Nature Abstract in Photography, Painting with your Camera
The theme for this month’s photo challenge is “nature abstract”.
When I read that announcement in the forum of a photo magazine that I usually buy, I was puzzled. How does one create a nature abstract photo? It’s good that they referred us to a magazine issue that talks about abstract photography. So my adventure with abstract photography began.
What is Abstract Photography?
According to the magazine, “abstract photography takes objects out of the equation and reduces the world around us into lines, patterns and colors. It is a form of art that recalls the impressionist style of painters”.
Wikipedia also mentioned that “abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.”
Hmm, so all I had to do to create abstract photography was, to look for lines, patterns and colors in my subject for photography? That sounds simple enough (or so I thought).
My next question was, “how do I make an abstraction of those lines, patterns and colors”?
How to Make Abstract Photography
The magazine article said that we can use techniques like: zooming in or out, using a slow shutter speed, using some motion blur, or panning the camera. It’s supposed to be similar to using a paint brush except that the paint brush is your camera.
“Wonderful” I said to myself, “painting with camera” – that was an entirely new concept to me. However, the idea was a challenge I could not ignore. I love challenges.
To prepare for the challenge, I also searched for abstract photos in the net just to get some idea of how the photos looked like.
Painting with my Camera
The photo challenge however specified that we can only use nature as our subject. We were not allowed to use objects like beads or ribbons or paper or anything artificial.
So off to nature hunting I went, looking for lines, patterns, colors. When I found those, I would start “painting with my camera”. My first attempts were really awkward and produced “blaaahh” results.
I must have been a sight when I was doing these “painting” motions because my daughter asked me “Mama, what are you doing?” I guessed she was used to seeing me sometimes even holding my breath just so there is no movement as I take a picture. Now, there I was, practically dancing around with my camera.
I never realized that making abstraction of nature through photography is hard. I had dozens of false starts but when I got the hang of it, I started enjoying myself.
You can never predict what kind of image will come out once
you start using your camera as a paintbrush. You also can never do an exact repeat of the
image no matter how hard you try. However, the images that you can produce are
truly like paintings done with broad brush strokes. Take a look at the first photo above and these next two photos.
What do they remind you of? Do the titles fit or do they remind you of something else?
Post Processing Abstraction
Abstracting with Filters
As I explored more about abstract photography, I learned that you can actually create abstracts by using ‘filters’ then ‘distort’ during post processing. This way, you do not anymore have to dance and paint with your camera. You just need to play around with your photo in Photoshop or other such photo processing software. This is what I did with these two photos to the right. However, I do not find this challenging at all. It is enjoyable though. I had fun twisting these photos around. What do you think?
Happy Ending (or Beginning)
Happily, the two photos I submitted as entries to the “Nature Abstract” contest both won. Imagine that! These are both created the natural way, by “painting with my camera”. Here they are.
I never appreciated abstract art much before. I actually had
a hard time understanding them. I used to think that they are just blobs of colors or lines splashed across the canvas. However, after my adventure with abstract
photography, I have learned to appreciate them. Now when I look at abstract
art, I try to imagine what was the original object or objects that were abstracted. Then I try to make sense of the new image created. Sometimes the artist gives a clue of the subject through the title. However, most of the time, an entirely new image is created by the abstraction.
Now I’m beginning to fall in love with Abstract Photography. The possibilities are endless and the images you can create are unique and sometimes out of this world.
But I think I’ll stick to “painting with my camera”. It is more challenging and full of surprises. Let people think I'm crazy when I do my camera dance! I'm having fun!
Check out also Steve 3.0's hub on abstract photography here.
My Other Photography Hubs
If you enjoyed this hub, you might also enjoy my other hubs on photography. Here are some of them: