January Photo Gallery: Abstracts

This month’s photo gallery features abstracts. Many of these images are close-ups from nature, including bark patterns, lichen, and fungi. The detail and complexity you can find when looking closely can be amazing; I often try to remember this when I find myself in one of those “there’s nothing good to photograph here” moods.

For close-up pictures — depending on your subject — a macro lens is often essential. For a long time I used a Tamron 90mm f/2.9 macro, which gives excellent results for the price.

These days my go-to macro set-up is a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 coupled with a Canon 500D 77mm Close Up Lens. This combo gets me very close, but gives me adequate working distance between the subject and lens (so I don’t accidentally knock those dew drops off the branch). It also provides more flexibility in framing and composition compared to a fixed focal length lens. Once I position the camera in range I can use the zoom to make minor adjustments in framing, which is much easier than trying to carefully move the tripod forward ¼ in over rough ground.

For more info on shooting close-ups, you might check out John Shaw’s Closeups in Nature, which is what I cut my teeth on.

Abstract photos don’t have to be close-ups of course. Anything has the potential to become an abstract photo when the surrounding context is removed, forcing the viewer to concentrate on the patterns and shapes instead of the overall scene.

View all my abstract and pattern pictures »

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