Landscape abstractions in color

During a recent trip to Mono Lake, I took a few photographs of a local attraction, the natural limestone “tufa tower” formations. I love landscape abstractions, and monochrome is my favorite medium for that. However, sometimes I also make Abstractions in Color. My original goal in Mono Lake was to take black and white pictures, which I did, but the blue and orange stripes on the lake in sunset and sunrise were too striking to ignore. I surrendered to color. 

Many photographers like to take pictures that are different from others’. I, too, make an effort to point the camera at something different from the most obvious composition. When photographing with others, however, sometimes I will find myself right beside a photo peep and we are both capturing the same scene. Some places are limited in what they offer. In some cases, going away from the other photographer(s) for the sake of originality may be impractical. For example, a few feet to the right maybe down a cliff. Furthermore, being realistic, there is hardly a scene that has not been photographed several times before. And this is OK, since I like to think that using in-camera techniques and post-processing, I can make an image that reflects my unique vision.

Location: Mono Lake, CA, USA;

Equipment: Nikon Z50, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F2.8G, tripod, Lee Polarizer, 4×6 Color Graduated Resin Filter (Soft Edge, Cyan), and 6 stop ND filter;

Settings: 175 mm, f/18, 5”, ISO 100;

Tips:  The color filter from Lee helped to enhance the blue color of the mountain, better matching the blue stripes of the water. The orange and blue stripes on the lake are natural and result, at least in part, from the angle of the sun on the salty water in sunset. 

Edited to add: another crop of this image has been featured by LeeFilter for their June, 2021 selections. Below is the evaluation of the jury:

Good morning!


Your image has been selected by Harry for our LEE Filters June YourView. Here is what he had to say about your image:

This image is a good example of the true usage of a tint grad filter, both to drastically improve the mid-tones and make the yellows/oranges jump out of the image specifically, whilst not effecting or touching any other colours. The background strikes me most as a real striking contrast between warmth and cold. Strangely I find the rocks a little distracting, and would’ve personally been inclined to shoot another image without them to truly capture the contrast between colours.

All five images selected are being uploaded and will be showcased on our website here. The images will also be shared across our LEE Filters social media channels from Monday 5th – Friday 9th, giving you the exposure you deserve, so do look out for them!

Thanks again for taking the time to enter YourView and continuing to support LEE Filters.

Kind regards,

The LEE Filters Marketing Team

26 thoughts on “Landscape abstractions in color

  1. Anne Sandler says:

    Beautiful! I find that we each put our own spin on pictures when photographing well known places and with other photographers.


  2. The Wheelchair Teen says:

    I really like this picture – it feels almost as if it’s a still from a fantasy novel. I love landscape abstractions too, especially sandstone formations. I truly enjoy hearing you talk about photography – it seems so interesting to me. It makes sense that you would want to take a picture that’s different from the most obvious composition, although I also agree that each picture reflects its photographer’s own unique vision. Thanks for sharing! 😊


    1. Alessandra Chaves says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful and kind comments. That lake is magical. The water is salty, three times as salty as the ocean. When I was there, I kept thinking of the first explorers, how happy they may have felt upon seeing a large body of water (the surrounding region is semi-desert), then de deception of finding out that they could not drink it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve Schwartzman says:

    I’m with you in feeling that color was the way to go here. What gorgeous pastel layers you recorded. I’ve occasionally seen pictures of Mono Lake over the decades but I don’t recall ever seeing one like this.


    1. Alessandra Chaves says:

      Thank you. I did google photos of Mono Lake and also did not find similar pictures. Which is interesting given that we saw those stripes on the lake in sunrise then again in sunset. Very prey.


    1. Alessandra Chaves says:

      Lol I did see that composition when I was there, plus the light reflected on the sand making a white stripe between water and earth (not appearing in this photo). And I thought, Michael Scandling would like to see this. I don’t know if you would, but some of what I saw there on that evening reminded me of some of your photos. If you happen to be passing by mono lake one day, do stay for the sunset 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. howg2211 says:

    I love how you’ve photographed the colored stripes….and how they go with the deep blue background. Your vision definitely shines through!

    Liked by 1 person

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