The Photo Frontier and The ONE EVERYTHING Photo Challenge

I think it makes sense to start at the beginning and work backwards.

I’ve got 2 friends – Justin Balog and Armando Martinez- who have a joint enterprise together called The Photo Frontier.They’re both available for hire as great photographers in their own right, but together they offer photo tours and adventures, books, tutorials, Lightroom presets, and other cool stuff.

I wanted to do a feature on their presets and needed a set of photos to work on. The presets are mostly Armando’s thing and I wanted to get a piece of Justin into the process, so I decided to limit myself to one camera, one lens – the Fuji x100s, which has a single fixed 23mm lens on its superb crop sensor, and happens to be one of Justin’s main tools.

Then when I was out shooting I came up with the idea of the ONE EVERYTHING Photo Challenge: starting with ONE Camera, ONE lens, and ONE hour to take all your images: try to get as many as possible that you are happy with with those tools and limited time.  While normally you would invent a challenge and then go try to meet it, here I ended up inventing the challenge idea while I was already out fulfilling it. So yeah, I kind of had it easy because I tailored the rules of the challenge to what I was already doing, but I still like the concept. And that’s how I started at the beginning and worked backwards.

On the way home, I added one more component, which is that you have ONE hour to offload, review, cull, and edit your images from the challenge. When the hour is up you’re done. No going back. No more edits.

Again, this fit in with my existing plan to use The Photo Frontier’s Ultimate Collection of Presets to edit my output, so I knew I had a ready shortcut. Normally I use presets only as a starting point, but for the challenge I let them stand on their own. Apart from some limited exposure-related adjustments and a couple of crops, I did nothing to these photos except apply the presets: no color shifts or corrections, no curves, levels, contrast, clarity or saturation except for those embodied in the presets. That’s how I got in and out in less than an hour and also let me showcase the presets. If you want these presets you can grab the entire Ultimate Collection – or any of its component packs here at the Photo Frontier Trading Post. The Ultimate Collection has more than 300 presets with more than 150 unique looks and more than 100 finishing tools.

The images above were all taken between 6:23pm and 7:10pm (47 minutes) on one evening in lower Manhattan starting at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel, and making my way down through Tribeca, across through the municipal and federal buildings of downtown, through Chinatown, then up the Lower East Side to Delancey and ending close to the Williamsburg Bridge.  All edits made in Lightroom 5, which is not my usual weapon of choice but it’s where these great Presets thrive.

And so the ONE EVERYTHING Challenge Rules are:

ONE Camera
ONE Lens
ONE Hour to Shoot
ONE Hour to Edit.

I’m less than useless at making anything go viral, or even getting 5-6 folks to play along with something new, but if you decide to take the challenge please either leave comment, send an email, or tag me on some social media somewhere. We can also try the hashtag #1everything, which seems little used for anything else.  The challenge is a lot of fun. See how many good shots you can get. I was hoping for 8-12 and hit the mark.  Depending on your location and circumstances, it might make sense to aim higher or lower than I did here.  Given the limitations of the challenge, you’re not looking for all-time greats, but good enough to display with some pride. And you don’t have to use the Photo Frontier presets; but they worked for me.

DISCLOSURE AND DISCLAIMER: Like I said, Justin and Armando are my friends. I have paid for some of their products and been given some for free. But I wasn’t given anything to write up this post or do this exercise, and I make no money if you go and buy some presets or anything else from them.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Cool challenge Mark. I have downloaded the presets but haven’t been home long enough to play with them. Your results are super. Justin and Armando are always challenging photographers in the most creative way.
    Len Saltiel recently posted..Looking for the Pot of Gold – Telluride, ColoradoMy Profile

  2. That’s an interesting challenge! I might try it…. “Might” being the operative word, but if I do, I will certainly let you know…

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