Posts Tagged ‘abstract’

HOW TO: Speedy Abstracts

October 16, 2013 24 comments


Last weekend we were out for a drive in the countryside on a beautiful Autumn afternoon. My wife was driving and I decided to get creative with my camera as we whizzed through the woods.

I set up the lens with a mid range aperture and the camera with a slow shutter speed. In this case it was f8 and 1/25th of a second. As we drove through the woods I pointed the camera out the passenger window towards the scenery that was zipping by. I was attempting to capture the various colors of leaves as they began to change colors, but in an abstract way.

Photography from a moving car, whether it is daytime or nighttime, offers endless possibilities for creativity.



ISO 200

cloudy WB

IN THE FIELD: Gold Or Silver

August 12, 2013 17 comments


A few weeks ago I was out doing some street photography in the shopping district of a nearby town. I got some shots of the local architecture, storefronts, construction workers, signage, and people milling about town.

As I walked past a shop filled with jewelry and beads from around the world, something shiny in the storefront window caught my eye. It was a small display of hand hammered sterling silver scarf rings.

I liked how the light reflected off the facets in the metal. Getting a good photo looking through the window proved to be nearly impossible. So I went inside and asked the owner if I could get a few photos of the display, and she said, “have at it.” I decided to photograph them using the available light in the shop rather than using a flash.

The natural daylight and the overhead halogen lights combined with the cloudy white balance setting I was using, turned the silver a warm golden color. And while it does not reflect the true color of the piece, I like the mood it sets.

f 2.2


ISO 200

cloudy WB

IN THE FIELD: The Heat Is On

July 8, 2013 26 comments


We are in the midst of a heat wave where I live. For most of the week it’s been extremely humid with temperatures in the high 80’s to low 90‘s, with no relief coming anytime soon. When it is hot like this, I just want to stay inside and stick my face in a bowl of ice cubes.

Ice cubes? Hey….not a bad idea…and I might as well have some fun with the camera while I’m cooling off.

I started by putting a bunch of ice cubes in a glass bowl and placed it on the table. I mounted the camera on the tripod due to the low light levels indoors and the resulting slow shutter speeds. I took a few shots…the ice looked like ice…cool and refreshing, but it wasn’t very exciting.

Then I wondered what kind of effect I could create by illuminating the ice with some kind of light source. I used the flash, but the result wasn’t very dramatic. I even photographed the ice with various colors of acetate held in front of the flash. The ice took on some color, but it was too subtle for what I was trying to achieve.

I needed something more reflective to scatter the light among the ice cubes. So I turned up the volume on my thinking cap and remembered I had some battery-operated glow sticks. I dumped the ice cubes into a stainless mixing bowl, turned on the glow sticks and shoved them into the melting ice. The glow sticks were just the ticket.

This photo was not manipulated in any way. It is straight out of the can.



ISO 400

cloudy WB


June 14, 2013 21 comments


The majority of my photographic adventures take place in the great outdoors…where I come across scenic vistas, small towns, wildlife, flowers, and natural wonders.

Recently, I was photographing early 20th century architecture in a nearby small town. I went inside the local library that was built in 1902. I had a feeling I would find some great shots of the moldings, windows and structural details that were used during that time period.

I did discover carvings, ornate columns, a huge fireplace with an extravagant mantle, and many other details inside the library. But…there were quite a few folks studying and doing research. It was a little awkward trying to get some shots and not disturb anyone, so I decided to come back another day when it wasn’t so busy.

As I was walking down the steps to the foyer, something told me to stop and look up. And that’s when I saw this hanging entrance light. It’s made of metal bands and tiny light bulbs.



ISO 400

cloudy WB

IN THE FIELD: Just Because

November 9, 2012 29 comments

A few days ago, I happened upon this weathered steel door at the back of an old building. I liked the contrast of textures between the smoothness of the peeling and rust-streaked paint against the patina of the rust.

I wasn’t on a particular quest, mission, or assignment…I took this shot for the pure pleasure of it.


October 22, 2012 19 comments

As you all know, I have this thing for old rusty machinery. In our nearby town is this old semi-trailer that was originally built in the late 1940’s. It’s been undisturbed and parked next to a creek for at least 20 years. I was photographing the play of early morning sunlight on the rusty parts as well as the areas of peeling paint.

The back doors are chained shut and secured with an ancient padlock. I have to wonder why the trailer is locked, and what kind of treasures may be stashed inside.

Photo specs. 35mm lens, ISO 100, f3.5 @ 1/40th handheld

HOW TO: Indoor Tornado

October 5, 2012 18 comments

Earlier this week we had heavy rain storms come through the area. It was raining so hard and for so long, even I didn’t venture outside with the camera. No sense risking damage to expensive equipment when photography can be done inside under more favorable conditions.

It was so gloomy outside from the heavy cloud cover, darkening a room in the house for my photography experiment was pretty easy. After setting everything up, I closed the curtains and the door to the studio and got started.

Here’s how I produced this photo. I mounted the camera on the tripod and pre-focused on an area about five to seven feet away from the lens by taking a picture of myself. I then turned off the auto focus and set camera to manual focus. Then I set the shutter at 15 seconds, and the aperture was set at f8. I figured this was as good a place to start as any. I then set the self timer for a five second delay to give me time to get in position.

I turned off the lights, turned on the light source, tripped the shutter, moved in front of the camera, and started twirling my the light before the shutter opened. I continued to swing the lights around until I heard the shutter close, because the camera’s sensor will pick up any movement of the light.

What did I use for a light source you ask? It’s simple and inexpensive. Under six dollars, actually. I bought some battery operated LED finger rings resembling oversized jewels at a party supply store for two dollars each. I found a piece of string about six feet long and tied on some washers for added weight to one end of the string, and slid two rings down the string to rest on the washers.

Creating patterns is the fun part. Swing the light horizontally in a tight pattern in the beginning and gradually let the string slip through your fingers to allow the circles to get bigger to make a cone shape. Or swing the string vertically or any which way to create wild patterns of light. Experiment with different shutter times to see how the light changes.

I found through my many attempts at this, just how sensitive the camera is. Keeping the light pattern as consistent as possible is the hard part. It took many tries before I was able to keep from bumping the light into my legs or the desk or….some other obstacle. After a while, the light patterns stayed in a relatively circular pattern. But it took some practice.

Now that the weather has changed for the better, I’ll be heading back outside to do some more experiments using really long exposures and try to capture some ambient night light along with my artificial light. Woo-hoo!