Sunday 11 April 2021

Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)

 There are times when photographers get stuck in a creative rut and they don't feel the urge to take their camera out and use it. It happens to me quite often and my gear can be in the cupboard for months usually during the Winter. My cure for those moments is a search of Youtube for inspiration and to get my mojo back. It worked last Autumn when I discovered "painting with light" and it also introduced me to "ICM" or "Intentional Camera Movement"

Panning for blur at 1/400 sec

We use ICM every time we photograph fast moving sports. The technique is to track the bike using a slowish shutter speed, in this case 1/400 sec to capture the bike sharp and in focus while adding blur to the wheels and the background to enhance the feeling of movement and speed. 

The creative alternative is to move the camera during a slow shutter actuation to intentionally blur the whole image and hopefully create something artistic. Of course shooting hand held is a must and before starting I'd ensure that your camera sensor is clean of dust because shooting at f16 - f22 will result in a dust spots.

Sand Dunes - f20, 0.8 sec

Dee Estuary, Wirral - f20, 0.4 sec

 The results are very hit and miss and it can take a lot of practice with shutter timings and camera movements to get something that you like but digital images are free and the poor shots are easily deleted. The unpredictability can be fun though. In bright conditions I'm usually shooting at around f16 - f22 at ISO 100 with an NDx8 filter on the lens to get the shutter speed slow enough to blur the image. How fast or slow you move the camera and the direction of travel gives you different results. 

Dodging the Surf - f22, 0.6 sec

As a general rule of thumb, move the camera in a vertical direction for trees and horizontally for horizons but the rules are there to be broken. Twisting the camera or small zig zag motions will often result in something interesting. 

Coastal Grasses - f20, 0.8 sec

Pine Trees - f16, 0.8 sec

As well as vertical, horizontal, circular and zig zag motions, manually zooming in or out while pressing the shutter will give you a star burst effect. I've found that having a focal point in the center of the image worked best for me here. 

Morning Walk - f22, 0.5 sec

Add and extra movement and get a different result. By zooming in or out whilst turning the camera in a circular motion you get a star burst with a twist.

Star Burst with a Twist - f22, 0.3 sec

ICM isn't for everyone and my first images are not the best but if you're stuck in a creative rut then check out the work of Mark Reeves ARPS who uses double exposures and ICM to great effect in creating his Impressionist Landscapes. Have fun.