The Story Behind the Print – Look Longer

An abstract areial photographic print of the top of a green tree with dark background taken by Elizabeth Bull in Australia
An abstract areial photographic print of the top of a green tree with dark background taken by Elizabeth Bull in Australia

The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real.  – Lucian Freud

This print was one of four images that resulted in Elizabeth Bull being awarded the highly esteemed title of 2013 Epson Victorian Landscape Photographer of the Year, which led to her being named a finalist for the Canon Australian Landscape Photographer of the year.

From the photographer: Elizabeth Bull

I’m definitely not a morning person, but there is nothing like morning light.

On this particular morning, there was a stillness in the air; the light soft and intriguing.

Despite having previously been paragliding, and even skydiving, I was surprisingly quite nervous about our first ever hot air balloon ride. I’m not quite sure why; it just seems like quite an odd thing to be able to control: a giant bag of hot air attached to a basket. However, I really had nothing to fear, and as soon as we ascended above the world all my worries completely melted away (it helped that our pilot was extremely skilled).

I had an overwhelming feeling of awe as I studied the world from this new angle in a way I’d never before experienced.

The first thing that strikes you about being in a hot air balloon is how peaceful it is. It’s so quiet. It really gives you an opportunity to see the world in a completely unobtrusive way.

Taking photographs from a hot air balloon can be tricky.

They move surprisingly fast and you can’t just direct the balloon to that “great shot over there!” This actually suits my shooting style perfectly, as I really love to photograph things as I see them rather than orchestrate a scene.

I am always captivated by geometry and pattern.

These elements often feature heavily in my work, so it made sense for me to hang over the side of the basket and shoot straight down rather than at the horizon directly in front of me as most people tend to do.





Other challenges arising from shooting from a hot air balloon included the short window to utilise the lovely flat light that occurs prior to sunrise. This light helped me to illustrate the pattern of the landscape, and allowed me to flatten the perspective and give my images an almost illustrated, two dimensional feel. And then there is the motion sickness that comes from hanging over the edge of the basket and looking straight down from a fast-moving aircraft! Luckily, when illness struck, I took it as an opportunity to look up and gaze lovingly into my husband’s eyes.

After all, this was supposed to be a romantic adventure for the two of us; although after years of being married to a photographer my husband has come to understands the importance of getting the best shot! Despite these challenges it was an amazing experience, and a wonderful opportunity to capture some fascinating images in a fairly unusual way!