Most of today’s images are not truly abstracts. They are however, about noticing what lives between the edges of the picture frame. We begin with a subject, and finish with a visual capture of that subject’s reality. More then we might have even seen upon our first glance.
There is reality, and then there are abstractions of that reality, and then there is the edge that lives in between those two extremes. The edge. When do we travel to the edge or even over it? I would suggest that the answer to that is unique to each photographer. It’s all about how we look at it. Your picture, your choice.
Edge to Edge.
(More or Less)
Pictures that do not contain an obvious horizon line, bottom or top, or clear “sidelines” where we can see where one section ends and another begins, can at times be static, but at other times become an “endless journey”, with neither a beginning or an end.
There are no true horizons in this photo of some autumn trees. Just the same, the changes in color and tone, as well as shadows and highlights, gives this scene a dimensional appearance. It is not a single continuous tone. It has a beginning and several ends.
There is no real edge to this image of a sand dune. The shift in tone towards the top of the image does give viewers a feeling of movement. In other words, the journey through the picture has movement despite the lack of a clear beginning or end.
Clouds have always been a distinct photography subject for me. In other words, they are a subject in and of themselves, whether there is a clear edge or not.
This is as easy of an abstract, and I do consider this to be an abstract, as one can find.
This is not a black and white image, although this grizzly gray day provided not only repeating tones for an abstract of reality, but a lack color to push the envelope into abstraction a little further.
Learning to use all sorts of light, on all types of days, will make you a busier and more fulfilled photographer.
An horizon line regardless of how insignificant it might seem, makes most images into story tellers in so far as having a beginning and an end.
This inter forest scene of some plants, on a misty, wet spring morning, I think needed an end to the plants, or the beginning of a forest, to provide context to it all. I suppose, that is true depending on your personal bent.
I loved making landscape photos high into the mountains. Traditional compositions with a beginning, middle and end, work beautifully here.
When making this image I thought I saw (or felt) something in between the beginning and the end. So I visually explored a little further.
Composing tones made up of only dark rock and white snow (in August), allowed me to impart a different mood than before. This is more “restrictive” but also more unusual than the previous image.
This picture was made in The Badlands of South Dakota. It is quite representative of that location as it shows the mix of colors in this area, and shows off the texture as well. It has small hills and valleys which describes dimension.
While it is edge to edge, it is dramatically different than the sand dune or sky images seen earlier in this article.
This image from Big Bend N.P. in Texas has some of the same qualities as the Badlands picture. Just the same, that little bit of sky I allowed to show in the image, gives viewers a visual escape route. There is another world out there beyond the rock.
The smallest additions or subtractions will alter the message of a photo.
Bands of light and shadow during a foggy sunrise, make this prairie scene almost surreal. Some scenes are so moody, that the best we can do is while using composition, move out of the scene any factors that subtract from what we have been provided with naturally. The backlight, is the essence or the body of this picture. It paints the tones into the image that provide the mood.
Any absolute, or defining edges here would have weakened the image. At least in my opinion.
The same thoughts that we use to define or obscure what we want to impart in a photograph within a landscape, apply to macro work as well.
This close-up of a dewy plant, is almost an edge to edge picture. The opening in the plant transforms this image from such. There is a visual break in our journey. Just the same, nothing shows at the edges which would then place this plant in the context of its environment. We know nothing about where it lives. Like most macros, this image is intimate, but the story only carries so far.
Notice that my placement of the plant’s opening fits roughly within the rule of thirds, and the power point rule. I m sure that was instinctual and not planned, but some order can make a scene more “comfortable” to live with….so to speak.
Crispness ( in my opinion ), is normally essential when you are working up close. Fuzzy drops of water rather than sharp ones, would have destroyed this image.
Living at and on the edge, is essential in my opinion to creating interesting or at least “intentional” images. Leave the accidents to those who take “snapshots”.
May God Bless,