Photography Project: Natural Abstract. Another exercise in boredom at Convict Lake

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Continuing on from Eastern Sierra posts.  So there I was at Convict Lake in the early morning hours, with freezing thumbs and freezing toes, bored out of my mind after taking 500+ images of the iconic shot.  Trying to figure out how to keep myself entertained, and distracted from the ache in my fingers and toes, and then I thought about one of the assignments in Henry Carrol’s photo journal.  Make something beautiful ugly.This is a lot harder than it sounds.  I first thought about putting my wide angle on and trying to take a close-up picture of Peter’s face, accentuating his runny nose.  Then I thought that might cause some marital distress, so I turned my attention back to this amazing scene at Convict Lake.  A beautiful reflection of fall color, a quiet lake, in soft light.  How do you make that ugly?

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I first started with what elements make an image ugly:

  • An unattractive crop
  • Soft (unplanned) focus
  • Overexposure

So I did all of those things.  I first started with a severe crop, eliminating the unique elements of the scene (the morning reflection, the line of rocks leading to the mountains, etc).  Then I thought about losing focus, so I tried to blur the image by wiggling the camera during the 1 second exposure.  Then I piled on over-exposing the image.

This is what I ended up with.  After all that hard work trying to make this scene ugly, I actually kind of like it.  I decided to take a “serious” picture of the composition to see if I still liked it enough when I got home.  The jury is still out.1710_MFA_Eastern Sierra_174-Edit

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