Monserrate Reveal/Blue

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Abstract / Floral Photography / Florascape / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography


August 24, 2016. Parque e Palácio de Monserrate, near Sintra, Portugal. While exploring this magnificent park — where I could have easily spent days — I was captivated by a large, smooth succulent. I saw the picture immediately. I made several shots with minor variations in composition and depth of field and moved on to other botanical wonders. I didn’t think about it again until a couple of months later, back in California.

Time being what it is, I saw something different when I looked at the RAW file in October. What I’d thought was the essence, wasn’t. Crop. This was.

But then it was so abstract — especially after I’d had my way with the surface texture and had further sharpened the edges — that color had become arbitrary.

(Nikon D750; Nikon 28-300 f/3.5-5.6G Zoom. RAW processing in DxO Pro; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

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The Author

California based fine-art photographer featuring abstract, impressionist, and minimalist seascapes — near and distant — and floral-based images. Fine-art photography can be seen at All original images on this blog are copyright 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Michael Scandling. All rights reserved. No images on this site may be copied, duplicated, reused, published, or re-purposed in any way without express permission from the copyright owner, Michael Scandling.


  1. Sometimes a look back gives us a second chance to make something memorable where we might not have previously. This is a wonderful abstract and, as mentioned before, would make Georgia proud.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m wondering if an an educational ebook which covers your processing will be available in the future? I’ll be on the waiting list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The specifics are a little bit of a trade secret, but almost everything I do is using some combinations and strengths of smart sharpen, smart blur and various different levels of vibrance in a number of different layers and then blending them. I use masks in the raw processing for variations in exposure and clarity or micro contrast. Play with all these factors and you’ll end up with combinations I’ve never thought of, I’m sure.


      • I’ve heard that a martial arts master doesn’t share everything. Now I understand…it leaves a space for the student’s own creativity. Thank you, Michael.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve given you a lot of clues. I also play with light balance in RAW processing. I often balance for effect, rather than for what was actually there. Techniques have evolved over the years as I discover new things and as my own priorities and taste gradually evolve. I don’t use any fancy filters. I’ve had NIK filters for years, and only clearly remember using them once in all that time. That was on the monochrome in my post called No Tears Were Shed. I’m nowhere near an expert in monochrome and I needed to get it done quickly so these filters helped me get it done in a NIK of time.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Jane. Many pixels were altered forever in the creation of this image. I think that they are happy about it. I have other versions of exactly the same image in other colors. Each color shift brings into view its own unique nuances. Each has its own appeal. One is even in the original color. Imagine that!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a beautiful shot, Michael. It leads me to the question: is a photograph ever finished? Or is there more potential to it that we don’t normally see at the first (or second) visit?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, and that is an excellent question. There are a number of images I’ve come back to years later and seen them with different eyes, so to speak. Matter of fact, I’m strongly considering doing that in the next few weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Succulents are such great subjects, aren’t they? They can send you off in so many directions. This was a really good one, and I’m sure there will be more.

    Liked by 1 person

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