Impressions 3

This image consists of two photos. One is of Flapjack Succulent (Kalanchoe luciae) and a morning glory bud. They were stacked in Helicon then brought into ACR and PS for some basic spot removal, lights/shadow adjustments and a bit of a crop from the right and lower portion.

This is my third submission for this wacko technique I have stumbled upon, which I have affectionately dubbed “IAC” (i.e. Intentional Abstract Capture).

The process of creating these abstracts has encouraged me to look deeper into what it is I am looking for? Wanting to achieve? But more importantly, to me, is the question of how much post processing is too much? Going so far I’ve gone into graphic design elements instead of photographing nature, which is my first love.

What I have discovered is the process can be quite involved and time consuming. Photographing elements I think might blend well with others and then working with them in Hilcon, ACR and Photoshop to determine which method is capturing the feeling I wanted to achieve. The more I work in these programs on the image the more I feel less connected to nature. There is nothing like looking through my lens and discovering something wonderful I had not seen before!

So I ask you, is it possible to be so involved in post processing work you lose the photograph? I love this image, but how do you feel/respond to it. Does it still have a nature/natural feel? Would love to hear your thoughts, comments and suggestions.

Morning glory image taken with a Nikon D7200:

Succulent image:



Linda, I love this image too! I don’t think you can ever lose the photograph. You might lose the literal representation of what you shot, but the essence of what you photographed is there. This blend you’ve done brings out the essence of each plant, fabulously, so actually I think you’ve brought out more of what is in the ohotograph! The curves are so pretty.
A bonus for me is the color palette, in this case something I don’t expect to see in nature.
This is so creative. Congrats!!!

I think you should patent this method!! Never mind the philosophy – you have a wonderful abstract image here. For me it has a natural element due to the lovely swirls. The colors are gorgeous!!

There is a sensor spot in the green area in the UR.

This is an amazing image Linda! Absolutely beautiful. I’m amazed you were able to create this from the 2 original shots and would love to know more about your process.

I consider this to be similar to the work of an abstract painter, but how you feel about it. The results are stunning, but do you enjoy the process and do the results give you satisfaction? That’s what is important IMHO.

1 Like

Wow this is interesting stuff - are you able to show us the two images that this came from?

Could it be that you need to firmly determine what it is you’re trying to achieve before you can decide how much processing is too much.(?) IMO, whatever amount of processing is utilized should be whatever is needed to tell the story of the image.

I’ve had ideas that started out as somewhat vague notions of a potential series (or project, choose the terminology you prefer), but were initially rooted fairly deep in the subconscious. And it took a number of shots to begin to flush out the ‘artist statement’ fully in my own head. Once there, adding images to the project became significantly easier.

Love your “wacko” IAC technique, Linda.
When I look at your 3 pieces using this technique, the last thing that comes to my mind is if you used too much processing. I think this is because of their abstract nature and how you chose to process them. They all have a uniqueness to them and the technique doesn’t feel like it dominates the look. Looking forward to your Ultimate IAC for Beginners class :smiley:

I think only you can answer the question of whether you get so involved in the processing that you lose the photograph. I will say 2 things. To me, this doesn’t resemble anything that I recognize in nature so I don’t see the bud or the Flapjack. BUT, I still very much like what you’ve created by merging these two images together and that’s all that really matters. The finished product is simply stellar in every way. At the end of the day, don’t we just want something beautiful, quirky, tantalizing, or even just plain odd to look at in our art? Something that sparks a discussion or makes you look? Maybe even something that makes you think, “what the heck is that?”
I think this is tremendously creative on your behalf, and I absolutely love the outcome of the first few posts that you’ve shared with us. Please don’t stop. I want to see lots more of this Inventive technique, “IAC.” We need more people thinking outside the box. Well done Linda!!

1 Like


This is wonderful no matter how you slice it, or how it was created. Very innovative technique and I too would like to learn more! I think some of us are hinting at an article… :slight_smile: Well, maybe me.

I must echo with just about everything @David_Haynes wrote. I can’t recognize anything original - but then isn’t that the point? Fantastic execution on this Linda!

The only nitpick I have is that I wish the cursive “P” wasn’t clipped. I hadn’t mentioned yet, but one of the impressions I get from this image is “caligraphy.” No other description needed there.

Thanks for sharing your techniques and results.


First of all I would like to say that I consider your work to be the only true abstracts being posted here. By that I mean in the sense of abstract art that painters produce.

Regarding your above statement. I think that the issue is that the processing just isn’t that enjoyable. And since you’re photographing for enjoyment then why go through this. That’s just a guess based upon what I went through with Photoshop before I mastered it. Now, of course, I have the freedom to create the image as I want it to be. It’s likely that with practice you it will come easier and you will enjoy it more and it won’t seem to be taking you away from nature.

I also feel that there is a tug of war going on between expressive abstract and decorative art that you would see in a design of a shower curtain for example. If expressive art is your goal then I would study the great modern abstract artwork of the 20th century to get a good understanding of what is special about it. It’s actually quite a challenge. Depends on how ambitious you feel I guess.

PS. I would experiment with making those dark lines lighter.

In the post-processing the nature photograph(s) could be customized to become more and more disconnected with the real nature. There is a difference between a “scientific” representative outcome, one that will match what you actually saw at site and an image that resembles your memory of the scene. As we learned in the recently published NPN article about hue, the image would normally become more and more stunning for each of these steps. Then you could of course apply even more editing to achieve an even more pleasing or stunning image or to emphasize feelings and evoke emotions, tell a story etc. This could be done still ending up with an image that feels realistic or with one that intentionally (or unintentionally) has a more unreal look. This could of course be taken so far that the image is disconnected from nature in the sense that it is not possible for the viewer to recognize any natural elements in the image.

So, IMO you may lose the natural elements in the image during post-processing but not necessarily the photograph(s). It is a matter of personal taste, artistic vision, what you want to achieve and so on with the photograph(s) that guides you (or limit you) in the post-processing work creating the final image. The photograph(s) are still the raw material and a part of your creative vision that started already before you took the photographs when you figured out which photographs to be taken that could be put together and post-processed to become a piece of art.

1 Like

Thanks so much, Mark. Part of what fascinates me about this process in simplifying elements down to their basics. Truly appreciate your thoughts.

Oooops, thanks for seeing this, Diane. Part of my issue with making too many versions. Also part of my learning curve is to create a process where I have taken care of the basics (cloning, cropping, dust bunnies, etc.) before I begin combining and refining the final image. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

Absolutely, Steve. I love the process and the results. I do still need to work on the process but am struggling with how to do both more traditional nature images and abstractions with the time I have available. Appreciate your comments.

Certainly, Matt. The first is the original flapjack succulent:

The second is the original morning glory bud:

Glad you’re enjoying these abstractions.

Good thoughts, RJ. Yes, I would say, when you put it like that, for many years I have thought of what appeals to me, whether it is paintings, sculptures, photos or any other type of art forms, is simplicity. I love flowing lines, textures and colors. And I want them in simply composition that does tell my story. So, thank you, for bring this thought to my more conscious mind and helping me to define what it is I am looking for!

Thanks so much, Andre, for your thoughts. The thought of doing a class sort of gives me a rash! I am not the most articulate person and I am still working on the process. However, when I do get this nail down (that is with a clear process that produces consistent results) I will be more than happy to pass this information along. Thanks again.

1 Like

Linda, this is beautiful, airy and uplifting. Fine work. WOW!

@David_Haynes, @Lon_Overacker, @Igor_Doncov, @Mark_Seaver and @Ola_Jovall, I just saw the pop up note that suggests I combine all of my comments into one for easier reading. So I will attempt to address all of your comments and questions.
@David_Haynes, I do love looking at something and wondering: “what the heck is that?” And happy to hear you are enjoying this series and am currently working on more abstractions.
@Lon_Overacker, I am not sure I am the right person to create an article on this process, not being the most verbose person, but I will work on creating a written process that I will be more than happy to share and post for everyone. Thanks for noticing the “P” - I did go back to the original and I may be able to crop just a tiny bit less - thus completing the “P” - will post if it works. Interesting you would pick up on the calligraphy feel. For years back in the late 70’s and early 80’s I did do calligraphy. A very enjoyable craft.
@Igor_Doncov, thank you for your very kind compliment. I do agree that once I have the basic guidelines (don’t want to get to restricted on rules of processing) for creating the abstracts I will be able to relax and enjoy. I am most definitely in the expressive abstract arena as opposed to decorative art. Salvador Dalí springs to mind right off.
@Ola_Jovall, thank you for for helping to put into words the very thoughts which have been mingled in my mind.
Thanks to all of you for taking the time to give me this great feed back and for encouraging me along this uncharted path.

Linda, what a fascinating resulting image! Your discovery with layering images reminded me of this recent talk by Brooks Jensen from Lenswork. Keep exploring and thank you for posting your creative images here.

The talk is episode 1273 if you use a different podcast player.

1 Like