art, composition, photography

GOING ABSTRACT

Since I began making pictures on film in the mid-nineteen nineties, I have been fascinated with abstract imagery. Back then, mostly it was by accident… an errant frame here and there, missed focus, motion blur, etc.

In the days of film, you truly never knew how your film was going to turn out. Light leaks, camera malfunctions, lab errors… these were all distinct, albeit not common, potentialities.

Now, I make a point to blur an image with motion, or purposefully shift out of focus, for effect and to convey emotion. It’s simply another useful tool by which to create something. Even a feeling.

Whether intentional or not, abstract photography can be powerful.

The world is full of incredible shapes, textures, and colors. As a photographer, you can remove the context of an image to allow the viewer to see something completely new.

If you are interested in trying out this way of seeing and shooting, here are some helpful ways to start.

Look for textures, patterns, lines, and shapes

In the world of nature, there are textures, patterns, lines, and shapes everywhere if you train your eyes to see them. For me, it takes an intentional action to begin walking slower and looking for these details. But once you dial in to that frequency, you may find it hard to stop!

Shoot macro

Seeing minute details will allow you to create lovely abstractions. And you really don’t have to have a specific macro lens, though it can be helpful. The main point is to get down into the minutia. Get close with whatever lens you can. Leave all the distractions out of your frame and simplify what the viewer sees.

Use motion and manual focus to blur your subject

This technique is the most difficult to achieve at a high level, and it’s also my favorite! Use a slower shutter speed and experiment with purposefully moving your camera. Try up and down, left to right, swirling, etc. See what works and what doesn’t. Create new shapes and blended colors with what’s before you.

Aside from motion blur, set your lens to manual focus and start playing. It often works really well to shoot into the light when trying this technique. It will create shapes, and accentuate color, as I’ll mention in the next section.

Experiment with light

Backlight is my absolute favorite. And in combination with one of the other techniques, like motion blur or blurred focus, backlight can really come alive. As mentioned above, it will accentuate color and shapes, in this case lines.

Aerial details

With the advent and availability of drone photography, it has opened a whole new realm to the casual photographer to be able to experience perspectives only seen before by those with access to aircraft. Aerial abstraction is powerful when the light is right and the subject compelling. I’ve only recently bought a drone, so I have a way to go, but I’m loving learning and experimenting!

Again, shooting abstracts is a way to expand the way we see and convey feeling to our viewer. It is simply another tool in the toolbox of visual art and photography. Exercise this muscle by practicing the way you see, and I’m sure you will find it quite fulfilling and enjoyable.

–Andrew


N O M A D  Magazine // Issue 1
Order your copy today and receive this 100 page full color travelgasm at your door!
Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
INTO THE WINDS // BACKPACKING + PHOTOGRAPHY ADVENTURE
GRAND TETON // FALL COLOR // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
TELLURIDE // FALL COLOR // LUXE LANDSCAPES
I’m excited to announce The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
If you are interested in purchasing a “print from the road”, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
Andrew Slaton // Limited Edition Prints
Andrew Slaton // Canvas + Metal Prints
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew Slaton 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2020
 
Standard
composition, photography

Layering // Landscapes

If you’ve seen my work, you know that I love negative space.  And in landscapes, that often means lots of sky.

ars_blog_wy_0174

It’s a more fine art look. Where the sky is an actor in the play. Usually dramatic clouds, color, and or celestial bodies give weight and relevance to the otherwise vast expanse of negative space.

_MG_9145AS

ARS_WY_0711_0061

_MG_8893AS

But that’s not the “postcard” look.  The more I shoot for stock, the more I’ve learned to layer my landscapes to give them more dimension and a greater sense of depth.

It’s a very basic concept, that to many of you is a “duh”.  But it wasn’t to me.  I learned to shoot from feeling; to convey deep emotions and artistic expression.  And the way that manifests often times in my work, is with a very two dimensional feel where the depth is stripped away and the viewer is left with light, color, and basic shape.

Neither way is better than the other.  Some people have an eye for the 3-D postcard, and others, the 2-D expression.

_MG_8091F

I have had to learn to see the postcard. And I’m really enjoying the challenge of seeing in this new way.  It sounds simple, but it’s oh so interestingly complicated… to frame a balanced and compelling photograph that incorporates all three elements: foreground, middle ground, background.

ars_blog_wy_0182

These three elements working together, with lines leading the viewer into the image, colors complimenting one another, and light dancing and playing makes for a supremely sellable image.

And I would argue, that beyond the sellable, if you can also incorporate the artistic expression, you have made truly great art.

ARS_WY_0912_0136

Those are the kind of images I’m striving to make.

— andrew

___________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
If you are interested in learning more about photography, taking your art to a new level please check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
Standard
city, composition, photography

san francisco // from every angle

How creative do you get with the same subject?

It can be challenging, but I always try to push myself to see all the angles, different qualities of light, and unending compositions that I can create with my camera.

Last week, my subject was the city of San Francisco… and here are a few of my favorites.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

I hope this gets you thinking about your next subject and how to explore it photographically.

And  wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!  Hope to see you all in 2014!

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

Standard
advanced, city, composition, landscape, photography

aerials + lifestyle

I always love it when commercial real estate clients call.

And since the 80’s, Dallas has been a huge commercial real estate hub, so thankfully, there’s a lot of business.

Architecture and urban landscape are a very natural transition for me from traditional landscapes and nature photography.

Plainly speaking, architecture is man-made landscape, often mimicking the shapes and movements of nature.

Photographically, it’s just as exciting and challenging when done well.

_MG_8715F

_MG_8657F

_MG_8695F

To add to the challenge, often times I’m asked to shoot little vignettes of the surrounding attractions; active lifestyles, restaurants/ bars, nightlife, etc.

These are generally very well rounded assignments.  And I absolutely love the technical and creative challenges of shooting different subjects and styles.

_MG_8579F

_MG_8600F

_MG_8605F

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

Standard