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
This photography thing sometimes gives me surprises. Though I have been photographing nearly a decade now and am sure, more or less, of the outcome of my camera’s settings, there are shots that still surprise me. Like the one below which looks straight out of an apocalyptic scene – a lone plant representing hope and life amid the ruins, smoke and the blackened sky brought about by a nuclear holocaust. Forgive me, that’s just my imagination running wild.
Actually last weekend I was at a resort that featured 11 swimming pools of various sizes, shapes and depth. As I was exploring the resort complex I came upon this 6-foot high stalk with a single set of leaves at the top. Good, I thought, because I can take the shot from under. But as it was mid day, I knew the result would just be a silhouette of the leaves against a backdrop of a cloudy, yet semi-bright sky. So I used fill flash. The subject was lit up in all its vibrant color but everything else around – the sky, clouds, sun, treetops and other structures – were enveloped in darkness. I was hoping to have a bright subject under a relatively bright background, but was pleasantly surprised to have the above result, and I like it anyway – the “apocalyptic look.”
Note: Today I mark two milestones after blogging for nearly eight months here at WordPress – this is my 500th post and I just exceeded 500 followers (real WP followers and not those culled from social media sites). Not really earth-shattering stats but they are correlated – for every post I make there is a corresponding increase in followers, especially from the second month onwards. Likewise, the increase in followers egged me to write and do more postings. I take this chance to thank each and every one of you who have learned a thing or two, or who have been inspired a bit by this blog. Let us all keep on clicking!
Organic shapes are also called curvilinear that are made up of curves, angles or both. Their main characteristics are curving appearance and smooth flowing outline. They look natural and are mostly found in leaves, flowers, plants and animals. Organic shapes are out there in the natural world, created by the environment. Being free form, they don’t have uniformity and perfect measurements. Which is the exact opposite of geometric shapes. Although they may also appear in nature, geometric shapes are products of man – rectangles, squares, triangles – which are building blocks of design and construction. With the technological revolution, man can now create structures and buildings mimicking organic shapes. What’s in it for our photography?
Shapes are compositional and design elements that are visually appealing. Going for the soft curves of organic shapes or the hard corners of geometric shapes, and partnering them with the right colors, lines, patterns and light will create captivating images. A photographer once said that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts. Feelings are triggered by what we see and sense. A visual stimulus of delightful shapes properly composed will evoke an equal emotional response of joy and gladness. Have a great colorful week ahead!
Article Excerpt: “When you first approach your subject, you need to imagine how it will look without colour. Try to look at it in terms of lines and shapes, shadows and contrasts. You will begin to see your subjects in a whole new light. You may even find yourself zooming in on a particular feature, or photographing the subject from an angle you might never have considered in the past. One thing is for sure; once you get into the ‘black and white headspace’ your camera will express the character of the subject in an entirely different way.”~Andrew Goodall from his article Black and White Photography: Open Your Eyes to a Different Reality
Art helps us see with new eyes what we knew was there but never really recognized.~Robert Hall