Repost – Abstract Photography – Ep. 1

Opening a view to alternate realities.

As one of my recent posts, Temporary Passage, generated some questions around the technique that I used to generate the image, I thought that I would repost the series of 3 blog posts that I wrote about this topic in February, 2016.  Here is the first one, the other two will appear in the next couple of days.

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!

Three Line Tales – Discovery

Ever finding much

Many thanks to Sonya for Week Eighty-Six of Three Line Tales, part of her awesome blog Only 100 Words!

three line tales week 86: a small boy reading a book
photo by Ben White via Unsplash

****

Open book, surprise!
Filling a young mind, wisdom…
Exploratorium!

****

Thank you to Sonya of Only 100 Words for coming up with Three Line Tales.

You’ll find full guidelines on her TLT page, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post.
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.
  • NEW: If you want your post to be included in the round-up, you have until Sunday evening to publish it.
  • Have fun.

Happy three-lining!

Warped Wednesday – pt. 5

Mind’s eye wanderment

You probably have noticed that a significant aspect of my photographic exploits are driven by experimentation.  While I definitely value reading articles and finding interesting workshops and classes to expand my photography skills, there’s a special place in my heart for discovering through trial and error.

In our fast-paced world, we don’t always recognize the value of failures, as a key part of our on-going development; rather a fear of failures tends to hold most of us back from really reaching out and trying something that we may not succeed at on the first five tries.  What we do after failing is what determines our successes; we can either decide that we’re going to give up or keep trying until we find success.  The childlike creativity that resides in all of us should help with this, because, as a child, we didn’t know how to stop trying; just think about the number of attempts it took to learn how to walk…

In a lot of my abstract work, I will visualize what I am looking to achieve, and I have learned over time to improve the connection between visualization and execution; then there are usually a number of attempts to get just what I want.  And even after I get what I want, I will try other variations, because sometimes I discover something a little different…

This series of images is from an Autumn afternoon’s stroll through Tower Hill Botanic Garden; my mind’s eye was driven more by the colors and the breeze through the leaves than anything else, as I allowed it to wander about a bit during this exploration.  Playing around with a variety of techniques, such as soft focus, zoom blur and camera motion, I generated this set of images along the theme of Autumn.

The playful nature of this discovery was certainly as much fun as the end result, as I truly enjoyed the process.  Hopefully, you explore in a similar fashion, allowing you to break boundaries in your photography and other creative endeavors.  I’d love to hear about your journey!

Weekend Update – Autumn!

Leaves and snake!

I decided to take a couple of days’ hiatus from blogging and focus on living.  Our great friends, George and Heidi, came up from Connecticut to visit this weekend, and it has been a wonderful time.  Besides catching up on life’s events and creating some cool, ethereal jusic between synthesizer, guitar and harmonica, George and I did some photographic exploring.

We went to Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday morning, which I have visited before, but never had the opportunity to explore all the trails.  The weather was fantastic and I captured lots of wonderful scenes, of which I’ll share a couple in today’s post.

file-oct-09-2-41-31-pm
Reflecting on Autumn

Looking out over the Nashua river, I noticed this interplay between Autumnal color and the reflected trees hanging over the water.

file-oct-09-2-42-15-pm
Relaxed and Napping

Later down the path, we discovered this wonderful little snake, resting  and soaking up as much of the Sun’s energy as possible.  This lovely snake was positioned on top of a beaver hutch, which had fallen dry; the area that we traversed is usually under water during wet season.

A little challenge to the reader: what type of snake is this?

A great weekend, and now watching the return of Tom Brady.

Technical Details

These images were captured with my Fuji X-T1 using the Fuji 18-135 super duper lens.  I’m really beginning to enjoy this camera!  Some simple cropping and adjustments were done in Adobe Lightroom for the iPad, which, while minimalist has all the basic things that make for a great quick edit.

Three Line Tales – Week 10

Voyage of discovery

Welcome to Week Ten of Three Line Tales.

three line tales, week ten – toy sailboats
photo by Charlie Harutaka – click her for full res version 

 

Dreaming of a time,
When sails crossed uncharted seas.
Space exploration.

****

Thank you to Sonya of Only 100 Words for coming up with Three Line Tales.

The TLT rules are simple:

  • Take a look at the photo prompt and write three lines to go with it.
  • Your lines can be poetry, micro-fiction, micro non-fiction or just a really long caption – everything goes as long as it’s three lines long.
  • A link back to this post would be nice (it’ll make me feel obliged to swing by yours to read your three lines, and some of your readers might want to join in, too – the more, the merrier, right?).
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales – it’ll make it easier for others to find it in the Reader.
  • Read other participants’ lines.

Please check Sonya’s post Three Line Tales – Week Ten for detailed instructions.

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!