Let’s talk about blur

Blur of different kinds can be flaws, what makes a photo, intentional, unintentional and a hundred different things. I decided I would try going out with the intention of solely taking photos of blur of different sorts.

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Mainly I would simply walk around, find something that had lines of some sorts that I thought would make an interesting picture, stop down the aperture quite a bit and then pan the camera quickly while taking the shot. The optimal shutter speed varied quite a bit depending on the distance to the motive. The closer, the shorter speed necessary. Also, of course, it depends on how blurred out I wanted the picture to be. Sometimes, if its too little you still get details that just make it look messy, whereas a longer shutter speed will smoothen the picture out. If it’s too long, however, it gets hard to pan the camera smoothly for the duration of the shot, rendering an uneven picture.

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Sometimes it would be so dark that the exposure took seconds, and I could move the camera all-over the place. In a escalator, both me and the camera is moving, resulting a very disorientating photograph. This exposure actually took 10 seconds! That’s insane!

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What about flags? Yeah, let’s try that too. Anything works apparently. What you can see here is that I did not pan the camera entirely straight, instead everything tilts a little.

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Uneven camera movement would result in a even more disoriented look. The single person appears almost ghost-like in the context of the white, completely blurred out, birch trees. In this shot I moved the camera unevenly to the left and right, all the while panning it up and down.

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Some motives make for even more abstract photos than others. This would be standing on a bridge and shooting through the fence to catch the colourful foilage behind. This is one of my favourite shots from this experiment, I think. It looks like something drawn with water colours.

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Aiming down the bridge there was a big road, making a completely different type image.

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This time the camera isn’t moving, only the motive.

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Here’s an interesting shot. This is me shooting from a fast-moving car, all the while trying to keep the camera focused on the trees. In other words I would be doing just exactly the opposite of how sport photographers pan fast-moving cars: I would be the one moving all the while keeping the camera steady, instead of moving the camera along with a fast-moving motorcycle. Parts of the image are sharp while others are extremely blurred out.

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All in all this was a nice experience where the composition came second to the lust for experimentation. Having another objective for taking our my camera gave me a boost in inspiration, as my approach became widely different from how it would normally be.

/Martin

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