“Winter Reflections” by Robin Conover
Canon EOS 50D
70-200 mm, 2.8 L IS USM lens at 70 mm
ISO 100, f20 at 1/20 second, Bogen tripod
You don’t have to be a trained artist to appreciate abstracts. They are an artform truly seen and appreciated in the eye of the beholder. What catches one person’s eye may be something hundreds of others walk past without even noticing. For me, I see abstracts in nature all the time.
In Tennessee, one of my favorite abstract subjects is the Cumberland Plateau sandstone where iron and other minerals leave rusty streaks throughout the soft rock. Another favorite is the surface of water. Our rivers and lakes provide endless opportunities for incredible reflections.
The combination of light, reflection and movement create awesome abstract moments that aren’t hard to capture. It just takes some looking to find them. The above image is a result of a cold winter day and a sunny sky.
As you may know, bright and sunny aren’t the most ideal conditions for nature photographers. This image was, in fact, something I captured as I was leaving my location because the early morning sun had risen too high in the sky and was rendering too much contrast in everything I saw.
Then, I looked down from the road as I was walking to my truck and noticed the beautiful blue reflections in the water. The black-and-white streaks are tree limbs. A slight breeze was moving the surface of the water, leaving an undulate pattern on the surface. At times, wind gusts completely blurred the surface. I decided to watch for a minute and composed the image in my viewfinder. When the gusts died down, I experimented with shutter speeds.
Slower shutter speeds allow reflections to blur, giving a painterly effect. This is the same principle used to capture images of waterfalls. Because the water was moving quite a bit, I settled on a shutter speed of 1/20 of a second and made exposures in between wind gusts when the surface was recognizable.
Be warned, though; once you start looking for abstracts, you, too, will see them everywhere.