Lupine Impressions Using Intentional Camera Movement

"Lupine Impressions No 2"

There is a technique I love right now because it feels like I am creating a painting instantly in my camera. It's called Intentional Camera Movement, or ICM. On a bright afternoon I wandered through the field of lupines with the intention of creating something a little more abstract than my usual landscapes.

This technique is quite liberating since the image does not require a sharp focus. I can keep my focus on things like lines, colours, and form in my image. For instance, the image above is bursting with colour (the green field, the purple lupines), and the details of the lines of the stalks of the flowers and grasses are slightly blurred by the tilting of the camera as if it did a slow nod by moving the camera up and down when I pressed the shutter. I used a slower shutter speed of 1/10 of a second, ISO 100 (for a bright day) and an aperture of f/16 to make a good exposure on a bright day.

"Lupine Impressions No 9"

Using the same settings, but instead of 'nodding' I gave my wrists a little twist to make the camera shift about 45 degrees and downward to the right to capture the image above. The fun part is that every image is unique, and it's very difficult to duplicate. 

"Lupine Impressions No 8"

A little up and down motion again in the one above. With the settings the same, I am able to capture some of the distinctive leaves of the lupine plants. The tones of green and yellow and dark shadows give the impression of shape and form. The colours of the flower, with the white tips and purple petals, add to the feeling of a breezy summer afternoon, much like it was the day it was captured.

"Lupine Impressions No 7"

Another approach is to zoom in as you press the shutter. While hand-holding the camera, I was able to push forward just a bit in the 1/10 of a second, but you could also zoom in using a zoom lens. Try it with a fast movement, then a slow movement and see what you get.

"Lupine Impressions No 6"

Work on trying to get a great composition as well. In the one above, the colour of purple is in the rule of thirds on the left with the lighter green leaves on the left leading me into the image and swirling around to the lower right before resting on the purple colours. Does it draw you in closer to see what this is?

"Lupine Impressions No 3"

Not all landscapes need to be sharp. My intention here was to capture the 'feel' of the summer breeze, by making the composition include the slightly cloudy sky in the top third, while filling most of the image with gently swaying lupines. Can you feel it when you look at this image? 

The main thing is to get out and play with your camera. Seascapes at sunrise or sunset are ideal for interesting colours and can work well with a panning technique on a tripod, moving the camera side to side to smooth out the lines of colour. Trees in spring and fall are great for a slow tilt up and down to capture the lines in the composition. City lights, or car tail lights, can create interesting effects with a zoom movement. And when you're really bored in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle, play with those settings, and just shoot what goes by your window! 

Until next time,

~ Terrill