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.
For Allison George, a walk through her neighborhood yielded a harvest of intimate details of the neighborhood houses. Lovely work, Allison!
Mike Dickie tells us that this post on oopoomoo is the first place he has ever displayed a photo on the internet! He is an internet virgin(!)… but we are happy he took the courage to do a Something from Nothing assignment and give it to us to publicly display. Welcome to the big world of sharing on the web Mike!
When it’s a completely lousy day – like today — foggy, grey, cold, icy… I find it a great day to go out for a walk in the ‘hood’ and try “seeing” the beauty of last year’s flowers. Today was one of those days. I find the light is terrific for this type of photography. There is still beauty in the remnants of last year’s growth and the warm earth tones just so work for me. Taking pictures of summer colour is great but seeing the true detail, beauty, and life the winter garden still has to offer is one of my favourite things to do this time of year.
I have been reading and following oopoomoo and enjoying the “something from nothing” project. It inspired me to take images the other day in my barn when I was out working on the stalls. I found myself thinking about finding subjects to photograph in my vicinity. I started looking at brooms, shovels, rakes, buckets and then started to see things…attached are a few images inspired by the something for nothing project.
Photography challenges are a great way to get the ol’ creativity gears working and a great reminder for me that there are photographs to be made everywhere at every time if we let observation and creativity hang out together for a while. When I read about the oopoomoo Something From Nothing challenge I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t just want to participate. I needed to participate. I challenged myself to create images within 10 paces of my computer and devote one hour to the process. This would be good for me. It would be different. It would take me outside my comfort zone which is a good thing for an artist. See I love traveling, be it around the beautiful Province of Alberta or half way around the world, and creating photographs of the people and places I see. Traveling is fun because the experiences are fresh and what I see is new to my eyes. What kind of images, though, could I create with the stuff I live with everyday? Here are the results…
Dan Wheeler sends in his Something from Nothing submission:
Working in an industrial setting can be, well quite a stark environment. Industrial lighting, noise, vibrations and on a bad day things get ‘odorous’. For many workers this is not a place of pretty curves or graphically appealing images, it is a place of employment where vision is replaced with production. Harsh lines, the constant squares and the ever present triangle of structure are all the common forms that make up a workspace. Functional, supportive, stable. A true slice of efficient construction.
Digging deeper though and looking at the forms within the forms the workplace opens up as the building takes on a life that to the worker becomes something to be admired. For me I am grateful that I can enjoy the outdoors which is where I do most of my camera work but unfortunately as most know we have to somehow make a living to be able to travel or afford the luxury of the outdoors. Over the past couple of years I have been adding the human element into what I photograph. Do I enjoy it? It is a challenge, but has helped in finding what I really like? For me yes it has.
What I have found is that the blending of light, steel and product has become a portrait that is usually left only for those that have the artist eye or desire to see into a place.
So look around where you work and put aside the daily walk downs or blank stares at the desk top and see what is present. A whole new world can open up and add to your version of the cubicle.
My husband and I were on a quick turn around trip with a one night stay in a hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, my husband set off to do some errands. I figured this would be the only quiet shooting time I would get on the entire weekend (and I was right) so out came my camera. These are a few of the shots that I came up with.
Well, I saw every spot there was to see in my bathroom but had to respond to the challenge of making something out of nothing. I can’t take a picture of the entire bathroom because it is too small but you can see much of it in the first shot. Then I explored different angles and close-ups and, despite having a small space, I found the objects or close-ups intriguing, especially with the light on them. And thanks to you, my bathroom is now the cleanest room in my home!