Abstracts of Spring

TRIP POST
Maple and Moss — Blue Ridge Parkway, NC  © jj raia

Maple and Moss — Blue Ridge Parkway, NC © jj raia

I don’t think it’s a revelation to say that trees have character, though some more than others. Even evergreens can have character. But that character is revealed more to us during the months when they are not fully covered in leaves. During the time when we can easily see the trunks, limbs and branches, they form a myriad of interwoven lines and curves that at times can create an intricate abstract design. Sometimes we don’t initially see those designs because of our relative position, but move around a bit and you might discover an interesting interplay of elements that form a unique composition that was always there, just waiting to be seen. Sometimes they pop out easily while other times they are more delicate and require a bit more “vision” to see them. The image at the top was one that seemed to jump out as I drove by. Initially it was in the shade of overhead clouds and I tried several different compositions. When I thought I had captured what I wanted, having thought how fortunate I was that the scene was in shade and evenly lit, I packed up my gear back in the car and was about to drive away when the sun came out. Suddenly the same scene was dramatically different!! I quickly got the camera out again, set up and was able to click off a few shots while the sun played peek-a-boo. The backlit red maple buds really popped out against the green moss on the tree limbs before them and the blue tinted hillside behind.  There is no secret where your attention is initially focused, yet the scene constantly changed as the sunlight and shade drifted through leaving the red buds backlit or in shade. The best was when the background hillside was in shade while the buds and moss were sunlit. But this was a circumstance where the quickly changing light precluded combining multiple parts of the scene into one later that was discussed in the previous post.

Spring Pastel — Blue Ridge Parkway, NC  © jj raia

Spring Pastel — Blue Ridge Parkway, NC © jj raia

However, in the second image, things are a bit more subtle; colors are muted because of the strongly filtered sunlight. The small circle formed by the branches near the center would not be there if the camera position were moved much, while the diagonal line of yellow adds an  additional path to follow through the frame.

Red Maple in Spring — Blue Ridge Parkway, NC  © jj raia

Red Maple in Spring — Blue Ridge Parkway, NC © jj raia

Though all the images in this post are not technically abstracts because the subject can easily be determined, each is strongly influenced by color, line and texture; the design itself is the star of the image rather than the subject. The search for abstracts can be enjoyable in an otherwise “chaotic” scene, and can also serve as a way to practice composition and balance within the frame, two elements of photography whose importance cannot be overstated.

Spring Buds below Graveyard Fields — Blue Ridge Parkway, NC  © jj raia

Spring Buds below Graveyard Fields — Blue Ridge Parkway, NC © jj raia

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