After a rather busy travel week, Warped Wednesday is back! This time, I like to spend a little time playing with fire.
Of course, the first caveat is to never play with fire, don’t try this at home, etc. Playing with photographing fire is a lot of fun and can produce lots of different results, such as these…
l’Oiseau de Feu
This sequence was done sitting around a campfire and progresses from basic shooting to radical zoom blur and controlled zoom blur. Experimentation was my guide in these shots and enabled me to find a completely new path in photography.
Have you ever experimented with photographing fire?
Last week, the focus of the images was on the various states of water and how its abstract views come into play. This week, I’d like to talk a little bit about experimenting with techniques.
Early on, most of my abstract captures were achieved through various adaptations of a zoom blur using various twisting techniques. After lots of experimentation with this method of abstraction, I decided to start exploring a number of different approaches, which opened up some interesting looks and images.
Impressions of a Tree
Oaken Falls 2
Texture of Leaf and Light
These images highlight some of my approaches. Faerie Loops was inspired by the light playing across the long grass; I immediately envisioned luminous faeries leaping through the grass, as their terpsichorean tribe passed in front of us. This gave me the idea of using a slight hop movement with my camera, providing the jumping effect. Impressions of a Tree came about from closing my eyes to slits while looking at the light playing through the canopy; you can see the simple movement in the light traces.
Oaken Falls 2 was the result of the tree giving me the sense of a cascade of light playing through the leaves; a bit of experimentation led to this image with a waterfall of light in it. Texture of Leaf and Light is more a study of what is felt through the mind’s eye rather than the physical eyes; I wanted to capture the feeling of the leaves and their interaction with the light rather than their physical shape and being. A slight bit of playing with the focus and its exact depth worked well in this case.
Lastly, the Maze was all about creating the sense of being surrounded by grasses. To get the desired effect, I got down rather low to the ground (the grasses were about 30 cm tall) and experimented with a slight bit of rotation of my camera, rather than zoom blur. Shooting upward toward the sky gives the feeling of entrapment among the tall grasses.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of exploration of different techniques and the results that they can provide. Remember to have fun with your photography and keep experimenting!
In last week’s edition, I talked a little about experimentation and the fun that I have with it, as a means of finding new inspiration and ideas. Part of my process is to also look at ways of interpreting different materials.
One of the materials that has been part of my entire life is water. Growing up in the Netherlands, one is surrounded by water all the time, which is why swimming is standard curriculum in elementary school. From swimming to sailing and ice skating, a lot of life focuses on the very same water that the Dutch have learned to move out of the way and tame over the centuries.
This set of images show some of my exploration of at least two states of water: solid in Frosts of Atlantis and Primordial Lemonade and liquid in Phase Transition, Search for Tranquility and Calm Motion. Each brings out a different aspect of this wonderful substance that makes our planet so very liveable!
Frosts of Atlantis
Search for Tranquility
In each of these images, there is a slightly different approach. Frosts of Atlantis centers on the structure of the ice, which appears to reveal a city of high civlization. Primordial Lemonade is all about the flow of Pleistocene Kool-Aid! Phase Transition takes us on a ride jumping through inter-dimensional space-time. Search for Tranquility challenges us; can we find tranquility within this image? Calm Motion is truly serendipitous; as I was eyeing the flow of water in a small stream, I noticed that there was an inherent structure to it and that it was hiding a deeper message…
Each time that I go out and shoot, I keep an eye open for the unusual and novel. Sometimes it is right out there, while at other times it lies well beneath the surface. Whichever is the case, the search is the best part! Hope you go out there and find your special treasures!
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!
Part of my thinking behind this series of posts is to get a bit of feedback from all of the readers, which should help me formulate a crisper view on my photography. It’s been very heartening to see your thoughts on some of my abstract images, so I thought I’d also mix something a little different in this week.
As the Tuesday Photo Challenge has the theme of Abandoned, this week’s Warped Wednesday image kind of fits pretty well…
This is an image that I took during a bit of urban exploration a number of years ago in Westborough, Massachusetts. This is inside the farm that was part of the state hospital (I say was, as this building has been razed).
When I chanced upon this interior, I immediately had a sense of being inside the hold of a ghost ship, devoid of life and stripped bare; somewhere, there was the foreboding that all could come back in an instant: crew, canons and full ship to ship combat.
That’s why I decided on a 5 shot HDR series that I processed in a rather stark fashion, using a grungy look to get the desired effect.
I’m curious to find out how this image speaks to you.
The foray into abstract photography has very much been a voyage of exploration and discovery. Along the way, I have learned to control the various techniques and improved my visualization skills, so that I can figure out how to get the image that I want just using the camera.
The process is a combination of taking in the landscape or environment, in which I find myself, allowing myself to become absorbed by my surroundings, and then opening my mind’s eye, so that I can see the morphed image.
These images are a series that I shot while visiting my mother in the Netherlands. It’s a view of a wall covered with variegated vine; when I saw it, I noticed that there were some hidden patterns that were trying to emerge into the visible dimension. I titled this series Cryptomorphosis 1-4, using the Greek roots for hidden and form.
In the first post of this series from last Wednesday, I mentioned my abstract photography and shared one of the images that has come forth from those endeavors. There will be more coming up from my Kryptomorphaics in future WW posts, but I figured a slight detour was in order this week, as one of your comments inspired me to do so.
The particular comment mentioned taking multiple images of herself in the same photo, which caused my mind to go back to a particular image that I captured on a November morning several years ago. The visual mind is funny that way!
The occasion was a photography trip to Chincoteague, which is absolutely fantastic to visit and capture. Our plan was to photograph the sunrise from the beach and hopefully have some cool clouds to work with to really make it worthwhile to get up early. On this morning, the weather gods decided to play tricks on us: there was a heavy sea fog that did not want to burn off. So, I turned my mind to doing something a little different with the conditions that were presented…
Yes, there is a spectral apparition coming in from the waves! It happens to be yours truly. With this much fog, I thought it might be interesting to set up for a long exposure (about 10 seconds for this shot) and slowly walk in from the ocean toward the camera. It took a couple of attempts to get the look that you see here.
The result of this experiment was pretty fun; I twisted the coloring of the shot a bit in post-processing to make it a touch more ethereal, and, voila!
Pretty warped, and another experiment. Have you ever tried experiments of this nature? Would be fun to compare notes!
As promised with the New Year there may be a new series of posts to try out something different and see how you like the idea… Yes, it’s all up to you to determine whether Warped Wednesday will become a regular feature.
You may be aware that I enjoy the occasional bit of abstract photography among my plethora landscapes and other subjects that catch my mind’s eye. What I enjoy most about abstract work is the process of discovery: finding something within the view in front of me that I can change, transmogrify in camera.
This image is a bit more unusual among my abstracts, due to the process that I used. The Canon 5D MkIII has the capability to do in-camera HDR, where it combines 3 exposures into a single JPEG using High Dynamic Range imaging techniques. The exposures in this case range from 1/10 second to 1.6 seconds; the fastest exposure was held still and when I got to the 1.6 second exposure, I twisted the barrel of my lens to get a significant amount of zoom blur. This confused the in-camera HDR processing to such an extent that artifacts were created around the leaves, which caused a sense of the leaves detaching themselves from the background.
Now, I’ll admit that I didn’t know what the final result might be, as this was a bit of an experiment. Trying out different things and techniques is part of the fun of exploring in photography and many other areas in life; it’s good to stretch the boundaries and keeping those experiments that we like.
I kind of like this experiment… what do you think? Have you ever tried some different techniques?