Friday, 26 June 2009
Souvenir Foto Friday: Amsterdam in Motion
Assignment 6: Blur on Purpose
I read the assignment notes for this on Flickr before the notes went up on the Souvenir Foto website; and I had a little panic.
Blur on purpose? It was like a return to the dark days of childhood photography. Handshake, cutting off people's heads - not good. How on earth would I blur on purpose without it looking like I gave the camera to a small child?
So I hit the internet, ah google, my old friend.
What I discovered was that there is a whole movement of photography dedicated to blurring on purpose. While the photographs I found were stunning, details on technique were not very forthcoming.
I did discover that it was all to do with playing around with shutter speed and aperture. Which meant I had to learn about shutter speed and aperture. Which meant that, three months after getting the camera I was finally going to have to break out the instruction manual.
The instruction manual was informative. It certainly told me how to set shutter speed and apperture but I still didn't understand what I was doing.
Next stop, the Digital Photography School . I read up on Shutter Speed and Appertures. Then moved on to Aperture and Shutter Priority Modes.
Now we were getting somewhere.
I had been particularly taken with a Blur on Purpose photo I had seen during my research, (now regretably lost in the internet) a black and white shot taken in Japan which showed blurred movement on a crisp background. I knew I wanted to do something like that, which would mean playing with the shutter priority mode, which blurs movement.
I took myself into the centre of Amsterdam and positioned myself on a busy cross roads. Then I just started clicking. I aimed for dense crowds and bikes. I shot at eye level and from the hip to see which came out best. I varied my shuttter speed until I found one that let in just enough light while still giving a good blur of movement, 1/20 on a very bright day.
In post-processing the black and white wasn't quite working for me though. It looked good but the bike wasn't quite right. When I had looked at the photo, the bike had seemed ethereal, almost ghostly and I wanted to play that up. So I cropped it down and layed the holga-ish effect from Picnik over the top. And it worked.
I am particularly pleased with the crispness of the shadow on the ground against the blur of the people above.
The original of the photo is in my photostream.