An alternative title for this blog entry could well be, On the art of transforming a visual vice into a virtue. The "visual vice" in this case (at least for this photographer ;-) being a bright, sunshiny day on the shores of the Potomac River at Great Falls park, Virginia. While there were plenty of areas of shade in which I could park my camera and tripod, and I could always use my light balancing disk to locally block out the strong sun to take closeups of plants or leaves, what I deliberately set out to capture one particular day a few weeks ago was the flow of water. Unfortunately, this is virtually impossible to do (at least in the manner I was envisioning) without cloud cover to provide ample diffused light. So, what to do?
Having hiked down some steep rocks to get close to the river, I was more or less committed to either taking some close-ups of rocks and crevices (which I did), or find a way to capture (and communicate) the flow of water without the diffused light I so craved. A mini epiphany saved the day, and planted a seed for future excursions.
My epiphany consisted of exploiting the fact that since the sun was so intense, it naturally left a strong visual trace of its cacophony of specular reflections. Ordinarily, such reflections show up as unwelcome burned out highlights. But what if I used them to accent the flow without bringing undue attention to themselves? Such as by showing / printing the digital equivalent of an analog negative? Blacks become whites, and burned-out whites become blacks; individual "points" tracing - in a vaguely pointillist fashion - the beautiful dynamic patterns of the flowing water. The images here are just a few samples of my (still ongoing) experiments with staccato flow abstraction.