Surreal abstract photo of a palm leaf

abstract photography - palm leaves

The surreal abstract photo is normally achieved by altering the color of the image, to create a dreamlike or unreal quality. This, however, is one instance where that sense of surrealism is present without modifying the colors, just darkening them somewhat, using Photoshop.

This image is of the single leaf of a palm with big, broad, blade-life leaves. The palm is planted as a landscape plant in many parts of Singapore.

I first saw the potential for creating abstract art photographs from the leaves of this palm in early 2005, when I got off the bus at the Little India MRT station, which has several of these magnificient palms outside.


But I never saw the potential for a surreal abstract photo until after I finally took some abstract photographs of the palm leaves in February 2007 – nearly two years after I first noticed them.

I had gone to the Hindu temple at Little India to take photographs of Thaipusam, and had some film (Fuji Provia 400 slides) left when I went back to the bus stop near the MRT station. It was around noon, and I could take abstract photographs of the palm leaves with the sun shining through.

After I developed and scanned the slides, I was thinking about what I could do with these abstract photographs. And I felt I did not have to do much. In the end, all I did was increase the contrast and darken the midtones (Photoshop Image > Adjustment > Levels and slide the middle slider to the right).

Sure, I could have changed the color, perhaps to purple or whatever, to make it more surreal. I did experiment a little. But in the end, I still prefer this version. I am satisfied with this surreal abstract photo – with most of the realism left intact.