Thursday, 14 July 2016 11:15

Below Hooker

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For me, waterfalls are not merely places to enjoy the straightforward beauty of our watery world, but they are also wonderful opportunities to express the abstract wonder of that world. Below Hooker Falls in DuPont State Forest there is an expansive area of fairly shallow water whose ripples often catch the morning light in marvelous patterns of abstraction. Since the water is in constant movement, some decision must be made as to how best to express the motion to achieve the desired result. Too slow a shutter and the surface tension is simply too blurred; too fast and the risk is something more "frozen" than desired. Faster shutter speeds typically mean wider apertures, which translates to reduced depth-of-field and, with it, edges too soft and blurry. Since the longer the focal length, the shallower the depth-of-field at a given aperture/camera distance, this presents a problem that has to be solved typically by compromise. Here my compromise was to use a focal length of 375mm to isolate the part of the ripple pattern I wanted. This reduced my depth-of-field considerably, so I chose an aperture of f/8 to do two things: allow for as much depth as possible while giving me a way - accompanied with an ISO of 400 - to achieve a shutter speed of 1/80th second to freeze the motion of the water enough to overcome the blur. The exteremes of the frame are somewhat soft because of the shallowness of the depth-of-field, but by focusing halfway into the image I maximized the depth and placed the sharpest part of the scene in the middle, and depended on the eye's willingness to forgive some softness if there is sharpness nearby. The abstraction of water is an endlessly fascinating subject and problem-solving opportunity.

Read 1296 times Last modified on Friday, 05 August 2016 15:24

7 comments

  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Saturday, 23 July 2016 07:24 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good morning Everyone. Thank you all very much for joining me for this conversation and for taking time from your busy summers to be a part of the search for beauty in nature. I hope each of you is enjoying a creative season to the fullest.
    Hey Ron, I love your comment, and thank you for it. For me, I think, the whole idea of abstraction is wrapped up in the notion of getting to the essence of something through a vehicle that is in the main purely symbolic and essentially devoid of the detail that says, "This is a tree, or this is a river." Yet somehow, even lacking that detail, there is an almost instantaneous and clear communication of that very idea. "Pretty neat" says perhaps I succeeded in this instance. Thank you, as always, for being with us.
    Hi Karen. Thanks for your kind words. It does seem to me that when working in abstraction, there is something that compels us to slow down so that we can uncover that "place" where the essential idea of the scene or the thing is dwelling and then "see" how we can communicate that to a viewer. Thank you for reminding us of that aspect of working in abstract.
    Hey Nancy T. It's always good to have you with us. "Auras within auras" is a most interesting way of describing the visuals here. When I was working with this image, it realized that what was causing the auras you describe were the forms, especially the rocks, on the bottom of the river and the reflected light from them being diffracted by the moving waters. It did seem pretty magical - and whimsical - on Mother Nature's part.
    Don, it's good to hear from you; and I really appreciate the left brain-right brain dichotomy you describe. It doesn't seem to me to be possible to create visual art without some form of technical knowledge about the medium in which we are working; and the more of it we have, the more effectively we use all of our tools in the service of our vision, which is the foundation of that art. I look forward to seeing you in Rhode Island before long.
    Hi Dana. Thank you for your kind comment. I appreciate your joining us and your expression of pleasure in the experience of sharing your reaction to this image.
    Hey Warren. It's always good to hear from you, my friend. If it rises to the level of art, then I have been blessed by the success of my effort. Hope you are having a great summer.
    Thank you all, again, for going down the abstract road with me for a bit and for the words and thoughts and feelings you have shared.

  • Comment Link J Warren Berry Thursday, 21 July 2016 07:47 posted by J Warren Berry

    Art par excellence

  • Comment Link D Tuesday, 19 July 2016 13:32 posted by D

    Thank you again don, sincerely d

  • Comment Link Don Newsom Sunday, 17 July 2016 10:44 posted by Don Newsom

    Once again, the artist in me loves your beautifully patterned abstraction, while the engineer in me loves your detailed technical explanation of how you achieved it. Thanks, Don!

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 17 July 2016 10:24 posted by Nancy Tripp

    This abstract at first glance looks like simple shapes of two colors where the light shapes grow in size from the bottom to the top. But if you look more closely at the dark shapes, there are auras within auras adapting to the shapes around them. It looks like Mother Nature is playing with water colors. With your choice of shutter speed you were able to capture and share it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment Link Karen Lemoine Sunday, 17 July 2016 08:53 posted by Karen Lemoine

    Your thoughtful deciphering of a scene is a wonderful thing. It makes us slow down enough to realize the potential in a given moment and place.

  • Comment Link Ron Belovitz Sunday, 17 July 2016 08:52 posted by Ron Belovitz

    Pretty neat!

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