April 20, 2010

Abstractification through Rain

Picking up on my last post here's an image to show the effect of rain on a window-pane:
Rain 18384
I don't like this image very much because the "hidden" subject is not very interesting but it gives you a nice demonstration of what you can achieve.
One thing to observe here (and I urge you to go to the flickr-page of this image by clicking on it and view it at larger sizes up to 1024x680) is the dependency of the effect on the viewing size: The smaller the size the clearer the background subject stands out. This is an issue that will come up time and again, as other effects of abstractification like dof/oof also heavily depend on the viewing-distance.
How did I get that shot?
- 150mm, f/16
- focus on the window
- distance from window approx. 2m
- distance to house approx. 100m
Normally you'll find that the distance between the rain-streaked window and the subject behind it is beyond your control. So to achieve the desired effect the most important variable is the distance from the window as it determines the relative size of the rain-streaks on the subject: the closer you get to the window the more prominent the streaks become. Next up is to choose the right focal length to frame the image correctly. And the last variable to influence the outcome is the aperture to determine how out-of-focus the subject behind the window is.
Well yes, there is also the decision on where to focus, but I found focusing not on the window-pane reduces the effect quite dramatically until - when you focus on the distant subject - the remaining effect looks like a small imperfection. Not really noticeable and more of a nuisance than an artistic effect.
So there are a lot of variables that greatly influence the outcome. Certainly a technique where you have to experiment quite a bit to achieve satisfying results.

Finally here's a crop from that same image to show you a close-up of the effect:
Rain 18384 100% crop

Btw.: using structured glass can achieve similar effects but normally lacks the randomness of rain.

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