Today's Awesome Guest Blogger: Sandy Gherardi

Last month I attended Nature Visions Expo 2014 in Manassas, VA, where Rick was the featured speaker. On Friday he conducted an energetic, all day seminar, “Exploring the Light”, and on Saturday he delivered a rousing keynote address to a packed auditorium at Virginia’s Hylton Performing Arts Center entitled “Cool Shots in Cold Conditions”.

Close to 1400 photographers and visitors took advantage of the presentations, which included a Nature Photography Exhibit and a Fine Art Photography Exhibit. (I’m gratified to have had four of my images featured in the exhibits.) I’m overflowing now with exciting new ideas and challenges. Rick’s humor and easy going manner made it all look so effortless. His beautiful images and photography tips were motivating and inspiring. What an amazing weekend!

Photographic Abstract Expressionism has become my passion. While I’m always in awe of the natural world and love capturing the beauty of nature, I’m inevitably drawn to abstracting small bits of the scene. Amazing abstracts exist everywhere, both in nature and in man-made creations.

All we have to do is take the time to examine the subject to find endless images within images.

My favorite abstracts highlight bold colors and/or repetitive patterns. I usually don’t preselect a specific location or subject to photograph. Intricate patterns and reflections are everywhere... in windows, bodies of water, puddles, raindrops, metal objects, name it. Someone recently asked me where I prefer to shoot. The question struck me as odd. My favorite place to photograph is wherever I happen to be!

And speaking of favorites, here are a few of my favorite images.

Singing the Blues
Nature Transformed

This image evolved from a Ft. Lauderdale palm frond, rotated and converted to my favorite color palate in Photoshop. The selected colors remind me of gorgeous Virgin Islands parrotfish that I’ve had the pleasure of snorkeling with in the Caribbean. They are positively magical if you spot them when intense Virgin Islands sun rays pierce the sea, splitting it into millions of sparkling diamonds.

A City Reflected
Water Reflections
I found the repetition of pattern in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor reflections fascinating. It wasn’t until I examined this image in post, however, that I realized I could actually read the names of nearby eateries like Planet Hollywood. The image garnered accolades at the Joseph Miller Center for the Photographic Arts, Fourth Annual Abstract Exhibit in May.

Window Reflections
Black Watch Plaid

My Miami hotel and other structures are reflected here in the high rise building on the opposite side of the street. I couldn’t help chuckling, as it elicited memories of my 7th grade Catholic school girl’s tartan.

Night on the Town
Architectural Abstract

I was captivated by the curved architectural elements at Villa del Palmar, Cancun. Opposing colors play an important role here, as well. The graceful flow of roughly parallel lines, which I exaggerated somewhat with a wave filter in post, attracted my attention to the subject.

Morning Glow
Rotate Your Image

It’s amazing how a simple rotation can render a subject unrecognizable. This ship’s mast started life as a vertical. Now rotated 90 degrees, it could be light trails streaking past an infinity fence. The addition of a texture filter moves it further into the realm of fantasy.

Building Blocks to Success
Architectural Abstract

Geometric repetition under the stairwell at SFMOMA drew me to this scene. With some creative cropping, boosting of contrast and conversion to black and white, the image feels even more confined and boxed in, representing a feeling many of us have experienced in the workplace all too frequently.

For Your Eyes & Ears Only

 Photographing abstracts provides a very special platform for communicating with the viewer in his/her respective language. Every photograph has a rich story to tell. I can relay what it whispers to me but every abstract will be viewed and interpreted by the individual through the unique lens of that individual’s own past.

Banish the Blues

How wonderful is it that abstracts, by their very nature, are basically one of a kind. Capturing an intriguing image that might otherwise go unnoticed and sharing that beauty with others is wonderfully rewarding. I love the fact that beautiful abstracts can be found everywhere, even in a mundane heap of trash! For me, finding them is the perfect antidote to the blues.

So here’s my little secret: The next time life seems to be getting you down, get out there and pluck abstracts from your environment, then set them out for a feast. They’re absolutely everywhere and they’re ripe for the picking!

 Sandy Gherardi
The Reverent Lens