Monthly Archives: July 2014

Impressionist Photography: Twirls

In my previous posts “Impressionist Photography” and “Impressionist Photography: Spring Forest Pans”, I showed pictures obtained by moving the camera up or down during a long exposure. The camera movement removes a lot of the sharp details in the photograph and one is left with an impression of the scene.

Rotating and zooming during a long exposure of this group of flowers in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh produces an abstract twirl of colours

I used the technique on this group of flowers in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, to produce an abstract twirl of colours.

In this post I show you some pictures obtained by rotating the camera and zooming during the exposure. This produces abstract impressionist pictures, in that the subject is typically longer recognisable. I learned this technique from Bryan F Peterson, but I later found out that Freeman Patterson had been using it too, so I have no idea who first came up with the idea. By experimenting with the technique, I found it works well with a multicoloured subject.

Edinburgh Floral Clock in Princes Street Gardens. Rotating the camera and zooming during a long exposure to produce an abstract twirl of colour.

The Edinburgh Floral Clock in Princes Street Gardens has been photographed many, many times. So I thought I would try something different.


Urban Textures

A while back I took some wonderful online photography classes by Kathleen Clemons on Fine Art Nature Photography. Kathleen introduced me to the idea of superimposing textures on my images using Photoshop. In the Fine Art Nature Photography classes we had to chose our subjects from the natural world. So I first added textures to some photographs of flowers and trees, and very much like the results.

As a scientist I learned to develop an inquisitive attitude and a good question to ask is always ‘what if?’.

What if I added textures to images of urban scenes? Urban environments are replete with elements of designs such as lines and shapes, and sometimes colour. This was the reason I was attracted to take the two photographs below.

Newhaven, Edinburgh red warehouse with stairs

I loved the colours, lines and shapes of this building. It is only quite some time after taking this photograph that it occurred to me to try blending some texture with it.

In the above photograph, taken in the area of Edinburgh called Newhaven, the roof and pavement provide some texture to the composition, but by superimposing a texture on top of my original image, I created more of an ‘urban feel’ to the photograph.

Industrial blue building in Musselburgh. Lines, shapes and colour abound in the picture.

I was scouting the area when I saw this industrial building in Musselburgh. I quickly thought of this photographs when I started experimenting blending textures with urban photographs.

I was attracted to the industrial building in Musselburgh by the colour, lines and shapes. The walls also add texture to the composition, which I further enhanced by superimposing a texture of my own. As in the previous image, the final result has more of an ‘urban feel’ in my opinion than the original photograph.


The Colours of Musselburgh, Not Quite

A few weeks ago, I was doing some scouting for a music video project in Musselburgh. The band dropped their lead singer shortly after, so the project is on hold for now, but that is an entirely different story.

Since I was early for the meeting, I decided to walk around and do some sightseeing. An orange coloured wall soon attracted my attention for certain elements of design. Colour obviously, but also lines, texture, shape. I liked the mailbox in the wall, but not its colour. While red mailboxes can provide good colour contrast in quite a number of situations, it simply didn’t work for me with that orange wall. Nowadays if an object in the frame is the wrong colour, Photoshop can come to the rescue and the colour of the object can be changed. Which is what I did. A blue mailbox provides much better colour contrast against an orange wall. Don’t you think?

Musselburgh mailbox on an orange wall. The colour of the mailbox was changed from red to blue

You have likely never seen a blue mailbox before, but colour wise, this works much better than with the original red coloured mailbox

On the other hand, the green door worked just fine, so in this case I just left the colours alone.

Green door against an orange wall in Musselburgh, with some flowers  hanging from the top of the photograph

Green doesn’t provide as much colour contrast as blue against orange, but the two go well together.

The neighbours seemed to have taken notice of the wall and decided to be in harmony with the local colour scheme. The windows of that orange house intrigued me.

Couple of windows on an orange wall in Musselburgh

I’m really curious. What is behind these two windows?

Impressionist Photography: Spring Forest Pans

Blackford Hill Edinburgh impressionist picture of spring forest using the panning technique

I looked for a pleasing arrangement of the trees in my viewfinder before panning the camera a number of times to get this picture

This post is another instalment of my ongoing personal project involving impressionist photography. One of the ways to give photographs an impressionist look is camera movement during the exposure. The ensuing blurring of the image eliminates the details in the picture, and one is left with an ‘impression’ of the scene.

Blackford Hill Edinburgh impressionist picture of spring forest using the panning technique in Photoshop

The effect in this photograph was obtained in Photoshop. It is hard to distinguish from the effect obtained in camera. I much prefer the latter in that it gives me much more satisfaction as a photographer to get it done right in the camera rather than on the computer.

The pictures in this post were taken at Blackford Hill, Edinburgh. Just like the multiple exposure technique of a couple of posts back, panning requires quite a bit of experimentation. Moving the camera during the exposure is a mechanical skill that must be practiced. Some fine tuning is required in order to achieve the proper amount of blurring of the image.

Another Blackford Hill Edinburgh impressionist picture of spring forest using the panning technique

Here’s another example of panning the camera during the exposure to obtain an impressionist look. I was attracted to the tree in the foreground and adjusted my camera angle to get an arrangement of background trees I liked.