October 2013
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5 tips to improve your photography skills – Taking abstract photos (contd) ..

In the previous post, we learned some details about abstract photography and the technique of moving the camera or the zoom lens while the shutter was open. In this post, we continue further in this world – the world of abstract photos. Abstract is the direct opposite of something that is clearly defined, and it is equally hard to give a clear definition of what an abstract photo is. You all know what a landscape is, what a portrait is, what are those clear and sharply defined photos of flowers, of trains, glass covered building. But just like the mind appreciates the clarity of a clearly defined object in your photos, the mind can at the same time appreciate those images which are the direct opposition of clearly defined. Consider the colors in an oil drop splattered in water, consider the texture of the wood grain in a small section of an old tree trunk, consider patterns that can be found in everyday matters, all of these are abstract photos that can be very beautiful. However, though some of the regular tips of photography don’t work here, there is still a lot that can be learnt about how to take better looking abstract photos (of course, there are a lot more tips besides these). In this post, we will talk about some more specific methods we can use:

Tip 1221 (Patterns everywhere): I once met a guy who had some classic images of a white and black pattern, but it was all angled. It was screaming at me, recognize me, but for the life of me, I was not able to figure out that it was a simple chess board that formed the object that had been photographed at a close distance, and at a vertical and horizontal angle. It looked great, but more than I admired the photo, I admired the guy who was able to make a beautiful abstract image out of a simple chess board. Like these, there are many such classic patterns that are visible all around us, it is just a matter of being able to identify the pattern and take a photo.

Tip 1222 (Look for light forming patterns): Sometimes when people think of light, they think of sunlight or maybe some sort of lamp. However, this is now the age of LED lights, small lights that are being shaped into all sorts of different shapes and designs. Sometimes, you will see such a pattern, or the part of a pattern that jumps out at you and says that here is a beautiful abstract photo – shoot me. Or consider traditional festivals and the light patterns – Christmas provides some excellent lights all around, including in your own house. Take your camera, get your brain to start looking at these patterns, and you will get some photos that others admire (although there will be always be somebody who is not able to understand the photo).

Tip 1223 (Light and shadow): The interplay of light and shadow provides some great photos. However, in my experience, this does not mean some shadows on a bright day. Look at dark places where there is some amount of light for inspiration, and then see whether you can get a good photo around this. For example, take a dark room and with the door just barely open, and with some small rays of light coming in through the barely open door. It can come out great, and if you do some post-processing in Photoshop, then you can get some great photos. However, for such photos, you will need to have knowledge of exposure at low light conditions, and also how to use a tripod.

Tip 1224 (Light with streaks, especially traffic): Many of you would have seen those photos where the traffic is just visible in the form of streaks from the lights of the cars. The photo can come out pretty well, but there are a few conditions that need to be met, such as being able to photos with long exposures, a good vantage position to get photos of the traffic, and the use of a tripod for the same.

Tip 1225 (Ice forming abstract patterns): Frozen water (not just ice, but the one where flowing water has frozen) can form some great patterns and provide some wonderful abstract images. When you consider some light on these frozen ice patterns, the glint of the light off the ice can make for some great abstract images. Take your time, look for the change in the patterns as the light moves around, including the places where the ice is starting to melt or atleast have a shiny surface with some of the water melting.

Photographing the Patterns of Nature Photo Inspiration: Secrets Behind Stunning Images 101 Quick and Easy Ideas Taken from the Master Photographers

Some useful videos from Youtube on shooting abstract photos:

Oil On Water – photo idea!

Abstract Photography

Abstract Art Photography

Abstract Photographer Lester Hayes

Abstract Photography

How to Take Abstract Photography

Give it a go: Abstract Macro Images

“PhotoTips” Episode 84 – Abstract Art Photography

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