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ab·stract [adj. ab-strakt, ab-strakt; n. ab-strakt; Theoretical; not applied or practical: abstract science. difficult to understand.

Fine Arts:

a. Of or pertaining to the formal aspect of art, emphasizing lines, colors,generalized or geometrical forms, etc.,especially with reference to the irrelationship to one another.

b.pertaining to the non representational art styles of the 20th century.

I love Abstract images! I think that it’s nearly impossible to take a poor abstract image, I mean it’s an abstract who’s to say it’s no good? That being said I wanted to make an interesting abstract, so two key words are in that statement – “Make” and “Interesting” I wanted to actually create this image and not just find an interesting subject and make an abstract shot of it.
 To that end I decided to incorporate flash, motion, and just to add another level of complexity – water.

Liquid Fire

Taken using the 50mm f/1.8 with two YN-560 flashes triggered with Cactus V5 wireless triggers.

Making this look like fire was pretty much a happy accident, the process was not accidental but the result was, confused? I’ll explain…first here’s the actual shot:

The true color shot of my "liquid Fire" abstract image

This is simply blue food coloring dropped into a glass vase that I had swirled with a mixing spoon, I then flipped the image and cropped out the edges of the vase. Changing the orientation from what we know as “normal” is one good way to create abstraction in an image, another is to get in closer than we are used to.

The way it became “fire” was a simple curves adjustment layer set to “negative.” I had always planned on trying a negative version just to see what it would look like but I had honestly thought I would be playing with the hue/saturation sliders more, and I ended up hardly touching them at all. When this gold on black hit the screen I knew right away I had gotten the image I wanted.

Another real color image

The negative view

I tried many colors and combinations, but only a few turned out decent enough to show.

Yellow was dropped in first then Green was added

Here are some behind the scene shots to show my lighting set up, not shown was my “color droppers” a.k.a. my wife and daughter.

In this set up I used my two YN-560 flashes and Cactus V5 radio triggers on shoot through umbrellas, I used them at various angles to try and avoid reflections in the glass, the umbrella ribs became troublesome and I switched to bare flash for some shots.

My second set up:

The white diffuser disc against the sliding door provided great backlight, and I set the bare flashes on either side at around 1/4 power. In this set up I used my 70-300mm between 200 & 300mm.

I had a great time playing with water and coloring and I’m sure I’ll be shooting these some more as the options are limitless and addicting.

That’s it for now I’ll have part two of the ‘Studio Lighting Photowalk’ up next.

Happy Shooting!