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joseph cole's picture

minor adjustments ..how to edit abstracts!?

so i was able to get out early this morning in layers of clothing at a crisp 18 degrees -7 degrees for those of you from elsewhere around the globe and yes i did get in the water for a couple of shot in my wadders. i was bale to get a decent sunrise but couldn't wait to get to the water and see how things froze i was able to get some nice images of the flowing water and ice cycles hanging off the rocks from the passing water. however i did stumble upon a few images that i had just recently seen on youtube with Thomas Heaton, Nick Page, Adam Gibbs, Gavin Hardcastle how they shot methane bubbles on a lake in Canada. While i have no bubbles of methane i was curios if i could still pull off a similar shot and here it is below..... question is...is there a proper way to crop or post process an abstract

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Radisa Zivkovic's picture

What I would do is to use contrast, clarity and enhanced details a lot. Very interesting captures Joseph!

joseph cole's picture

thanks Radisa i did not excessively..but a bit. im wondering about adding a layer of color not sure yet

Radisa Zivkovic's picture

Some deep blue might suit.

joseph cole's picture

yeah my thoughts exactly maybe a pinch of purple/magenta i definitely need to take the warmth out of the bottom one

The same "rules" apply I'd say, Try to define a focal point and then scatter visual clues in the image directing the eye towards that subject.

joseph cole's picture

makes sense i guess i never thought of a subject existing in an abstract

Chris Jablonski's picture

Love these, Joseph! I especially like the composition in the second one. With regard to your cropping question, with images like these (which I love making), generally the only reason to crop would be when you can't make a harmonious composition within your camera format's proportions (3:2 in Nikon's case), as you can zoom or move the tripod to optimise framing. The latter can be very tedious, I must admit.

I couldn't resist attempting a version of each, mainly emphasising what's there for me - that play of lines and shading, offset by the brown shape in the first. I've emphasised mid-tone contrast, often spoken of by darkroom processors as increasing subjective luminosity. I've also cooled the colour a touch, pulled up clarity to emphasise what detail there is, and finally added a light vignette.

Since they could be abstract paintings (especially the second), for once I've increased saturation, which is already increased by boosting contrast. Often in photos high saturation looks garish to me, although it appeals to many people besides photography buffs.

I realise I've done what Radisa suggested, without closely looking at what she said!

I don't think that a photo must necessarily have a "subject" or "focal point". Do paintings? Perhaps they do.

joseph cole's picture

nice observations and renderings thanks Chris.
i did do some of what you spoke of before uploading to my portfolio. im fond of them as well now the other thing im wondering is which orientation looks best as abstracts can be spun in any direction haha but how they exist is how they were shot

Chris Jablonski's picture

The purist in me always makes me level the camera and present the image the way it was shot. To me, even with an abstract-looking image, anything that might make it look implausible puts me off. But I know some might think this is crazy!

joseph cole's picture

everyone has there own way to look at things, its rare that any two people will have the exact same opinion. so you can never really be right or wrong unless it just looks terrible hahaha

Chris Jablonski's picture

Secretly, I know I'm always right, but I'm usually polite... ;-)

Alan Brown's picture

I absolutely love these - thanks for the inspiration (I'm now of to find a puddle ,,,,,,)

I think by nature abstract images don't need to have an identifiable subject..
I saw the same Thomas Heaton video, luckily you didn't have to travel from Whitley Bay (in England) to the Rockies to shoot!
Otherwise I'm in general agreement, and as always processing should meet your own artistic impression.

Where are you located? 18 degrees sound balmy at the moment (it was -4F in New England this morning.....)

joseph cole's picture

thanks Alan I'm in Philadelphia it doesn't get that cold often but when it does it creates some interesting opportunities to shoot.
and i believe you get more of Canada's weather blowing over from the great lakes luckily we miss that however i do have a friend in Erie PA that lives near the lake and she sends pics of frozen waves that i would love to shoot sometime soon

Jordan McChesney's picture

I don't think there is "a" proper way to crop or process abstract images, only proper "ways" to process them. I think the most important thing is to make sure that nothing stands out or steals the attention of the viewer without an intent.
An example of that, for me, would be the black patch on the top right of the first image. This might just be a personal opinion, but if the "theme" of the photo is textures, I feel like the un-textured black patch breaks the consistency, but not in an intentional way.

Overall, I think these are some of your best work. With a little tender loving processing, I could see these as portfolio level, especially if you can grab some more abstract shots to go along with them.

joseph cole's picture

appreciate it Jordan and i will think about those issues in future