Rework - 2 Me getting wild. @Mark_Seaver I looked at your abstracts on your beautiful website and decided I had to get more wild with my colors.

Rework - 1


I love walking the Taughannock Falls trail in the winter. There are great winter shots on this narrow gorge trail in which a stream travels 3/4 miles and ends at the tall, beautiful Taughannock Fall. We’ve had several very cold nights this week and a light snow. I found this shot today in the stream bed. I don’t take many abstract type images, but I took a few ice shots today that I like. This one was my favorite.

Specific Feedback Requested

I rarely take abstracts. What I have learned about them, I’ve mostly learned from Sarah Marino videos. How did I do, abstract photographers?

Technical Details

Sony a7r iv 24-70mm @ 47mm
This is basically straight out of the camera. I put a light vignette on it.


Hey Donna! I think one of the biggest things for me about abstract photography that I’ve learned is to work with colors a lot. So when I look at this photo, I think you’ve done a great job with placement of the leaf and having a lot of design and texture in the photo. But I think we could play up the cold a little bit more maybe change the temperature to more of a blue tone to play up the coolness of this icy photo.

Donna, your focus on the two leaves looks good here. The textures in the icy surroundings fill the frame with interest. One aspect of abstracts is that your personal tastes play a big role in how you process the image. A couple of things I would try here are some burning-in of the midtones in the two leaves to give them a bit more color and some burning-in of the dark tones in the top half to even out the darkness throughout the view. (Instead, you could dodge the darker tones in the lower half as another way of evening out the contrast throughout the frame.)

I am the same way, Donna and I also love leaf photography, especially when they’re trapped in ice. For my part, I like the literal story this tells and would enhance the contrast to emphasize the trapped in ice quality. But if you’re going for an abstract I’d try to disguise what this is more than you have here. By working with exaggerated or entirely false colors you could achieve some of that. Cropping would also help. Just some things to think about with this one. We went from cold to snow immediately so I’m not sure I’ll have any icy opportunities unless we get a melt, a re-freeze and no snow.

Nice scene Donna. I really like your reworked version. It has that tint of blue to help convey a sense of coldness. The original feels a bit flat to me. Awesome ice patterns around the leaves which help keep me wandering around the frame.

@David_Johnston @Mark_Seaver @Kris_Smith Thank you all so much!!! I liked this photo, but I really didn’t know where to go with it. I tried saturating the leaf more, but it looked spotty. Thanks for all of this great advise. I threw out a rework where I did a little of all the suggestions. It’s a whole different image now. Having your own photo critiqued when you don’t know what you’re doing helps so much more than watching a video. If you have the time to take a look at the rework and let me know if I got close to what it should look like, I’d very much appreciate it. Have a wonderful holiday.

Thank you, Alfredo. I haven’t taken many abstract photos before much less processed them. I think by posting a badly processed one and having it critiqued by photographers that know what they’re doing will be the best help ever. Now I feel like I at least have a direction.

1 Like

Donna, rework-2 looks great, reasonable colors, lots of detail and fairly even contrast throughout the frame.

Sign me up for rework 2. That one just pops, Donna. Your edge patrol is great. I don’t see anything that pulls the eye. I also agree with @Kris_Smith about really going wild with some of the colors here so it’s not so literal if you want this to be a true abstract. Either way, this image works great for me. Beautifully composed.

@David_Haynes @Mark_Seaver Your critiques have made me very happy. I had no idea what to do with abstracts. I like looking at them, but never paid much attention to the processing phase. I had a lot of fun just going wild with rework 2. I think I’ll be looking for abstracts now and work on processing techniques. Mark, the abstracts on your website are amazing. So many of them look 3D. I look forward to spending more time there. Your processing is fabulous. I don’t have the skills in Photoshop to do what you’re doing. I started learning Photoshop about 3 years ago from YouTube videos and have learned a lot about layers, D&B, blending, etc., but I have a long way to go to catch up with you and David. Your critiques and this community mean a lot to me. I love being out in nature with my camera and I love processing my photos just as much. Thank you both for helping me improve.

1 Like

I’m also digging rework #2, Donna. If I were to suggest anything, it might be to crop a bit to help emphasize the ice bubbles and shapes, not just the leaf. Of course, that’s just an suggestion, and it might not comport with your vision of the image, and your love of the leaves.

As is, it’s a wonderful close-up with lots to explore.

Hey Donna,
I’m not as experienced as many of the folks on the forum, but for me Rework - 2 is perfect. I like how the ice is cooler and the leaves pop out. The air bubbles and ice structure make this a wonderful abstract photo.

@Marylynne_Diggs @David_Starr Thank you both for taking the time to view and make suggestions. I rarely take abstracts, so I have a lot to learn about them. This was a fun one to start learning on.

Donna, the majority of what I do in Photoshop is dodging/burning using luminosity masks. Those are easy to make and you can teach PS how to create those as actions. A quick internet search will show you both how to create the masks and how to add them to PS. If you find that hard, send me a message, I think I can walk you through the proceess if need be.

Me too…for Rework 2 Donna. A great shot, I love it. Rework 2 adds another dimension bringing out more colour and also more attention to the lower leaves. Just enough of an abstract to make it one, and just enough detail to make it interesting. Really good.
Further to Mark’s comment, luminosity masks are very easy to create and use with the TK8 panel plugin for PS. Cheers.