Abstract Nature Photography

October 18, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Abstract nature photography is an enduring genre, which continues to fascinate me. I don't shoot that much of it, as I tend to be quite literal in my subjects. But over the years, as I've travelled, hiked, and waited for the light, I've found lots of little abstract scenes to point my camera at. Often I don't share them with the other photos I took at the time, because they just don't fit - they stand apart. So I thought it would be nice to share a collection of abstract photos all together, and see how they combine as a collection. I'll start with a favourite of mine, taken in Greenland, in 2019...

Ice Berg AbstractIce Berg AbstractLight & shade of a large ice berg. Ilulissat, Greenland.


Taken on the same trip, is this square of glacial ice berg...

Ice AbstractIce AbstractPattern and detail in the wall of a massive ice berg. Ilulissat, Greenland.


This is the snow-capped Eyjafjallajökull, in Southern Iceland.

Eyjafjallajökull Glacier Abstract #5Eyjafjallajökull Glacier Abstract #5Abstract close-up of the glacier covering the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano, in Southern Iceland. Photographed from Thorsmork.


Another Icelandic glacier here. And it's very clear what this one is, but I think it's still quite an abstract image to me. It's dominated by the tones and lines, without a wider scene for context.

Dark IceDark IceIce hundreds of years old, combine with volcanic ash which fell as the glacier was formed. It shifts and crumples to make waves, peaks, and cravasses.
In Southern Iceland.


Similarly, it might be obvious what we're looking at here, but with no wider context, I enjoy the abstract nature of this image.

Blue Ice AbstractBlue Ice AbstractBright sunlit ice meets dark blue ice at the corner of a large ice berg, in Disko Bay, Greenland.
I very much enjoyed creating an abstract image from this colourful but stark view of a colossal ice berg.


I don't think abstract images have to be indecipherable, but it's fun when they are. This one gives away no scale or definitive clue as to what it is.

Arctic BeachArctic BeachSand, sculpted by the tide and the wind, on a beach in Norway's Lofoten Islands.

It's actually as section of beach in Norway's Lofoten Islands.

I think most people who have walked along a beach with a camera will have tried to capture these patterns in the sand at some point. This is the best I've managed so far. This was from Barafundle Bay, in Pembrokeshire.

Beach AbstractBeach AbstractLines in the sand. Barafundle Bay, Wales.


This is from a popular black sand beach in Southern Iceland. The drainage patterns looking like a twisted tree.

Beach TreeBeach TreeIcelandic black beach, sculpted by time and tide.


Below is a slow-exposure coastal landscape on a misty day in Pembrokeshire.

Welsh Coast AbstractWelsh Coast AbstractTenby Beach, on a misty day.


I found this zebra landscape in the Icelandic Highlands.

Icelandic ZebraIcelandic ZebraBlack and white stripes of the Icelandic Highlands.


A bit of abstract minimalism here, with another square from the Highlands of Iceland...

Iceland Highlands SquareIceland Highlands SquareA square of the Icelandic Highlands. Summer 2020.


Below is a close-up of a large mound of ash and rock, covered in the iconic Icelandic moss. To me, this looks like a classic Icelandic jumper; the 'Lopapeysa'. Icelanders are well connected to their surrounding landscape, and the fact that nature somehow seems to reflect that culture back in this way, is one of the great charms of their society.

LopapeysaLopapeysaRemnants of an Icelandic volcano, adorned with moss, and resembling the classic Icelandic jumper; the Lopapeysa.


This photo is called 'Slice of Iceland', and it's the edge of the same mound in the photo above.

A Slice of IcelandA Slice of IcelandThe edge of a volcanic mound,. on which moss has made an existence.

More photos from the Icelandic Highlands here..

This one is a considerably older rock than above. Welsh coastal cliffs, shimmering in the overcast light. I really like this one.

Welsh CliffsWelsh CliffsCliffs of a Welsh beach. Taken in 2017.


Here, a rockface is reflected in the dark water below.

Dark ReflectionsDark ReflectionsDark water reflects the rockface above.

As we transition into living things, I photographed this slow exposure to blur the motion of the leaves, as this tree swayed in the autumn breeze.

Leaf BlurLeaf BlurBranches, blowing in the breeze.


A splash of colour...

PoppyPoppyWho says abstracts can't be colourful? It may be obvious what this is, but it's still an abstracted slice of the more recognisable whole.


This is another of my more recent favourites, from 2019. It's probably obvious it's an African Elephant, but I love the abstract textures and patterns in this image...

Texture OverlapTexture OverlapTextures, wrinkles, and patterns of an elephant's ear resting on it's shoulder.
I could stare at this for some time - and have done, such is the ease with which I can get lost in the detail of it. Photographed low key, to make the most of the lines and texture.
Fine art nature photography. Captive subject, UK.


This is the last one, and it's very much open to interpretation. I think it looks like painterly clouds above a dark mountainside, and a foreground lake. But however literal or abstract the image you see, I love the subtle colour combinations.

Infinite PossibilitiesInfinite PossibilitiesIce of Jökulsárlón, in Southern Iceland.


I really enjoy abstract nature photography. There are endless mini scenes and apparently random textures in nature, which all tell a story, or leave themselves open to interpretation. It's a style I'll always come back to.


Next month I'm hoping to share some new deer photos. I've been busy photographing the deer rut over the last few weeks, and I've got a whole range of portraits and wider scenes to share. If you're not familiar with my deer photography, you can check that out here, and keep an eye out for new images coming soon :-)


Post by George Wheelhouse, 2021.



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