Photographing a Purposeful Blur
Photographers spend all of the time looking for suitable subjects, setting the controls to capture the best image, freezing all movement, angling for new perspectives, in short making sure than nothing goes wrong with the photo that they are about to record.
However, some images may appear as if something went wrong because they are a little blurred. This can sometimes be done on purpose. There are some occasions where the image may benefit from some blur. If the subject expresses an emotion or a state of mind like confusion or has a very rich and powerful color but the subject itself is not that powerful like a orange bouncing ball or the subject is full of color but the image as a whole does not seem to stand out, then perhaps blurring the shot intentionally may be more of a solution.
The images recorded this way may carry an air of impressionist art which is the actual purpose of this theme.
Of special interest are subjects that have an inherent strong color tone but by themselves are rather unimpressive. A field of green and tan tall grasses may not make a good photographic subject but if the image of this field is allowed to blur by the motion of the wind, they resulting product is an impressionist work of art. A flock of birds flying high in the sky all in unison and formation may not be an impressive photographic subject, but allowing a little blur in the recording stage creates a shape of "moving" lines and shapes which is sure to capture an audience's imagination.
A photograph of a fast speed bike if taken properly freezes the action and you will be able to see the entire subject quite clearly and very crisply, but if you want to represent a sense of "speed" in the scene, then allowing for a little blur will show most of the scene clearly but will trail some streaks of color. Images that include people depending on the foreground elements and the overall scene can be made to show an emotion when a little purposeful blur is added.
The amount of blur will determine how much of an impressionist piece the image turns out to be. Too much blur and the subject is lost within the scene, too little and it just seems to be a bad photograph. by adding just the right amount of blur the image becomes an in between sample; part subject part emotion.
You can use this technique to add an atmosphere of fun to the entire image where a static shot will just not be an attention grabber such as a shot of dogs running and frolicking amongst themselves. A stoic frozen shot can be just boring and uninteresting, but allow for a little blur and the interaction readily becomes apparent.
Place a toy in a moving platform such as a spinning wheel like the ones found at kid's parks, spin the wheel while you focus and capture the image of the toy, note that with this particular scene you will need to pan the subject; follow the subject/toy while you record the image. A static subject can be made more of a good shot with some intentional blurring as well as out of focus too. A string of light bulbs colored or just plain white ones seem to grow as if by magic when the image is slightly thrown out of focus and given some blur at the same time.
Picture a young woman with a bright and colorful umbrella. By having the young lady be still while at the same time twirling the umbrella behind her gives the scene an interesting appeal.
Practice this technique on various subjects, try using different shutter speeds for each subject; for example if your camera settings recommends a speed of 125 then try one at 60.
This technique is not for everyone, any blur if the scene does not warrant it can turn a good image into a bad one. If you are interested in pursuing this style, make sure that you research the various techniques that are currently in use and browse through various samples.
It is always a good idea to capture one clear and crisp image and one slightly blurred, if one doesn't work then perhaps the other one will.
Avail yourself of some impressionist readings and sample images too to gather a basic understanding of what this art styles composes. Also worth noting is that this technique works on static and fluid subjects but it's better suited for subjects on the move or you will have to be the originator of the movement.
This technique is also very similar to using a shallow dept of field, shifting the focus while recording an image and others, so it should be used judiciously and only when you can record an image that will appear better blurred than static.
- 45 Beautiful Motion Blur Photos | Smashing Magazine
Photos taken with a camera do not represent a single moment of time. Due to technological constraints these shots stand for some scene over a brief period of time. This time frame depends on the camera's shutter speed. In motion blur, any object movi
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© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez
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