by Tony Karp
Shooting abstracts with a digital camera
It's January 4th and the thermometer says it's 15 degrees outside this morning. Time to find something to do indoors. And time for something completely different. How about shooting some abstract pictures with my digital camera?

Always ready for something new, I sat down in front of the computer trying to figure a way to shoot abstract pictures with this little camera. And here are the results. At the end of this page, I've posted a brief note on how these pictures were made.

Inspired by Piet Mondrian and his famous abstract, "Broadway Boogie Woogie," I have adopted a similar naming convention for these images.
 - Haymarket Boogie Woogie - pictures created from digital camera noise -- each square is one actual pixel - Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Haymarket Boogie Woogie
 - Santa Fe Boogie Woogie - pictures created from digital camera noise -- each square is one actual pixel - Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Santa Fe Boogie Woogie
 - School Days Boogie Woogie - pictures created from digital camera noise -- each square is one actual pixel - Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
School Days Boogie Woogie
 - Times Square Boogie Woogie - pictures created from digital camera noise -- each square is one actual pixel - Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Times Square Boogie Woogie
 - Springtime Boogie Woogie - pictures created from digital camera noise -- each square is one actual pixel - Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Springtime Boogie Woogie
 - Manhattan Boogie Woogie - pictures created from digital camera noise -- each square is one actual pixel - Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Manhattan Boogie Woogie
 - Little River Boogie Woogie - pictures created from digital camera noise -- each square is one actual pixel - Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Little River Boogie Woogie
 - Burnout Boogie Woogie - pictures created from digital camera noise -- each square is one actual pixel - Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Burnout Boogie Woogie
 - Foggy Bottom Boogie Woogie - pictures created from digital camera noise -- each square is one actual pixel - Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Foggy Bottom Boogie Woogie
It's noise. That's right -- all of these images are made from the noise that's buried deep inside the pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ18. It's an extreme enlargement, with each square representing just one pixel of the original image. If you were to see the whole image at this extreme enlargement, it would be about 135 feet by 102 feet in size. Talk about your pixel-peeping.

The first step was to start with an image made at a high ISO setting, a guarantee that the noise would be plentiful. Then, I added a noise-reduction layer with a blending mode of "Difference." The effect of this was to show the pixels as black, except where there was noise. These showed up as colored.

Then, setting the image editing program for maximum zoom, I went hunting for interesting groups of pixels. Each group was selected, copied, then pasted as a new image. These tiny images were then enlarged by a factor of over 100 to give the picture a usable size.

The last step was to play with the different filters in the image editing program. One of the first things I tried was the filters that give "edge effects." These added some interesting outlines around the squares. Other filters operated on the colors, added some shading, or even a little bit of soft focus.

So the next time that someone tells you how noisy these cameras are, just smile and think about all of the interesting pictures that are hidden inside that noise.
Copyright 1958-2015 Tony & Marilyn Karp