How I Got the Shot: Autumn Abstract

Photograph by Mark Bowie

Photograph by Mark Bowie

Autumn Abstract, Inlet

Exposure Data:
30 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 200
Nikon D610, Nikkor 80-200mm lens set at 170mm.

There are images to be made anywhere, under any conditions. This one was made on a stormy autumn morning. It was dark and overcast, with strong, gusty winds. Rather than fight the conditions, I decided to go with the flow. Handholding my camera during a long exposure, I slowly panned down this colorful maple tree. The wind whipped the branches into a frenzy, dabbing fresh colors throughout the frame, creating an impressionistic image I couldn’t have envisioned myself. The length of the exposure was sufficient to coax out the vibrant colors. What started as a blank, black canvas became a brilliant, beautiful abstract nature painting with the colors and elemental forces of the season. It reminds me that there are mysteries beyond our understanding, beauty beyond our abilities.

Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations to camera clubs, environmental groups and others. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute (API). API’s 2016 schedule of photo workshops will soon be posted at For more on Mark’s work, visit

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