Creating abstract photographs

This time I would like to talk about creating abstract photographs. There are many ways of doing it, and one of the simplest ones is to take a closeup shot of something with interesting texture making it unclear what it is from one side but creating an interesting combination of forms, colors etc. from the other side.

For example you can find an old wooden door with paint which partially came off and take a closeup of it, or take closeup shots of rusty metal. Another idea would be taking closeup shots of architectural creations including particular parts without revealing the form of the building. There are many more ways of course, and these are only a few examples.

For these series of abstract photographs I decided to photograph waves. I came to the seashore about an hour before the sunset, put down my tripod, mounted my Canon 40D and started shooting.

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Photographs by Greg Brave. Click on the photo to enlarge.

As you can see these all tight crops (well all except one) of waves taken with long exposure. Using long exposure in this case is critical because if I would use normal exposure (1/50 sec and faster) then the waves would be easily recognizable even in tight crops.

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Photographs by Greg Brave. Click on the photo to enlarge.

After the shoot I came home, opened the photos in Lightroom and started playing with them trying to get the best abstract results I can. And I found something really beautiful, which I would like to share with you.

Everybody plays with Vibrance and Saturation controls (in any photo processing application), but when you work on a “real world” images, not abstract, increasing saturation or vibrance too much makes the image look not real, over-saturated. But in this case my goal was to create a beautiful abstract image, and I saw that when I crank the saturation slider to the maximum, it gives me very nice result making the photos look more like paintings and also emphasizing the warm sunset colors.  But it wasn’t perfect, and I am sure that many of you encountered this – when you increase the saturation to a certain level you start having color artifacts in your image, and you are forced to decrease it to the level where there are no artifacts.

Here is what I found in Lightroom – in order to eliminate these color artifacts you have to increase the Luminance Noise Reduction slider (in the Develop module) until no color artifacts present in the image! I was stunned – because now I could increase saturation as much as I wanted. There is one downside to it though – the image looses some of its sharpness, which wasn’t a problem in my case.

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Photograph by Greg Brave. Click on the photo to enlarge.

I would be happy to hear what you think of these images. How would you create an abstract photograph?

Remember, you only have to enter your name to leave a comment!

Have a Great and Creative day!


2 thoughts on “Creating abstract photographs

  1. Hi Greg,
    I like that you are finding new ways to express your work. The bottom photo has gorgeous colors. Have you any experience with CS5 mixing brush?
    Great work.

  2. Thank you Ellen, actually I don’t have any experience with the mixing brush. I know that it exists, and saw a few tutorials on it, but I have never actually used it.
    Do you use it? Can you show me some works?

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