TTT – Abstract Photography – Ep. 3

Driving force behind a project

Gold and Green Composition
Gold and Green in Motion

Over the pass couple of weeks I have covered concepts and techniques, and I promised to do a bit of a deeper dive into what lies beneath the surface of the process of capturing these images.

In terms of photographic technique, the ideas are rather simple and mastered relatively quickly.  Most of my personal photography projects tend not to last very long, as quickly I start looking for novel ways to capture and present material; at such a time, I usually put the project aside for at least a year or so, waiting for it to feel fresh again when I go for the next image in a series.  This project has been different, in that I have been shooting in this genre for more than 4 years thus far, and it has not felt stale to me yet.  As this surprised me somewhat, I started looking into the how and why this project is different.

There are several elements that I uncovered, which make the Kryptomorphaics project different from prior efforts:

  • on-going discovery
  • emotional connectivity
  • re-examination
I am certain that there are other elements that I may uncover, as I push forward in this project, but these appear to be the drivers at this time.

Discovery – photography is a journey of discovery for just about all of us, who have picked up a camera and started shooting in earnest.  This project has afforded me continual discovery through opening up all senses and taking input from all of them in the process of capturing content that is not just visible to the eye.  This deeper sense of uncovering this cryptic that lies hidden within the world around us has opened my mind’s eye to further explore these scenes in new directions.  These include examination of the scene not only in its current juncture within the space-time continuum, but also past and future lines that may be occupied by the players on stage within the scene.  This has opened up some connections that I had hitherto not observed, some of which demonstrate how universal forces flow through the quotidian.

Berries in Motion
Berries in Motion

Emotional Connectivity – as I deepened my exploration, part of which included opening up all senses to the environment in which I found myself, I started noticing a sense of emotional connection to what I found within the scene.  In a manner, which can be likened to meditation, a more complete sense of the image, as it should be captured, is refined by opening up the senses to subtle emotional triggers.  It can be described as opening oneself up to a feeling washing over the entire being and letting that guide the decision making process for how to capture the image.  This feeling is more pronounced for certain images that others.

Re-Examination –  upon capturing an image, the next thing I do is a taking stock of how it felt to capture the image.  I take sensory stock of the image rather than examining it visually (I am not a big fan of chimping, but one could say that this is a sort of sensory chimping).  Without looking at the image, I will then make a decision to either shoot the scene with some adjustment, which can be slight or radical, or if it feels just right, I then walk away from it.

Mystery in Green
Mystery in Green

I find that the success of the process depends more on my ability to quiet all my senses and open myself up to my surroundings; this is where the simile with mediation extends, as I will use meditation techniques to improve my feel for the environment.  In this process, I do not over-analyze how I might be able to capture the feeling that lies before my lens; a couple of rough guesstimates guide my camera settings adjustments, as I let intuition be my guide.

This wraps up this 3-part series on abstract photography, but, fear not!  From time to time, I will feature an image from my Kryptomorphaics collection to discuss it in more detail.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed this introduction and look forward to hearing what other topics might interest you.

Every leaf has a halo

Simple beauty on a cold day

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Leafy halo

During the same day that I captured the images in yesterday’s post, Another shot of cold, I grabbed the opportunity to catch these leaves backlit by the sun.

I had just finished shooting some shoreline details and was walking back along the water’s edge to climb up the embankment and trudge through the snow.  The clouds were beginning to look more interesting, which caused me to look up and notice the small cluster of leaves still attached in this hard winter.

Positioning the leaves in front of the sun gave me exactly the look that spoke to me, with a bit of drama in the clouds and the structure of tree from above.  The way it is presented here is without any touchup in postprocessing, as I like the little bit of warmth that flows forth in this mostly black&white image.

Technical Details

I captured this with a Canon EOS 5D MkIII using an EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II.  The settings I used were a bit unusual, as I wanted a shallow depth of field, so I used f5.6 at 1/8000 second (probably the first time I’ve ever used that shutter speed).

The answer is…

Turning over an old leaf

Destruction-of-the-Maiden-MISS_MG_8490
Shot before ‘Destruction of the Maiden’

As you can see in this shot of the subject matter in Destruction of the Maiden that I discarded, they were leaves…

I was not happy with this shot, but knew that there was something in these leaves that needed to be told.  So, I wound up combining zoom blur and a bit of twist to get the effect that I was looking for.

In post processing, I did adjust the levels and dropped a bit of saturation to push the color palette a bit more toward the redder end of the spectrum.

Thanks to all of you who checked this out and particularly those who put forth their guesses.

Hope you enjoyed it!!

Another Shot of Cold…

Snow on the beach

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Beachscape in Winter

In my earlier post, I talked a bit about finding a nice frozen waterfall to photograph, which was a blast. In case you thought that to be an isolated incident, let me set you straight with a couple of images from a tour of beaches on the Massachusetts Northshore and Southern New Hampshire.

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Crashing Waves

These are from the end of January, 2015, on a day that was windy and raw, as you can see from the waves crashing on boulders at the beach.  Luckily, I was dressed for this with warm boots, ski pants and sufficient layers to keep me comfortable.

Most of the day was pretty much overcast, which left the light rather flat…

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Flotsam

But in the afternoon, the sun started showing itself a bit more, which provided wonderful opportunity to photograph some of the more interesting pieces on the beach.

I wholeheartedly recommend going out on cold days to explore places that most people only visit when it’s warm.

Winter in New England

Frozen cascade

Over this past weekend, New England has been under siege by a cold front that has kept all, but the hardiest souls in-doors; Sunday morning the mercury dropped to -15F (-26C), which was downright chilly.

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Doane’s Falls in Ice

Regardless of this, Winter is one of my favorite seasons to photograph, as there is always such greate emotional content to be found.  I did go out to do a bit of photography, as I was looking into waterfalls in the area, so I thought it might be worthwhile to go check one out in this weather.

The particular waterfall I sought out is Doane’s Falls in Royalston, Massachusetts, which is about an hour’s drive for me.  When I arrived there, I found the falls very close to the road, which is rather considerate at these temperatures.  It’s a bit of an experience walking down a snow-covered, icy path next to a roaring stream, when you are all by yourself… a trifle unnerving, but luckily there were safety wires by the edge of the rocks.

In the image, you can see the massive amount of ice that has built up in the cascades; I’m not sure what the cause of the discoloration in the ice is, as I didn’t get close enough to find out.

Technical Details

I shot this with my trusty Canon EOS 5D MkIII using a 24-105 f/4 L lens with a circular polarizing filter attached.  Settings were f/7.1, 1/640 second at 400 ISO.  I kept the speed high, as I didn’t have a great spot for setting up my tripod (I did carry it in).

Hope you enjoy it, and stay warm!!

Another Versatile Blogger Award!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

1-versatile-blogger-awardI’m very grateful that I was nominated by Bikurgurl, whose Bikurgurl blog is truly awesome, for a Versatile Blogger Award.

First of all, go out and read Bikurgurl, as her writing, point of view on the world and overall outlook on life make her much more than just a gurl!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The Rules (from The Versatile Blogger Award):

  • Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Facts about me:

  1. As I was born in the Netherlands, I love licorice (Dutch licorice, of course)
  2. I find Japanese culture very intriguing and want to travel there
  3. I am owned by 4 Cardigan Welsh Corgis and a cat
  4. My high school was founded in 1328
  5. I love exploring areas where there are few people
  6. My favorite photographers are Rineke Dijkstra, Dorothea Lange and Cindy Sherman
  7. There are lots of areas where I want to photograph, when I’m independlty wealthy!

There’s the tip of the iceberg 🙂

My Nominees (go check them out!!):

  1. It Is What It Is
  2. PK Photo of the Day
  3. Tesserology
  4. An Insight to my Thoughts and Experiences
  5. Impromptu Promptlings
  6. Angela Murdock
  7. TSS Reviews
  8. Erhynireh
  9. Lita Doolan
  10. Musings of an Insomniac
  11. Holly’s OCA Blog C&N
  12. A Kinder Way
  13. kidscrumbsandcrackers
  14. CJ Bane & Pearl
  15. La vie en orange

Each of these blogs is as unique as the folks that write them.  The one constant is that each blogger is devoted to running a great blog, which shows in the quality of what they provide, and the honesty of what they write.  You’ll want to check each of these blogs!

Thanks again Bikurgurl!!

Shot of the Week – vol 6

Embrace the Sun

2016-02-11 07.36.34 HDR
Embrace the Sun

Yes, she’s back!  Here we find the Yoga Tree gently embracing the Sun, as it rises up into the Winter sky.  A heavily overcast day with a glimpse of better light to come along the horizon.

Simple beauty is something we can often find during this season, as form and shape stand out more than color at this time of year.

Hope you enjoy this one and have a wonderful day!