighting of the Menorah...ANYTHING, just no moving photos or slideshows.
Starting Tonight , Dec. 4th & ends Thursday, Dec. 11 please post an image on your blog, come back here & leave your link.

Of course, If you don't celebrate Hanukah, you may post something that represents your holiday in lights!

We hope you all enjoy this challenge & join in~

Christmas Season



When we decided to post this challenge, we planned to keep it fun, simple and not have a poll. The plan was to create a collage of ALL entries--as long as we don't have TOO many. Ü We're going to do the same thing for Part Two of this challenge, which will be posted tonight--it was planned as a surprise to our readers. We hope you join in...
Check out Our Gallery for this Christmas Season Collage~

Friday, November 28, 2008

Community Photo Challenge-Christmas Season


This Challenge is.....The Christmas Season! It can be anything representing Christmas. A Santa photo, a church, a nativity scene, you can make your own Christmas card, a Christmas scene, you can do a collage. It can be ANYTHING, just no moving photos or slideshow.
If you don't celebrate Christmas, you may post something that represents your holiday. Our Challenge starts today & all photos must be posted between now & Thursday Dec. 4th at 9 PM EST.

Try to add an active link when posting your entry in the comment section. Tutorial below or click here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Adding an Active Weblink in a Blogger Comment

One of the conveniences missing in Blogger is the ability to easily leave a weblink in a Comment. Here at the
Photo Challenge, we ask people to leave links to their entries so that we can see their wonderful images, but in most cases we have to copy and paste the links into a browser window in order to see them.

There IS, however, a way to leave a real link within the Comment field. It takes a verrrrry small amount of html code, but it works well and allows people to more easily reach your entry.

Here’s how it works:

- Save the short html string below somewhere you can easily retrieve it – in a word processing document or email, for example.
- Leave your comment as you normally would, but instead of pasting the “http….” link to your entry, paste it into the string below instead, substituting your link information in the area highlighted in blue - i.e., between the " " marks.
- In the area highlighted in red, type the words you’d like to appear in your Comment. These are the only words that will actually appear visible – the link info itself will be hidden. These words will appear underlined to indicate they are a weblink and, when clicked, will take the viewer to your entry.

NOTE: In order to show you the HTML string, it needed to be embedded as an image rather than text in this entry – otherwise it would do exactly what its supposed to do: act as a link and not show you the underlying code! Click on the small words directly below for an image that’s easier to read, then retype the text EXACTLY as you see it into a document for later editing. You can keep the blue and red colors in your link to help you if you wish – html is colorblind and will not recognize or duplicate the colors when you paste them into your Comment.

The sample string above will take the viewer to the Photography Basics 101 entry in this Journal. (Click the blue words to test it).

To test your link and see how it will appear, simply go to your own Journal and paste the string you typed from the above example into the Comment field. Once you’re sure it works, you can delete it.

Hope this helps make your Blogger experience a little more user-friendly. THANKS for supporting our Photo Challenge. Tell your friends!


Give Thanks for.....Winner

Congratulations to Rob!
As of last night at 9PM the votes were very close. In fact, a tie at 9PM EST!
My deciding vote was for Rob. His whole entry was outstanding.
You may visit his Blog @Lord, I Was Born a Ramblin' Sam

So thank you everyone who participated, & congrats, again, to Rob!
He is added to our galley!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Reminder To Vote!

This is only a reminder to vote for our "Give Thanks For...."Challenge.
You have till 9PM EST tonight, Sunday to cast your vote.

We have some ideas for the next few challenges, but if anymore would like to make some suggestions for the future challenges, e-mail me at
&/or Vicki @


Friday, November 21, 2008

Poll for Give Thanks for.....

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6

Photo 7

We decided to include all images for this poll due to low participation in this challenge.
PLEASE, only one vote per person.
Remember the voting starts today & ends on Sunday Nov.23 @ 9 PM EST
To view larger images, all photos can be viewed on the owners blogs.
Check out the links in the original Challenge post under comments.
Before voting, I recommend you visit some of the blogs that participated, some people really wrote beautiful entries. Also keep in mind the challenge subject. This is not about popularity, it's about the images & what each represents.

Rob has discovered a way to post our LIVE links, into the comments area, watch for his tutorial on that.

Give Thanks for.......

View Results
Free poll from Free Web Polls

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sharing is Caring...Ü

First off, I miss the email address on our alerts & comments from AOL. It was nice to be able to answer questions that were left on our journals or just to say thanks for the kind words. AOL made it real simple.
The past month I have noticed that some emails from Blogger comments have a specific email address in the address window, other than mine. Having this made it easy to respond to that comment. All you have to do is hit reply. I remember Gina & Donna having this feature. Well, I found out how...Ü
Each comment that you leave on someone's blog is actually coming from you.

Make sure your email address is filled in under IDENTITY/email address.
Click SAVE Profile

In the process of trying to figure out how to do this, I found 2 Blogger blogs
Blogger Tips and Tricks
Dummies' Guide to Google Blogger

Monday, November 10, 2008

Autumn Gallery Winner

Congratulations to Nancy!!!
She won our Autumn Challenge, you can visit her journal

You can also visit her winning photo in Our Community Photo Gallery
along with other winning photos from our past challenges.

Thank you to everyone who participated!

Wishing Donna(Nightmaremom) from D's Designs & Other Things a speedy recovery!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Photography Basics 101 Ü

When choosing a photo to submit to a challenge, there are some important factors to consider. The following list should help, but is by no means a complete one:

  1. FOCUS - It's important that your subject be in focus. Even the slightest blur can keep your image from being selected as a finalist. There are different ways to avoid blurring the main subject: tripods can help, using both hands to steady the camera also offers stability. My camera has two timer options so, when I'm shooting, I sometimes use the shorter timer so that I don't move the camera when I press the shutter.
  2. SIMPLICITY - Keep things simple with an uncluttered background. Clutter and backgrounds that are too 'in focus' can totally distract the viewer from your subject.
  3. CROP/COMPOSITION - The best way to compose a good photo is in the camera using the viewfinder but not the only way. Many photographers seem to be afraid to crop their photos. Keep in mind that there's an unwritten 'rule of thirds' in composition that says the best place for your subject is along an imaginary line or dot that's 1/3 of the way into the photo. The following two websites give a great explanation of the rule of thirds:
  4. HORIZONS should be straight...not crooked. Also, it's best to NEVER place your horizon line right in the center of the photo...try moving it up or down for a better composition.
  5. GET CLOSE - fill the frame with your subject. One of the best ways to avoid a cluttered background is to not have a background. We've all seen lovely flower shots where the entire frame is filled with the flower...try that technique.
  6. LEADING LINES can be used to draw the viewer into your image. A country path through the woods leads the viewer into the woods. A fence line can lead the viewer into a pastoral scene. Some tips are available at the following:

There are more to consider:
  • Contrast
  • Patterns
  • Balance
  • Framing
  • Create Depth

More to follow~
Vicki has found some really useful links which I will post on the sidebar. So take advantage of all these great sites for additional information on Photography.

THANK YOU, VICKI, for all your help. Ü

Friday, November 7, 2008


Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3 free polls
Try voting both polls, seems like we are having a problem with the Blogger poll.
When you vote, vote the same on here & the sidebar. I want to see what works better.
UPDATE:We found errors with the sidebar Poll, so it is very important that you vote here first & if you can, vote the sidebar. We are using the results on this poll.

Autumn Poll Photo

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

On The sidebar you should see a Poll for this weeks Autumn Photo Challenge.
Please select your favorite image. Only one vote per person.
Voting ends Sunday night Nov. 9 @ 9PM EST

If you cannot vote, or cannot see the poll on the sidebar, please try another browser, like safari, IE, firefox & see if that works. I used Firefox. AOL Browser, did not show the poll( I have a MAC, so things are different)
If the vote still does not go through, email us your vote, but first try another browser.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Photography Basics

An Intro to Photography(tutorial for beginners, understanding your camera)

For those who bought a new camera &/or thinking about a new camera, check this out.

"The word “photography” is French but is based on Greek word and literally means “drawing with light“. That’s what photography is all about, without light — no photograph. The art of photography is basically seeing and balancing the light."

Same site, another helpful link-Photography Troubleshooting

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blogger's Community Photo Challenge•Autumn!

Our Blogger's November challenge is AUTUMN!
So go out & find some color & show us your autumn shot. Come back here & leave your link to your blog. Please follow the guidelines.( see sidebar for guidelines)
It starts Friday Oct 31 & all entries need to be posted by Thursday Nov. 6, @9 PM EST to be considered in our POLL which will be posted on Friday, Nov.7

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gallery Winner for Spooky

Congratulations to Connie from CONNIES PHOTOS
Connie is our Gallery Winner for Our Spooky Challenge
You can visit our GALLERY winners to view her winning photo
& our past winners' images.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Spooky Poll

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Please vote for your favorite SPOOKY photo.
Only one vote per person, Thanks~

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tutorial Sharing

I switched ALL my AOL Blogs over to Blogger, including my private journals.
I decided that my old UK journal will be used for sharing Photoshop tutorials.
Anyone finding a good tutorial & you want to share it, send it to me & I will post on there.
These could be videos or typed out easy-to-follow tutorials.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Big Photos in Blogger Part 2 that our template is set up, we're ready to post BIG pictures.

When I have my photos in my editor, I size them so that a landscape image has a width somewhere between 750 and 850 pixels. In portrait orientation, I usually make the width between 500 - 550 pixels. Size your image as you like, then upload it to Flickr.

Bring up the image in Flickr, then in the choices above the image click All Sizes. This brings up a window with size choices across the top. Click Large.

Below the image, there are two chunks of code that can be selected. Copy the code in Option 1. Option 2 will not give you as large an image.

Return to blogger where you are entering your post. Switch from Compose to Edit HTML. Find the location in the post that you want to place the image and paste the Flickr code there. When you preview your post, you should see your BIG picture.

There's a little bit more to it if you want to arrange the text around the image. If anyone wants that code....let me know and I'll type it up.

Putting Big Photos In Your Blogger Journal

I like to post big pictures. The image size limitation had been a major issue for me when considering using blogger for my photo journal. Now that AOL has forced my hand...I spent a couple of days searching the internet and experimenting in a test blog. Not only did I want the images BIG...I also wanted them clear. I finally have it.

I won't lie and say that it's as easy as it was in isn't. You have to just hold your nose and jump into the HTML pool. But there are just a few template modifications that you need to make then the process for posting big pictures is not that complicated. When you're dealing with code, you have to realize that every character has meaning to the computer. So, if you drop punctuation or an odd character, your results may be erroneous. So, don't SAVE anything until you are satisfied what you are seeing in the preview. You might want to do what I did, which is master the process on a test blog, then manipulate your blog in the same way. Are you ready??? Here we go...

I started with the Minima template. All the code I'm going to show is from that template. If you use another template, you will find similar'll just have to look a little harder for it.

You are going to be concerned with the Header, Body, and Sidebar wrappers.

From the layout page, choose edit HTML. Don't freak out when you see it. What we're going to do first is alter the template so that it can accommodate big pictures. If you look at my blog,( you will see that the template is much wider that the default size.

We are only going to make changes to the highlighted parts of the code. Bold red is what you're looking for in the existing code. Bold blue is the replacement code.

1. Start with widening the header. Scroll through the HTML code until you find this section

/* Header----------------------------------------------- */
#header-wrapper {

margin:0 auto 10px;
border:1px solid $bordercolor;

I sometimes make my photos up to 800 pixels wide. To allow plenty of space for both the wide text field and the sidebar, I changed the highlighted portion to read:
width: 1028px;

2. Widen the body of your blog
Scroll down to

/* Outer-Wrapper----------------------------------------------- */
#outer-wrapper {
width: 660px;
margin:0 auto;
font: $bodyfont;

Change to
width: 1028px;

#main-wrapper {
width: 410px;
float: $startSide;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

Change to read
width: 850px;

(this will allow you to post photos up 825 pixels wide. If you don't think you'll ever want to post that big, you can make this a smaller number which will allow for a wider sidebar. Just make it a bit larger than the largest width pic you'd want to post.

#sidebar-wrapper {
width: 220px;
float: $endSide;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

Change this to
width: 145px;

Note that this will be a slimmer sidebar than the default size. You can essentially adjust the main wrapper and sidebar wrapper any way you want as long as the total pixels of the two widths doesn't exceed the outer-wrapper, which I set to 1028. You'll notice that in my case, 850 + 145 = 995. In the documentation that read, I got the impression that it needed to stay below the 1028 I specified for some padding between the fields. That may not be necessary but I didn't try it. It appears from the code that there's some padding built in.

OK....that's it for modifying your template. I tried to make this a straightforward as I could. I hope I was successful. Remember, there is a button in the layout editor that will revert you back to the default template so there's nothing to be scared of. It will give you peace of mind if you try it in a test blog first.

In the next post, I'll share how I have been posting the BIG pictures. If you're lost, email me at If anyone has anything to add to this...please share!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blogger's Community Photo Challenge•Spooky!

Martha suggested our next Blogger's Community Photo Challenge be Spooky!
Could be something to do with Halloween, or something dramatic, haunting, mysterious, mysteriously strange, or eerie.

This challenge starts Friday, October 17th. So post a photo or photos(remember the top photo is the one that will be considered for the final vote) by Thursday October 23. Please follow the guidelines, come back here & leave your permalink in the comment section.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Our GALLERY winner for our photo challenge for "Change"
is Betty, aka Benu  Ü from Creativity Bits & Pieces

Congratulations Betty!!!
Betty was added to our New Blogger's Photo Gallery.
Visit our Gallery for all of our winners from AOL & now, bloggers challenges!

Friday, October 10, 2008

POLL- CHANGE Challenge

POLL- CHANGE Challenge

Please Vote for our Change Challenge.
Only one vote per person.
The Poll is in the above entry, I could not figure out how to add the poll in the same entry. Sorry for any confusion.

I will try during the week, to post a dummy /test poll & see if it works. So just ignore that entry.

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I am moving some of the winning photos from AOL Community Photo Challenge to our NEW Bloggers Community Photo Gallery
All winners from our new blogger's challenges will be posted here as our gallery of winners.
Check out some of our winners~

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Getting Comment Alerts on Blogs PLUS

Comment Alerts on Blogs
If you are not getting comment alerts from your own blogs, you need to go to to settings/comments & make sure all info is correct for you to be getting e-mails with comment alerts.
Make sure your e-mail address is included, scroll down towards the bottom. If you make changes, make sure you save all new changes.
Hope this helps~
I will post FEEDBLITZ instructions on Photographs & Memories
How to post a subscribe feature. This is a nice feature, it make it easy for your readers to sign up for alerts to your blog.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blogger's Community Photo Challenge-CHANGE

Our first challenge on our new blog is CHANGE, it was suggested by Rob. Vicki & I thought it was perfect for our move here.
Rob wrote: CHANGE, could signify everything from the change of seasons to political change to the change in your pocket - an open-ended theme which could hopefully inspire some creativity.
So as usual, you have till Thursday Oct. 9th, 9PM EST to post your entry & entry your link here. Please read the Guidelines. Must be a new post, & remember to link back here in the post.

On Friday 10/10 we will post our first poll here, so don't forget to come back to vote!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


There are 2 features I would like to suggest you use or don't use.

The word verification, I suggest you don't use. It can be frustrating when posting a comment & if you don't get the letters correct you have to redo. It is just an annoying feature. I don't think you really need it & it is easy to omit.

I do recommend you use the feature in the comment section of settings, where an email is sent to you so you can reject or approve any comments before it is posted on your journal.

Also, I am not sure how this "FOLLOW THIS BLOG" works, I don't think we get alerts with signing on this feature with each blog. I haven't been getting alerts yet & I don't believe I ever will. It is just a fun feature to see who is popular...Ü LOL This is a new feature, so I don't know anything about it.

I use Feedblitz for subscribers, as far as I know, it works!

I am also trying this too....

I use a different browser(NOT AOL) & I recommend you use a different one, also, if you are having any problems. I use Firefox, once you do what it says, a little orange icon appears in your browser window, all you have to do is click on it & you can subscribe to that journal. You will have to confirm when they send you an email. Try it. I think you should get emails, like alerts, to your Journals you follow/subscribe to, I have never used this feature, so I am not too sure about it.

Although I have been using Bloggers for a while, everything has changed since I first started my Blogspot Journal.

I was able to get a SUBSCRIBE feature for this blog, so remember to add your email address. You will also need to confirm your subscription when they send you an email. So if you follow through, this should work~
Let me know if you get an alert on this.

Remember to stop by here tomorrow if you don't get an alert, to view our New Challenge entry.

These are just suggestions...Happy Blogging~

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


We're going to continue to run the challenge the same way it ran in our last home. Our panel will select a number of photos to be voted on by all our readers. A poll will be created so that folks can vote for their favorites. The number of entries that are included in the poll will depend on how many entries we have...and is subject to change.

PLEASE, only one vote per person...Ü

Guidelines for entering:

1. Challenges will be bi-weekly.

2. Any photos submitted must be taken by you--the person participating. If you are IN the photo, it must be a self portrait (tripods are great for this!--actually, they are necessary!).

3. New Challenges will be posted on Fridays; deadline for posting is the following THURSDAY 9 p.m. EST. Late entries are fine, but won't be included in the selection process.

4. The poll will be posted on the Friday (or Thursday after the 9 p.m. deadline), and voting will end on Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST. The winner(s) will be announced on Monday.

5. ENTRIES: All entries need a link to JUST the entry, not to your entire blog. The link /permalink to the entry--NOT your entire blog--should then be posted in the comments section of the Challenge announcement. This will guide folks back to view your entry (and give your blog some exposure).

6. Entries in your blog must indicate in the subject that it IS an entry for the challenge. ALL entries must be new posts--for the purpose of entering the challenge. Please don't link to an old entry in your blog...if you want to re-post a photo for an entry, make it a new entry with reference to (and a link to) the Challenge. Remember--if you are placing more than one photo in the entry, the top/first photo will be the one that counts, so place them accordingly.

7. IMPORTANT: All entrants into the challenge grant permission to the Challenge owners to post their images in the event they win. No further permissions will be requested and the only use of these images will be to display them as winners.

To all photographers...we want this challenge to be fun AND educational. Please stretch your skills and add to your bag of tricks for your entries. From time to time, we'll write about some new (and timeworn) techniques for your enlightenment. We also welcome write to Marie ( and Vicki ( with your comments and suggestions.

Look for the first challenge in our new home SOON!

To find your permalink--this is a bit different now:
Just click on the heading of the entry in your blog and you'll get a window that is JUST that entry...copy the URL from the browser address window at the top of your screen. Paste this into your comment on the Challenge entry (this part hasn't changed).

Our New Sidebar Banner

Anyone wishing to post our new
Challenge banner on their new blog, may copy it.

Something a Little Different for This Page

Something a Little Different for This Page

(copied from ACPC)

Secondary to the honor of acting as a judge for the AOL Community Photo Challenge, I also serve as the President of my local photographic society: As such, I encounter photographers of all shapes and sizes - some skilled and professional, others still tentatively exploring the mysteries and mastery of capturing light in a box.

Many of them have fallen prey to the siren song of the manufacturers and absolutely must possess the latest, greatest, newest, highest megapixel camera, the longest lens, the most powerful flash and a tripod built to withstand a nuclear blast – without first giving thought to the type of photographer they wish to be. And even I will admit that its tempting to upgrade when LCD screens begin to approximate widescreen TVs and you’re still trying to discern sharpness on the equivalent of a postage stamp.

But before you plunk down an amount equivalent to the gross national product of a third world country or - more important - when you can’t afford that and begin to believe that you cannot possibly be a good photographer without doing so, and begin to give up on a hobby you’ve begun to love, consider this story first:

A photographer is invited to a dinner party and brings along some examples of her work. The host views the stunning images she presents and marvels “These are wonderful photos – you must have a great camera!”. The photographer smiles and the evening progresses. After a sumptuous meal, the photographer returns to the host and exclaims “That was a marvelous dinner – you must have some great pots and pans!”

The moral of the story, of course, is that – just as the quality of a meal is reliant primarily on the skill of the cook, the quality of a photograph is primarily due to the skill of the photographer. We hold regular competitions within our club – and some of the most impactful images I have seen have been taken with point and shoot cameras.

So if you’re new to this magical hobby or have limited funds – and even if you don’t – I encourage you to take stock of yourself and what you like to shoot. Hone your skills with the equipment that you have – and upgrade only when you can honestly look yourself in the mirror and unflinchingly tell yourself that its your camera that’s keeping you from being a better photographer. Until that day, take the time to explore and enjoy – and take a backseat to no one. Happy shooting!