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Abstract photo art from nature, part two

My photographer friends seemed to enjoy my last post on abstract photo art photography. As my buddy Dave said, “Nice article Bob, reminded me that I need to play more! Sometimes you just need a nudge in the right direction. Thanks!!!”

So with that in mind here are some additional ideas and a nudge, or maybe a push for you, as well.

Camera movement for abstract photo art

Straight out of camera (SOOC) with no adjustments. Camera was turned in a circle around the bloom.

My camera and lens combo for this photo was the Lumix GX85 and Lumix G Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 lens.

The images I shared in the last post were made with camera movement in vertical or horizontal moves. You can also spin the camera in a circle or zoom the lens in and out while you play. One thing that I’ve found is there should still be a semblance of a subject in the image. Or, have total colors and form but shadows to create some depth. I’ve never had much luck somewhere in the middle.

Layer Palette from the daisy image

If you look at the bottom layer you will see there were changes made before arriving at this point. The SOOC photo was copied and flipped. The Blend Mode was changed to Screen. The additional Layers show the use of Hue, Saturation, Curves and Sharpening to get some of the different looks. All work was done in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop.

One of the many iterations possible just by changing Hue and saturation Adjustment Layer. I keep these files saved as Photoshop Layers in PSD files.

Back in the studio

The lily was captured with a bit of camera shake and then processed with a texture layer.

Once the images are in your computer the next level of fun comes in post-production. You can use Blend Modes to mix the same or different images together. Make a copy of a layer and flip it. Cycle through the Blend Modes until you see what you like. Or, as in many cases what you almost like. Lowering the opacity will give you a different mix. Make another copy of the layer to increase the effect even more. Use Masks to control specific areas on a layer. Or change the Blend Mode on the next layer. Transform the Layers and you will get even more variation.

For the lily images I used my Lumix G9 with the Leica 100-400mm lens.

Layers Palette from the lily image above.

Blend Modes in Adobe Photoshop can be magical. All of the Modes are slightly different and mathematically interact with the Layer(s) that are below. I was never a big fan of doing math but I love what it can do for me. Fortunately the engineers at Adobe do all the math and allow me to see what the effects will be. When I see something I like I know I’m home.

Saving multiple versions

Adobe Bridge Screenshot with multiple versions of the image.

I recommend you save versions as you work. Every time I see a combination I think I like I do a Save As – v2, v3, v4 etc. There’s nothing like working on an image for a long time and realizing I liked it fifty steps ago! I keep the saved files in PSD format as I want to keep the Layers for additional tweaking in the future. Once I’ve put together eight to ten versions I’ll step away from the images for a while. Then I can go back in the next day or two and see the various versions side by side. Then choose the best ones and throw away the ones that don’t excite me any longer.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob

By the way, the GX85 is a smokin’ deal right now. Get the camera body, 12-32mm and 45-150mm lenses for under $500!

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