Sunday, January 13, 2008

Camera Shake – I really meant for it to happen

Last week I discussed several methods that might help you to explore new challenges and thereby open up your creativity to new ideas. The thought is, that if you are having so much fun at what you are doing then the learning and growing possibilities might seem endless.

In some ways the Holy Grail of photography, by many, is perceived as the pin-sharpness of an image. If you’re like me, even with the almost never-fail capabilities of the modern camera, some of my images when I examine them, do not always have the sharpness exactly within the range I need.

So what about a technique that forgets sharpness and focuses on capturing images that gives great abstractness and at the same time for certain scenes still yields clarity about the subject and most importantly that does not require real sharpness. What could be more fun than this? Well a few things, but this is about photography.

All the images below have the their saturation on a per channel basis increased.

f4.5, 1/60s

While I like this image with its appearance of motion, even though it might be a little hard on the eyes, this was a failed attempt as I was moving a bit sideward than what I had planned to achieve but sometimes through mistakes an interesting image may appear.

This is the same technique (panning) also used to capture moving objects with slower shutter speeds where we still want the appearance of motion, but in this scenario we do not need any elements to be sharp and in focus. The impression left by the blurred motion is what excites us.

f22 1/5s

In photography, light or the absence of it is what defines our images. Sure there are a few images where it is all about the colours but for most images it’s the tones and shadows that gives depth and a 3 dimensional quality to the otherwise flat print.

f22 1/8s

These are extremely fun to do and since we all have different levels of fondness for abstract images I leave it to you to decide if any are worthy of merit.

I have seen several images that where taken this way with the tall fall aspen or birch trees, with almost white barks and golden colour of leaves. These scenes are difficult to find in my area, as you want open areas in front of you and these trees at the edge of clearings. While at a friends place he did have some poplars at the edge of the woods that I though would be fun to experiment with.

All images where taken within 10-25 ft from this spot.

As you can see, the normal view is not that stunning and there were only a few trees with long light trunks that lend themselves well to this technique.

This is a perfect time to experiment, as there is no right or wrong composition, just those that make you smile and maybe other people as well.

f4.5 1/60s

Some of the best effects I have seen are with dark woods set against some lighter tree trunks up front. When I see the right woods I will try again.

This is definitely a trial and error approach to finding out what lighting will work for different types of scenes.

Some suggested panning approaches
· Slower shutter speeds in the range of 1/10 to 1/60 work well. You may need to increase f-stop higher to get these shutter ranges.
· Start panning before you press the shutter.
· For tree effects try and keep camera movement in vertical (same axis as tree trunks) movement
· It’s the light areas that overwrite the dark in image as you pan.
· If shutter is long enough in duration try and vary the panning motion speed while shutter is open.

Niels Henriksen

A Photographer’s Adage

I’m always amused by the idea that certain people have about technique, which translate into an immoderate taste for the sharpness of the image. It is a passion for detail, for perfection, or do they hope to get closer to reality with this trompe I’oeil? They are, by the way, as far away from the real issues as other generations of photographers were when they obscured their subject in soft-focus effects. - Henri Cartier-Bresson - on technique. "American Photo", September/October 1997, page: 76


Will Pow said...

Unfortunately, I find it too easy to create some of these affects without wishing to! But this is a fascinating post - it will encourage me to interpret what I see - impressionist, I suppose.

nielsp said...

I know exactly what you mean as top when you look at an image you took and then you begin to think 'How can I use this in an abstract way'.

At least with this exercise we are rewarded by doing exactly what causes us some problems. This also helps us to better visualize patterns and compositional elements by not focusing on what we know to be there in the image.

Thanks for your comments.


SheyMouse said...

Cool technique. I like the way the photos look like oil paintings or watercolours.
Definitely something for me to experiment with over the coming spring/summer.

Lynda Lehmann said...

Niels, I think they're all beautiful, but of course, I love abstraction.

This is another clear and instructive post, and you've done it so well.

I posted a flower in honor of you and a few other bloggers last night. Don't know whether you saw it...

And I've added your link to my page. :)

Anthea said...

Great article, this is exactly what I've been looking for. I have recently come across some fabulous Flickr images that have been taken using this technique and I have been keen to try it out ... to deliberately shake
Thanks for the post!


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