Tag Archives: abstract landscapes

More on photo-manipulation

My creative frenzy has continued over the weekend, and extended out from the original mandala concept. Progress is slow because I am learning thing I did not know about Photoshop through videos, which is time consuming, although  very worthwhile. Here is my rendition of Sunrise at Angkor Wat, an image I took last year, with the Before and After for reference. (Please zoom in; there is a lot of detail). Unfortunately, a lesson I have learned is to make completely sure that the images overlap, as I have two very annoying lines one pixel wide intruding into the image, which I am struggling to get rid of. I have printed out and framed a couple of the mandalas so far, and they don’t look bad at all.

I then started to look at moving away from a circular image towards something that still holds references to the original image. The result below is called Wolfgang Tillmans Revisited. Before and After are shown again. I rather like this, and think there is some potential here too.

Finally, I have been looking again at something  I was hoping to do in assignment 3 of C&N, which is combining different images in an organised way, and have finally figured out how to make a shape within an image (and written down the instructions, so I can do it again).

_1410522-1v1w triangle

My plan now is to explore this in more complex ways, as outlined in this YouTube video on polyscapes. This should allow me to manipulate my images in the way I am looking for. It isn’t a quick process, but is great fun. I am also mulling over the idea of turning some of these images into patchwork quilt works, using fabrics similar to the colourways I am producing.



What is Place?

I’ve been thinking about this lately, with regard to my own work and the different locations I visit round the world. There’s a section in the Landscape course, which asks “what makes a space a place?” and my very basic understanding is that human intervention and the creation of memories there turns a space into a place. However, that is not what has struck me on my globetrotting adventures. My own experience is that it is the colour palette of the landscapes that clearly identify them. For example, when I think about Icelandic landscapes, the pictures in my mind are black, yellow, red and white, while that of central Australia is ochre, black, soft lime green and yellow.

Taking this a little further, it is interesting to flick through my Lightroom library at high speed, over the course of the year. As the seasons change, so does the colour palette in a very clear but subtle way. Of course, we all know that the seasons are associated with different colours – black and white for winter; greens and yellows for spring; bright yellows, reds and blues for summer; and soft golds, bronzes and browns for autumn.

Alongside this, a couple of pieces of work have caught my attention online, which specifically look at the way that colour grading is used in films and TV programmes. Jason Shulman has condensed entire films into a single image, which condenses the colour grading used and which gives hints about it and also how the director filled the screen in their work.  There has been much speculation on the OCA Facebook sites about how he achieved this, and the consensus was that he merged a series of very long exposures. In a similar vein, Visually Satisfying Project Shares the Color Palettes of Iconic Film Scenes, a Twitter project, picks out the specific colours that exemplify movies and puts them together in the same way that Design Seeds uses. This has the effect of bringing together a range of colours that work together and which are reminiscent of the films concerned.

I am keen to explore the idea of working with different colour palettes as representations of a place and have decided to explore them in a couple of different ways. Firstly, I have taken the scenery out of the images for the most part and making mandalas in Photoshop which merge the colours into complex patterns. Below are my first two trials, and I am quite excited about where this might go. They are both from Australia, the first from Uluru and the second from Darwin. Alongside it is an abstract of water reflections from Katherine Gorge in the style of Peter Kenny, a photographer whose abstract work I greatly admire. This has possibilities too. Do zoom in on the mandalas – there is a lot of detail in them

The potential in Photoshop to take this further are huge, and it merges my interests in patchwork and photography in a mutually effective way. There is much to be learned here about the use of vectors in making template shapes and extending the complexity of the work to incorporate symbols and patterns appropriate to the place about which they were made.

My Square Mile

A few weeks ago, I went to see my father in Scotland, and took a few hours to revisit my childhood home. I have a plan for a project which involves taking images of the places there that have a particular resonance to me and each of my four siblings. Although my father now lives about 10 miles away, one of my sisters, S, has moved back to the place, and my brother and his wife spend several months each year in a rented cottage there too. I briefly discussed the idea with S, and we made a list of some of the places that were meaningful to her. Some were the same as mine, but not all. This project is just beginning, but a short sample of locations are shown below. I was privileged to live in a beautiful part of Scotland, for which I am very grateful.


I cannot spend the time needed to really get into the project at present, so my work for this exercise will be around the place where I live right now, which is a village in Wiltshire. These days, my interest is more in the minutiae of my locations rather than the big picture. I am trying to practise Mindful Photography, and the type of thing that catches my attention tends to be fleeting and small.I am trying to capture some of the semi-abstract impressions of sight, sound and texture that I feel, which can be seen I particularly in nos. 4,5 6 and 9. They represent some of what I see on my daily dog walks around the village, and all were taken on a single afternoon. If I was going to do this project as a proper assignment, my plan would be to link all these images by a piece of string, and I would accompany it with a piece of soundscape of my footsteps, birdsong and water trickling down the stream.


These images all make me feel happy, which is a somewhat surprising reaction. I had not expected them to speak to me so clearly. I had set off with the idea of picking only semi-abstract subjects, but then realised that a) it would be impossible to get 12 images of this type from a single outing and b) my experience of the village is at all levels of scale, and this should be incorporated into the exercise. The order of the images correctly follows the path I took and begins and ends with my own garden. (No. 11 is not my house, by the way.) I like the limited palette of colours – mostly greens with flashes of red and white. It would be interesting to do the same exercise at different times of year to see how the colours changed.