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  • Caroline Nijs

Rise Up! 52-week Photo Challenge with Shelley Paulson - week 31 to 37

It's been way too long since I've posted an update on this challenge. It has almost been a year 😳.


In the meantime we have settled in pretty well in Switzerland now. Our daughter is adjusting to school again, she had been homeschooling in the US for almost 1.5 school years. Getting back in the routine of going to school and having a lot of social interaction has proven to be not so obvious. There are definitely some mental health challenges to tackle there. But she uses her creative writing club to process that, and the Tae Kwon Do classes to let some steam off 😊.

As for the husband, he's liking going back to work. And he's taken up guitar lessons again.

We are all hiking a lot, on Sundays, as is custom here ☺️. And taking some trips to Italy, our favorite country!


You're all up to date now, so time to dive in!


Week 31 : Furry friends


This week was all about preparing our daughter's birthday. It was the second one where she couldn't get together with her friends. Last year because of Covid19, this year because ... well ... there was an ocean in between them. And she hadn't been able to make new friends yet. So we let her chose what she wanted to do and she wanted to go hiking to Mount Pilatus. So that's what we did.

I usually think about what I could shoot in the beginning of the week, and then shoot in the second half of the week. This week I didn't have much opportunities but during our hike we saw quite a few mountain goats. And they were very happy to pose, so I figured I could consider them "furry friends" 😆. The clouds were just starting to disappear so there's just some "fog" left. I think it makes the images a bit dreamlike.

I did not alter the image much. I did lighten up the goat to let it be the focus in the image.

bergziege auf dem pilatus in der schweizer landschaftsfotografie
ISO100 f2.8 1/3200

Week 32 : Old


For this one, I new immediately what I wanted to do. I inherited some old books from one side of the family, as well as some old artifacts from the granddad I never got to know, who was a surveyor. I have an old compass as well, but I can't seem to find it. I guess it is still somewhere in the moving mess that hasn't been sorted yet.

I put it against my black backdrop and lighted it with a small spotlight from the left and natural light from the right.

I had to lighten some shadows in post processing and tone down a few highlights on the meter. Other than that I didn't do too much. Ok, I'll admit. I had a lot of dog hairs to edit out 🤪.

alte Bücher und andere antike Artefakte vor schwarzem Hintergrund Stilllebenfotografie
ISO1600 f9 1/40

Week 33 : Connection


We are doing this challenge in a horse photography group so I was expecting a lot of people to make animal-human connection images. And you all know I try to not do what everyone else is going to do. So for this one, I refused to use an animal.

Don't get me wrong! I LOVE those images, but they are what I do for a living. So for me personally, I wanted to do something else.

We took a trip to Locarno that week, and while we were walking along the lakeside, I saw this cord tied to the dock. I thought this was a nice example of connection.


Bootsseil an Dock gebunden Stilllebenfotografie
ISO100 f2.8 1/8000

Week 34 : Action


At this time I still was not involved with horses yet. And I did not feel like having my daughter or dogs model for this challenge. So I googled 'action photography'. While scrolling down the rabbit hole, I came across this funny image of a Rambo-like guy "shooting" a butterfly. I thought it was really comical and I had my husband act out this idea. However, I did not want to photoshop a butterfly in so I hung one of my daughter's beanie boos in the tree. My husband was so kind as to smear himself with oil and dirt. It was hilarious, we had so much fun. I am pretty sure our neighbors officially labeled us "those crazy foreigners".

Ok, so it wasn't really textbook action as was no doubt the scope of this challenge, but it does depict action. And my husband always goes all in when I ask him to do something so this was not a static pose either 😄.

Action-Fotografie - Mann schießt Fische mit Kamera
ISO400 f3.2 1/125 - Idea credit: Nonstop Action (I think)

Week 35 : Curves


Still on repeat here: no horses to photography and so elegantly curved horse necks.

So I'm still asking my husband and daughter to model for me. Luckily they don't mind too much.

My daughter has this crazy ability to bend backwards and touch her head with her feet. She has never done gymnastics or anything so I don't know why she ever got into trying this 🤷🏻‍♀️.

The background is the Zürichsee at sunset. The image is almost SOOC, the only thing I removed are the belt loop on her jeans and a couple of bugs.

I received the comment that the frizz of her hair is distracting and not in line with the rest of the neat lines. But someone else commented that it rather adds to the image. I am going back and forth. What do you think? Let me know in the comments 👍🏼.

Mädchen macht Gymnastik am See bei Sonnenuntergang Silhouettenfotografie
ISO640 f3.2 1/80

Week 36 : Landscape


We live in Switzerland now. So this shouldn't have been a no-brainer challenge. Then again, too much choice can makes things difficult.

I had many small road trips to interesting photography spots planned this week. But, it was also the first week of school for my daughter and somehow the week flew by and suddenly it was Saturday!

Time for the emergency plan: we have this cute little chapel in the next town over. So we tried to drive to it but it turned out that it is only accessible on foot. We had been on the road all afternoon and my daughter needed a bathroom break very urgently so I did not have time to hike up. So I had no choice but to shoot it from a little further away. I think it worked out nicely with the flowing line of the hill.

It was a very bright and sunny day, mid afternoon so horrible light. I did not have a neutral density filter with me so I just had to make do with what I had. I should have used different settings but someone kept calling to hurry up so I was a bit distracted 😄.

Kapelle am Horizont Landschaftsfotografie
ISO31 f1.8 1/8000

Week 37 : Joy


I am aware that I keep complaining about this move to Switzerland. It's not all bad, on the contrary. However, leaving behind my Sophie was the hardest thing. She was far from perfect but I miss her so much. I have refrained many times from texting her new owners. But this week I texted them anyway. They told me that she is doing great and they love her to pieces.

So even though I miss the joy of having her at our home, it still brought me joy to hear good news like that.

This is her saddle and bridle and a photo of me and her.

I placed it all on my black backdrop and had two lights on each side. I had to tone down the highlights on the metal parts in post processing.

And I used a nostalgic filter just because I felt like it ☺️

Sattel, Zaumzeug und Foto auf schwarzem Hintergrund Pferdeprodukt fotografie
ISO1250 f11 1/30

That's it for this series!



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