Looking deeply into the whirls and eddies of a pool of water can reveal strange sights.
I am always interested in photographing water and in the abstract forms hidden within otherwise banal sights. I photographed the ornamental pond at the bottom of the Parvis de la Defense in Paris, because I was attracted by the shapes and colours being created by a choppy wind. I used a fast speed to “stop” the movement of the water (by reducing aperture to 5.6 on a bright day), but at the time of image capture, my eyesight was unable to see the fine detail of the patterns being created on the surface.
In the “darkroom” I enlarged the scene to 100%, in order to correctly adjust the level of sharpening, particularly taking care to not overdo the sharpening and create excessive line delineations and/or artifacts. I was astounded to see fine linear patterns appear, revealing a beautifully detailed image of that frozen moment. At first I thought that my processing had created the effects because of over-sharpening, but I found that I had, in fact, just brought an ephemeral sight into existence, invisible to mortals, whose eyes and brains do not operate at 1/2000th of a second.
With that revelation, I abandoned a full view the image to concentrate on making a crop, which would both enlarge the linear patterns I had discovered and create a satisfying composition from the swirling waters. In order to see the full effect of what I saw on my monitor, you might like to hit the magnify keys on your keyboard, in order to expand the image to full screen.
My final decision was to brighten the scene a touch and to add some contrast to provide a little more depth to the shallow swell of the water. You can see the original image below and the area from which the final image was taken in the centre and lower third of the frame.
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: 60mm f2.8G Prime
Focus Mode: AF-C
Autofocus Area Mode: Single
Shutter Speed: 1/2000s
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Compensation : -0.7 EV
ISO Sensitivity: 640
Given my enjoyment of photographic abstraction, I surprise myself that I am not an enormous fan of modern art, largely ceasing to be interested in it from the period of the late Impressionists, so I hope that you will be indulgent and enjoy this mildly hypocritical artistic exercise on my part. Let me know what you think about it by leaving a comment or emailing me.
Copyright Paul Grayson 2014