From Boring to Brilliant Fantasy Abstracts

From Boring to Brilliant – Fantasy Abstracts

I’m always on the lookout for creative photography ideas and the chance to use some cool photo effects. I recently took a quick snap with my iPhone of this boring barred window. At the time I had no idea what I’d do with it, but there it was and something about it spoke to me.

original image of barred window before photo effects editing.
Original image of a plain barred window before any cool photo effects are added.

Here’s the thing: just about all of us carry a brilliant little camera with us all the time in our mobile phones. If something says ‘take my picture’, just do it. Later on, you might find a use for it and if you don’t, there’s a handy delete button. Too often I’ve walked by something that invited me to take its picture because a sceptical little voice in my head piped up with the objection, “What do want to take a picture of that for? Don’t be silly.” If you hear that little voice, respectfully tell it to shut up, and snap the pic anyway.

So I photographed the window, and it sat on my phone for a while before I started playing with it.


Background Editing

Before adding any finishing cool photo effects in the form of reflections, I did some straightening of the bars to improve the symmetry using the SKRWT app. Then I played around in Snapseed to alter the colour, giving a blue tinge for a cooler look, and increasing the contrast to make the brighter light coming through the top of the window stand out more. I also flipped the photo over, so the light came in from the bottom.


Cool Photo Effects Version 1

Now for the fun part. Taking the photo into the Reflect app, I experimented with some of the reflection choices the app offers. There are plenty to choose from, and you can change the intensity of the effect and how much of the photo is affected.

My first choice was water, as below. I liked the impression of an underground waterway, with water slowing beneath a grill or grating (a culvert maybe?), but something was missing and I wasn’t totally happy.

Barred window with water reflections
Trying out water reflections.

I saved this version anyway because it’s okay. It just didn’t give me that mental ‘click’ that tells me it’s finished. Something was missing. Some story element suggested by the bars was missing, and I felt there was more it could say. It’s an instinctive feeling, and sometimes you just have to go with your gut.

So back to the drawing board:


Cool Photo Effects Version 2

Digging deeper into the reflection variations in Reflect, I came across this cool paved effect. Applying that, and messing about with how much of the image was covered, soon gave me that satisfying feeling that I’d ‘got it’.

Paved reflections create cool photo effects on a boring barred window image.
Cool photo effects created by adding paved reflection effect.

The paving looks wet and shiny, and blends pleasingly with the frosted glass which creates a mysterious veil over whatever your imagination tells you might be behind those bars. To my (maybe overactive) imagination, it is a fantasy threshold, the misty divide between this world and another one. It looks cold, a little uncomfortable, but there’s a pull that makes me want to peep beyond the mist. I may have to write a story about it one day 🙂

Photo 1 in the cool photo effects reflection series is here.

Photo 2 is here.

Learn how to create cool photo effects using the Reflect app here.

Leave me a comment. I’d love to know what you think!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.