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Author Topic: Abstraction in landscape photography  (Read 874119 times)
jule
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« Reply #60 on: June 20, 2006, 04:59:15 PM »
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Julie,
That's an enviable position to be in. How do you manage to avoid the pressures of duties, responsibilities, common chores etc which can so easily interrupt such immersion in philosophical and poetical contemplations?

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Ahhh...  an astute observation Ray! yes..quite a balancing act, and yes I am in an enviable position. I have had to set boundaries for myself, (time mainly), and realise there is no point in philosophising and creating art at the expense of the commitments I have made to the other responsibilities I have chosen in my life.  My mind is always observing, listening...pondering, and my family are used to me stopping suddenly to take photographs. My exhibitions have provided an opportunity for us to travel together, and it is quite special to have one's 18 year old son come and help his mum set up an exhibition.

My first priority is my family, so time on task is usually 'school/university time'.  It is just a fact of my life that I close books/turn off printer/pen down, to pick up our boys from the train - and that is just the way it is, and I wouldn't have it any other way. ....in saying that though, there are times when there are piles of washing and eggs for dinner  

Julie
« Last Edit: June 20, 2006, 05:21:18 PM by jule » Logged

jule
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« Reply #61 on: June 20, 2006, 05:10:58 PM »
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Julie,
Let me know the date and venue of your next exhibition, won't you?
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Ray,
Next exhibition is in Sydney 29th November at Esa Jaske Gallery, [a href=\"http://www.esajaskegallery.com/Default.htm]Esa Jaske Gallery[/url] . Will also let you know when my next exhibition is a bit closer to home - in Brisbane.

Julie
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sgwrx
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« Reply #62 on: June 20, 2006, 05:47:00 PM »
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this is an interesting and timely thread.  i liked this image because of the out of focus foreground trees. i wondered if this were an interesting approach or something that screams rank amatuer with DOF problems (which of course i was at the time). either way, i like it because it's complex but the foreground trees soften the complexity of the branches going this-way-and-that.
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jmdr
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« Reply #63 on: June 20, 2006, 05:50:51 PM »
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...It's like my mind is on af and keeps tracking.

2. Abstractions in painting are always in focus, distorted, skewed, etc, but alway in focus.
...
For a test, take the OOF image apply WC filter
...
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Wyndham, I like the image of an autofocus brain that can stop searching for focus- even I can relate to the frustration that can cause!  

It's an interesting comment you make that abstracted paintings are always "in focus".  I know what you mean, but wonder how such an essentially "optical" characteristic can be applied to a painting?  I had the pleasure of viewing some of canadian artist [a href=\"http://www.tomthomson.org/groupseven/harris.html]Lawren Harris'[/url] paintings this weekend at the local art gallery.  His work, they way that he portrayed Canadian landscapes, was very influential to my artistic development early on.  My few attempts at painting usually looked like thrown-away Lawren Harris canvases!  His paintings are, as you describe, "in focus", but he discards the details of the scene to concentrate on the larger forms.  A few examples:





What's interesting is that Harris began in a fairly representational style, and by the end of his career had evolved into what might be (although probably not) called "pure" abstacts.

An advantage of using a paintbrush instead of a camera on broad landscape scenes is that you can selectively choose where to include, or exclude, detail.  With a camera, it's all or none (unless, of course, you're close enough to your subject that a narrow depth of field can have an effect).

I'm interested to know what you think is gained by applying the "watercolor" filter in photoshop to an out-of-focus image?  Is it that it becomes more "recognizable"? more similar to images that you are familiar with?  Although, as I've mentioned, I shy away from using the computer to create images myself (although I have no problem with others doing so), I'm interested in understanding the difference in peoples reaction to images that have been abstracted or distorted on a computer, or by any of the techniques that have been mentioned in this thread (camera movement, multiple exposure, "defamiliarization", etc.)

Thanks again for adding your thoughts,

Jonathan
« Last Edit: June 20, 2006, 05:55:53 PM by jmdr » Logged

jmdr
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« Reply #64 on: June 20, 2006, 07:14:43 PM »
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...
I wondered if this were an interesting approach or something that screams rank amatuer with DOF problems (which of course i was at the time).

either way, i like it ...
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...I like it too!  Great mood, although (as roughly defined in this thread), I'm not sure that it would "count" as abstract. It's great to see other people playing around with focus (intentionally or not- at least you didn't toss the image!)  And I've certainly encountered the term "rank amateur with depth of field problems" myself   !

I thought I'd share this image taken by Courtney Milne (whom I've mentioned earlier) that uses the blurred-foreground technique to a beautiful end:  (he entitled it "The Three Sisters, through flower petals, Canmore, AB")

 )

Jonathan
« Last Edit: June 20, 2006, 09:15:57 PM by jmdr » Logged

sgwrx
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« Reply #65 on: June 20, 2006, 07:35:59 PM »
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The using of the watercolor filter on the OOF image is great.

Thanks Jonathan, what most important about this thread of course is expanding boundaries.  Where would we be if not for artists like Pollock? but, his paintings really were in focus LOL.

-steve

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...I like it too!  Great mood, although (as roughly defined in this thread), I'm not sure that it would "count" as abstract. It's great to see other people playing around with focus (intentionally or not- at least you didn't toss the image!)  And I've certainly encountered the term "rank amateur with depth of field problems" myself   !

I thought I'd share this image posted by Courtney Milne (whom I've mentioned earlier) that uses the blurred-foreground technique to a beautiful end:  (he entitled it "The Three Sisters, through flower petals, Canmore, AB"

 )

Jonathan
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jmdr
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« Reply #66 on: June 21, 2006, 02:16:17 PM »
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I've found this quote back that I've been looking for since this thread started- it's from Courtney Milne's book, "Emily Carr Country".

"Occasionally, I will deliberately allow sun flare on the lens to form an integral part of the composition, something normally considered a mistake in photography. ... Another technique I enjoy is to record a number of exposures on the same frame of film.  It is a way of focusing attention on the quality and shimmer of light, rather than on form.  By diminishing shape and making it a less dominant element, I can portray the universal forest rather than a specific one.  Similarly, when I purposely move the camera during an exposure, the actual shapes and details of the trees are obscured and the resulting image conveys more about my impression, and less about documenting the scene."

Milne uses different techniques than myself to achieve a somewhat similar objective.  I'm wondering how/what other people feel about these other techniques of abstraction, beyond either removing context, or my own out-of-focus technique?

Jonathan
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #67 on: June 21, 2006, 03:39:01 PM »
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It's interesting that Milne mentions sun flare as an abstraction technique. I have used that one -- quite by accident, using a rangefinder (MF film) camera, so I didn't see the flare when I took the picture. My first reaction to the proof print was that it was a disaster, but then I looked again and decided I liked it. I have even used it in an exhibit (of course, I don't tell people that it was an accident). I'm sorry I haven't scanned that image yet, or I'd post it.

I'm again reminded of Edward Weston's comment that he would "print on a doormat if it would give me the effect I wanted." So I'm for using any trick/technique you can think of, as long as it gets you the effect you want. Sometimes it may take a lot of near misses before you really get it to work for you.

So keep on with the focus experiments!

Eric
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Ray
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« Reply #68 on: June 24, 2006, 04:44:05 AM »
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When I first started experimenting with defocusing the entire image, the goal for me was to abstract, or "hide" the details of what I was photographing in order to concentrate the attention onto the larger forms and patterns of the landscape.  I had become frustrated with photographs that were not portraying well the impact that I felt when I reached for my camera, or that were ruined (or at least lessened) by "excessive" detail when what I was trying to capture was the overall feel of the scene. 

As you can see, there's a significant difference between what I could do with the blurring filters in PS versus what I could achieve with the optics of my camera lens (and yes, I did try my best in PS).

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Joanathan,
Okay! There is a difference between an in-focus image blurred in PS and a lens-defocussed image. If you are going to swoon over blurry images, then the difference might be significant.

Just playing around a bit with some 'artistic' filters in PS, I came up with the following alternatives to try and inject some interest into what is, I'm sure you'll admit, a rather uninteresting example.

[attachment=734:attachment]

In my opinion, the two blurry renditions are probably the least interesting. Others might disagree.

I tend to sometimes use the artistic filters in PS when I'm trying to salvage a cock-up. The following image of an overgrown joey trying to scramble into it's mother's pouch because it saw a strange biped with a long, cream-colored nose (the Canon 100-400), is spoilt because it is not sharp. I had the wrong ISO setting. An artistic filter, in this case, 'accented edges', disguises the fact it is not as tack sharp as I woulld like it to be.  

[attachment=735:attachment]
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #69 on: June 25, 2006, 02:29:14 PM »
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Ray,

I wish you hadn't posted your latest examples.

I have never bothered trying the "artistic filters" in PS before, but your samples make me begin to think that they may have a useful place after all. The trouble is: that gives me yet one more excuse not to throw away my obvious losers.    

Eric
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Ray
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« Reply #70 on: June 27, 2006, 03:01:26 AM »
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The trouble is: that gives me yet one more excuse not to throw away my obvious losers.   
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Eric,
You should never throw away your losers. The following image is one I would have thrown away were it not for the auto settings of ACR which somehow produced a recognisable image from the total blackness of a flash not fired. I like it and I'm keeping it, even without artistic filters applied.

[attachment=746:attachment]
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #71 on: June 27, 2006, 03:52:27 PM »
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Eric,
You should never throw away your losers. The following image is one I would have thrown away were it not for the auto settings of ACR which somehow produced a recognisable image from the total blackness of a flash not fired. I like it and I'm keeping it, even without artistic filters applied.

[attachment=746:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=69225\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Ray,

I like that picture, but I wouldn't call it a "loser" at all. On those occasions where an "accident" gives me a better picture than the one I intended, I definitely keep it. And, of course, I'm willing to take full credit for the accident.  

By "loser", I mean the kind where I look at it and say to myself, "Why on earth did I ever think that would make a good photo?" If I still wince whenever I see it, even after the tenth time, it's probably time to chuck it. But I never do.  

Eric
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #72 on: June 27, 2006, 09:30:27 PM »
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By "loser", I mean the kind where I look at it and say to myself, "Why on earth did I ever think that would make a good photo?" If I still wince whenever I see it, even after the tenth time, it's probably time to chuck it. But I never do.

Which is why I have over 120,000 images in my archive; nearly 2 terabytes...
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #73 on: June 27, 2006, 10:37:23 PM »
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Which is why I have over 120,000 images in my archive; nearly 2 terabytes...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=69290\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
And lately I've been considering one of those 13-bay enclosures that I could populate with 500 GB drives . . .

I'm glad the Army is letting you have a little time to check in with LL now and then, Jonathan.

Eric
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jule
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« Reply #74 on: June 28, 2006, 12:32:46 AM »
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Which is why I have over 120,000 images in my archive; nearly 2 terabytes...
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I think we'll have to change the saying from .."Putting away some pennies for a rainy day",  to...."Putting away some pixels for a rainy day"
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #75 on: June 28, 2006, 07:17:12 AM »
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I'm glad the Army is letting you have a little time to check in with LL now and then, Jonathan.

I've been on leave the last 2 weeks; I fly to my new duty station in Baumholder Germany this afternoon.
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Ray
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« Reply #76 on: June 28, 2006, 09:03:37 PM »
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I think we'll have to change the saying from .."Putting away some pennies for a rainy day",  to...."Putting away some pixels for a rainy day"
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=69302\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Trouble is, Jule, in Australia there are simply not enough rainy days to justify collecting so many pixels. On the other hand, if you become really famous, then your rejects might add value without your lifting a finger   .
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jule
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« Reply #77 on: June 30, 2006, 03:38:49 AM »
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Trouble is, Jule, in Australia there are simply not enough rainy days to justify collecting so many pixels. On the other hand, if you become really famous, then your rejects might add value without your lifting a finger   .
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lol...
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jule
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« Reply #78 on: July 01, 2006, 07:43:36 AM »
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I thought I would have a play yesterday with some of the concepts that Jonathan (jmdr) mentioned with regard to using focus as a tool for abstraction. I experiemented with various scenes and I think the best that I came up with yesterday was this;
[attachment=775:attachment]
which was out of focus in-camera. It captures the feeling I had whilst I was there, with colourings, the definite division between the grasses and the forest, and also the specked light, but still probably not that great an image.
The in focus scene was this;
[attachment=776:attachment]
Julie
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Ray
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« Reply #79 on: July 01, 2006, 09:08:20 AM »
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I thought I would have a play yesterday with some of the concepts that Jonathan (jmdr) mentioned with regard to using focus as a tool for abstraction.....It captures the feeling I had whilst I was there, with colourings, the definite division between the grasses and the forest, and also the specked light....
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=69579\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

So let's get this straight, Jule. You were standing in this beautiful field of tall grass, admiring the lovely pine trees, Australia's attempt to reduce green house gasses and provide a resource for future timber needs, and suddenly you were afflicted with blurry vision and a feeling of being invaded by aliens descending in miniature flying saucers. Right?  

Sorry! I couldn't resist.  
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