Over the past couple years I have really fallen in love with creating photographs that are more abstract. The experimentation is so much fun!
I knew when I started photographing these orchids that I wanted something soft and slightly blurred. Using a slower shutter speed and ICM (in camera movement) helped me achieve the look I was going for. When using ICM one never knows exactly how things will turn out, but I was absolutely thrilled with the results here. I love the muted tones and soft dreamlike quality. This gallery is available in my shop, or browse my website to see more of my abstract work.
Don't feel confined to documentary or journalistic style images. Follow your artistic vision using the tools you have such as lens choice, lighting, point of view, camera settings and also photo editing software. It's your artistic choice and there is no right or wrong as long as you are honest about how you created the image. Play, have fun and experiment!
With this image I darkened areas in post processing to highlight the sweep of light that was going across the droplets on this leaf.
Intentional camera movement can be fun for fall color images (among other things). Try using a slower shutter speed and panning the camera up or down, zooming the lens while shooting, or moving it in little circles. It's fun to experiment with this technique and every image turns out different.
Another fun subject that is fairly easy to find, reflections. You just need water! I like to look along lakes, streams, creeks and ponds during morning or evening light. Sometimes even just a puddle will work. If your subject is lit by the sun and you have contrasting colors it can make for a vibrant image and I love the painterly look. Of course this can be a lot of fun during fall colors!
There are two ways to approach your photography. You can pick a location, scout it, and make plans to go back and photograph during the ideal conditions that you have envisioned or you can just grab your camera and go out for a walk and see what tickles your fancy. For me, while I do plan some of my shoots, I often just pick a place and go out with my camera and just react to the nature that is surrounding me. A couple reasons this woks for me is that for one the experience of being out in nature is half the enjoyment (if not more!), so I usually find myself exploring for several hours. Reason number two is my family. I can't always plan to go out and photograph somewhere (unless it's local), especially on a whim because the conditions are ideal. I am often needed at home or busy with the kids. As the kids get older I may be able to do more of the "planned" type of shooting, but for now I do really enjoy those photo walks I take, and how frequently I can do those. Do you prefer one method over the other, or maybe you do a mix of both as well?
I came across this fall tree reflection lit up by morning sun while out exploring and new I had to capture it. I had to climb up onto the roof of my car to get a good angle.
Weather not cooperating. Maybe you feel it's to gloomy out for photography but you are itching to get out and photograph something. When this happens I tend to fall back on macro or abstract images. You can find these subjects pretty much anywhere and you can shoot them in just about any light. If it's to sunny and your subject is small enough just use a small diffuser to block the unwanted light. Another bonus, you can travel light, just one camera and one lens. I would go with a normal-short telephoto focal length. Sometimes it's fun to limit yourself and see what creative images you can come up with! The image below was created with a slow shutter speed and panning the camera along the edge of a beach.
Between my shoulder/neck and headache pain that I get when carrying to much in my pack and just wanting to enjoy the moment, I have been learning to carry as little camera gear as possible. I used to feel I needed every focal length possible in fear that I may miss a shot, but I have learned that is not necessary. I often enjoy the freedom of carrying only a couple lenses/focal lengths, and it often helps me be more creative. Sometimes if I know I will be going on a long hike I will bring just one focal length, or my crop sensor mirrorless to keep things light. There have been a couple times I wished I had brought another lens, but not often, and I usually find a way to get the shot. Try to limit yourself, it can be very rewarding.
Often when I am photographing and editing images of flowers I let the subject itself along with the atmosphere dictate how I will photograph and edit the final image. An example would be if I am photographing a happy flower in bright dreamy light I will often keep with that look when I photograph it and edit it later. Where as a flower that is perhaps situated in some dark deep shadows I will tend to darken things more and go for a moodier look. Do you have a certain look or style or does it vary based on the subject/mood?
One subject I have been having a lot of fun with lately is capturing abstract images of waterfalls or rapids. A couple bonuses about shooting these is you can do it just about any time of year and it requires minimal gear, therefore I can hike lighter which is always a plus to me. Typically I bring one camera with a telephotos lens and ND filters. I may bring a tripod depending on the location and my goal. You would need a tripod if you are going to include anything in your image that is stationary to ensure it stays sharp with the slow shutter speed you could be using. Often though I won't bother bringing the tripod and just stick to more abstract images to keep things light and free. No two images will look alike which is part of the fun. You can vary your composition and shutter speed to change the outcome of each image. You never know what you will get!
Do you enjoy viewing or photographing wildlife? It can be a good way to get out and enjoy nature during this difficult time we are experiencing. Below are a few wildlife subjects to look for during late spring/early summer.
First half of May- Warblers in their full breeding plumage. Also look for indigo bunting, scarlet tanager or rose-breasted grosbeak. Start searching prairies for upland sandpipers, marbled godwits, bobolinks along with butterflies and wildflowers. Trumpeter swans will be nesting in marshes of central and northern Minnesota, with their young hatching by mid-June (please keep a respectable distance).
June- In northern Minnesota watch for ruffed grouse and spring songbirds. Shallow prairie marshes may have waterfowl and waterbirds. Watch for grebes, coots, ducks, swans, blackbirds, wrens, rails, minks, and otter.
Use binoculars and a telephotos lens, keep your distance and be respectful. If you notice the animal is stressed, back off. Especially during nesting season.
Visit your local DNR website for more Information on wildlife near your area.