A carwash floor in Bangkok  


Challenge yourself!  I was waiting for my car to be washed and like a child had already rummaged through the magazines, flipped through the three available television channels, and touched everything that looked interesting and was still bored.  What does a child do in such circumstances?  Yep, they think of a game to help pass the time.  My game for the day was to come up with a Feature Photograph using my compact point and shoot, before my car was finished.

Looking around at all the interesting things a car wash has to offer a keen photographer I finally settled on an oil spot.  Why?  Have you noticed that oil spots are an endangered species?  Cars built in the last few decades seem to have very few if any oil or other fluid leaks.  Also, I figured if I could make a subject as brain numbing as an oil spot interesting.. that would be an achievement all by itself.

I set out taking this composition using the same compositional elements I would with any landscape photograph.  A foreground (darker shadow areas with small spots), a mid-ground (oil spots with shiny and colorful reflection), and a background (well exposed bare patch of concrete), all of which were distinctive enough from each other to qualify.  I also incorporated as much “tonal variation” as possible using the available light.  Add a sharp focus to enhance detail and this might be the most interesting oil spot you’ve seen all month.



The same image from above is now something different and perhaps even interesting?  


But then I took it a step further.  Could I make it commercially viable?  Not really as is, who wants a picture of an oil spot?  But I’d challenged myself and couldn’t give up.  I brought the image into Photoshop and started experimenting and I think I came up with a sort of Art Deco abstract idea.  This is the sort of image you’ll find hanging in the waiting areas of dentists offices and commercial buildings that make you wonder just who in the hell chooses their art.

You’ll also find studies showing abstracts such as this, even contrived abstracts, catch peoples attention for small periods of time.  It varies, but these small periods of time help individuals experience an overall feeling of a shorter waiting time.

Challenge yourself.  Play games.  Experiment in Photoshop.  Stick your fingers in the paint and smear them on construction paper.  Granted, the elephants in Thailand can make much more interesting art, but you’ll still have a lot of fun!