Bill Exley Photography

Celebrating Color, Texture and Natural Beauty

Abstract Art


An Uncommon Perspective of Nature.

This is the focus of my photography – abstract art in a sense.  It is amazing to watch mother nature live and breathe.  Sitting quietly, she speak to me in ways unimaginable to the critical mind.

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The stories below offer a little insight in how I came to love abstract photography. I hope you enjoy reading them.

First Contact

Last modified on 2010-06-16 16:35:48 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

It happened Dec. 24, 2007. I had just left the hospital visiting my father and realized Seattle was having one of it’s few sunny days. I simply couldn’t pass up on this opportunity, so I grabbed my camera and headed off to the Seattle Center. What came of that day has spurred me on to find those uncommon perspectives of nature – My Abstract Art.

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The Seattle Center, for those who don’t know, houses the Space Needle among other buildings like the Science museum and the Experience Music Project building. What I found so unique about the EMP building were it’s 4’x12′ steel panels. They had been treated with something, who knows what, that created a wonderful color when the sun hit the building. As you can see from these images, the reflection of clouds and yes, the Space Needle created another layer of intrigue.

Since this day, I look at photography differently. I strive to find the uncommon, and believe I’ve done well so far.

Continuing Ed – Experimentation

Last modified on 2010-06-16 16:21:39 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I’ve been thinking alot about how I capture some of my abstract art images and one moment definitely stands out.

Over the past 5 or so years, I have scanned many so-called photography magazines looking for one that captures my attention for more than a brief moment. Many failed, but one succeeded. Digital Photographer, a UK-based outfit puts out a magazine chocked full of pages and a CD to boot. It remains a pricey little bugger, and to my luck I found that Costco carries it (one month lag) for an affordable price. Each month writers discuss a new way of taking photographs. The issue that caught my attention spoke of panning at a slow shutter speeds.

Now I’ve always understood using slow shutter speeds to blur water, capturing sports activities using a fast shutter. Many sports photographers pan at high shutter speeds to emphasize motion. Well I thought, what about combining panning at slower shutter speeds (usually around 1/8sec). I tried straight panning, circle panning, even diagonal and soon learned this method creates quite a nice effect.

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About a month after reading this article, I found myself wandering the Applegate Valley near my home. I went to take a few shots of the McKee Bridge. I enjoyed taking pictures that day, but wasn’t really excited about the results I was getting. I wandered around the picnic areas, under the bridge, close-up’s, panorama’s and then headed over to the fish ladder. While snapping shots, watching the water wheel slowly turn, I decided to test out this show shutter panning effect. After several attempts adjusting both shutter and panning speeds, I found the sweet spot – my camera, the light and speed of the water wheel were well in tune. The last image is my favorite, in fact it is the background for my business card.

I learned some good things that day and realized the power of experimentation. This day’s shoot cemented another tool into my bag of tricks.

Early Light

Last modified on 2010-06-16 16:21:10 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

All the pros speak of magic light, either dawn or shortly thereafter and an hour or so before sunset. While I tend to be an early-bird, I rarely find the motivation to wake up, dress for the cold, pack my equipment and head out for those good morning shots. Afternoon seems to appeal more to my senses; however, this morning was a little different.

Living in the heart of Southern Oregon affords locals many near-by places to camp. This time, late August a few of us headed out to Squaw Lake, 10 or so miles from the Applegate Dam. Ahhh, the joys of car camping – I’ve really come to appreciate 3-day jaunts out, just me, my car, my tent and sleeping bag. Oh yeah, and my camera. Despite the numerous warnings not to feed the bears, I slept quite well and awoke around 6am. Stay in my bag or head out and shoot pictures. I guess I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t go out for a while and shoot.

There is something magical about early morning light, especially when you are nestled within a valley by the lake. I headed off down the road, ears and eyes alert for bears and captured some great images.

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One image in particular repeatedly receives attention. It’s my Monet and I call it Squaw Sunrise. At the shore of our campsite, I zoomed in on distant water lilies, well probably water weeds, but they were everywhere. Mind you, the lake remained in shadow, but the mountain walls were beginning to receive light. The mountains reflecting off the spots of water not covered in plants sparkled gold.

To this day, I’m still not fond of leaving a warm bed, but this image speaks to me softly, “explore early light”.

H2O

Last modified on 2010-06-16 16:22:12 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Go figure, a Pisces and water. We go together like peanut butter and jelly – btw, an obsessed favorite childhood meal of mine.

I find something amazing and powerful about water. Wet, fluid, translucent, reflective, and oh so many photo opportunities. I love a good reflection shot. I find it’s really that simple, just add water.

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A visit to Tashi Choling, a Buddhist center outside Ashland, and an inspired attraction to water drew me to take these 1st two shots. The water ripple brought the red temple to life with it’s 5 colored prayer flags and yes, it’s upside-down. It was included in their 2010 calendar. The cattails was an unexpected summer shot, which has me thinking about shooting all 4 seasons from this same location.

Last May, I took a drive up to Crater Lake. Ready for a hike, I found the park still in snow so taking pictures was limited. I did make it to the rim of the crater to frame this nice shot.

Standing at the edge, the Crater spoke,
on the distant shore a creation awoke,
with the strength of an arrow,
Great Spirit split the world…
and I wept.

I find this reflection of Crater Lake brilliant and can’t help but to be in awe at the magic that can be found in nature. The last shot is of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River in late September. More work using the slow-shutter panning technique and voila, my Matisse I call Rogue Fall.

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