Instant Inspiration (33) – ICM in the woods

Fine Art Nature Photography

“Instant Inspirations” is my series for you if you feel you suffer from “Photographer’s Block”  or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried. Or at least not recently. Episode 33 is a Covid conform photographic activity and should inspire you to go out, properly socially distanced, and be creative. To find out what you can do with any camera that has manual controls, continue reading after the jump…

Fine Art Nature Photography

I did describe the ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) technique already in Episode 7 of my “Instant Inspirations” (you can find all of them in my free Learning Center).  But given the fact that Covid cases are spiking again in Germany, and Nuremberg being a real hot spot, I’m lacking any kind of motivation to take my camera to the Streets of Nuremberg for my usual Street Photography. But why venture far when the good starts just a few yards behind the house.

Fine Art Nature Photography

So I grabbed my Olympus OM-D E-M1X with the mZuiko 12-100mm F/4 and headed into the woods behind the house for some creative ICM shooting. While normally photographers are keen on taking pin sharp photos, this time I was intentionally dialing in a slow shutter speed of 2.5 seconds.

The effects I was after I wanted to create by moving the camera slightly left to right or up and down (or a combination of both movements) while shooting with a slow shutter speed.

Fine Art Nature Photography

Fine Art Nature Photography

Another option is to gyrate the camera while pressing the shutter, as you can see in the above image of the mushroom.

Fine Art Nature Photography

Effectively using ICM takes a bit of practice and trial and error, but you can really get some “artsy” effects in your images with this technique. Doing it during bright daylight in the woods has also some technical advantages, besides the different colors and shapes of foliage and tree trunks being perfect and patient subjects. Shooting with slow shutter speeds during the day means you have to stop down to a tiny aperture (I used f/16 or f/22 for almost all images) and your lowest native ISO. Out in the open, your photograph would probably still be overexposed, so you would to attach a Neutral Density Filter to further reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor. But under the cover of the trees the light usually is already reduced enough that you can get away with 2.5 secs of shutter speed, which are a good starting point for this technique.

Fine Art Nature Photography

Fine Art Nature Photography

I hope you take some inspirations from this photos. Take your camera, go out and experiment intentionally moving your camera while shooting with very slow shutter speeds. I would love to see your results, post a link to your images in the comment section. Have fun!


Related Posts:

Instant Inspiration (4) – Juxtaposition

Instant Inspiration (5) – Puddle Shooting

Instant Inspiration (8) -Make a portrait of a stranger

Instant Inspiration (9) – Concert Photography

23 thoughts on “Instant Inspiration (33) – ICM in the woods

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  1. We’ve been hearing about Germany, France, Spain and other countries with more cases. It’s no better here. I’m glad you experimented in the woods. The second photo looks alike a double exposure – or like the yellow leaves are reflected in a window. Interesting and beautiful. The 7th also strikes me – lots of action!
    Stay well, stay safe, stay creative. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lynn, I guess it is a nightmare everywhere where people don’t want to follow the basic rules (wearing masks and keep the distance). I really don’t feel like heading into the city, out in the nature is just fine, albeit difficult to do some street photography. Love your feedback on the ICM images. Stay safe! Marcus

  2. Great results, reminds me of the pictorialist movement photos or impressionist paintings. Thinking about doing it on film but not sure if it would work in B/W – have you tried that?

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words! As long as you have high contrasts in the images, it will definitely work in B/W as well. I’ve done it shooting street scenes in the city at night. The thing is, doing a lot of trial and error on film might by expensive 😉 Stay safe! Marcus

    1. I’ve attempted this type of image before but the results were rubbish and looked just like bad out of focus photos. I am clearly doing something very wrong. Shutter speeds have always confused me. Your images are great. Hope you and your family are still staying safe there in Nuremberg.

      1. Thanks for your kind words, Jill. We are all good and safe for now! Crazy times indeed. ICM takes a lot of trial and error. Dial in 2.5 secs or something similar in T (or S) mode (shutter speed priority). Then go our and pirate/pan happily, check the results on the back screen and adjust. A good way to keep busy and sane! Stay safe! Marcus

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