And then I Read Another Thing

I must stop reading things. It only leads to bouts of curiosity!

This week’s read was all about ICM – Intentional Camera Movement, Not that I haven’t come across this genre of photography before but I perhaps haven’t paid much attention until now. Having read a couple of little articles on it, I took off with my camera to have a go.

The idea is to move the camera during the exposure. I know that’s usually a big no no if you want a nice, sharp shot – but what if you don’t want a nice sharp shot? It involves seeking a middle ground between a blurry mess and a sharp shot so you need a slow shutter, and a steady movement of the camera while the shutter is open. I’ve had some success with simply slowing the shutter and shooting at around 1/10 – 1/15 f a second. That’s a lovely speed for things that move, especially bird’s wings. However, now I’m looking at things that are still, but I want some movement in them.

There is some fabulous work out there but the likes of Chris FrielDoug Chinnery and Polina Plotnikova and I really would urge you to have a look at their ICM work.

I went off to a nature reserve close by on a pretty poor day in terms of light. However, ICM can work quite well in poor light: you just need to pay attention to the colours in a more abstract way. I soon came across some dogwood stems in amongst some mossy twiglets and reeds. Okay, not terribly attractive but if you kind of squint a bit, the colours are quite pleasing.

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I dropped the shutter down to 1/8 of a second and panned from the ground upwards. It took a few goes to find the kind of speed I needed to pan so that the colours merged, but there was still some detail. There’s such a fine line between something quite pleasing, and an unfortunate blob of blur. Once I got home, I looked at what I had and while I discarded quite a lot of them, there were some worth saving. All in all, it was something very useful to try on a day when there wasn’t really a decent quality of light for ‘straight’ shots. I think I may have to explore this further. If you need me for anything, I’ll be lurking in the reedbeds . . . .

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Author: Sue Woollard – Capers with a Camera.

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