Abstract Forest Photography – Using Motion Blur

People looking for a unique fine art photographic wall art often find images made with intentional motion blur a wonderful options. There are two popular methods for incorporating motion blur into an image. In this post we’ll look at using intentional camera movement as a creative tool. The resulting photos have an abstract, impressionistic look and are often very appealing to viewers. Many landscape photographers struggle with how to create this style of photographs. In this article I’ll share a few recent examples of this form of fine art photography as well as a short explanation of how to create similar photos.

First, and example of this style of woodlands photography.

The above image was made in the Croatan National Forest near Newport, North Carolina. As you can see the technique provides a painterly look to the photograph. While slightly abstract in nature, the viewer is still easily able to recognize that it is an image of trees and grasses.,, a woodlands photograph.

Photographers are typically doing everything they can to avoid blur in their photographs and to insure a sharp, in-focus view of the subject. We stress over shutter speed, focus, lenses or bodies with image stabilization features and solid platforms such as tripods. However, to create this style the photographer must embrace not only allowing the camera to move, but purposely doing so.

For the images in this article I used a telephoto lens. With a long lens you can get motion blur with shorter shutter speeds than with wider angle lenses. I selected the “slowest” ISO setting available on the camera. In this case ISO 100. I close the aperture, higher f/stop number, so a longer shutter speed will be needed to get correct exposure. If the lens has image stabilization I shut that off. Handholding the camera and lens I aim a bit above the area I want included in the finished image, focus, then start slowly panning the camera from top to bottom. As I slowly move the camera down I release the shutter. It’s really that simple.

I find that not every subject works well for this style of digital photography. Don’t be afraid to try it on a variety of scenes however. Sometimes you’ll like the results. Other times you won’t. Also experiment with panning speed. You may find that a slower or faster movement will work best for the subject you’re imaging. Try top to bottom movement, bottom to top movement as well as angular movement to find what you like best.

Canvas Art

For the non-photographers that might like to add some of this style of wall art to their collection, you can visit my portfolio at http://bob-decker.pixels.com to purchase prints, canvases and other products. Or simply click on any of the photos included in this post to be taken to that image in my online store.

Curious about what the environment where these photos were made looks like without the camera movement technique? Below is an image made in the same general area.

Buy Art Online

Let me know what you think. Do you like the motion blur images or do you prefer the more standard approach? Was the description of how to make this type of photo helpful? Be sure to tell me in the comments.

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This entry was posted in Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Photo Tip, Uncategorized.

One Comment

  1. Sharon October 16, 2021 at 2:09 pm #

    I love the motion blur, Bob! It’s a great idea to try new techniques. Thanks for the reminder to change things up a bit!

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