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Photographing Foliage Abstracts

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:33 am
by Heather Forcier
Someone asked me yesterday if I got bored with photographing fall foliage. My answer is definitely no! Besides the fact that I love photography enough to be making it my career, fall colors are different every year, and I am different every year - I see new opportunities every time I am behind the camera.

One thing I really like to do is abstracts. Not the kind made on the computer after-the-fact, but in-camera - at the time of capture. Usually this means capturing something unusual, or manipulating the focus, or using a slow shutter speed and incorporating movement into the photo. Not everyone likes abstracts, they are highly subjective, but they are a fantastic form of creative expression.

If you have a zoom lens you can try zooming while taking the exposure - for optimal effect the shutter speed should be fairly slow. Try starting out at around 1/15 of a second, and keep in mind the f/stop and ISO can be changed in order to get such a slow shutter speed with the right exposure.

Another thing to try is moving the lens slightly while taking the photo. Doing this from a tripod helps control the motion. If just a small amount of blur is present, the result could be Impressionistic and quite appealing.

I tried some new ideas in the field yesterday and have one result on the front page of my site.

Re: Photographing Foliage Abstracts

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 4:33 pm
by seger
Hi Heather, Nice abstract! I do that as well. When I find it I'll show it to you. I had taken and abstract while in North Troy on the river road last year.

Anyway, I have to tell you...I LOVE YOUR LOONS!! Goodness, those are VERY well done. I'm still working on getting good loon photos. Got a couple real good ones of a Great Blue Heron, and also Green heron. Thanks for sharing :)

Re: Photographing Foliage Abstracts

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:45 pm
by Heather Forcier
Thank you for your replies!

Loons are one of my favorite creatures, and photographing them was amazing. Just to hear their calls astounds me.

I was lucky to be able to work with the Loon Preservation Committee ( to photograph some of the birds in NH this summer. I should update my page with other photos, as I got quite a few with chicks during a return trip.

Re: Photographing Foliage Abstracts

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:00 am
by seger
Hi again Heather,...Would love to see any Loon pics you might have. I look for them all the time and we have a pair on Lake Salem in Derby. I always go out in my little fishing boat and usually find them, but they are so darn fast. I just love Loons, in fact I just picked up another coffee cup with an amazing Loon on it.

I'm still looking for my fall abstract as well. May be a couple days as I'm headed down to the White Mountains in NH today to check out the notches and colors. I'll be checking back in though!

Re: Photographing Foliage Abstracts

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:43 am
by Heather Forcier
I'll let you know when I update the page!

Have a great trip, good luck getting that abstract! :)

Re: Photographing Foliage Abstracts

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:05 am
by rpk4398
If you like abstract flora photos, check out Freeman Patterson's and Tony Sweet's sites.

In their books, they generously and accurately offer the techniques on how to capture such images. Highly recommended.

"Photo Impressionism and the Subjective Image"

"Fine Art Flower Photography: Creative Techniques And The Art Of Observation"

Re: Photographing Foliage Abstracts

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:57 am
by Heather Forcier
One of the most talented abstract macro photographers I know is Mike Brown - you can see some of his work here:

He also has an article on his approach here:

Re: Photographing Foliage Abstracts

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:24 pm
by courtmel

Your "Bald Eagle in Flight" is one of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. Love the snowflakes in the pictures. I live to admire nature and your pictures are a joy to behold.

Thank you for sharing with me...

Hoping I can get to look at some trees cloaked in their autumn finery when I head up to Stowe area Wednesday-Sunday. I am not hearing good things but we are willing to drive to see some nice colors. Can you suggest any areas?


Re: Photographing Foliage Abstracts

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:14 pm
by Heather Forcier
Wow, thanks for your very kind words!

I am hoping to be roaming around Vermont for much of tomorrow looking for things to photograph. I can post what I find. As far as the Stowe area, I'm not sure - my favorite thing to do is carry my Delorme Atlas along with me and just get "lost" on back roads, looking for photographic inspiration. :) Stowe should be a good area to be in, because you can travel different elevations to find foliage at different stages.

Have fun!

Re: Photographing Foliage Abstracts

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 7:23 am
by rpk4398
Thanks for the Mike Brown link. Here are a couple that fall into similar category: