What do you do when it’s raining so hard that normal landscape photography is impossible? Stay indoors and use a simple trick to make some sophisticated and stylish abstracts for your future blogs… or even book covers.
(400 words, a two minute read)
They’re inexpensive, available online at a day’s notice, and will fool most observers into thinking you’re a Photoshop expert – which few of us amateurs can afford to be, these days.
For about £30, (one-off, non-recurring), you can get one of these:
This one is about six inches long. It’s lightweight, and looks like half a pair of binoculars, which is exactly what it is… Technically, it’s a monocular, and is a great pocket assistant on any walk involving landscapes, bird-spotting or the like. For the night sky, it’s indispensable. These modern, small telescopes pack a punch, but they have a hidden talent not usually mentioned on the tin…
Focus the monocular on a remote subject, then place your phone’s camera right up to the monocular’s eyepiece, looking on the phone’s screen to check what you’ve got. It takes a while to find the focus spot. Then, if you press the shutter, you’ll get a boring shot like this…
However, angle the phone, slightly, and you’ll get a dizzying set of optical effects, some of which will be a mixture of real image and lens-induced special effect.
Gardens are full of beautiful organic objects, rained-on or not. The marriage of lens and flower can be magical.
Simply play with the combo until you get used to its potential. Some of the best and most natural looking images can be achieved just with the monocular, as above and below.
If you want to go further, you can buy a basic photo-effects App for the phone and use the best abstract shots as a canvas on which to add special highlights. Each of the images below is the result of a few minutes’ work on the App Pixlr.
Early success can take you into more challenging projects. Photographing people is always a task to approach carefully, but the monocular technique can be applied to real life or photos.
Most of all, have fun. We learn best by playing; and playing with colour images is a wonderful pastime.
©Stephen Tanham, 2021.
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a modern yet mystical journey through the forest of personality to the sunrise of Being.