Many of you know Michael Orton for the Orton Effect which he originated in the film days by sandwiching an overexposed sharp slide with an overexposed blurry slide of the same subject to create a painterly looking image. This can easily be replicated in digital during post-processing or by using the multiple exposure capabilities of many of the newer digital cameras. We use the Orton Effect regularly in many of our images (see recent example here) and we have instructions on how to do it in Photoshop here. Users of Photoshop Elements have the Orton Effect built right into the software!
But Michael has moved on from his popular effect and now is using Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) to create amazing ‘e-motional’ photographic art. Check out the article, images and videos below from Michael!
The Magic of Intentional Camera Movement
Imagine yourself walking in the pre-dawn, up a winding trail to an elevated overlook. You weave your way through the forest, and as you near your destination, an ethereal glowing light begins to filter through the trees. Stepping into the clearing you witness one of the most incredible sunrise skies you have ever or may ever see again. Crimson, gold, magenta, orange, for as far as the eye can see, and for a moment you just stand, awestruck, speechless. These moments are what photography is about, but as we all know they don’t happen every day, that is until now. Working with ICM, this same sense of wonder is what I can experience nearly every time I step out with my camera. The difference is that instead of waiting and searching for these moments I can now create them. ICM photography is like a continuous voyage of discovery, that allows you to travel in one direction today, and then a completely different direction tomorrow.
If you sense that your photo life could use some element of creative discovery, and you are open to wherever this might take you, here are some beginning pointers to get started. While the actual process is moving the camera, “seeing” like all photography is really the key. ICM is only as successful as the photographers ability to recognize lines, forms, and tonal differences within the subject. Some situations , like a stand of parallel trees, are easy to attach a compatible camera movement to. Start with these obvious subjects to begin with and mimic the apparent line with a movement. I shoot at my lowest ISO setting with a polarizer and 2 stop ND filter on my 18-70 99% of the time. I use handheld only because I move the camera as if it where a movie camera on a track and not pivoting from a fixed point. Use manual focus to prevent the camera from focus searching during the exposures. Cradle the camera with one hand with your arm into your chest as support for smooth long lines. I use shutter speeds of 1/60 to 4 seconds and numerous actual camera movement speeds for example, slow, medium or fast. Rehearse your chosen action or movement while looking through the viewfinder, then begin making exposures while the camera is moving and continue moving after the exposure is complete.You can move your camera any way you wish. Lines, arcs, circles, ovals, the decision is yours based on what you choose as subject matter. In the past years I have developed what I describe as compound movements which are two combined and then to add a twist I will alter focal length (zoom) or change focus during the exposure. These take practice, but yield diverging lines when the subject matter is appropriate. ICM is not unlike solving a puzzle that when you do, you have an “Aha” moment, followed by “So that is how it works.”
Give yourself enough time to honestly get some results, not just one outing, take a few weeks. It takes patience, this isn’t another “App”. Stay with it and you will know what I am talking about. Marko Kulik has experienced this and now has a wonderful gallery of Montreal streets at night. I use landscape, but any source of lines, form, colour and light can be a starting point. When you have had some successful results you will begin to realize how many combinations of choices of movements and camera speeds there are. Add to this the ability to actually blend and mix colours at the same time, and ICM becomes a process where the given subject matter and your response to it are constantly changing. Unlike going to a favorite landscape I have no preconceptions as to what the outcome will be when I walk into the world armed with ICM. It almost feels like my first few years when everything surprised and excited me, which after 35 years of carrying a camera , is exactly what I needed at this time.
If you are travelling or photographing on Vancouver Island, contact us to view our prints.These new images make impressive prints, especially in larger sizes and are available in very limited edition (10) prints, on canvas or watercolour paper. The video ” The Liquid Landscape ” features some recent work, while the video “A Walk in the Palm Grove” demonstrates the use of ICM in just one location.
In our last oopoomoo newsletter we asked our readers to send us a photo about what inspires them about spring. For the photo we found most inspiring we promised to feature it here on the blog and the lucky showcased person would also get our Photography Fundamentals eBook bundle. Well, Sam and I were impressed by all the entries and in particular we found the three entries below to be exceptional. Congratulations to Carl, Al and Henrik for work well done! Your eBooks are in the virtual mail!
Be sure to sign up for our newsletter if you have not already because we’ll be giving away something extra special this time 😉
Wild Poppy – Carl Heino
Everywhere I look, there is re-birth and renewal! New growth and vigor abound! There is a deep freshness in Nature that one finds only on a large scale in Spring. It is this quality that I try to capture with my camera. In image below, there is a feeling that the complete opening of the pod halves and the unfolding of the exquisite contents are imminent. In a few days, the faded petals will fall to the ground, the seeds within the stamen will slowly ripen and eventually be shaken on to the soil where, once established, they will repeat the cycle next Spring.
Dewdrops – Al Garner
The crisp air, sunny days, new grass, wildflowers and the promise of renewal that spring brings – what more could a photographer ask for!
Magnolia Blooms – Henrik Fessler
In Germany, spring was in fast forward mode and flowers and trees were in full blossom 2-4 weeks in advance. With the year gearing up so quick in contrast I slowed down in my own photography by taking pictures with an old manual lens mounted on a modern camera. Doing this kind of slow, relaxed and more conscious type of photography helped to take in all the wonders of Nature! My Pic shows a magnolia tree detail taken not too far away from my home.
Congratulations to Hiro Kobayashi – Photographic Artist of the Year – Professional Photographers of Canada
Samantha and I were so pleased to hear that our good friend Hiro Kobayashi just won the title of Photographic Artist of the Year from the Professional Photographers of Canada. Could not have happened to a nicer guy! Way to go Hiro! Hiro was also famously immortalized on our “what does oopoomoo mean” video. Below are the four pictures that garnered Hiro his award with descriptions in his own words.
Lights on Green
I found the beautiful moss while I was hiking in the morning. The day was quite rainy day in Lake O’Hara (Yoho National park), but after some hiking I came back to this location and fortunately the rain let up enough for me to take an image. The creek was running below the trail and if I had tried to access the moss, I would destroy natural habitat. I did not want to do that. So I kept walking until I found a path that came up the creek from lower down. Leica M8, Voigtländer UltraWide Heliar 12mm;when I took this photo, I was crazy about this lens. This is an HDR image processed to look like the human eye sees the scene.
I think everybody has a secret place. This location is my secret place, Goat Pond in Kananaskis country. I like visiting this place in the middle of May since I can see transitions from winter to spring. The reason I still use the Leica M8 even though the M9 has been my main camera for some time is that I can take infrared photography with the M8. The infrared filter gave relatively long exposure to this image. Leica M8, Leica Elamarit 21mm.
Sunrise on Abraham Lake
I had hesitated photographing Abraham Lake since I was afraid of not to being able to create original images. Actually, Darwin was the one who encouraged me to try. He mentioned “every image is different”. So I tried a winter scene of Abraham Lake last November. Driving in dark morning, I passed the location I planned to photograph and I missed beautiful red sky. The next day, I arrived at the spot on time but the sky was not as spectacular as the day before. So I changed my strategy. I waited until the sun was coming out from the summit of the mountain, and captured this photo. While I was shooting, I totally forgot about the dilemma I had from the day before. I am sure adrenalin was rushing into my blood stream. Kootenay Plains has been my favorite place since then. Leica M9, Leica Elamarit 21mm.
Touching You, Touching Me
Years ago, I saw TV show called “chasing wild horse” about Romanian photographer, Roberto Dustesco’s journey to Sable Island. I wished to make amazing horse images one day. About one year ago, a friend of mine allowed me to photography her horses. Since then, I fell in love with these gentle and beautiful animals. Photographing horses required a new set of skills so I could get good images. Although I expected more dynamic action shots all the horses were doing were eating and pooing. So I decided to focus on capturing their intimacy they occasionally showed. Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8, 175mm, f/3.5, 1/500 sec. I added some textures to this image.
This article originally appeared in Outdoor Photography Canada magazine – subscribe to get these articles years before they appear here 😉
The Art of Practice
Musicians have scales, actors have lines, painters have sketches, and athletes have workouts. Photographers have what? While all other artists have a daily routine to practice their craft, most photographers only dust off the camera when they go on a planned shoot. Imagine if musicians only played whenever they had a gig and did not practice in the time in between? Why, as photographers, do we expect that we will perform wonderfully every time we go out even without practicing in between?
Nothing will sharpen both your technical skills and your artistic eye faster than daily practice. Visual ‘scales’ do for the photographer what musical scales do for the musician; we constantly stay ‘tuned’ up and ready to express our art.
I know we all have really busy lives, so who has time to shoot every day? You might think it’s easy for me as a professional photographer to shoot daily–after all that is my job isn’t it? But to make it as a pro, you need to do some heavy marketing and selling. I only get to go on photo shoots about 1/3rd of the time, the other 2/3rd is spent doing the business part of photography. In the past, I found that between shoots I was not practicing with my camera and that my art was suffering. It often took 2 or 3 days into a trip to get back into ‘seeing’. I was not practiced and ready.
For the last five or six years I have carried a small point-n-shoot digital camera with me everywhere I go. By doing so, I don’t have to carve out special time to shoot daily; I just take a snapshot here and there in my day as I see something interesting. I might be walking the dog, or standing in line at the bank, doing dishes or visiting the washroom. But if something catches my eye in a flash of perception then I’ll make an image. I’m doing a little photography almost every day and the differences I have seen in my ability to see and be creative is amazing. I no longer have any ‘photographer’s block’ and I no longer need to ‘warm up’ before going on a serious photo shoot. I see photos everywhere! Many of you own and carry a smartphone and I know many of you make quick snaps with this convenient little tool. Congratulate yourself for doing visual scales daily… you’ll see big differences in your ‘serious’ photography by practicing everyday with a smartphone or wee point-n-shoot.
Even though I’m a nature photographer, anything that catches my eye can become a photo. The great thing about shooting daily is that soon you’ll begin to remove labels from subjects and just learn to see light, pattern, form and design. You’ll see beauty in the mundane, and you’ll be inspired anywhere you go from the park to the parking lot. The better you become at photography in general, the better you’ll be at outdoor photography in particular. So don’t restrict yourself to pretty nature scenes.
Although I’ve mentioned the wonders of a point-n-shoot camera here before, I really think anyone who is serious about becoming a better photographer should invest in one and carry and use it. If you have a smartphone with a camera start using it for your daily visual push-ups. The quality of the image is not as important as you practicing the art of seeing. Practice for the joy of discovery. Happy shooting!
We are happy to feature the work of Fran Gallogly who has fine-tuned her creative vision with years of practice and shooting what she loves. The examples below really do show that creative vision starts in the camera and then can (and should be) carried through to the final processed image. Processing should enhance the artist’s original vision and not detract from it. We love that Fran’s original image is simply gorgeous and easily stands on its own. The painterly effect added in processing creates a new work with a rich feel and results in a variation that also stands on its own.
Fran speaks of the making of the images:
The original photo was taken with my Canon 5D Mark III and 24-70 lens at 1/13s, ISO 100, last December. I used a tripod, cable release, polarizer and ND grads as well.
Years ago when I took Darwin’s online landscape class, he told us we should always have a project to challenge ourselves. Last year I embarked on a project to photograph all of Trumbull’s parks (Trumbull, Connecticut, where I live) in four seasons.
It turned out there were more parks than I thought. I’ve lived here ten years but didn’t know much about them. It was a wonderful experience. I met a lot of very nice people and discovered we have fabulous parks with some great facilities like a community garden, apple orchard, two swimming pools, rails to trails hiking and bike paths, many sports fields and a BMX Track where regional bike races are conducted in the summer. I ended up practicing sports photography there and they made me a manager on their Facebook page so I could post photos of the racers. I also made friends with a family who now bring their children over to enjoy my husband’s model trains. In addition, the editor of a local magazine, Trumbull Life, has published many of my park photos.
At the end of the year I had so many nice photos of both landscapes and people in the parks that I wanted to share it with the community. First I tried doing a slideshow of the best photos in PowerPoint but wasn’t happy with it. Then a friend suggested I do it in Photoshop and pointed me to two excellent videos on how to do this on Mark Johnson’s Workbench series. I followed the directions and put together an 8-minute slide show with music from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. I was able to key the music to the slides, for example, his Winter music plays with my Winter slides, Spring music with my Spring slides, etc. I have asked the head of our town library to play the slideshow (which is in mp4 format) on their lobby monitor so people in the community can see it. Then a friend in the local garden club introduced me to the superintendent of the Parks Dept. in town and he loved it and wants to put it on the town’s web site.
One of my favorite photos from the Winter segment is this shot above of Twin Brooks Park on a Winter day in the fog. The shrubs are a very colorful form of Bloodtwig Dogwood, Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire.’
Recently I decided to take a video class by Melissa Gallo whose web site is called Painted Textures. She sells lovely textures and also teaches a digital painting technique involving use of the Mixer Brush tool among other things. The class, which can be purchased on her web site, is called Painting With Photoshop. Besides the videos, she includes some textures, brushes and patterns of her own and sample files from the videos. It’s a struggle to learn and get it right for people like me who are not artists. People who have taken her class are invited to join a class Facebook page to share their work and encourage and inspire one another. This helps a lot.
It is a technique I am still struggling with. I think this painting of the park is by far my best effort to date. Like all new techniques it takes practice, practice, practice. Besides painting over the photograph, I also added a soft texture from a company called French Kiss, probably using a Blend Mode like Soft Light. That gave the white sky some color and definition. Besides landscapes, digital painting can be used for flowers, wildlife and even portraits. Right now I am working on some flower photographs as I am an avid gardener and have many nice flower photos.
So much of photography today seems selfish. We make photos for ourself, about our interests and share them on social media hoping everyone will like them. Me, me me and me some more. The good news is that as we evolve in photography we start looking for something more, some way to give back to others. Photography becomes so much more meaningful when we can help others. We wanted to share with you the inspiration of Bella Forza Photography started by our friend Lori Maloney. Read below what Lori has to say about why she started her own ‘photography that gives’ business.
Sometimes we need to take our time to contemplate, dream, and deliberate on things…sometimes we need to just take a leap of faith. In March 2013, after nearly three years of conscious deliberation and many more years of subconscious pondering, I took that proverbial leap and launched Bella Forza Portraits.
We lost my mom to Breast Cancer in the fall of 1997. Sadly we don’t have any portraits of her that truly showcase her beauty, her fortitude, or her courage; nor do we have any that she loved. This experience is the foundation of my work with Bella Forza. I believe I have something meaningful to offer: an empathy borne of first hand knowledge together with the ability to provide a tangible piece of evidence conveying the beauty that resides within.
Yousuf Karsh, an acclaimed portraitist whose work I greatly admire, said, “There is a brief moment when all there is in a (wo)man’s mind and soul and spirit is reflected through his eyes, hands, and attitude. This is the moment to record.” I am not comparing myself to the brilliant Karsh, simply communicating my desire to be just as good. My clients will feel both my absolute commitment to creating a beautiful portrait of and for them and also my compassion for their journey.
It is important for me to say to you that this is not a ‘pet project’ wherein women who are vulnerable will need to ‘fit my aesthetic’; rather, this is ALL about my clients and THEIR journeys. If a woman is newly diagnosed with, say, Cancer, she may wish to have a beautiful portrait before her treatments begin and she potentially loses her hair, her breasts, or whatever is necessary to preserve her life; perhaps a woman is mid treatment and is recognizing her inner strength and wishes to have a portrait conveying that part of her journey; maybe a woman has stood her ground against the beast, has won, and wishes to celebrate HOPE; or, maybe, a woman is facing the very real risk that her loved one will be taken too soon and she wants photos together with them…all of these women, and their loved ones, are welcome in my studio and each will be met with my open heart and my continually improving skills.
Darwin and I want to introduce a new feature on our blog called Inspirations. The purpose of this new feature is to highlight exceptional creative work by visual artists. We are honoured to share with you the work of photographer Dan Baumbach. We have long been a fan of Dan’s sensitive eye and we really love his abstract nature photography. Below is a recent image of Dan’s that crosses the boundary of abstraction and grand landscape. It goes to show why knowing and revisiting a place is so important to develop a personal connection to an area. Inspiring stuff Dan; thanks for sharing!
Dan tells us about the making of the image:
This was taken a couple of weeks ago in Eldorado Canyon State Park, just south of Boulder Colorado. Eldorado Canyon is a favorite haunt of mine. The canyon climbs through these beautifully colored cliffs that always thrill me. I first discovered “Eldo” my first week in Boulder, four years ago and I immediately tried to capture the incredible beauty and magic of the place, but it’s only in the last six months that I’ve gotten anything that I feel does it justice. I’m usually there early in the morning before the climbers and crowds mob the place. I love seeing the morning sun illuminating crevices and trees as it rises. I’ve tried to photograph these striped walls many times before. This time I was hoping that the early sun would just give some nice highlights without being too contrasty. It looks so inviting, yet is so remote.