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Abstract Photo Project Update

I just finished month 4 of my abstract photography project. The theme for April was “double expose” – meaning I combined two photos each day using various Photoshop blending modes. This was the most fun month so far and I really like a couple of the results. You can check out all the images by visiting my dedicated Instagram @365.abstractsnaps.17 where I post daily, or following #365abstractsnaps17, where you can join in or see what others are doing with the project. Next month’s theme is “blur and motion.”

Here’s a compilation of all of the Month 4 Double Expose images:

Double-Expose Comp-01

Month 3, Texture and Pattern:

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Month 2, Color:

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And finally, Month 1, Greyscale (which I wrote more about here)

all-greyscale-images-01

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250mm

Up until now, my longest available zoom has been 135mm. Then I was poking around on Amazon and I noticed that I could grab a 55-250mm discontinued Canon kit lens for less than $120. I felt I would be stupid not to get this, so I did.

Camera gear enthusiasts are an interesting bunch. I’ve been reading more blogs and videos about camera gear and photography this year and I can see how one could easily get sucked into a never-ending crusade to acquire the ultimate camera/lens combinations. I must remind myself that there is no real reason for me to do this, from time to time. I don’t aspire to be a professional photographer. (But if someone is offering some awesome job I may reconsider!)

Photography serves several purposes for me:

  1. It’s an art you can do outside! It entices me to go outside and walk around. Drawing and painting are my real artistic passions, but you must sit still to accomplish them. One cannot sit still all the time.
  2. Reference photos for my art. I only draw from my own reference photos when I draw realistically and since I learned more about photography it has really improved all of my painting. Taking pictures that capture interesting and beautiful light is the key.
  3. Documenting the things around me. I live in an amazing place with great weather almost year round (rain excluded) and an incredible array of plants, especially flowers. No matter what lens I use, I’m going to take more pictures of flowers and hiking trails than anything else because that’s what interests me most.
  4. Messing around with abstract photography. I get composition and color ideas from my abstract photos, and can see whatever the thing is that is “my style” in them.

None of these purposes require me to buy the most expensive gear.

Here are some photos from the new lens. It’s definitely going to be fun to use to capture more bird photos. And I was impressed with how great the flowers look at 250mm.

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Greyscale Abstraction

A couple days ago I completed month one of my 2017 photo challenge 365.abstractsnaps.17 (click for more information). The theme for the first month was “Greyscale”. If you’d like to follow along with the daily posts for this project, I am sharing them on instagram @365.abstractsnaps.17

Here is a compilation of all 31 photos:

all-greyscale-images-01

And a slideshow of the individual images for a closer look. I have chosen my personal favorite of the month as the header image for this post.

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365 Abstract Shots 17

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In 2017, I am going to challenge myself to post one abstract photo a day. After I looked around online for a photo challenge to do, I didn’t really find anything that appealed to me so I decided to create my own. I will be posting my #365abstractsnaps17 on an Instagram account I made especially for it, and then 1 post at the end of each month on this blog of a compilation of the month’s photos.

I’ve divided the year into 12 different themes, one for each month. In this post I will describe them a bit more just in case anyone else wants to join me. Please comment if you are, I’d love to follow along! I chose abstract photography because I want to challenge myself to think about photos in a different way. Of course I will still be taking my flowers and landscapes, but I also wanted to branch out. I love the way abstract photography challenges me to look at the world for its shapes, colors, and compositions instead of people, places, and things.

365-photo-abstract-17_greyscale-abstract  1: Greyscale

As a starting point, the focus will be on contrast, shape, and composition in the absence of color. Look for shapes, negative space, interesting juxtapositions, anything that catches the eye. Imagine the world with no color. What intrigues your eye?

365-photo-abstract-17_color-as-subject  2: Color as Subject

Next, let’s focus on color as the subject. Think Mark Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly. This is the opposite of month one. Of course composition is still important, but the main focus should be color.

365-photo-abstract-17_texturepattern  3: Texture and Pattern

This would be a great time to get out that macro lens and look closely at the world around us. Or to see the patterns of everyday life separated from the objects that create them. A pattern can be repetitious or random.Textures can be big or small.

365-photo-abstract-17_double-expose  4: Double Expose

Some of the monthly themes I’ve come up with focus on photo editing. In this month, we will use editing (Photoshop in my case, or whatever software you like to use) to combine two photos to create something new using various types of opacity and blending. Now is a chance to use your photo editor to make artistic changes instead of just adjusting contrast and exposure.

365-photo-abstract-17_blurmotion  5: Blur and Motion

Next we will purposefully use blur to create artistic images. This can be done by adjusting your manual focus or by using longer shutter speeds and moving your camera or photographing moving subjects.

365-photo-abstract-17_color-unreal  6: Color Unreal

In the 6th month, we will explore using our camera’s white balance to create unnatural color palettes in our images. Alternatively, we can use a photo editor to do edit the colors and create something new and unusual. Perhaps some subject will creep back into this month, but we will use color to transform it into something strange.

365-photo-abstract-17_odd-perspective  7: Odd Perspective

The most natural thing to do is take photographs from your normal point of view. Or maybe you crouch down to lower your eye height. Instead, let’s look in different directions. Up, Down, Diagonal, Upside Down. What do we see when we turn our cameras in unusual ways? Or maybe we experiment with very wide angles and the distortion they cause.

365-photo-abstract-17_linescurves  8: Lines and Curves

This month we will focus on one of the most basic elements of composition: the line. A line doesn’t have to be straight, but it should be a clear line whether caused by a physical object (power lines for example) or a division between two distinct areas in your photo.

365-photo-abstract-17_monochrome-abstract  9. Monochromatic

Let’s go back to month 1 and focus on pure abstraction, but now instead of greyscale we will do this in monochromatic color. To do this, we can either find instances of monochromatic color palettes in the world or we can edit our photos.

365-photo-abstract-17_two-sides  10. Two Sides

Now let’s create images that have two distinct sides. Your image can be divided any way, horizontally, vertically, diagonally, etc. The only rule is that we are focusing on the juxtaposition of two different textures/colors/tones. This can be accomplished in camera by looking for two objects that overlap in your view or even at the horizon line. It can also be created in editing.

365-photo-abstract-17_lightreflection  11. Light and Reflection

Most photographers know that light is the most important factor to making great images. Now let’s focus on light as the true subject of our abstract photography. This might be another chance to explore motion and blur and light painting.

365-photo-abstract-17_colorful-abstract  12. Colorful

Finally, again revisiting our images from months 1 and 9, focusing on pure abstraction, but this time in full color. Play with various types of color combinations and tone variations and bring in any of the previous elements we have explored that appeal to you.

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And that’s a wrap, 365 photos, 12 subjects in 2017. If anyone else decides to join in, please use the hashtag #365abstractsnaps17 so I can see your work, or shoot me a link to your page or blog.

Finally, because I got excited about this idea last week, here are some abstract photos I took in the last couple of days to inspire us.