Abstracting A Season

Fall colors are reflected in the surface of moving water ripples. The ripples turn simple reflections into endless patterns.
Fall colors are reflected in the surface of moving water ripples. The ripples turn simple reflections into endless patterns.

I recently processed these photos that I took last fall near my home. I happened upon some trees in full fall color that were being reflected in beautiful light off the surface of a wetland slough. I spent some time just watching different parts of the water, and then isolating the varied reflections with a long lens.

Fall colors are reflected in the surface of moving water ripples. The ripples turn simple reflections into endless patterns.
Fall colors are reflected in the surface of moving water ripples. The ripples turn simple reflections into endless patterns.

The patterns and colors in the water were changing so quickly, that I didn’t have time to see what I liked, compose a shot, and then capture it. I mainly looked for larger areas of interesting color (which changed moment to moment) and then took a bunch of exposures within that area.

Fall colors are reflected in the surface of moving water ripples. The ripples turn simple reflections into endless patterns.
Fall colors are reflected in the surface of moving water ripples. The ripples turn simple reflections into endless patterns.

I also played with varying shutter speeds to see the effect on the pattern separation and motion blur. I took several hundred shots (one of the many benefits of digital), and then selected these shots as my favorites.

Fall colors are reflected in the surface of moving water ripples. The ripples turn simple reflections into endless patterns.
Fall colors are reflected in the surface of moving water ripples. The ripples turn simple reflections into endless patterns.

I always try to keep my eye out for patterns in nature. Sometimes a photograph is so abstract, the viewer cannot immediately identify the subject. This can be a lot of fun, and a real departure from the realism with which natural history photography is often associated.