Abstract Macros – A good Excuse to unleash our Creativity

June 27, 2017 ZEISS LENSPIRE Team

It is almost impossible to give advice to make abstract photographs because achieving it only depends on one thing – knowing how to see. So the best way to learn it is to train the eye.

Haga clic aquí para la version española

English Version

To get good abstract pictures it is absolutely necessary to learn to ward off what our eye sees from what our brain interprets. When we see a chair, our brain interprets that what we are seeing is that, a chair. In order to advance in abstract photography we have to learn to see that chair in a different way. We must remove the “chair” concept from our mind and begin to see what it really is – a body formed by geometric shapes, lines, textures and volumes.

© Leonardo Cardoso, Canon EOS Rebel T4i, ZEISS Macro Planar 2/100 ZE, f/4, 1/100 sec., ISO-100 © Leonardo Cardoso, Canon EOS Rebel T4i, ZEISS Macro Planar 2/100 ZE, f/2, 1/5 sec., ISO-100

When you are able to do this, you can then find a way to capture things more interestingly. You could even say that making abstract photography is taking advantage of elements that the world provides us. Now you can turn them into totally new and independent graphic details.

In addition to taking an image that can be visually appealing to the viewer, a perfect composition helps you to isolate the subject. Composition is a very important part of the success of an abstract photograph. This part of the creation process is practically indispensable for achieving good abstract images.

Photographers often tend to think that the only way to do abstract photography is using macros. Macro lenses usually allow for a shallow depth of field. So it is very easy to isolate your main focal point of the image from the background. While using a lens with the right features will  help you achieve your vision it is more important to learn to look at what surrounds you in a different way.

  Re-educate our eyes and learn to see from another point of view. A fascinating new world awaits us! Leonardo Cardoso

Leonardo Cardoso

© Leonardo Cardoso, Canon EOS Rebel T4i, ZEISS Macro Planar 2/100 ZE, f/2, 1/640 sec., ISO-100 © Leonardo Cardoso, Canon EOS Rebel T4i, ZEISS Macro Planar 2/100 ZE, f/2, 1/1250 sec., ISO-100
How to get the shot

All the images in this article are taken using a tripod and remote trigger cable as well as extension tubes in different combinations as required by the subject. At first I used both the polarizer filter and the macro adjustment rail to focus, but then I preferred to stop using them as I will explain later.  For the needs of the project the vast majority of the photographs I took were taken with the aperture fully opened in order to achieve the minimum depth of field.

All the images show great sharpness, contrast, color saturation and tonal reproduction. It is important to mention that the photos were edited as little as possible because the lens delivers an excellent source image. The only few corrections were done in the tonal curves. I was surprised that very little correction was needed. I believe that a lot can be credited to the use of the ZEISS lenses for this project.

© Leonardo Cardoso, Canon EOS Rebel T4i, ZEISS Macro Planar 2/100mm ZE, f/2, 1/1250 sec., ISO-100

© Leonardo Cardoso, Canon EOS Rebel T4i, ZEISS Makro-Planar 2/100mm ZE, f/2, 1/1250 sec., ISO-100

At the beginning of the project I found the weight of the lens challenging. The ZEISS Makro-Planar 2/100 weighs a lot (ZE version 843 g (29.74 oz) or 807 g (28.47 oz) for the ZF.2 version), which I had not foreseen. This caused many photos to be blurred in the beginning until I was able to manage the set-up better. Almost all the photos were taken with extension tubes, many of them with three tubes in use at the same time. The lens was focused at minimum distance using long exposure times. This caused the set-up to be front heavy and therefore not show critical focus. Under these circumstances I stopped using the polarizing filter and the macro adjustment rail to focus. I also turned off the shutter mirror so the camera would not vibrate when firing. After making these small adjustments I was able to capture amazing details with incredible sharpness.

 


Version española

La fotografía abstracta es una disciplina fotográfica compleja. Crea un universo de líneas, superficies y composiciones que se aíslan por completo de la realidad, de manera que una auténtica obra abstracta es totalmente autosuficiente, no necesita de nada externo a ella para ser expresiva pero también comprendida y analizada. Por lo mismo es, posiblemente, una de las disciplinas fotográficas que menos se practican.

Sin embargo, potenciar la fotografía abstracta puede ser una buena excusa para dar rienda suelta a nuestra creatividad. Es casi imposible dar consejos para realizar fotografías abstractas porque lograrlo sólo depende de una cosa: saber ver. Así que sólo hay una manera de aprenderlo: entrenando el ojo. Para conseguir buenas fotografías abstractas es totalmente necesario aprender a alejar lo que nuestro ojo ve de lo que nuestro cerebro interpreta. Cuando nuestro ojo ve una silla, nuestro cerebro interpreta que lo que estamos viendo es eso, una silla. Para poder avanzar en la fotografía abstracta tenemos que aprender a ver esa silla de manera diferente, debemos alejar el concepto “silla” de nuestra mente y empezar a ver aquello como lo que realmente es: un cuerpo formado por formas geométricas, líneas, texturas y volúmenes.

© Leonardo Cardoso, Canon EOS Rebel T4i, ZEISS Macro Planar 2/100mm ZE, f/2, 1/100 sec., ISO-100

© Leonardo Cardoso, Canon EOS Rebel T4i, ZEISS Makro-Planar 2/100mm ZE, f/2, 1/100 sec., ISO-100

Cuando seamos capaces de hacer esto, podremos, entonces, buscar la manera de captarlo que nos resulte más interesante. Podríamos incluso decir que hacer fotografía abstracta consiste en aprovechar elementos que nos proporciona el mundo para ordenarlos de la manera que más nos interese y convertirlos en elementos gráficos totalmente nuevos e independientes del mundo que los rodea. La composición es una parte muy importante del éxito de una fotografía abstracta porque, además de darnos una imagen que pueda ser atractiva visualmente para aquella persona que la mira, nos puede ayudar a aislar el motivo que queramos fotografiar del entorno en el que se encuentra, cosa que es prácticamente indispensable para lograr buenas imágenes abstractas.

© Leonardo Cardoso, Canon EOS Rebel T4i, ZEISS Makro-Planar 2/100 ZE, f/2, 1/200 sec., ISO-100

Por eso, muchas veces tendemos a pensar que la única manera de realizar fotografía abstracta es utilizando objetivos o complementos para hacer macros. Esto es así porque la fotografía de aproximación nos ayuda a ver las cosas de una manera diferente a la que estamos acostumbrados. Como ya hemos visto, la única manera de aprender fotografía abstracta es aprender a mirar lo que nos rodea de una manera diferente. Así que, ya no dejemos pasar más el tiempo, re-eduquemos nuestros ojos y aprendamos a ver nuestro mundo bajo otro punto de vista. Un nuevo y fascinante mundo nos espera!

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