If a UFO is an unidentified flying object, then this week's Shooting Challenge celebrates UPOs, or unidentified photographed objects. Don't get what I mean? Think of it as a game...

The Challenge

Photograph something in a way you've NEVER seen it photographed before, in a way that makes it difficult to know what we're looking at. (Of course, the photo should still look cool/stunning/beautiful.) In this regard, it's a bit like our abstraction challenge. But push to make something truly confounding—use your creativity to build an enigma.

The Example

I pulled the lead shot from a classic What Is This? Gizmodo post. The answer? Fields in Egypt, taken from the ISS.

The Technique

The obvious solution is macro photography. And this is fine! Macro shots are fantastic. Just because a technique is obvious doesn't make it wrong.


But to those working with a simple kit lens, the answer is easy: carry your camera with you for a few days. Get yourself in the habit of looking at the world strangely, for lack of a better term.

Or, just set an ordinary object in front of you, like a salt shaker. Look at its angles. And find one you haven't seen before. Could I identify a salt shaker shot from the bottom? It might look like a cube of sand.


1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to contests@gizmodo.com, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.

Send your best photo by Monday, March 7th at 8AM Eastern to contests@gizmodo.com with "UPO" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameUPO.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameUPO.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

Mark Wilson is the founder of photography blog Life, Panoramic as well as Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.