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Abstract Nature Photography

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...

Light & shade of a large ice berg. Ilulissat, Greenland.
Ice Berg Abstract

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

Pattern and detail in the wall of a massive ice berg. Ilulissat, Greenland.
Ice Abstract

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

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

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.

A blue ice glacier in southern iceland, filling the frame.
Dark Ice

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

Bright sunlit ice meets dark blue ice at the corner of a large ice berg, in Disko Bay, Greenland.
Blue Ice Abstract

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.

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

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.

Lines in the sand. Barafundle Bay, Wales.
Beach Abstract

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

Icelandic black beach, sculpted by time and tide.
Beach Tree

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

Tenby Beach, on a misty day.
Welsh Coast Abstract

I found this zebra landscape in the Icelandic Highlands.

Black and white stripes of the Icelandic Highlands.
Icelandic Zebra

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

A square of the Icelandic Highlands. Summer 2020.
Iceland Highlands Square

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.

Remnants 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.

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

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

Cliffs of a Welsh beach. Taken in 2017.
Welsh Cliffs

Here, a rock-face is reflected in the dark water below.

Dark water reflects the rockface above.
Dark Reflections

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.

Branches, blowing in the breeze.
Leaf Blur

A splash of colour...

Close-up view of a poppy with black centre and red leaf

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...

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.

Ice of Jökulsárlón, in Southern Iceland.
Infinite Possibilities

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 :-)




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