Explore with your camera, rather than post-processing in your creativity later.
That's some of the best advice I've been give (over and over, by the way) by the more experienced photographer's I've worked with.
Not that I needed to be prompted to capture outside the box, I guess.
I shoot my "water colors," as I call images like the above, while at the same time working with more "traditional" nature landscapes. Any time I'm near water or a reflective surface, I'm concentrating on the patterns and movement and color of a reflection--a totally separate perspective of the world than framing a more typical panorama.
In fact, I now see this sort of alternative view, more often than I find myself fascinated with the what's happening in "real" nature.
It's another dimension I'm grateful to have added to my photography.
It's a way of sharing the world and inspiring others to look closer, to take their time, to pause and revel in nature whenever they get the chance, that I find unapologetically rewarding.
It breaks the rules according to some.
But what do I care about creative rules?
If that's not an oxymoron, I don't know what is.
These images are as much nature photography as the rest. Just ask the galleries and art shows who've selected them to show from my portfolio.
"But you can achieve the same result using Photoshop filters and pre-sets," others say. "Why bother spending all that time trying to capture something so abstract straight out of the camera?"
Which means they've never held their breath, shooting patterns as the wind moves reflections about in the the shallows of a peaceful lake on an early spring day. They've never witnessed first hand the peace and mystery of what nature can do with landscapes and water.
I live for moments of discovery like this one. I feel whole once more, taking all of what's before me in--so much more than a short glance could reveal.
Yes, I'm the one you'll find staring. And you'll wonder what I'm seeing with my eyes glazed over and a silly grin on my face.
You see, I like this sort of landscape. I love it, actually.
But more often than not, this is where my creative eye is drawn first.
The more abstract, actually, the quicker my eye seems drawn to it.
The shapes, the colors, the way the natural world is preening and singing to me, demanding to be marveled at...
Why on earth would I give up the opportunity to work with images like this in real life?
Yes, I could paint them in later.
But how would that inspire viewers to head outside and make their discoveries of just how unparalleled nature's creativity can be?
Those can't be real!
I've heard that a lot.
And I can just picture each of those skeptics staying a bit longer, looking with a bit more determination now, each time they find themselves outside and near a body of water that the breeze is ruffling up.
Maybe they're seeing more, experiencing more, maybe believing in the magic a bit more.
If so, I'm satisfied I've done my job.
I'm not fanatical. Or maybe I am. I'm in love, that's what it is.
How could anyone who's seen this not be?
The whole of what our world is showing us. That's the thing, the message, the mission.
The more fantastical, the better, if you ask me.
I could give a hoot if it's real or not.
If this is fantasy, then fantasy is where I and my lens will continue to live, thank you, every chance we get.