A Robin Darkly

I love this sillouette of a robin on a fence. It looks like he has somewhere to go, something to do. Could it have something to do with that towering object in the background? The picture  evokes a subtle mystery. There’s a question, here left unaswered. It’s fun to be able to look at it multiple times and each time see a different story.

 

How to Take Good Blurry Photographs

Photographers spend most of their time trying to take sharp photos. They set their camera on a tripod and ensure a fast enough shutter speed. They’ll sit around for hours waiting for the wind to die down before they trigger the camera. And when they do trip the shutter, it’s usually with a remote switch so they don’t have to touch the camera and shake it.

I’ll admit, I typically do the same. There’s nothing worse than taking a shot that you think will look amazing when printed, only to discover there was a slight shake in the camera and now the picture just looks bad.

Lately, however, I’ve been experimenting with the practice of intentionally blurring some photographs. I got into it by accident. I was out taking photographs one day when, for whatever reason, I moved the camera significantly while triggering the shutter. The lines and color combining that resulted were cool. They almost looked like paint brush strokes. So I decided to try doing it on purpose. I would paint with my camera.

There’s a big difference between a blurry photo and an intentionally blurred photo. Blurry photos look like you were trying to get a clear, sharp image but you didn’t know what you were doing. An intentional or artistically blurred photo should remind you of something in a fine art gallery. If you’re going to try it, keep in mind that you still have to adjust for the optimum shutter speed, ISO and aperture.

When I shoot blurs I’m out in the early morning or late evening for the best light. I’ll set my ISO at 100 and open up my aperture fairly wide to an f/16 or f/22. There’s no need to blur your background with a short depth of field since the whole image will be soft. The shutter speed should be slow enough to allow your movement to matter. However, you don’t want it too slow or there will be no distinction at all.

The point is, you still have to pay attention to everything you normally would when shooting any type of photography. With the wrong light, subject, composition or exposure, your blur photography will still look bad.

Below is one of my favorite blurs. I was staying at an Airbnb in western Colorado farm country. While I was taking a walk one early morning I looked off in some bare trees in the middle of a field. I couldn’t believe it when I saw a muster of peacocks perched on the branches. There were eight or ten of them.

I didn’t have my camera at the time so I came back the next morning with it and tried to capture a few images. It was pretty early (read low light) and I was hand holding the camera. I knew I wasn’t going to get perfect pictures so after taking a few to prove to myself that I was actually seeing apparently wild peacocks in the middle of Colorado, I tried taking some blurs of them while they were flying down from the trees. The result was an oil painting like image.

Since then, I’ve blurred many subjects. It adds a whole new aspect to my photography and gives some variation to what I produce. It’s also artistically freeing during those times when I know I can’t capture perfectly sharp pictures. You can use any situation to your advantage, even when the situation seems to be giving you a disadvantage.

 

Morning Walk Photos

Here are a few photos from this morning’s walk. It seems like there’s something new every time I look around. It’s amazing how much things change from day to day, month to month and year to year.

Sometimes the changes are slow so we acclimate to them and don’t really notice them. But if we take the time to slow down and be intentional about observing the world around us, amazing things become apparent.

These weedy bushes were overtaking a small corner of a field that’s being developed. I think I’ll visit these again and get some better pictures before they are inevitably removed by the construction crew.

 

Someone else must have been out for an early walk when this sidewalk was put down.

 

At first, this one didn’t make sense to me. Then I realized how much the apartment complex this dumpster serves will save never having to empty it. Brilliant!

30 Day Photo Challenge Wrap Up

From desert badlands to Rocky Mountain meadows I’ve incorporated a lot of different themes, styles and subjects into last month’s 30 day photo-a-day challenge. As it went along I noticed I was having to really consider what it was I wanted to shoot that day. Sometimes I would just snap a picture of whatever happened to be lying on the counter. Other days I was more deliberate about what I wanted to capture.

Subject, perspective and composition have all been areas I’ve had to really think hard about and try to improve. Some days I did better than others. Thirty days was a good amount of time to do something like this. It’s enough time to go through the stages of seeing the obvious, then getting frustrated at the lack of obvious subjects and finally, forcing the mind and eyes to work and observe what’s really around us.

I went through a few days when I was wishing I had never started the challenge. But now that it’s over, I just want it to keep going. However, I do want to post other things than pictures each day so I’ll call it officially over. I’m sure many more photos will grace these pages into the future though.

 

Photo Challenge Day 30 – Bugging Out

For my last day of my photo challenge I spied this little guy on a strawberry plant in my back yard. It’s amazing how many things you can find to photograph right in and around your house. Once the obvious subjects are out of the way, you’re forced to pay attention to the details of your surroundings. Different weather, times of day and perspectives can all lead to more interesting and creative pictures.

30 Days of Photos – Day 29

Day 30 – Bugging Out