By Andy Underwood

Sandy McCleary is by far the most successful and inspiring of the entrants to the September challenge. She put in a great effort and came up with many original images. I hope Sandy’s images inspire others to give using creative filters a go. Art of Birding community members can find my “how-to” here, where I describe how to use various filters, including making your own from common household objects.


Creativity and narrative imagination can be hard when filters distort and mystify part or all of your image. But as you can tell from Sandy’s image of the Welly boots, it is possible to create wonderful visual poetry, once you get your eye in. I have seldom seen such great results from improvised prisms. I am tickled pink by the Welly boot one looking like a group of hooded figures, well done.

Gumboots by Sandy McCleary
Cows by Sandy McCleary

Sandy says “I used a cut glass hanging crystal bead to make these photos. I tried different ways to attach it to the front of my camera, but in the end I just held the camera with one hand and held the bead in front of the lens with the other hand and took a few shots. I braced myself on the lawn to keep myself steady”

Crystal bead used as a multi prism by Sandy McCleary
Crystal bead used as a multi prism by Sandy McCleary
Ranunculus through a multi-prism by Sandy McCleary
Daffodils through a child’s toy by Astrid Authier-Hall
Forest through a skeletal leaf by Anne Huggett

I love that Astrid Authier-Hall made such a successful pattern from a children’s toy prism and that Anne Huggett used a skeletal leaf for a filter. I hope their examples encourage you to experiment with and extend your artistic ideas.

Starburst using star filter by Sandy McCleary

Sandy McCleary’s Star Image is another of her many successful images, which clearly shows how light, diffraction and flare have an important part in conveying the narrative in her art. Sandy’s efforts were exciting and satisfying to see!

Sandy says “It’s an hour’s drive to town and I couldn’t wait till I next went into town to get some clear film , so I did some googling and found a post on making a filter from a CD case. I had a rummage around till I found one that wasn’t too badly scratched already. I then drew lots of lines on it and went out and tried it out on the sun. This is the you tube link if anyone is interested"

Few artists realise that art is about communication and one of the best ways to impart a narrative visually is to astonish and excite the viewer with the magic and imagination that makes up an image, which has been altered by creative filters and unusual presentation.

Thanks, Andy for a fascinating challenge. Come join our community at where this month we’ve been exploring triptychs and next will be all-things AI.

Creator Judi Lapsley Miller

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