The Way I See It

Archive for the ‘abstract’ Category

Fall, Remembered

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Fall, Remembered

Fall, Remembered

I was looking through the archives, looking for an image for a friend when I came across this interpretive piece, which I made during the fall. I’ve liked this image since it popped up on the back of my camera, just haven’t had the chance to process it until now.

Photo Notes
f/32 at ISO 280, handheld at 1/10th second. A lot of interpretive intimate landscapes involve moving the camera vertically – most commonly to accentuate the pattern of tall grass and/or tree trunks. In visualizing this piece, I wanted to preserve the pattern of the dark trunk against the bright golds of the foliage; this is the premise that dictated how I manipulated the camera.

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February 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Thursday’s Twilight

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thursday's twilight

I’ve been fighting a cold all week. By the time Thursday afternoon rolled around, a touch of cabin fever had set in. The sky looked somewhat promising so I bundled up with an extra layer and took a drive. By the time I got down to the water, the interesting clouds had dissipated so I just hung out with the other sunset watchers, savoring the last minutes of a gorgeous afternoon (and of course snapping a few). On my way out, a beautiful glow continued to cling to the sky. That’s how this image came about.

Photo Notes
1.5 seconds at f/9.5, ISO 200. To maximize image quality, I try to shoot at a camera’s optimal ISO as much as possible. In this case, staying within the lens’ optimal aperture range (I picked f/9.5) required a long 1-1/2 second exposure, so out came the tripod again. Made a few images before it got too dark; I liked the framing of this one the best.

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February 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Snow Days

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雪天

雪天

We’ve had snow on the ground for the past several days. Not terribly unusual for Seattle, but interesting nonetheless because we get so little of it each year that the most people stay home and a lot of businesses, government offices and schools either shut down or have abbreviated hours. I made this image on Sunday, after the first snowfall.

Photog Notes
1/200 second, f/5.6 on a Canon Powershot S100 point-and-shoot set at ISO 200. I love how snow days make everything so monochromatic. This image is very much what came out of the camera. In processing, I applied a teeny bit of spot tone adjustment to compensate for the somewhat uneven lighting. No typical copyright watermark on this one – I decided to apply a Chinese-style stamp to reflect the art and other things that inspire me these days.

 

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January 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Autumn Reflections

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Lakeside Birches

Lakeside Birches

While the fiery and majestic maples are often the superstars of the Fall season, there is just something about the elegant simplicity of the common Birch that I find so endearing. I love how the dainty golden yellow leaves dance at the gentlest hint of a breeze. I am mesmerized by the stark paper-white barks; they often seem to emit a glow of their own. And what I like best is to gaze upon the stands of Birches that adorn the shores of our rivers and lakes. To be able to witness their beauty adjacent to and on the gently undulating water, that is Autumn magic.

Photog Notes
I shot this at 1/3 of a second, f/38, ISO 200. This image is pretty much straight out of the camera. In processing, I boosted the contrast and saturation a little bit to compensate for the fact that I was pulling the colors off the water surface. But more than anything else, it was a combination of experimentation and good luck that allowed me to capture the definition, textures and tones in this image.

 

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November 22, 2011 at 7:13 am

Sunlight Through The Trees

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sunlight through the trees

sunlight through the trees

In my evolving feelings about photography, I’ve been making a fair number of interpretive and abstract images. I shot this the other day, as I was trudging around amidst beautiful fall colors. The sunlight was piercing through the brilliant greens and golds immediately in front of me, creating gorgeous speckles of Autumn. It would have been ideal if there had been a breeze also but since there wasn’t, I decided to introduce some movement of my own. My more documentary pieces of this season’s colors can be found here, and here.

Photog Notes
I debated long and hard about posting this image. In my heart of hearts, I like landscape and nature photography that is calm and peaceful, which this image certainly isn’t. But ultimately, the draw of the movement and colors won out and so here it is. 😉 I shot this with the camera set to ISO 200, tripping the shutter at 2/3 of a second with the aperture at f/19.


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November 20, 2011 at 9:24 am

Moss and Bones

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Moss and Bones

Moss and Bones

I made this image in the arboretum the other day. It was a reasonably-warm afternoon so there were lots of people out and about, toting lots of equipment. Too rush hour for me so I folded up the tripod and started shooting with the little camera.

Photog Notes
I made this image with a Canon G12. The ISO was set at 400 and the frame exposed for 1/40 of a second at f/3.5. The color JPEG was then converted to monochrome in Capture NX. The processing was pretty straightforward – I applied a green filter during the conversion (the digital equivalent of screwing a green filter onto the front of the lens) to get the light-toned leaves, then finished the image slight toning to simulate a platinum print.

 

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November 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Misplaced Sunset

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Misplaced Sunset

Misplaced Sunset

I think it’s no secret that I dig shooting abstracts. I made this image during the summer of last year. Always liked it, but somehow never got around to posting. Then today, while looking for a photograph of a friend, I ran across it and so here it is, my misplaced sunset.

Photog Notes
The main challenge with making images such as this is that in order to get the rich colors and cool reflections, one has to wait until the light levels are pretty low. This invariably leads to difficult ISO vs shutter speed vs depth of field choices. I usually end up having to crank up the ISO, leading to graininess and potentially muddy colors. In this case, I lucked out. The light levels were high enough to allow me to make an exposure of 1/125th of a second with an aperture of f/9.5; the ISO was set at 400.

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November 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm

dreaming with my eyes wide open, part ii

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I shot this at dusk a couple of evenings ago. It had been one of those clear, cloudless sunsets and even as twilight approached, there was a gorgeous orange-gold light in the sky. By this time, the water had taken on it’s twilight color but at the surface, the twinkling tones continued to dance…

tobacco-smoke

tobacco-smoke

Photog Notes
Due to the extremely low light levels by this point, making this image was an exercise in finding just the right combination – of ISO to maintain image quality, of shutter speed to capture some motion while maintaining some sharpness, and of aperture to allow for an interesting depth of focus. I ended up using an ISO of 400; this image was shot at ¼ of a second at f/9.5.

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September 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm

dreaming with my eyes wide open, part i

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After shooting and posting Cycle of Life, I found the image so boringly literal that I did another shoot. This time, I chose to only keep a very, very narrow plane in focus, allowing everything else to fade into color and light. I like it, but it’s probably too out-of-focus for some?

dwmewo i

dwmewo, i

Photog Notes
This one is literally straight out of the camera. I overexposed by about ½ a stop to get the brilliant green glow. To light the scene, I used reflected sunlight from a big bay window with sheer white curtains. But, using this kind of lighting also meant that I had to use a long exposure (2 seconds, which is very long for daylight images)  in order to get the proper tones deep inside the leaf. I mounted the camera on my ultra-heavy tripod, composed the image, locked down all the controls, set the shutter on self-timer and made sure everything was kept as still as could be during the exposure, myself included (I have wood floors that would have transmitted some vibration if I had been moving about).

 

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August 30, 2011 at 10:20 pm

You Are My Never-Ending Song

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I made this image at sunset on Sunday. Things looked bleak from the house but I decided to head down to the water anyway (because any sunset hour on the beach is a good hour). I got there to find dark clouds obscuring the horizon, except for a break north of where the sun would set. Things were not looking good but as 8:30 approached, brilliant orange light spilled from that gash in the gray, and soon the sky was aglow and the crests of waves took on amazing color. I didn’t feel like setting up the tripod and gear so I decided to work on some handheld interpretive images instead.

你是我一首唱不完的歌

你是我一首唱不完的歌

Photog Notes
To achieve a painterly effect, I exposed this image at ⅓ second while panning the camera parallel to the horizon. To bring out the detail in the waves and mountains, I used a relatively long 105 mm focal length, aperture set to f/38 (to achieve maximum depth of field as well as to allow for the long shutter speed). One key with making images like this is to achieve a smooth sweep while the shutter is open. This accomplish this, I usually start panning before I trip the shutter. As I’m panning, I’m also visualizing the horizon line (remember that the viewfinder is blacked out while the shutter is open) to achieve a level horizon.

 

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