Abstract images in nature photography create beautiful subjects of feelings and the relationship between shapes.
This image along the Big Darby Creek captures air bubbles trapped in ice. The bubbles stand out from the bottom as white circles against warm earth tones. The many random circles in different sizes nested together have lots of character. Distorted outlines of the rocks and their colors are seen looking through the clear ice. The colors mingle together forming an abstract backdrop for the bubbles.
The wedge of bubbles is contrasted against the smooth distortions created by the flowing water. In the middle is a large frozen ice block in the shape of another wedge with small frozen crystals speckled on its surface. The ice crystals of frost are sharp and create texture on the surface of the bubbles also. The specular highlights on the bubbles are in focus but because they are rounded produce a soft appearance. Specular high lights on the edges of the clear ice define it and create more smooth lines. The challenge is to capture the feeling of the cold ice water and balance with the shapes.
This is complicated because there is only one angle to look at it from. The thin ice on the water is too dangerous to walk on to get an angle looking straight down. The angle selected uses the wedge shape to provide diagonal lines of interest in the image.
In the process of capturing this image the focus and the relationship it has with the background make this work. The sharp details on the surface add the contrast between the soft out of focus shapes under it.
The exposure was measured using the pattern meter mode in the camera and measured on the bubbles. The white color of the ice must be metered correctly for the contrast and the specular high lights to work. This will require less time in the computer later if it is metered correctly at the time the image is captured. The exposure shutter speed was 1/100sec the aperture set at f /9.0 and the white balance set on sunny day. The lens is a 70-300 mm set at 220 mm.
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