lamp post

 

The Pep Ventosa ‘in-the- round’ technique requires that a number of images be taken around a central subject. The subject thus remains recognizable as images are blended , with other elements becoming increasingly less discernable.

This focus on the central element led me to wonder. What if instead of rotating around the subject I instead took several images at different focal lengths, each one keeping the subject consistent within the frame (both in position and size).

Following is a quick test of that theory. This is the result of 7 images, moving forward with each change in focal length to maintain a consistent subject position and size.

This produces an interesting and pronounced effect, especially on the background. I suspect the camera was pointing up slightly, hence the effect is more dramatic toward the upper edge.

I think this may have a certain advantage over the ‘in-the-round’ technique in cases where you can’t shoot around a subject, or where detail needs to be preserved on one side (eg statues, non-cylindrical subjects, or any subject that has a ‘preferred’ side).

This is perhaps not the best example of the process, but I think it does enough to justify further experimentation.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has tried this technique and if possible see the results.

lighting effect
 

winning week

It’s been quite a morale-boosting week for me. Earlier I received news that my image ‘ in step was selected as ‘best in competition’ at a current juried event, with ‘alone in his thoughts ‘ receiving an honorable mention in the same competition.

Following, I receive news that the artwork mountain flow’ has been selected as an ‘editor’s pick’ on the massively popular website fstoppers.com, and featured in their Instagram feed.

Any financial return is always welcomed, but discovering that your work is appreciated by established artists is both priceless and inspiring.

Check in on the ‘news’ tab for further details

39 hydrangeas

 

Here’s my latest attempt using the Pep Ventosa ‘in the round’ technique.

Until recently this lone Hydrangea shrub sat in the front yard of a proud home. Now, through mandatory home purchase and the clearing of land the shrub acts as a reminder of times past.

A stacked series of 39 shots were taken around the shrub, each blended at low opacity to produce this impressionistic result.

In processing I found that reducing the opacity on each layer to < 5% allowed the images at the bottom of the stack to remain significant. Due to the number of layers distractions can be essentially ’painted over’, which makes this technique so versatile.

click on image to enlarge

 

Ventosa/Photo-impressionism discovery

As I continue my study of the Pep Ventosa ‘in the round’ technique there is one discovery that I would like to share.

The technique calls for 30-40 (or more) images to be captured whilst moving around an object. These mages are then imported into Photoshop as layers and blended to produce a final ‘photo-impressionistic’ result.

This is al fine and well but I find that once I have blended 15 or so images in the stack the lower images no longer have an impact- switching on/off has zero effect on the result. I have tried varying opacity and blend modes to no avail, the secret of inclusion for all evades me.

This may not be an issue at all - I find that 15-20 images produces acceptable results and having 30-40 available allows me to include those that contribute to producing the most appealing results.

This can also enable different viewpoints to be displayed of the same subject. From a 38-image stack of the tree below I was able to produce two 15 or so images showing differing viewpoints.

I’ll keep experimenting, but if there is anyone out there that has mastered this technique and can advise on optimum blending I’d appreciate it.

Click on image to display full frame

comparative ICM

As with my previous blog post I have been experimenting with longer exposures with my iPhone. The goal of this is to move around a subject during the exposure to see how closely I can mimic the Ventosa ‘in the round’ effect.

Following are two images, one taken on my DSLR (18 shots taken around the tree, then blended), the other a long exposure (~3 seconds handheld) on the iPhone.

Taking all into consideration I believe the iPhone does an admirable job, and should not be discounted when opportunities arise (the one drawback being lack of the processing control allowed when blending multiple images).

So the question is - can you tell which is which, and which image do you prefer?


more ICM experimentation

 

Like others, I find it hard to be inspired over the summer months. The lighting tens to be harsh and unflattering, with outdoor subject matter not as appealing as it may be a other times. Summer is however, a very suitable time to capture some ICM shots so I’m doing what I can to take advantage and work on my skills. I am also very keen to keep pushing the use of my iPhone and see how far I can take it.

Following is an example of an ICM attempt. The mage is of a globe-shaped structure found in a local park. The globe is constructed with hundreds of fish-shaped metal cutouts.

I had already taken a number of images around the globe with my DSLR following the Pep Ventosa’ technique I’m attempting to master. I was wondering if a similar result could be created on my phone, not by taking a large number of exposures and blending as with the Ventosa technique, but by using the ProCam app and setting to ‘Slow Shutter’ as I walked around the globe.

Following is the result. I did find that I was not able to walk around the globe (I wanted to preserve some detail) but I think results were pretty interesting with he shutter open as I walked a 90-180 degree segment. I feel the results show similarity to the Ventosa impressionistic images I have seen and taken, which is remarkable considering it comes from a single shot from a smartphone.

I’d be interested to hear what others think, and am eager to try this out on other subjects. Perhaps when I process the 30 or so images from my DSLR we can compare the results side by side.


 

iPhone 11 endorsement

I have been investigating the boundaries of smartphone photography recently, posting updates here on my blog and images in the phonography project. I have been finding that smartphones can capture some amazing images where conditions are adequate, and as indicated in the past have been amazed to see such images hanging in respected galleries etc.

Just recently published is a YouTube video shot by the creators of Fstoppers, discussing whether the iPhone11 can be classified as a professional camera. With the reviewers being professional themselves, it is quite interesting to note their opinion, The general takeaway is that the iPhone 11 could absolutely be considered as part of a professional photographer’s kit, due to it’s flexibility, convenience and image quality.

The capabilities (including video) and differences between iPhone 11 offerings can be found by clicking HERE

So following this, will you be upgrading to the iPhone 11, the 11 Pro, or the 11 Pro Plus?

beyond ICM - new CCM project announcement

 

After researching ICM in greater depth I am inspired by the creativity produced by exceptional artists, their work goes far beyond the act of simply moving the camera and hoping for results.

I am so impressed with possibilities that I have embarked on a learning path to better understand the technical aspects, with a goal of hopefully achieving a reasonable level of competence. I plan to share the results of my experimentation in my blog, and also to document the details of some of my favorite results in a new project - see projects/Creative Camera Movement.

Whether or not we fully appreciate the art form I think we have to applaud the artistry of those who are creating compelling bodies of work. This includes artists whose work has evolved beyond traditional ICM and use the term ‘photo impressionism’ as a more appropriate description for their work. Here are some of those recently discovered that are providing me with new inspiration;.

Hernandez Binz (https://www.hernandezbinz.com/)

Adrian (Hernandez Binz) has a unique style, producing a body of beautiful ICM work

Pep Ventosa (https://www.pepventosa.com/)

Pep creates fantastic artwork by layering and blending multiple exposures to produce stunningly creative results.

Andy Gray (https://andrewsgray.photography/)

Andy’s work is heavily influenced by the work of the British painter, JW Turner, disclosing the secrets of his stunning work on his YouTube channel.

Stephanie Johnson (https://stephjohnphoto.com/)

Stephanie produces wonderfully colorful and calming landscape images.

I hope these artists provide the same level of inspiration as you as they have for me. If nothing else, give ICM a go - worst case scenario is that you have blurred images (at least this time they are intentional…) and perhaps you’ll learn something in the process.


sunflower



 

phoneography additions

I am continuing with my attempts to discover the capabilities of my mobile phone. This entry includes new images captured after installing the Pro Cam app.

Although still discovering the capabilities of the app I am really enjoying the ‘Long Exposure’ setting. My past attempts at long exposures (and ICM) have included the use of a 10 stop ND filter, held over the camera lens by a couple of rubber bands, and the later discovery of the (limited) ‘long exposure’ setting found within the ‘Live’ photo option on the phone.

Pro Cam is so much more powerful, allowing a range of exposure times, and a ‘Bulb’ setting for greater control. One of the great benefits provided by the app is that you can see the image ‘grow’ during taking. This allow you to see what is happening as you move the phone, and make decisions while the capture is in progress.

Following are a selection of recent images, those showing creative motion were taken using Pro Cam as above.


a sign of growth

Do you ever look back on your once-loved images and ponder ‘what the heck was I thinking of when I created that’? This may come as a surprise but it is actually a healthy sign of growth, for the following reasons;

  1. A weakening emotional connection. At the time of taking we attain a personal bond to the image, built from experiences at that fleeting moment plus the excitement of the result. As time passes so too may the emotional connection. Some that have a strong back story may survive (and remain favorites) but others will likely fall by the wayside.

  2. Increasing standards. As we continue to hone our craft we should hope that our standards and artistic impression will improve. What was once an image that fully represented your style and technical expertise may now fall short.

That does not mean that all of our older images should be deleted - far from it, but each should be re-evaluated periodically. Those that have retained an emotional connection (which will likely be passed on to viewers), tell the story and meet your quality criteria will remain winners.

However, you should feel empowered to remove any from your portfolio that do not meet your currents standards, comfortable with the knowledge that you have moved forward as an artist. A periodic cull of sub-standard images not only strengthens your overall pool of work but will also raise your own satisfaction level.