Tag Archives: intentional camera movement

How I made this: Photo Impressionist Waves

There is a balance in impressionist photography between the moment you remember and the  precise instant of the photograph. My exploration has focussed on finding approaches that expand time to become that moment. Opacity Blend Image Stacking produces a result that comes close to that balance. This is what I do.

1. create the stack using Lightroom

 

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The images are selected for the stack. © Stephen D’Agostino
  •  The images for this photo impressionistic wave were shot at 60 fps using Nikon’s N1 V3. I shoot hand held being careful to maintain a constant point on the subject even though the camera is panning. The images are then imported into Lightroom.
  • The images are then selected for the stack. The more images you use, the more impressionistic the effect.
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Open as layers in Photoshop. © Stephen D’Agostino
  • Right click to reveal the menu then select +   .
  • Since I often use Starcircleacademy’s Advanced Stacker app to create additional texture I also export the images to a separate folder at this point.

2. digital darkroom in Photoshop

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Opacity blend to create the photo impressionistic effect. © Stephen D’Agostino
  • In Photoshop the stack has to be blended to produce the base image. A good blend can be achieved by starting at the bottom of the stack and then reducing the opacity of the layer above it by about 50% until you reach 3-5%. Don’t be mechanistic with this step. Creativity with opacity significantly impacts on the finished result.
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At this step you have a good base image. © Stephen D’Agostino
  • I merge the stack after balancing the opacity to produce a manageable file size. Note the blend results in a flat image. I address that later in my workflow.
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The Advanced Stacker App creates some nice textures. © Stephen D’Agostino
  • If I am going to use the Advanced Stacker App I run it here and then drag the layer over to my stacked image for blending. Note that the App is really just another opacity blend using the lighten mode. In doing so I find it often emphasises movement.
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Create the base image using an opacity blend. © Stephen D’Agostino
  • Again I opacity blend until I am happy with the image.
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This white point/black point was achieved using Vincent Versace’s action. © Stephen D’Agostino

 

 

 

  • The more traditional darkroom work begins at this point. I colour balance using the black point/white point/midpoint  technique.
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Balance the white point/black point layers. © Stephen D’Agostino

 

 

  • Often the black point/white point layers have to be balanced.
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Add contrast. © Stephen D’Agostino

 

 

  • The process to this point has produced a flat lifeless image as a result the image averaging that has taken place. I add dimensionality to my photo impressionistic images using Nik’s Pro Contrast filter.
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Nik’s Tonal Contrast Filter. © Stephen D’Agostino
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Midtone Contouring. © Stephen D’Agostino
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I lie to crop at the end of my process. © Stephen D’Agostino
  • While many photographers crop at the beginning of their darkroom process to reduce the file size, I like to see what emerges and crop based on the results.

3. the final image

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Waves breaking on a St Lucian beach. © Stephen D’Agostino

 

Vanda Ralevska: Light in the Dark of the Forest

Guest post by Vanda Ralevska.

Over the years photography for me became much more than recording where I have been. Conveying the impression that the scene in front of me leaves on my mind became more important than a purely literal representation.

In my photographs I strive to capture the atmosphere and emotions that the surrounding world evokes in me, and hopefully pass on the feeling to the viewers. Photo impressionism is one of the techniques that allows to simplify the subject down to its essence, and reveal the sense that it creates. Similarly to when you glance at a scene without focusing on detail. The impression it leaves is that of colours, shapes and textures.

Therefore I dedicated a part of my work to experimenting with the intentional camera movement (ICM) and multiple exposure techniques commonly used in photo impressionism.

This image is a result of using these techniques. I was standing at the edge of a woodland, when I spotted the regular pattern created by the tree trunks, interspersed by the autumnal colours of the leaves on the forest floor. The colours were gradually merging into the darkness of the thick forest with no distracting highlights. A perfect combination of colours and shapes to paint with the camera.

Light In The Dark Of The Forest
Light In The Dark Of The Forest © Vanda Ralevska

 

I experimented with ICM, however I was not very happy with the results, which were simply streaks of colours.  I wanted to preserve a little bit of texture in the leaves and tree trunks. Therefore I decided to use the double exposure functionality of my camera. The first exposure was a straight image with f5.6 aperture, focused on the trees closest to the camera. For the second exposure I chose a smaller aperture f16 to increase the shutter speed and to be able to capture the camera movement.

I post-processed the image in Adobe Lightroom 5, where I increased the contrast and clarity. I used the radial tool to darken the edges. Then I brought the image into Adobe Photoshop CS6 to further enhance the contrast and colours using the curves and NikSoftware ColorPro plugin.

The result is just enough detail to portray a late autumnal day in a forest, but without all the distractions that our minds tend to dwell on when observing the real world.

Sunset Wave
Sunset Wave. © Vanda Ralevska

Editors Note:  This is the first image of Vanda’s to catch my attention. I found it on  Flickr where Vanda regularly exhibits her photo impressionistic vision. You can also find her on Facebook. Her website can be found at http://www.mylenscapes.co.uk/ Vanda’s work is definately worth checking out. Thanks for sharing your technique.

Hal Eastman: Photo Impressionist

Vol 6 of Photograph is out and features a great portfolio/article on Hal Eastman. You can buy  a copy at http://craftandvision.com/products/photograph-no-6.

Cover - Photograph Vol 6
Cover – Photograph Vol 6

Eastman’s portfolio focuses on slow shutter ICM images.   They are really quite ethereal; almost painterly. The portfolio alone is worth the $8 magazine price.

Natural Dance- Hal Eastman
Natural Dance- Hal Eastman

The portfolio is drawn from two recent collections. I prefer the “Natural Dance” images over his “Horse Rider” collection. The slow shutter adds to the mystery created by his use of natural locations. Because of the trees they have me thinking of Emily Carr although the subject matter is very different.

Eastman’s website is also worth a look. http://www.haleastman.com/ . He has a great collection called “Natural Rhythms” which is quite inspiring.

Natural Rhythms – Hal Eastman.

And don’t forget about the words. Eastman’s interview offers a glimpse into his process and creative ideology. Definitely worth a look.

Bob Crutcher: Photo Impressionist

Legs: One afternoon on Water Street. (ICM) by Bob Crutcher
Legs: One afternoon on Water Street. (ICM) by Bob Crutcher

I have been following Bob Cruthcher on Flicker for a couple of months now and enjoy his use of intentional camera movement (ICM) together with a slow shutter speeds to produce visually compelling images.

One of my goals this year is to feature the work of photographers who are experimenting with impressionistic technique.

I have been following Bob Cruthcher on Flicker for a couple of months now and enjoy his use of intentional camera movement (ICM) together with a slow shutter speeds to produce visually compelling images. Crutcher lives in St. John’s Newfoundland. Looking at his Flickr Photostream St. John’s is visually rich environment.

As one door closes... ICM. One afternoon on Water Street
As one door closes… ICM. One afternoon on Water Street by Bob Crutcher

Earlier this year Crutcher told me that “Legs” (the lead image above) was his favourite impressionistic photograph. It is a strong composition with lots of visual interest drawing the eye from left to right. I like the saturated colour and strong sense of motion. The exif data tells a lot about the technique. Shot using a Canon Rebel and a medium telephoto at 1/8th of a second, the camera appears to be moved slightly vertically during the exposure.

One afternoon on Water Street by Bob Crutcher
One afternoon on Water Street by Bob Crutcher

Vertical ICM isn’t new. Freeman Patterson, another east coaster, used it effectively in the mid 90’s to create trees with height and weight to rival an Emily Carr. But with a deft hand and a new point of view Crutcher has given the approach fresh look.

I also like the compositional range. Some images are tight crops; looking for the picture in the picture. Others are wide perspective like the one below. Nicely done Bob.

Winter fun by Bob Crutcher
Winter fun by Bob Crutcher

Technology Leads Art: Smartphones and the Rise of Photo Impressionism

red rocket

Technology and creative expression are closely linked. So it should come as no surprise that the rise of photo impressionism is closely linked to the success of the iPhone.

I recently explored that relationship in a post on my personal photography site. See http://www.dagostino.ca/technology-leads-art-smartphones-and-the-rise-of-photo-impressionism/

Why I shoot in the round and why photo impressionism? | Stephen D’Agostino Photography Blog

Apple Blossoms In The Round - 3

Some thoughts from my personal photography blog on why shoot photo impressionistic images.

Why I shoot in the round and why photo impressionism? | Stephen D’Agostino Photography Blog.