Sunsets are not meant for the black and white medium. I prefer sunsets and sunrises as they are meant to be – enjoyed in full, vivid colors such as the images posted during the whole sunset week. But as I said many times before, there is something about black and white images – the classic, clean lines and the play of tones, 256 shades of grays to be exact, plus pure white and pure black. There lies the challenge of sunsets in monochrome. Stripped of those fiery reds, vibrant orange and lucid yellows, what do you show? Show the shapes, silhouettes, forms and lines. Those are the elements you are left with, so highlight them. In the above picture, you are drawn to the scattering of rocks on the shore while at the bottom image the point of interest are those silhouettes of huts. The trained eye can spot these shapes, yet a keener eye which visualizes in black and white can foretell that the image will work without the distraction of color. I hope everyone enjoyed our sunset week. Till next week when we embark on another picture series. Have a great weekend my friends!
Sunsets are panoramic-friendly. How best to capture that sweeping vista of colorful sky and horizon than through a panoramic shot. Here are sunset images at 16:9 aspect ratio.
The one subject that will give you the best abstract images are flowers. Zoom in, macro or close up, and capture those delicate curves, arches, shapes and spirited colors, and bring them out in looming proportions and surreal dimensions. Crop out the edges, play with light, use selective focus or blur, present them in panoramic 16:9 aspect ratio or in tight 1:1 square format; you’ve got a lot of creative options in your toolbox. The approaches are yours to discover and experiment to come up with the best abstractions from nature’s little angels. Here are samples from my collection.
Everywhere is something which could be beautiful. You must only learn to see and to know what and how to take off, to crop from the infinity – abstract, fine art, nature, landscape and portrait photography.~Florin Constantinescu
Quick Tips to Make Something Look More Abstract
1. An effective method is to crop out visual references that will immediately identify the subject.
2. Find something in your subject that shows clean shapes or lines.
3. Look for repeating patterns in your subject that you can focus on because they provide a sense of balance to the shot.
4. Light and shadows is a great tool in creating an abstract shot.
5. Use colors to give more impact.
~Allan Peterson from his article Abstraction in Photography
(Note: the above are short extracts; to read the full article please click on above link)
The Power of the Selective Focus Technique
If you’re searching for an easy but effective abstract photography technique, selective focus is the technique for you. A narrow depth of field is achieved by the selection of a large aperture. The camera is then focused on the center of interest of the image. The rest of the objects in the image will fade into a soft blur.
There are two things which can be done to make your images even more notable when utilizing this technique. First, the color of the background should be different from the center of interest. The second point is that the center of interest can be made even stronger by using curves to point toward the center of interest.
The Use of Light and Shadows
Using the interplay of light and shadows can create drama in an image. Now, some photographers tend to think only in terms of light. This is a mistake — for light is nothing without shadows. Shadows are not just a lack of light. Instead, shadows function to make the light come to life. It is the shadows that shape the light, that draw attention to the light, and that integrate with the light to produce striking photographic opportunities. This is especially true with abstract images.
So, what is the shadows’ role in this technique? The primary role of the shadows is to help to define the forms. In other words, the shadows’ role is to help the forms to stand out. Consequently, it should come as no big surprise that the more interesting the objects in an abstract image, the more likely that the image will be successful. The shadows then function to make the more prominent.
~Ron Bigelow from his article Abstract Photography Tips and Techniques
In many ways shooting only colour can make you lazy and not pay as much attention to the shot as you could. My love of black and white makes my colour work better too.~Keith Cooper
It will be a week-long images of boats – large and small, fast and slow, empty or with people. The Philippines is an archipelago with 7,100 islands and a combined coastline of 23,000 kilometers. Though airplanes provide fast, convenient means of transport to major cities, it is the boat, from large inter-island ferries that carry a couple of thousand passengers to small dozen seaters, that are preferred by most of the budget-conscious traveling population. Smaller ones are workhorses of the country’s fishermen. And of course, island-hopping with these boats provides a different kind of adventure. All aboard! Have a great week ahead my friends!
Windows and doors are interesting main subjects. But they can also play a secondary role. Since their geometric shapes are mainly squares and rectangles, they are perfect for framing primary subjects or points of interest. I was at this antique house (over a century old), and I was composing a shot of the old, open window (the white checkered design in the sliding shutters are made of local capiz shells). Then out of the blue from the inside of the house, a photo buddy suddenly appeared and was bent on taking a shot perched on the window. I pressed the shutter. The window was now relegated to an important supporting role – nicely framing the main subject. It is with situations like this that one has to be ready, from shifting composition to changing focal points, with literally “finger on the trigger.”
It’s probably just my art orientation. In my youth, when I start to paint using acrylic or watercolor, the first step would always be to visualize. With pencil I draw lines, shapes and form, then apply little by little layers of paint to come up with a color rendition. This trained me to see the bare structure, to look beyond the literal which helped a lot in my photography. I always see how things are in their most elemental form and how they are structured.
When I see a railroad track, I see lines. In trees I see silhouettes. In flowers I see shapes and a gamut of colors. In city scenes I see graphic forms, corners, hard edges, right angles. In nature I see reflections, soft and dreamy light, shadows and highlights. A subject will present to me something more than the actual. Such as the picture above, I see it as an exploding star. Some may say I’m just being imaginative. But I consider it a key element in photography. When you imagine and visualize how your subject will come out when photographed in a certain way (angle, lighting, perspective, framing, etc.), and take time and care to realize how it will be perceived, then there stems the root of your creativity. Imagination, artistry and creativity – they all work together.
Step 1 – What is abstract photography?
Handily, there isn’t really a defined meaning or explanation of what abstract photography entails, and in the same regard to abstract art, the content of the work is essentially unimportant and often entirely ambiguous. What does take precedence is the form, colour, line and texture within the composition, to create a piece that is visually stimulating. With regard to abstract photography, you don’t need any sort of special equipment, just a camera, any camera you like, and your imagination.
Step 2 – It’s all in the approach
So how does one go about taking abstract photographs? The first thing to remember is to keep your eyes open for interesting and engaging subject matter. Whenever I shoot abstract shots, I’m always attracted to the subject matter instinctively; something about it will catch my eye and draw me in. React emotionally to the subject, consider why you were attracted to it and how it makes you feel and this will inform how you photograph it. Spend time with the subject, think outside the box and approach it in a means that you would not really approach it, from different angles and regardless of its usual purpose.
~Simon Bray from his article Creatively Approaching Abstract Photography
I have been playing with this 16:9 aspect ratio and I’m loving it. Based on what I’ve picked up on my online readings and personal experiences, I found that this aspect ratio provides the following:
- A cinematic feel
- A whole expanse of placing your subjects
- A great way of having a negative space
- A different way of “macroing” focusing only on certain parts of the subject
- A splendid landscape view
Recently I have shifted to using 1:1 square format in my black and white images, now I’ll be using regularly the 16:9 and utilize its full potentials in my color photography. There is so much to learn and I’m enjoying it in this photographic journey of discovery and expression.