Starting Abstract Landscape Photography

In my previous post, I was talking about how I started playing with my camera back in the aughts, with flower bouquets in my basement. My initial attempts left a lot to be desired, but I got better as I practiced more. It was intriguing, as I could never fully predict what I was going to get—each one was a little surprise.

Spring Haze is the only image from this time that hasn’t been retired from my portfolio. Probably because of the structure of this one, I still adore it and I still offer it up in my collection. You’ll notice it’s also one of the few with a two-word name—she got her name early before I had settled on a one-word naming pattern for my images.

green yellow and pink bands of color are on the photo, with a big blob of bright pink in the lower left

Anyhow, though I was having fun doing this, let’s face it: being outside is better. So, I started to experiment with how to create the right look and feel with this intentional camera movement technique, outdoors. It’s a tricky one to make work (and back in 2007 when I was doing this, I knew of no other people doing this at all. I was just making it all up as I went along).

In the fall of 2007 and winter of 2008, I started playing with this outdoors. And it started to come together.

On one very cold but very lucky day in February 2008, I was on a hike at Walden Pond. And I created more than one image that just… worked. Dancing Branches (now retired) was one creation from that day; I still adore the book spine look I got from these trees. I had figured out how to get the right amount and type of movement, and could do so with different subjects.

Blue background sky with two prominent trees and branches forming grey squiggles like tree ghosts


The image that really nailed it for me was Enlightenment. I knew when I saw it on the screen of camera… it was really the first outdoor image I created in this style that had me thinking, “ok, this is totally gonna work. This is my thing now.” It lived on my business cards for years, and still has a soft spot in my heart.


Lakeshore with blue in foreground, cloud reflections, a jaggedy green shoreline of trees

So, back in 2008, I fell in love with these images and this style of work and haven’t looked back. I’ve created over 200,000 images in this style in the decade plus since then. And, bonus, I get to leave my tripod at home.