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String Theory - Abstract Botanical Photography

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

String Theory is an abstract botanical series of photographs which have been created by combining the techniques of Intentional Camera Movement and in-camera Multiple Exposure.


The botanical subjects at Kew Gardens in London were perfect for an abstract project, and in particular the two techniques mentioned above. The shapes, lines and patterns of the plants are perfect for following with the camera during a long exposure.

In contrast with my "Fathom" images, which were shot using a 17mm focal length, the images in this series were made with a much longer focal length - either using a 70-200mm or 105mm Macro lens.

Aswell as using ICM, these images were also made using in-camera multiple exposure. This really allowed me to take the creativity to the next level, and create some really abstract and unique effects.

I have found that using two exposures creates the best results for my eyes.


As with all of my work, colour is one of the most important aspects for me in creating impactful and coherent images, and with a botanical subject, this series was always going to be about the greens.

What was so interesting about shooting these images was the way the light would interact with the leaves, which created these strong beams of light, which was how the title for the project "String Theory" came to be.

Things To Remember

If you would like to give this type of photography a go, then here are some tips to get you started:

1 - Working in temperate greenhouses, where I created these images, is not easy. You will have to let your lens adjust to the extreme humidity, and make sure you bring a cloth to wipe down your lens. If you have a weather sealed camera - this is where it will come into it's own!

2 - Batteries and Memory Cards! Shooting ICM long exposures, and in-camera multiple exposures will burn through batteries and card space in no time. Make sure you bring spares so you can keep shooting all day.

3 - Shorter exposure times - below one second, produce the best results in my opinion. And I usually keep the multiple exposures to two.

4 - As I always say about any project you are working on. Just enjoy the experience of being out and creating images. Never put pressure on yourself to create a portfolio body of work in one day, and be prepared to keep experimenting, practicing and returning to locations.

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