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Photographers have at their disposal many ways to create abstract images. They can isolate details, use creative shutter speeds, filters, and postprocessing software. The following are some techniques to use as a foundation to expand your repertoire.
Isolate Details: Quite often photographers overlook the picture within the picture. A mountain of golden aspens is striking so the inkling is to strap on a wide angle to take in the whole expanse. The same holds true for city skylines and seascapes. While these scenes make gorgeous images, you can also move in to isolate certain details to make abstract renderings. Study the parts of the scene and look at them in segments. Watch how the light plays upon those sections and isolate the areas that have the most intrigue. Find the part that's most compelling and make something new and abstract out of it.
Get In Close: The world of macro photography is an entity unto itself. It's limitless in what can be shot due to the never-ending subject possibilities. Any given subject can be explored more deeply to find intricate patterns, forms, textures and details. Investigate this new world and apply the same rules as you would to make a successful image of a large subject.
FIlters: Filters that create abstract effects are still on the market: multi prisms show a given number of imitations surrounding the subject; dream filters give various degrees of diffusion; speed filters imply movement in still subjects; diffractors can create streaks of rainbows in various patterns. Some of these effects can be created with image-processing software.
Zoom It: Zoom a lens during a one- or two-second exposure to create a pattern of radial lines emanating from the center. To have the zoom effect appear as if it's moving away from the camera, start with the lens at its shortest focal length and zoom out. Perform the opposite to make it seem as if the lines move toward the camera. The more off center the subject is, the more pronounced the radial lines will be. To keep the zoomed lines straight, mount the camera on a tripod.
Reflections: Reflections can be found in many locations; in a still body of water, a glass building, the shiny surface of a car, an old glass window, etc. Move in and shoot just the mirrored image to show the distortion.
Combine The Above: By combining the above techniques in various ways, an infinite number of possibilities exists.