Week 18: Abstract Macro

This week, we’ll be focusing on Abstract Macro photography. In a nutshell, we want to focus on the curves, patterns, colors, and shapes within your subject, rather than on the subject itself. One important part of Abstract Macro photography is to try to obscure your subject– at least somewhat– so that it’s not immediately obvious what it is.

As always, let’s dive into some examples:

Pink curves – tanakawho

I love the beautiful, brightly colored curves of this shot. It feels like it could be an abstract painting. Had the photographer not said that it was a plastic lamp shade, I would have never guessed what it was.


Abstract Macro #74 – David Hawkins-Weeks

This is one of my favorites. I love the cool, blue tone, and the beautifully soft curves. For this shot, the photographer used a plastic jump rope. As above, I never would have guessed what it was, had he not told us.


Spaghetti – Chris Jones

The subjects don’t necessarily need to be completely unrecognizable, as with this shot above. While the subject is a bit more recognizable than the previous shots, it still makes for a beautiful abstract macro photograph, with a wonderful shape. I love how the spaghetti looks almost like a flower.


Checkers Piece – Steve Johnson

Here’s another everyday object turned into a beautiful, abstract macro. The strong shapes (the concentric circles) become the focal point of the image, rather than the checkers piece itself.


20090705_142940_79_PSD – Russ Thompson

I genuinely don’t know what the subject is for this final example. (Perhaps it’s a flower petal? Perhaps something else?) That’s part of what makes this photo so interesting– your eye wants to study it carefully to try to figure out what it is. Regardless of what it is, I love the bright colors, the graceful curves, and the soft texture.

The Challenge

This week, I want everyone to take a macro shot that highlights the curves, patterns, colors, and shapes within your subject. You should try to get close enough to at least partially obscure what the subject actually is. Ideally, your photograph should capture the viewer’s attention, while they try to figure out what they’re seeing.

It’s completely up to your personal, artistic taste of how “abstract” you would like your photo to be. You can make your subject slightly obscured, completely unrecognizable, or anywhere in between. As well, if you’d like to let people guess what your subject is, rather than telling them, that could add a bit of fun to your post.

As always, creative, out-of-the-box ideas are encouraged.Get your camera, be creative, and have fun!

A Note on Macro Photography

I realize that not everyone has access to a macro lens. If not, don’t worry about it: For this challenge, we won’t require any special equipment, nor are we going to worry about any strict rules about what exactly qualifies as a macro shot. Instead, I want everyone to find a subject with interesting texture, and get as close as your camera allows. A few thoughts / tips:

  • If you happen to have a macro lens: Great! Use it.
  • Some cameras or cell phones have a “macro mode” that lets you get closer to your subject.
  • You can use an inexpensive “Clip On” macro adapter for your cell phone. Many are available for under $10.
  • If you don’t have a macro lens, but are feeling adventuresome, you can try the “Reverse Lens” technique, which allows you to take macro shots by reversing your lens.
  • Finally, if none of the above apply, you can still take great macro shots! Just zoom in your lens as far as it will go, and get as close as you can, while still staying in focus. If you pick a subject with a “larger” texture (such as a tree trunk, etc), you can take some fantastic shots.

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to our active community on our Facebook GroupFlickr Group or 500PX group (or all three). Tag the photo:  #10thanniversaryphotochallenge #2018photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • The shot should be a new shot you took this week, for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2018 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.


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About Eric Minbiole

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been absolutely fascinated with anything technical– electronics, computers, cameras, gadgets, etc. Growing up, I loved taking things apart to see what was inside. While I couldn’t always put things back together, I loved trying to figure out how things work. Because of my love for all things technical, I pursued a degree in Electrical Engineering, and currently work as a Software Engineer. I’ve been fascinated with photography ever since borrowing my parents 110 film camera when I was young. It’s been a great hobby ever since: I love experimenting with photos, and trying new things. I especially love technical and/or trick photography. (“Gimmicks!”, as my wife jokingly calls them 😉 ) While I’m comfortable with the technical side of how to shoot, I struggle more with the artistic side of what to shoot in the first place. This is one reason I quite enjoy this group: There are fun, interesting ideas each week. I joined PhotoChallenge as a participant in 2014, and am amazed at how much this group has helped me learn. Each week, I look forward to the fun, creative challenges that Steve, Trevor, Gary, and Jeremy put together. Most importantly, the weekly challenges give me the motivation to get out there and take photos each week. (Otherwise, I suspect my camera might be gathering dust on the shelf.) As well, interacting with the fantastic members of the group– discussing suggestions, techniques, what works, what doesn’t– has been an invaluable help. I am absolutely thrilled to join the PhotoChallenge team– I’ve learned so much from the group, and hope that I can give back a little bit. If you’d like to see some of my photos, please check out my flickr page.