I love taking photographs at night, but without the proper preparations (e.g., fast glass, tripod, sobriety), the resulting snaps are often too blurry to use. When it comes to photographic representations of dreams, however, some blurriness can actually be useful.

My submitted photo started with just such a blurry pic - a late-night snapshot of a shadowy metal grate that was so out-of-focus that it was actually more ghostly and evocative than a tack-sharp photo would've been. That became the backdrop for a composite image of photos I took the following night, including a doll that hung over the DJ booth at a dance club, a seemingly dead-end apartment corridor, and the backside of an African mask that I spied through a shop window. The final addition was the text, which I gleaned from an old psychiatry book and photographed inside my apartment.

Tech specs: The initial nighttime images were shot on a Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 400 ISO with an exposure of minus 1-something (it's a semi-crummy pocket cam, so the controls aren't exactly pro quality). The text was photographed with a Panasonic Lumix FZ40 at 800 ISO (since noise wasn't really a factor in this instance). And everything was mixed together with an old copy of Photoshop CS1.

- John Graham

Equipment: Canon EOS Rebel T2i with a 18-55mm Lens.

Story: My Name is Andrew Smith when trying to think of this project it wasn't the easiest one, but it opened a lot of possibilities for shots. My Co-worker volunteered to be the subject of my photo which i call "An Out of Body Experience". Dreams can be so normal or so off the wall. I have had several dreams throughout the years that it seemed that i was looking at my own sleeping body, while like this i could do anything fly, teleport, anything. This i feels portrays what i felt like when this reoccurring dream came about.

- Andrew Smith

Taken with a Sony NEX 7 sporting a tilt adapter & old school manual
focus Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens with full manual settings. This shot was
taken with an eight degree tilt to the right which extended the focal
plane into the forest. Beyond some color / contrast enhancement, no
other processing was necessary in Photoshop as it was taken at ISO100
/ f1.4 & the blur to either side of the focal plane was produced by
the lens in combination with the tilt. Without a tilt lens a
photographer would have needed to shoot in the neighborhood of f8
@ISO1600 given the light conditions & then applied an artificial blur
which would have never captured the unique bokeh and of course would
have produced a great deal of noise. Sometimes it's all about the
glass & not the post processing. It's a shame that so many
photographers rely on auto-everything these days. With digital,
developing is now free & as a result photographers are more free than
ever to play with actual "physical techniques" with their hardware.
Old lenses can be cheap as are adapters.


In terms of the "other story" beyond showing what's possible without
resorting to Photoshop, my intent was to capture that moment in a
dream of serenity. The point of peace which could at any moment
change to a tunnel-visioned chase nightmare. An intent I choose when
I setup the shot, not when post-processing at home.

- Jerry Decime

Like most young women, every now and then I catch myself dreaming about my wedding day. Since I've been divorced, however, my wedding dreams don't consist church bells, sunshine and dandelions, they consist of me running for dear life and ending up all by my lonesome. In most cases the weather would have put a damper on my plans, but it worked to my advantage with this one, as the mood is supposed to be a little dreary... We succeeded in confusing every innocent bystander as they congratulated my friend on her wedding, to which the response was "this is the best way to mess up $1,500!" as she proceeded to stomp around in the ocean.
As far as equipment and settings go, I can't really pinpoint any one particular, since I've blended four images together to make the one. I used a Canon Rebel T3i with the basic stock lens and switched around between a whole bunch of different settings.

- Megan Zavalaga

I have vivid, colorful dreams. A lot of the times, they are very
symbolic, and most dreams that I remember are of the ocean, so I
wanted to depict that. This is a montage of a couple looking to the
ocean, connected with a rose and two branches blending into one. This
could symbolize a unity of two souls looking into an unknown future.
It is a compilation of 4 images that I placed together in Photoshop. I
played around with the blending modes for each, and masked out certain
areas that I didn't want to include. The bottom images are a play on
green and red food dye and tree branches in water. On top of that is a
photograph of a bouquet of dry roses and the last image at the corner
is of a couple on top of a cliff staring out to sea.

- Anastasia R.

I had a dream I was watching my girlfriend and me, hanging out next to our little tiki lamp. Funny thing about my dreams, they're always in the third person, and even though they seam fuzzy, I somehow know exactly who the people are. I took a photo of me during the day time and then a few stacked together at night. This strongly depicts the actual dream I was having, in which the world around me was light out, but the dream in front of me was night. I know it's confusing, but then again, it was my dream.

- Paul Valerio

Taken with my iPhone, in a old house in bolivia.

- Rodrigo Benavides

For my shot I used my Sony Nex-7 camera and my Seibold's Dreamagon lens. When I found the spot that I wanted to take the picture I set up my exposure with ISO 100 and f/4 then I took several pictures and merged them into an HDR image replacing some of the soft focus effect of the lens with greater values.


I chose to shoot a meadow that I found in McCall, Idaho because It reminded me of the sense of peace and balance that I get while I am dreaming. When I sleep I feel safe and don't want to wake up and that is the same feeling I got when I saw the meadow.

- Hallie Decime

I wasn't planning on entering this contest but after looking at some photos I snapped up while exploring a forest after family barbecue, I found one that reminded me of a dream. Often times we see someone coming in from a light, and when you incorporate a forest element into the dream, this is what I imagine you would see. It was a f/5.6, 1/60s, ISO-500 shot taken with my Canon T3i with highlights boosted up and a bit of tint applied.

- Basel Sabbagh

Who hasn't dreamed of flying, whether it's with an umbrella or on a bicycle? I know I have... and I still do. Fairies do it so gracefully.


I am sure I have them living in my garden and have dreamt of having tea parties and a good laugh with my fairy friends. Fairies require technicolor dreams...and it doesn't get any more colourful than this!!

This fairy is about 3 inches tall and she lives at the bottom of my garden. I shot her with the 100mm macro lens that I bought a couple of months ago for a previous Gizmodo contest. Canon T2i at F/2.8.

- Georgina Lawrence

Sony Alpha A55 50mm lens @ f/22 and 6/10 second exposure.
My original idea was the theme of "Rock Music" so I took a couple of nicer border rocks from my water garden and drilled holes in them to match a 1/2" 8-line patch cord I had laying around, I dug out one of my old-time favorite cassettes, Art Of Noise, and a record needle cartridge. I lit the scene with the sun overhead through trees, a bounce flash off a gold umbrella at 45 degrees right and up, and another flash held in hand pointed in from the left at camera level. I them took the finished shot into Tiffen DFX and pulled out a series of filtered effects that I did a final composite in Photoshop of. I tried to give certain elements more of a natural edge, specifically the cassette itself, and then tried to downplay the patch cord in detail where it met the rock, but highlight it in color/contrast.

- Marvin Francois

Rainbows always seem a bit magical as they seem very dream-like and they show up out of no-where, usually after a storm. This rainbow was created by artist Michael Jones McKean on top of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha. The water from these rainbows is supplied by an ingenious system that traps rainwater in several giant tanks. When the hoses on the top of the building are fired, they try to recapture as much of the water they are using as they can.

- Mike Machian

The day you announced this week's contest there was a pretty massive
thunderstorm here in Chicago. I've photographed lightning before and
was looking forward to another crack at it (get it?). I set up my
camera on a tripod on my back porch and locked down the trigger on my
remote shutter release. The exposure was set to 4 seconds so I let
that go for about 200 shots and ended up with about 8 that had
lightning in them. After that I came inside and tried to get the F-U
stare my cat always gives me. I thought it would be funny to have the
lightning coming out of my cat's eyes. Then I just did a lot of
playing around in CS5.
Canon T2i, EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens
Lightning Pic:
Manual mode: f/5.6, 4 seconds, iso 100
Cat Pic:
f/5.6, 1/6m iso 3200

- Rob Lennox

Upper half = Canon EOS 1000D, f9, 1/160 sec, ISO 200
Legs = Canon EOS 1000D, f10, 1/200 sec, ISO 200
Lower half background = Canon PS G11, f8, 0.4 sec, ISO 100
All lit camera right using Canon 270EX on flash cord. Post process using Photoshop and Nik filters.


The idea came from a few weeks back, when I had a dream where I was standing out in the parking lot and suddenly became lucid. Excited, I decided I'd try and fly. It worked, but being a bit careless I somersaulted, flipped over and careened straight into the brick road below and woke up. This is my attempt to capture that particular instant; blasting through the dream and back into reality.

- Bart Tieman

Shot with Canon Rebel T3i and 50mm f/1.8 lens.

I decided to use this challenge as a chance to play with double exposures. The two photos used were both taken at the Miniature Time Machine museum in Tucson, AZ - a museum made up of dollhouse and miniature figure displays. [It was part of an outing with my 5 year-old.] One photo was of a coven of witches, the other of a garden scene. Layered one photo on top of the other in Photoshop, adjusted opacity, and here is the result.

- Chris Wiegand

I used my phone to take this picture. It was very hot and sunny out. I use an HTC Radar, and I used the Thumba photo editing app to edit it and create the trippy image you see.


My dreams are normally placid and goofy, but I occasionally have bizarre nightmares. This tree monster is really a good example of what I might encounter in a nightmare.

- Bryan Fulton

Last year I had a "Fever Dream" fighting the flu. This image kept
returning of what Post Civilization might look like. I combed my
stock library and used Paint Shop Pro 7 (my favorite of all image
editing programs-but I digress) Photoshop 7/ Nik Color Effects/
Guinness Dark lager and PRN Medical Cannabis. I really like the
concept of windows retaining what they have transmitted and tried to
illustrate the idea by adding Color in the Windows only. While I
shoot a Nikon D70 and a Nikon D70S these days, the original images
were scanned files from 4X5 and 35mm Transparencies and the Moon
downloaded from NASA public domain files.

- Jeff Schroeder

Life has been particularly difficult for me lately, and one of the ways I unwind is by aimless driving towards the sunset. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to do this lately, but I'm thankful to have done so this past week.


Witnessing this seemingly post-apocalyptic scene with my own two eyes - watching the sky set ablaze in such a manner - for an instant in time, I could not distinguish the line between dream and reality.

And then, just as fleeting as dreams are, so did the sky.

Canon Rebel XTi w/24-70 2.8L, f/2.8 @ 1/60, ISO 400, -1 EV, 24mm, handheld, minor level adjustments in LR3.

- Francis Manuel

The other night I had a dream where I climbed to the roof of a skyscraper. I remember the feeling of "being there to capture something", while I made my way through a hatch. My co-worker was there to greet me and took my photo gear to help me up. He said very calmly "You have to see this".


Canon XSi, 18mm, ISO400, f/4.0, Tonemapped in Photomatix and edited in lightroom.

- Tim Drivas

Camera: Yashica T4
Lens: 35mm
Film iso: Fujichrome Velvia 100 (cross-processed)

I had this film in my camera while I was in Indonesia and it jammed in the heat and rewound itself. I was there for only a weekend before being sent to Amsterdam. I managed to get the film winding again while i was there, which resulted in double exposing the film. Because i was in each country for only 2 days, the whole experience felt literally like a dream, and ironically when i scanned the film, the results reflected that! This shot bridged the two trips so well, and it's great to see Indonesia which was apart of the old Dutch colony reunited with the country itself in a frame.

- Tom Law

Canon T3i
Canon kit lens 18 - 55mm + wide angle adapter
ISO 800
Shutter speed 1/30
Aperture 6.3

Studying for the SAT

- Jorge Gallegos

I actually took this picture a week ago, just playing around with my camera at Muriel Lake, Alberta, Canada, and thought it looked like a cool dreamy shot. The picture was slightly out of focus already, so combined with the pattern of the light, it a had more of a dreamy look already. Adjusted contrast and saturation a bit, and sharpened the image.
Taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T3i, at ISO 3200, f/1.8 at 1/13 shutter speed with a EF 50mm lens.

- Prateek Srivastava

- Pheno