Category Archives: Abstracts

Lanark County Colours

Today I spent part of the day driving around Lanark County, where I live, and into North Frontenac County, here in Ontario. This year’s show of fall colours has been nothing short of spectacular. Because of our drought this summer, it was predicted that the fall colours would be far more muted than usual. In fact, this fall has been just the opposite, with some of the most vibrant colours in years!

Nothing soothes the soul more than driving along a quiet country road, soaking in the vibrant colours of fall. Here are some photos from today’s outing.

Wishing all of you here in Canada, a Happy Thanksgiving. Take a moment to reflect on the things you are grateful for, especially the people you love most. And cherish every moment with them.

Poplar Leaf



Maple and Birch

Maple and Birch II

Birch Bark

Maple Vibrance




Birch and Gold

Golden Forest


Orange Poplar

Craggy Poplar

Forest Mystique I

Forest Mystique II

Don’t know about you, but I”m rooting for the turkey! Travel safely this holiday weekend.



Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Fall, Landscape, Nature, nature photography, Photo-impressionism, photography, plants

I Love My Macro Lens….

The other day I did a shoot of some purple asters. One of them is my Photo of the Week. Some other images I used for my new ebook on fine art flower photography. So I had a specific purpose for my playing, but play I did and man, was it fun! I love those times where you start making images and the more you make, the better they get, the more fun it gets and by the end of the shoot you’re on a total high. Well, photographing these asters was like that. I loved every minute of it. And since I’d been writing about extension tubes in my book, I dusted off my extension tubes, put them onto my Nikon 105 mm macro lens and played. And played. And played. I think I’m addicted to making abstract images of flowers – images that are soft and ethereal or very painterly.

If you have a set of extension tubes, put them on your favourite lens and give some flower photography a try. Spend an afternoon experimenting, forcing yourself outside your comfort zone and see what you come up with.

Here are a few images from my recent flower shoot.






Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Flowers, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, photography, plants

Shelley Ball of 44th Parallel Photography – featured image on Committed Photography

Committed Photography, a fantastic online gallery is featuring Abstracts, as the featured style of the month and my image, Birches In Gold, is the featured image for the Abstract gallery. 

If you visit Committed Photography’s website, and click on View Collection, you’ll be taken to a gallery of wonderful and diverse images by a variety of photographers.

To see my images, type “Shelley Ball” into the search window and hit the search key. That will pull up all of my images in the gallery, including my abstracts.

Committed Photography offers a variety of print types and sizes for purchase, including fully framed prints. Prices are great and there are loads of superb images for sale.

To see more of my images, visit my galleries on my 44th Parallel Photography website.

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Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Fall, Landscape, nature photography, photography

No Limit to Photographic Creativity: Robert Buelteman’s Electrifying Images of Electrocuted Flowers

Every once in a while I come across something that is truly impressive, something that makes me think the sky’s the limit as far as photographic creativity goes. You know what I’m talking about – images that are completely different than anything you’ve seen before and they leave you thinking, “WOW!!”

Recently, a friend sent me a link to an article about Robert Buelteman’s images of electrocuted flowers. Eh? Electrocuted flower?! What’s that? It’s kind of hard to explain. I’ll leave the technical description to the following article in, about Buelteman’s imaging making. But suffice it to say it’s REALLY COOL! Essentially what he does is run 80,000 volts through a plant placed on colour film. After a brief blast of electricity, he develops the film. And voila! Funky, cool, impressive, unique WOW images!

Here’s a sampling from the Amusing Planet article:

Samples of electrified plants.

Now are these incredible, or what? I’d love to have one of his images hanging on my wall.


Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, equipment, ferns, Flowers, Nature, nature photography, photography, plants, technique, technology, Wildflowers

Fine Art Nature Prints For Sale – by 44th Parallel Photography

Fine Art Prints by Shelley Ball of 44th Parallel Photography are now for sale through Committed Photography.

I now have some of my  nature images – florals, abstracts and photo-impressionism, wildlife, and landscapes – available for purchase as fine art prints through the fantastic new online gallery at Committed Photography, a Toronto-based company.

I have a number of images available as prints and will be adding more over the coming weeks. Committed Photography offers a variety of print sizes ranging from 4 x 6  to 24 x 36 inches. Several different media are available including beautiful fine art canvas wrapped prints, Bamboo Gicleé, premium photographic prints or metallic prints, and Plexi-mount premium or metallic photographic prints. You also have the option of having your print expertly framed. Committed Photography ships worldwide.

These are the first in a series of fine art prints I’ll have available. I will soon have prints for sale on additional media including images printed directly onto metal, which creates a stunning presentation. Also, eye-popping High Definition Acrylic prints, where the image is printed onto an optically pure acrylic sheet, which gives colours an incredible punch! Images printed directly onto birch wood will also be part of the coming line-up. So keep checking back for updates and tune in regularly to the 44th Parallel Photography website for announcements and information.

If there is a specific kind of image or print medium you are looking for and don’t see on my website, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss your needs.


Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Exhibits, Flowers, Landscape, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, Photo-impressionism, photography, plants, Wildflowers, wildlife

Photo of the Week – Queen Anne’s Lace

44th Parallel Photography’s Photo of the Week is Queen Anne’s Lace. It’s in full bloom so grab your camera and get shooting. You won’t be disappointed!

Click on the image below to see the Photo of the Week.



Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Flowers, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, Photo of the Week, Photo-impressionism, photography, plants, Wildflowers

Practice what you preach

During dinner tonight, I was thinking about today’s blog post on wildflowers, realizing that I hadn’t spent nearly as much time photographing our local wildflowers as I usually do. It’s just been that kind of year – lots of challenges and distractions and as a result, fewer photo opps. I noticed during dinner that the evening light was approaching golden and that now was the time to get out and shoot. And so I did! It was time to practice what I was preaching, which is practice, practice, practice! I have to say that I’m glad I followed my own advice. The wildflowers on our property won’t be here forever. The species in bloom now will go to seed soon and others will bloom in late summer and early fall. But if I want photos of daisies and brown-eyed susans and the like, now’s the time.

Here is a selection of photos from tonight’s shoot. They range from quite literal to completely abstract and everything in between. All I can say is, man, that was fun! 🙂 I hope you enjoy my images.

Yellow-eyed Daisies











Can you tell daisies are the most abundant flower on our property? 😉


I love abstracting flowers. Who says any part of the image really needs to be in focus?! 🙂







Change the exposure, tweak the colour, and have fun!



Brown-eyed Susan





Differences in colour temperature can great wonderful variety in your images.

















Vulper’s Bugloss






Look for lines that create a geometry to your image.

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Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, Flowers, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, Photo-impressionism, photography, plants, Wildflowers

Get out the camera, it’s wildflower season!!!!

My commute to work 3 days a week is 1 hour and 20 minutes each way (the other two days of the work week, I telework from home). Thankfully, an hour of my commute is on two lane country highways. The back roads, I call them. Although my commute is long (by other people’s standards. I think it’s ok), I love my hour-long drive to the outskirts of Ottawa. At 5:45 am, there isn’t a whole lot of traffic on the road. And I get to admire the scenery along the way. Let me tell you, when the sun is only just up, the scenery can be superb!!

One of my favourite things about the commute, this time of year, is slowly watching each of our local wildflower species appear. Some are native, some are introduced. Some are even considered invasive, such as Purple Loosestrife. But they are all beautiful and now part of our eastern Ontario landscape.

I made this image by getting down low and throwing the entire scene out of focus. You can still recognize the various wildflowers here, but it gives the image a soft, dreamy look.

The Yellow-eyed (or Ox-eye) Daisies are out in full force, along with the Brown-eyed Susans. These are my two favourites. Not only are they pretty flowers, but they remind me of childhood, when I used to go for walks down the dirt road at our cottage and come back with a bouquet of wildflowers for Mum to put in the vase on our kitchen table. Those are fond memories.

Yellow-eyed Daisy. For this shot, I picked the flower and brought it indoors so that I could control the light and the coloured background. If it’s an abundant wildflower, picking a flower or two will not hurt the population. But if it’s a rare, threatened or endangered species, like some of our native orchids, please, please don’t pick them. For those, look, but don’t touch. 🙂

Eastern Ontario and the northeastern U.S.  offer a burst of wildflower blooms that starts in early summer.  As soon as the temperatures warm up and the humidity increases, we see the  beginning of the summer parade. Different species of plants have differently flowering phenologies, or timing of flowering. So at certain times of the summer, we see different species in bloom.

This is the start of a wonderful time for flower photography. The spring wildflowers that inhabit our mixed forests are done for the year. But the diversity of blooms that inhabit meadows, forest edges and roadsides are just beginning. This leaves us with no end of subjects for our flower photography. Right now is the perfect time to get out with your camera and macro lens to photograph the Daisies and Brown-eyed Susans. Vulper’s Bugloss is in bloom now. So are various species of Campion and Chicory. The plants of Queen Anne’s Lace and Yarrrow are big and busy and will soon burst into bloom.

Queen Anne’s Lace . Very little of the flower is in focus, but this gives it a dreamy look.

This is a great time to experiment and let your creative juices flow. Shoot flowers from different angles. Sure, the blooms look pretty from above. But you can also get some great shots from side-on. I also love lying on my back, under the blooms, and shooting up from the base of the stem. Explore all kinds of different angles. Remember, if you’re shooting digital, you can afford to experiment. If you don’t like some of the images you made, simply hit the delete button and try again. It’s practice and only practice that will make you a better photographer. So capitalize on these abundant flower subjects to hone your skills.

Wildflowers are great subjects for trying your hand at photo-impressionism. Using a macro lens, you can get in tight and shoot through the blooms, which causes some of them to be out of focus. This can create a lovely, soft, even etherial feel to your image. If you’d like more information on some of the techniques you can use to create artistic and abstract flower images, please go to my website and download a free copy of my e-booklet on Fine Art Flower Photography. For more example of my flower images, visit my 44th Parallel Photography flower image gallery.

Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis). An abundant wildflower in late summer. The bright flower bunches are great for practicing your photo-impressionism techniques.

By mid summer, the Purple Loosestrife is in full bloom in meadows across eastern Ontario. Sadly, it is a very damaging invasive species that has outcompeted native vegetation in our wetlands. One of the things that contributed to its spread is its beauty.  A few decades ago, some garden stores actually sold spikes of Purple Loosestrife that they had dug up from a nearby meadow. The delicate purple flower spikes are very attractive. Soon, many people had planted this beautiful flower in their gardens and from there, it spread across the province like wildfire. Thankfully, the sale of Purple Loosestrife has been outlawed. And the MNR had made great headway into reducing Purple Loosestrife abundance by importing and releasing a beetle, which eats the plants back in its native Asia. But because this beetle is not native to Canada, it has to be introduced. This carries with it, its own risks. And because the beetle has not evolved in our climate and plant communities, it typically has to be released a number of times in order for populations to establish and eat their host plant. I remember coming back to eastern Ontario in the late nineties and noticing that the beetles had done their job in reducing Purple Loosestrife populations. I don’t know whether the control programme still continues, but it seems that this plant is nearly as abundant as it ever was. Despite its role as a damaging invasive, the plant is here to stay. And in mid to late summer, it can create spectacular shows of purple and pink in our meadows.

The delicate flowers of Purple Loosestrife.

Because of its abundance in old fields and meadows across eastern Ontario, you can also experiment with use swaths of colour to create geometry in your compositions. Spend the time scouting, looking through your viewfinder to locate parts of the meadow that show patterns of colour.  In the image below, I isolated alternating bands of purple, green and white from the Purple Loosestrife and Queen Anne’s Lace and other plants in the field.

You can create geometry in your compositions by isolating parts of the meadow that show bands or swaths of colour, where different plant species grow in patches.

These fields of Purple Loosestrife also provide  a fun opportunity to play with techniques such as multiple exposure, to create a very abstract image.

Using multiple exposure techniques, you can create artistic images.

Don’t forget to get out in all kinds of weather. Dull or rainy days will result in increased colour saturation and really make the colours pop!

Overcast or rainy days are perfect for capturing vibrant colours!

And don’t be afraid to have fun with creative filters as well. Remember, you’re the artist! Make the images that you like. If you do, your passion will  show and most likely, others will find your images attractive.

I used a filter in Nik’s ColorEfex Pro to create a very ethereal feel to this image.

Don’t forget that there are also many non-flowering plants around that make great photography subjects. I love photographing our native ferns.

Here I used image overlay, a function that many Nikon cameras can create in-camera, to superimpose two images – one in focus and one slightly out of focus. The result is a halo that gives the image a very soft look.

Whatever it is that grows along the roads in your area, I hope you get out to soon to photograph the various wildflowers and plants in bloom. For the next month or so, there will be no shortage of flowers to enjoy.

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Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Digital Photography, ferns, Flowers, learning, Macro photography, Nature, nature photography, Photo-impressionism, photography, plants, technique, Wildflowers

Photo of the Week

Click on the thumbnail below to see the new Photo of the Week.




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Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Fall, Photo-impressionism

Fall Photo-impressionism: ’tis the season for colourful abstracts

We’ve hit that time of year where I’m itching to get out and photograph the fall colours. I’m lucky to live in a part of the world that treats us to a symphony of colours every fall. Most people go out to photograph beautiful landscapes of colours. I do too. But more often than not, when I’m amongst these vibrant colours in the forest, I get the itch to set my camera to multiple exposure and rattle off some abstract images. Around here, the fall colours have been quite muted and quite short lived. I’m not sure if it’s the drought conditions we had this summer that has caused the lack of vibrance in the colours and the brevity of their show.

So I haven’t done nearly as much fall photography as I hoped to. But today I got out with some colleagues from my camera club, the Lanark County Camera Club, in Perth, Ontario. We went to the nearby Foley Mountain Conservation Area and spent a few hours practicing a variety of abstract techniques, such as multiple exposures, panning, and image overlay. Although there aren’t that many colourful leaves left on the trees after last night’s windstorm, our group still got some nice shots. And it’s a fun way to spend a morning – with nice, like-minded folks, doing something you love to do.

I can’t complain about the lack of spectacle in our local show of fall colours because a few weekends ago, I went up to northern Ontario, to the Temagami area about 5 hours north of here. I went up to scout out the location for my upcoming Canadian Outdoor Photography Workshop, planned for spring 2013 (I’ll be posting details here as they develop, so keep tuning in for more details or send me a message if you’d like me to send you details). We were lucky enough to time our trip for the peak of the fall colours up there. And what a treat they were. The colours were vibrant! Completely opposite of what we’ve had here, further south. In our driving many hundreds of km’s of back roads in the area, we drove through lots of forest, which presented ample opportunity to stop and make some abstract images. Even on dull, rainy days, the results of multiple exposures or panning can be beautiful.

Producing nice abstract images is not rocket science. In fact, the results can be quite unpredictable, especially with panning, which makes it all the more exciting! I’ve written a short piece on approaches to abstract and photo-impressionistic photography in my July Newsletter. You can view it by downloading it from my website or by clicking HERE.

Here are some recent images from several outings…..

0.8 seconds, f 29, ISO 100

1/3 second, f 25, ISO 160

1.3 seconds, f 29, ISO 100

1/30 second, f 8, ISO 320

1/20th second, f 9, ISO 320

1.3 seconds, f 20, ISO 100

1 second, f 25, ISO 100

1/3 second, f 18, ISO 100

1.3 seconds, f 22, ISO 200


Filed under Abstracts, Creative Photography, Fall, Photo-impressionism, photography