September 27, 2012

Abstraction - Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone Pine Detail

Abstraction can be a very powerful (and fun) theme to use in your photography. But to be successful, it should be done with purpose. Successful compositions are no less easy. Do you want to emphasize form, texture, light, color? What angle? How much detail to include, how much not to? All the essential composition questions are still there.

The photograph here comes from the single trunk of a Bristlecone Pine tree in the White Mountains. Taken midday, this portion of trunk was inset in shadow and picking up strong reflected light giving it wonderful luminance. I considered different angles and heights for a long time before I set the camera for the final composition. The image is at first difficult to comprehend but, enlarged, it can be settled into and explored. I look forward to working up a 16 x 20 print to see how the image feels in what would be about a 1:1 life size ratio.


The more you photograph, the more you realize what can and what can't be photographed. You just have to keep doing it.

Eliot Porter