Photo Trip Alaska Edition: Finding Abstracts

Alaska Abstract of Marina

Last year we spent three glorious weeks in Alaska. Well the weather wasn’t glorious, we had 8 days that weren’t rained out, or as our friend says “aren’t stinky”. Alaska has a variety of subjects that make photography fun: wildlife, water, mountains, and we photographed much of it. Even though photographing the Kodiak bears was thrilling and full of excitement (more on that in a future post), I wasn’t able to find my “flow” until we visited the Kodiak marina’s and I started looking for colorful abstracts.

Abstracts aren’t considered a quintessential Alaskan image, but Alaska is rich with opportunities. The changing skies that produce needed cloud cover, the rainy days, and the colorful subjects which can be found everywhere.

Side of boat in Alaskan harbor

My primary tip is to zoom in. Take the longest lens you have, look down into the water, or along the sides of boats, and isolate. You are looking for patterns, color, and texture – one or any combination of the three. If you are shooting into the water or at a subject that has water on it, use your polarizer to cut glare.

When I returned home, I used Topaz Restyle to change the color story of some of my images. Below are Before/After pictures to give you a sense of the types of shift I make. Topaz no longer offers Restyle, but I would recommend experimenting with Photoshop Gradient Adjustment layers to change the colors.

I liked the more muted color palette in the second image which uses analogous colors.

I went with a similar approach on this one too, shifting to warmer colors.

Even if you aren’t able to go to Alaska in the near future, look for colorful abstracts near where you live. And if you’re near the water, search the reflections you might find your own version of zen.

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