TTT – Abstract Photography – Ep. 1

Opening a view to alternate realities.

As part of the new schedule, Tuesday’s will get a regular feature titled TTT: Tuesday Technique Topic.  At the suggestion of one of my wonderful readers, I’m starting with the topic of Abstract Photography, as I have approached it.

Zooming abstraction of a brush pile
Brush Abstraction 1

A significant amount of photography attempts to capture the reality we see around us, often in the best possible light.

As a result, most of the advances in photography have been aimed at achieving ever higher fidelity in capturing this reality.  In digital photography, sensors have become more sensitive causing ISO ranges to expand, white balance is corrected ever more accurately and many other innovations have been programmed into the complex computers that we call digital cameras.

Of course, this is a good thing, as it has allowed photographers to get much more satisfactory results in capturing all matter of subjects under a wide variety of conditions.  Moreover, today’s digital cameras provide their users with a sense of instant gratification well beyond that of even the near-instant output of Polaroid cameras.  The added bonus of being able to delete a poor image has brought many people to photography on a scale that dwarfs the success of even the legendary Kodak Brownie camera.

Butterfly uncovered in variegated ivy
Cryptomorphosis 1

One side effect of this renaissance of photography, is that the digital diluvium of imagery may give one the impression that everything ranging from the mundane to the sublime has been recorded by someone somewhere.  How many times have you heard someone say, as you proudly show them your work, “I have a photo of that, let me show you!”, and they bring forth their smart-phone to show you their record of what you thought you were the first to see through your viewfinder?

I have to admit that there have been numerous times that I looked at a scene in front of me, weighing how I might want to photograph it, and felt the pressure to come up with a novel approach to creating the image.  Yes, each individual photographer views the world in their unique and personal fashion, but is it enough differentiation to satisfy our creative urge?  Personally, I refrained from photographing certain scenes that might be considered over-photographed.  Nubble Lighthouse on Cape Neddick, ME, comes to mind; this may be the “most photographed” lighthouse on the East Coast of the US.  It was years before I came up with a treatment of this lighthouse that told a story that I saw.

Light painting of intersection scene
Connections

Rather than replicating the great work that has been done by many photographers before me, I started looking for an alternate take on the world around me.  Yes, I still photograph what all of us see around us in the standard manner of faithful reproduction of the scene.  However, from time to time, I have been doing some experimental photography to try and reveal some of the things that our eyes don’t see, but that are still there.  After a little more than a year of experimenting, and learning some new tricks that can be performed with a zoom lens or through camera motion and careful timing, I have started to pull things together into a more unified portfolio of abstract photography.

Rotated columns with night traffic
Portal

The goal of this portfolio is to show some of the layer underneath the immediately visible; a layer that I see from time to time, when I look at the world through more of a mind’s eye.  This view is exposed only when I manipulate the camera or the lens, and never through post-capture processing; also, no special camera software or firmware is used.

These images come to me when I am on location and are inspired by the sense of mystery that I derive from that location.  What first started as pure experimentation has evolved into a new set of skills that uncover previously hidden insights.  An image unfolds in front of me as I visualize it, and I plan an approach on how to capture it.  The success rate is not 100%, but the results are interesting and encouraging in exploring new avenues of creativity that may otherwise remain cryptic.

The subjects that I have approached with this experimental methodology have ranged from fire to flowers and urban landscapes.  Each set of subjects evokes their own, specific set of moments in the space-time continuum that ask to be recorded in a particular fashion; some have rendered surprises and few have been disappointing.  There have been times when several attempts were needed to find the right balance that extracts the correct alternate sense from the subject; each subject has a series of alternate views that can be uncovered through opening up to the flow of energy that emanates from it.  Many more await discovery.

In next week’s episode of TTT, I will describe the details of the process that I use to create the images seen here and in my abstract images portfolio.  I hope you don’t mind waiting until next Tuesday for that post.  In the mean time, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them.

As always, thank you for reading my blog!

Autumn Serenity

A bit of abstract photography to soothe the senses

One aspect of my photography is that I will experiment with different in-camera techniques to produce images that are more abstract than representational.  Over the years, I have built up a series of images that I call Kryptomorphaics, as they bring out the hidden through transformation.

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Autumn Serenity

The inspiration for this image is the overwhelming sense of calmness that I felt, as I walked through the landscape observing the way the light played through the autumn leaves.

Hope you enjoy this image, as it is a little different.

Daily Post Photo Challenge – Vibrant

What is more vibrant than kumquats?

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Juicy Kumquats!

They may not be your everyday fruit, but kumquats positively brim with all that is good for you: vitamins, fibre and a tartness that wakes you up!

In response to Daily Post Photo Challenge – Vibrant

 

Hope you enjoy!!

Worcester Best Chef Competition

Great food, camaraderie and competition!

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High End Dishes to Taste!

This Sunday, I have the privilege to be one of the photographers, who will be covering the annual Worcester Best Chef event and competition at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA.

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Chef Brian Treitman in Battle Mode

The event attracts the best restaurants and chefs in the area to dazzle everyone with their finest offerings.  The tasting is spread out over multiple floors within the beautiful facility, and the attendees not only get to taste what local restaurants can do, but also get to vote for there favorites.

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Plenty of Ingredients

After the voting, the competition commences between the top vote recipient and two other chefs, who are selected by the judges based on what they tasted earlier in the day.  In true Iron Chef style, the three chefs battle each other on stage to come up with their finest dish within 30 minutes.

The winner is determined by a panel of esteem judges, and gets the trophy and prestige of being Worcester’s Best Chef for that year!

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Cleaning Up

The event is fun for all and nobody goes away hungry, given the smorgasbord of delectable food!  If you want to find out more about this event, please check the Worcester Best Chef web-site at Worcester Best Chef.

If you’re lucky, there might still be a couple of tickets available, as attendance has been outstanding each year; the local gourmets flock to the event in droves, as you’re not going to get bette food anywhere in the area.

Hope you enjoy some of the images from past years, and I’ll be sure to post some after Sunday.

Meet and Greet Weekend @ DBDO: 1/29/16

For those of you who haven’t visited this blog yet, you’re missing out on some great post with excellent tips and inspiration that all of use can use. Go check Danny’s blog!

Dream Big, Dream Often

dream-big image credit: the love shop

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend at Dream Big!!  I hope everyone’s January has been productive!  Hard to believe it is almost February!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!  The more people that see and participate in the MnG, the more potential new followers!  So, share, share share!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times each day!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules…

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Frozen Friday

A cold shot to wrap up the week…

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Winter Revisited

A Cold Shot

As we’re wrapping up the week, I figured it might be a good opportunity to look back a couple of years, when I took this photograph.  Although I didn’t give it a title right away, I have come to call this image ‘Winter Revisited’; this sprang forth more from going back to this image again and again than anything in the subject matter, other than the obvious.

This shot was taken on February 7, 2014, at Rocky Pond in Boylston, Massachusetts; this is along one of the variants of my commute.  I had pulled over, because I wanted to see what could be done with the sun’s warm glare off the ice, juxtaposed against the blue of the morning sky.  Nothing really satisfied my desire to create something worthwhile, so I walked a bit along the edge of the pond.

That is when I noticed the frost still on this small brush and how the frost had grown into fractal patterns along the branches and twigs.  Looking through the frosty brush toward the sun, the overhanging tree provided a nice bit of framing to the photo.  All in all, I felt, and still feel, pretty good about the end result.

Random Notes

You’ll notice that a good percentage of my photography doesn’t adhere to the standard edict of keeping the sun in your back to properly light your subject.  There are plenty of times when that is a good idea, but I find that allowing light to come from some more unconventional angles can provide dramatic images.  Of course, for portrait photography it is not at all unusual to put the sun behind your subjects and use flash to light them; that provides for pleasing edge lighting (aka hair lighting) and full control of the light you put on their faces.

Using the sun to a similar effect in landscape images provides rather nice results, such as in this image, where the hoar frost gets to stand out rather than disappear.

This photo was taken with an iPhone 5S.  With a minor bit of Photoshop work, I was able to enlarge the image for a large print with rather dramatic results.  Thus far, I have printed it on 2’x2′ acrylic, which lifts the glow from the sun’s glare off the ice even more.

Hopefully you enjoyed this image, and, thank you for reading my ramblings!

Dogstar Thursday

Should we let Thursday go to the dogs? Let me know…

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High Flying Golden

Agility Competitions

As frequent readers of my posts might be aware, I spent a number of years photographing dog agility competitions (How did you learn photography? (part 2) talked about it a bit).  One of the great comments I received included a request to share some more of my dog photography, so here’s a start…

My assumption is that most of you are somewhat familiar with dog agility competitions, where dogs, with the help of their handler, compete against each other over jumps, through tunnels, across see-saws (teeters) and other obstacles to run without mistakes and as fast as possible.  These competitions are a lot of fun for the dogs, as most of them love running around and doing challenging things for a reward; just like people, different dogs like different rewards ranging from food to tugging with their handler.

About the Photo

This photo is from about 5 years ago on a beautiful day in early May.  Note that this Golden Retriever is jumping rather high; the top bar is set at 24″ (appr. 60 cm) and is being cleared by quite a bit.

As my practice is to set up for shooting the action at certain obstacles, I made sure that for this jump the dog would be backlit to get some nice edge lighting on the ears and hair; it’s not often that this shot opportunity presented itself, which made for a fun shot.

Photo Geek Information

As some of you have asked for shot data and I had it readily available:

– shot with a Canon EOS-1D Mark III using a 70-200mm F2.8 lens and 1.4x extender at 1/1250s/F6.3

Hope you enjoy this, as I am thinking about making this a regular Thursday feature.