Category Archives: Impressionism

More Autumn Forest Impressionism

Panning the camera is another technique I love to use in order to create an impression of the scene in front of me.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

This was quite early in the fall, and there were only hints of the autumn colours.

I miss the fall colours, but fortunately, spring is just around the corer, with its palette of fresh hues. The autumn definitely has a different mood to it, and every year I try to go out and photograph nature as much as I can.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

The autumn colours were in full bloom and the foliage was backlit, the ideal lighting situation for translucent objects

The amount of panning you need to create the kind of photographs in this post is going to depend on what kind of focal length you use. I used a 35mm lens on a cropped sensor, corresponding roughly to 50mm on a full frame camera.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

I didn’t particularly like this photo when I got home and downloaded the pictures from my camera. But it has grown on me and is now one of my favourites. This is why I always wait some time before editing my photos, so I get a more ‘objective’ opinion, if that ever is possible.

I typically choose 1/6s as my shutter speed for panning trees in the forest. Too long a shutter speed and I find it hard to keep the up and down motion straight enough. On the other hand, a fast shutter speed is not giving me enough of a motion blur.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

I wanted to get a little bit of the ground in my composition. It took a number of tries to get the result I wanted, as it is quite a bit harder to frame your shots when panning.

The best compromise that works for you may be different, and it always takes a bit of experimentation to find the settings that suit your style best.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

I took a pic from roughly the same vantage point a couple of years ago. But this time around, the photograph came out quite differently. When photographing nature, no two days are the same.

I would really encourage you to give this technique a try. You can see how it works with an autumn forest. You should experiment with different kinds of subjects. I know I will.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

when I saw this scene, I know I had a photograph or two, but it took me some time to figure out the best vantage point. Always work your subject.

Panning the camera to create an impressionist photography of an autumn forest

I learned this from Bryan F Peterson: what is the best time to take a vertical photo? Right after you take the horizontal.

 

Autumn Forest Impressionism

Impressionist photography is one of the personal projects I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. And since autumn is my favourite season, photographically speaking,  I strive to take as many impressionist pictures as I can during the fall.

Multiple in camera exposures of a tree in a fall forest

I immediately noticed this tree. I was attracted by the pastel colours.

One of the techniques for rendering impressionist pictures involves in camera multiple exposures. I learned it from one of my photographic heroes, Bryan Peterson.

Multiple in camera exposures of a fall forest to create an impressionist photograph

The leaves were backlit, an ideal situation. And I figured the touch of red/orange would make the picture ‘pop’.

Working in the forest, I found that moving the camera down a little bit after each frame produces the most pleasing results. How much movement is a matter of taste and also depends on the focal length of your lens. The photographs in this post were taken with a 35mm lens on a DX camera, corresponding to a 50mm lens for a full frame sensor.

Multiple in camera exposures of a fall forest to create an impressionist photograph

It is harder to get the overcast sky out of a vertical composition, and I believe this is the reason I have fewer of these. But I’m very pleased with this one.

A bit of experimentation is in order, and with practice, you develop the muscle memory that allows you to generate impressionist photographs of your liking without much trial and error.

Multiple in camera exposures of a fall forest to create an impressionist photograph

I took a picture from pretty much the same vantage point the year before, but the colours are never quite the same from year to year (or week to week for that matter)

But even with the practice I’ve got under my belt, I always take several pictures of a given composition to make sure there is at least one I really like. If your cameras allows for multiple exposures, I would encourage you to give this technique a try.

Multiple in camera exposures of a fall forest to create an impressionist photograph

I try to find compositions with a pleasing arrangement of trees. It’s harder than you think.

Urban Impressionism: Edinburgh Tour Buses

The use of camera movement and/or zooming during a long exposure is a technique I learned from one of my photographic heroes, Bryan Peterson. It takes experimentation to figure out which photographic subjects are likely to produce interesting images.

Edinburgh tour bus, impressionist photography using zooming and camera rotation

I really like this old style tour bus and I was delighted I could capture an impressions picture of this wonderful subject.

So a while back, I decided to try out this technique in an urban setting, namely central Edinburgh. I was quickly intrigued by the many colourful tour buses going by.

Edinburgh tour bus, impressionist photography using zooming and camera rotation

I love the colour red as it is an attention grabber in photographs.

The images in this post were taken with an exposure of 1/8s, turning the camera while holding the zoom ring. It takes quite a bit of practice, and I had to try my luck on a lot of passing cars and buses to get the three images you see here. I really look forward to trying this technique on other urban photography subjects.

Edinburgh tour bus, impressionist photography using zooming and camera rotation

This tour bus seemed to go by at a higher frequency than the others, and I therefore had multiple attempts at a “bus impression”.

Impressionist Photography: Winter Forest Pans

This is the winter instalment of my forest impressionist photography project using the panning technique.

Impressionist photography using the panning technique in the forest of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh in the winter

I discovered this location in the fall and was curious to see what it would look like during the winter.

While I’ve been using this approach for some time now, I’m still surprised by the results I get. This luckily means there must be many, many other photography subjects out there for which one can get interesting panning shots.

Impressionist photography using the panning technique in the forest of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh in the winter

It was one of the few locations deep inside the forest where I managed to get the panning technique to work.

From experience, I’ve found that it isn’t a good idea to dismiss something out of hand without giving it a try, because some of the most interesting discoveries I’ve made with impressionist photography techniques were ‘happy accidents’. So experimentation is essential. On the flip side, that also means one must discard of lot of attempts, but that isn’t too much of a problem with today’s digital technology.

Impressionist photography using the panning technique in the forest of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh in the winter

I found it earlier to use the panning technique in soft light, and the clear advantage of the winter season in Scotland is that there are many, many cloudy days with even soft light.

In the film days, such a project must have cost a fortune. Not only is the cost of taking a picture minimal with digital, the immediate feedback from the display at the back of the camera allows one to adjust from shot to shot, thus enhancing the chance of getting a usable photo. And in spite of this, it does take quite a few takes to get it right.

Impressionist photography using the panning technique in the forest of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh in the winter

I find vertical shots more challenging when panning the camera. 

And while I’ve slowly grown to like the muted colours of the winter season, the spring colours now on display make me itch to pursue this personal photo impressionism project.

Impressionist Photography: Winter Forest Multiple Exposures

Last year, I did skip the winter season when it came to my personal project on photo impressionism. I didn’t think I could get any interesting images. I should have known better.

Multiple exposures of winter forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

I revisited this scene, which I had discovered in the fall. The muted early tones evoke rather different feelings than the bright fall colours

It is generally a bad idea to dismiss a photographic idea without giving it a try, I have learned. Sure, sometimes my initial gut feeling that I won’t get interesting pictures is confirmed. But I found that if I really try to explore the subject, I will at worst come up with some better ideas for next time, and at best get some more photographs to add to my body of work. It’s always worth a try.

Multiple exposures of winter forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

I found there was a lot of dead wood lying on the ground during this winter, and these horizontal lines interfered with the vertical tree lines when taking the multiple exposures. So I had to find a way to frame my photographs without the wood on the ground. This is one of the few pictures where I managed to do that.

So I decided this time around to go back to Blackford Hill and see if there weren’t any interesting images to capture during the winter season. I was pleasantly surprised. This post shows my favourite multiple exposure photographs of the winter forest in Blackford Hill.

Multiple exposures of winter forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This is a picture I would never have taken even a year ago, and was a very pleasant surprise.

Sure, I prefer the fall (my favourite season for this kind of project) or the spring, but the muted earthly tones found during the winter season have an appeal of their own. What do you think?

Impressionist Photography: Fall Forest Multiple Exposures

In my previous blog post, I showed some fall forest impressions obtained by panning the camera. Another impressionist technique I like is taking multiple exposures in camera. In some cases it produces images I like better than the ones I get from panning the camera, but in other instances panning is the way to go. I make every effort to take pans and multiple exposures of the same subject, and chose the ones I prefer later on. And sometimes, I can’t decide.

Multiple exposures of fall forest in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This is one subject where panning didn’t really work for me. I much, much prefer this multiple exposure version. Taken in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh.

Finding subjects that work with multiple exposures is a matter of trial and error. I stumbled upon trees as a good subject for this technique while walking in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh. I then tried the technique on multiple trees in the forest of Blackford Hill. Since I liked the results, I decided to go back to the same location to document the seasonal changes.

Multiple exposure photograph of the fall forest in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh.

This is another example of a multiple exposure version woking better than the panning shot. And I would not have been able to decide which technique worked best prior to taking the photos.

I do these kinds of personal projects because they help me refine my vision as a photographer. When starting out in photography, one is very often frustrated because the images out of the camera do not correspond to what one saw on location. This is because the digital camera doesn’t see the world the way we do.

Multiple exposure photograph of the fall forest in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This scene is one example where I like both versions, multiple exposures and panning (see my previous blog post for the panning shot)

It is thus important to be able to visualise in one’s mind what the photograph is going to look like given the scene in front of us.

Multiple exposure photograph of the fall forest in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh.

Here’s another case where I cannot decide if I like the multiple exposure or panning shot better.

My light painting and impressionism projects do require a great deal of pre-visualisation, and I believe they’ll make me a better photographer.

Multiple exposures photograph of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh.

It’s always a good idea to take both vertical and horizontal compositions. I find it harder to take multiple exposures photograph when holding the camera vertically.

Impressionist Photography: Fall Forest Pans

Fall is my favourite season for taking pictures in the forest. I love the feeling you get walking around. But with the amount of detail modern cameras are able to reproduce, it is sometimes difficult to convey that feeling in pictures.

Panning picture of fall forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, early fall

It was rather early in the fall, and thus there were only hints of the autumn foliage colours. This is one of my favourite panning shots.

Panning the camera during a long exposure is a very effective way of getting rid of the fine details and leaving the viewer with just an impression of the scene the photographer is looking at.

Panning picture of fall forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, late fall

A few weeks later after the first photograph was taken, the fall colours were in full force.

And from day to day and week to week, the colours of the forest change and one gets different pictures every time one goes out, even if choosing the exact same vantage point. Especially since it is rather difficult to replicate the camera movements from one time to the next.

Panning picture of a few trees with fall colours on Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This is an area I had walked by and not paid attention to in the spring and summer. But the wonderful fall colours grabbed by attention and I worked this location for a while, getting a few pictures I like very much.

All of the pictures in this post were taken on Blackford Hill, in Edinburgh. I wanted to get pictures from that same location for different seasons. I think for 2015/16, I’ll be looking at other wooded areas for my personal forest impressionist photography projects.

Panning photograph of three trees with fall colours, taken on Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This is another photograph from the same location as above. From a different point of view. And the light did change from one shot to the next, as this picture has slightly waker tones than the previous one.

 

Impressionist Photography: Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

I’ve taken quite a few photographs using impressionist techniques in the forest of Blackford Hill. Since I now have quite a good grasp of the kind of forest subjects that make for interesting pans or multiple exposures, it was time to see what other locations have to offer in that department.

Pan during a long exposure of trees in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

I had to wait for the clouds to cover the sun, in order for the lighting on this scene to get more even. I then panned the camera up and down during long exposures

Princes Street Gardens is one of the many public parks in Edinburgh. It is centrally located, in-between the hill Edinburgh castle is built on and the main shopping area of central Edinburgh, Princes Street.

Multiple exposures of three trees in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

“Threes”. In graphic design, the “rule of odds” states that surrounding an object with an even number of surrounding objects leads to a composition that is more pleasing to the eye. In this picture, I combines the rule of odds with the technique of multiple exposures.

The park can be quite busy, so it was important to select a relatively quiet time to shoot impressionist photographs there. It is quite rich in subject matter, and I was able to get nice pans and multiple exposure shots.

Abstract of plants, panning the camera up and down during a long exposure

When there are too many people around, it is time to move in closer and look for abstract compositions of plants and flowers by panning the camera up and down.

On busier days, moving in closer for some abstracts can produce interesting results.

Apple Store Edinburgh Impressionism

It was referred to by “The Scotsman” as Edinburgh’s worst kept secret. Apple is finally going to open a store in Scotland’s capital.

And I’m sure that’s what the savvy marketing people at Apple wanted: people talking about the new store well before the opening, to build up the hype. The future Apple store is surrounded by a white wall with the famous logo emerging out of a pattern of colourful dots.

Apple logo emerging out of a pattern of colourful dots on wall surrounding the new Edinburgh Apple store

The well known logo on the wall surrounding the new Edinburgh Apple store

I was not able to find out when the store will open, though. When the Apple executives want to keep a secret, it looks like they can.

When I first saw the colours on that white wall, I immediately thought of many photographic opportunities. Since I didn’t have a camera with me at the time, I made a mental note to return later.

Multiple exposures of Apple logo on the wall surrounding the new Edinburgh Apple store

Multiple exposures in camera taken from the same vantage point as the picture above. I moved the camera slightly from shot to shot.

I first tried to do multiple exposures by moving the camera slightly from shot to shot, to give a photograph with a pointillist feel to it. Pointillism was developed by Paul Signac and Georges Seurat, as an evolution of impressionism.

Photograph of Apple logo on the wall surrounding the New Edinburgh Apple store, zooming during a long exposure

Zooming during a long exposure gives the image a dynamic feel.

The second technique I used was zooming in during a long exposure, to give the picture some movement and dynamism.

Then is was time to move in closer and try the same approaches on just a part of the dot pattern, to get some colourful, abstract pictures.

Multiple exposures of colourful dots on the wall surrounding the new Edinburgh Apple store

Rotating the camera after each shot of a 9 exposure combination, I obtained this abstract picture of colour.

Multiple exposures of colourful dots on the wall surrounding the new Edinburgh Apple store

Moving the camera a little bit after each shot of 9 in camera exposures

Colour abstract of dots obtained by zooming and moving the camera during a long exposure

Zooming and turing the camera during a long exposure.

Colour abstract of dots obtained by zooming and moving the camera during a long exposure

Another example of zooming and turing the camera during a long exposure.

Colour abstract of dots obtained by zooming and moving the camera during a long exposure

Third example of zooming and turing the camera during a long exposure.