Photography By Barrie Dale A.G.S.A

The Dark Flame

The Dark Flame

I am offering this as an example of challenging abstract fine art. It is a high-magnification image of the orchid ‘Phalaenopsis. I took it facing into natural light.

Capturing Abstract Fine Art

Images of this sort are challenging. They require much searching.  So, I have to work hand-held.  The results do not resemble the subject-matter. They are thus abstract.  It is difficult to focus or compose. The margin for error is fractions of a millimetre. I need to get such things right. The aim is for it to qualify as Fine Art.  The composition appears strong. There are three strong squares.

Saying Something New

Being challenging is essential. It is difficult to say anything new when photographing nature at normal magnification. I want my images to be of things I didn’t know. Things I couldn’t have imagined. Things that haven’t been seen before. I set out to ensure that the images that emerge are completely un-expected.

At the magnification I use, my images are always abstract.  I capture only what is instantaneously attractive during a search.  I have justified this approach in the article to be found at

Why would a ‘Dark Flame’ be attractive?  We expect flames to provide enlightenment. We might expect a dark flame to do the opposite.  To envelope us in darkness. So, I think I captured this image because it was counter-intuitive.  I found the idea intriguing. It had an element of magic. It is the sort of thing that happens at high magnification. Everything becomes a mystery. Nothing is predictable. Photographing into the light helps in this. Narrow beams of light filter through the flower. They create un-expected patterns. This is what gives this image structure.

So, what feelings does the image provoke? The flame is steady. Surprisingly, I find it reassuring. It certainly does not seem threatening. I have collected many such images in galleries at the bottom of my ‘home’ page: There you will find more challenging abstract fine art.


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