TRANSFORMATIONS

This is a series of Lightroom explorations. Taking free rein with the processing, my aim was to abstract the photographs to bring out essential elements like curves or textures. Most of these have been transformed into images quite different from what they would be if I processed them in a naturalistic manner. But most are still not pure abstracts; the subject is recognizable. There was no logic to the steps I took. I enjoyed allowing intuition to lead me one way or another.

Many of the photographs are of the ground or things on the ground like rocks and grasses; one is of water, and one is a window. One is a shutter misfire – my finger resting on the shutter made it fire unintentionally. Sometimes mistakes are worth keeping.

The unprocessed originals are below so you can see where I started.

1.

2.

3.
4.

5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

11.

12.
13.

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Originals:

Wood on the ground in Death Valley, NV; January/ 2018.
Bullwhip kelp at low tide in Bowman Bay, WA; January 2022.
Plastic garbage on the roadside in Anacortes, WA; August 2021
Rock at North Fork Skykomish River, Index, WA; February 2016.
Sand ripples at low tide at Bowman Bay, WA; January 2022

Shutter misfire on the Burr Trail, UT; April 2022.
Roadside grasses, Anacortes, WA; January 2022.
Grasses going to seed on Fidalgo Island, WA; July 2022.
Rock at Red Rock Canyon, NV; January 2018.
Wind on the beach at Devil’s Punchbowl, OR; May 2015.
Roadside grass and wildflowers on the Burr Trail, UT; April 2022.

Grass, twigs, and leaves on the ground in Anacortes, WA; July 2022.

Window in Leiden, Netherlands; April 2019.

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52 comments

  1. Nice to see the starting points for these transformations, Lynn. I really like the result you have obtained with #2 in particular.

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      • Your processing gave a certain lift to the already exquisite composition and brings into ‘focus’ the contrast between the submerged tendrils and those parts that have broken the surface and emerged. Makes me think of the manifestation from infinite potential into the world of appearances. ♾☯

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    • Thank you very much for stopping by and commenting, Hans. I’m glad you like these. Rocks are full of interesting textures, colors, and patterns, especially the rocks in the American Southwest – they are fantastic to see.

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      • Dear Lynn,
        thank you very much. We are well but very busy. We got our boat in the water and there is always a lot to do, then Prince Charles visited our village. There was a lot to prepare especially as Dina was asked to take pictures. Since weeks the weather is fine that makes us to work in the garden a lot. Blogging has not such a priority for us at the moment. We suppose that this will change towards autumn.
        With lots of love from the sunny sea
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One man’s garbage is another woman’s fine art. I like the results. One challenge to going down that path is there are so many interesting results – how do you pick your favorites?

    Have you ever played around with Topaz Studio?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t tried Topaz. There are so many possibilities out there…LR is enough (along with Silver Effex, etc). I find I have to be in a certain mood to do this well – on the beam as some might say. Thanks! (Hope you’re staying cool!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Undoubtedly, this set of images reveals the potential that lightroom offers to those who master it with knowledge. It really creates very curious effects and new visual experiences for the eye.
    Very interesting, whether the transformed images or the originals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to assume most photographers use Lightroom and I forget it’s less prevalent in other parts of the world. I’m sure interesting transformations can be made with other software programs, too. I’m far, far from being a master but I think my fine arts background makes a difference – there’s knowledge about art in general to draw on. Also some knowledge of technique, for example, composition, values (lights and darks), etc. It’s fun to play with all the possibilities. Thanks for your comment, Dulce.

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  4. I love this post and your explorations Lynn! I like that you point out the definition of what a true abstract is. I see a lot of folks using the term ‘abstract’ loosely! Here’s something that I will always remember … way back in B&W Photo II our assignment was to shoot a roll of 24 looking through the viewfinder and then at the same place shoot a roll without looking through the viewfinder. I shot up, down, from the hip, and upside down! I also recall being a little dismayed that I liked the second roll better. 🙂

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    • That’s such a great story, Denise. My shutter button has been very trigger-happy lately…I find some odd, blurred photos of the ground when I come home. They’re kind of interesting! Thanks very much for stopping by. I bet you’re enjoying the summer!

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  5. It’s easier for me to start with the ones that don’t work for me – plastic bag, 10, and 13. All the rest are so wonderful. i looked at them as if I was in a gallery looking at abstract paintings and they came to life in that context. With some of them it was obvious what I was looking at (eg the grasses), but when I let go of that conventional perception and viewed them as abstract art they presented their true selves. Such a cool experiment.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your honest comments, Alison. The way you looked at these as if you were in a gallery viewing abstract art, is exactly the kind of framework I used when I made them. It’s also a way of seeing that I enjoy when I’m out in the field. It’s really fun to let go of conventional ways of seeing the world and find different ways. Thanks so much for entering into this wholeheartedly!

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  6. Wonderful series Lynn! I love 2, 6 and 10 and 13 most, but all the others are fantastic too! This lightness in 2 and 10 is so beautiful. 2 could be a painting. I also love the grasses here. You emphasized the tenderness so well in #8. Those kind of grass or weed often looks so soft and I find you can almost feel it here. I also like the contrasts you gave 6 and 7. Was it a coincidence with these 2 pictures or did you feel like doing it? Very well. Please, more of it 🙂

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    • That lightness is one of the things I was working on with a lot of these. For so much of the year it tends to be dark here – the trees are very tall, dense, and dark, the sky is cloudy and the days are short. So an almost white palette is very appealing. Tenderness is a good word for #8. 🙂 I’m not sure what the coincidence you’re talking about in #6 & #7 is. Do you mean giving them both more contrast? I think in #6 I decided to darken it because it worked better that way. In #7 I heightened the contrast to make it more graphic, more like a design than real life.
      So you want more, eh? Well, thank you. I have to be in the mood but I will remember what you said!! Have a good week and thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your explanation. That makes sense, regarding the different weather situations. Now I understand your intention better. When I am playing with filter etc. sometimes I try something new and so it is coincidence. But the way you described it, it was purpose choosing these tools. That was what I wanted to know 😉 I am looking forward to your next “mood” 🙂

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        • Well, let me “walk that back” as we say sometimes. Using bright, light tones wasn’t a choice I made consciously because I was thinking that I needed more light. I just like to play, too. But when I thought about it afterward it seemed that my attraction to images that are very light could be related to the weather up here, which is darker than a lot of other locations. The Seattle area is famous for being rainy and gloomy. On Fidalgo Island, there isn’t as much rain and darkness as in Seattle but there’s a certain atmosphere associated with the Pacific Northwest that we share with the rest of the region. I’ve always been attracted to Scandinavian summer scenes – all that light! Now I’m thinking of that photo Ule posted from Rugen with a book and a window, remember? Ahhh…. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I do 🙂 I understand what you mean. Scandinavian nights must be wonderful. When I go to bed late and look out of the kitchen window to the north I always see a silver lining(?) or a small stripe of colors at the horizon and I think, the scandinavians didn’t turn the light off yet 😉
          So my first impression was right, that you tried different tools and it developed like this. That was what I meant with coincidence 🙂 I am glad, we talked about it 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  7. These are wonderful, Lynn. Do I sense a Trilogy submission or two? 🙂 I like the abstracts better than the originals and am glad that you included the originals for comparison. You’ve a great imagination and I am glad that you let it run free. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s really cool that you like the abstracts better, Steve, thanks for telling me. As a photographer who excels at showing the “real” world, I wouldn’t necessarily have expected you to like these much. I’m glad you let your imagination run free, too, otherwise, you probably would have said, “Yuck!” 😉
      Trilogy? What’s that?

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      • One of the things that bugs me about some photographer on social media is their tunnel vision to their own practice. Landscapes only, or flowers, or birds, or abstracts, etc. While my photography is more realistic I still appreciate other practices and the only reason I don’t do more of the others is comfort with what I do and also a certain lack of vision for other modes.

        Lenswork hsa a project going called Trilogies along the lines of the Sixes .

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        • Your open-mindedness is appreciated – I get what you’re saying and needless to say, I agree. Especially for someone who works you manage to make a lot of excellent photographs so maybe it’s not lack of vision, it’s just lack of time and inclination. 🙂
          I haven’t been keeping up with Lenswork but now I vaguely remember that they stopped the Sixes and switched to Thrilogies. I need to get back there, thanks for mentioning it.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Ooh, I love these – it’s great to come across someone not afraid to fiddle around with an image to make something different of it. My favourites are the sand ripples and the bullwhip kelp 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a nice thing to say, Sarah, thank you. It’s fun to do as long as you’re in the mood – it does require a certain mindset, and a willingness to leave reality behind. Thanks for the follow and for your comment – I appreciate it!

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