The other day I had a conversation about an image I had posted on Insta with my good friend R.
R : That image you posted…the profile of the subject isn’t coming up properly against the horizon. I don’t think it works.
Me : Yeah, I was pretty unsure about this. I love the composition however and yesterday a friend looked at it and said it was lovely and so I thought maybe I was wrong.
R : No, it is not very distinguishable right now and that is a problem.
Me : Yeah, maybe I should try to expose the subject alone a little bit, that might make it stand out better.
R : Why do you have to bother ? You have clicked hundreds of other images of this subject...look at them.
Me : Nah, there are many other images but most are more of the same…this composition…its different…I want to give a shot to see if I can redeem it.
I think I could hear him groan in frustration and smack his forehead in exasperation.
There’s a Hindi word – keeda.
Loosely translated, in English it would mean – a bug. And the usage, “ it bugs me” pretty much is the way it can be used in Hindi too. But, to me keeda just sounds a lot richer and more full with meaning to say – there is a keeda in me. Something stronger than a restlessness. An urge to do something different...often with not so great results but that is immaterial.
It might not appear logical, rational, even sensible, but sometimes, I guess, you need to follow your heart, go by instinct.
For me, this restlessness doesn’t arrive after reaching perfection at any specific level – far from it. It’s a keeda to keep trying something different even if I am nowhere close to even a shouting distance of understanding the previous level, let alone mastery.
For example, I have talked in one of my earlier posts about how much I love slow shutter speed. These days I try it whenever I get a chance, however, most of the images I have liked are more an outcome of pure experimentation than due to any calculated approach or process.
So, it was when I was still in the experimentation stage with slow shutter speed that I came across another method which immediately caught my attention.
Intentional Camera Movement. ( Yeah, sounds crazy, right ? )
I stumbled upon an image by Erik Malm ( www.erikmalm.com ) on Instagram and I was hooked. Imagine using your camera like a paint brush ! The thought itself seems wildly fantastical. The artistic expression that this technique can deliver blew my mind. They look more like paintings than your typical photograph, but the power behind each of those images was immense. There was a dynamism that a normal photo can never hope to achieve. His images conveyed a feeling, it sucked you in, it made you feel as if you were there.
To be even halfway decent at it, however, requires immense practice and the patience of a monk, which I can’t even dream of today. Erik Malm worked on it for twenty years to achieve the proficiency he has today. Scary thought for me !!
But reading about it certainly gave rise to a keeda in me to go and try this out.
Its not easy. If you have to move the camera, your shutter speed needs to be slow…very very slow. But that would mean a lot of light comes in. You either need to use filters or you would need to adjust other settings to compensate for this over exposure. And then of course, you need to move the camera at the right speed and in the right direction(s).
It can be terribly, terribly frustrating.
Now, the thing with experiments is that if you do it enough, out of sheer dumb luck, you might get a few that are decent. And that can be terribly satisfying :)
Here are some examples with a little note about the background for each. I have not yet figured what I did which made an image come out better than the others. I guess, I will…sometime.
There are just a few images that made the cut. Which one did you like ?
If you walk down to one corner of the island of Hornoya, the island sort of tapers down and the waves over there seem a little rougher. Walking to that point is a task as frequently you step on snow that is not firm and with a whoosh you are down to your knee in snow. Not too many photographers come to this point as only the cormorants come here and the cliffs are also a little too far to get any decent…’normal’ photograph. I quite liked the sense that this image gives, that of a quick watercolour painting, with the cormorants looking scattered. The motion of the camera further accentuates the rough seas and you could almost feel the waves.
While I was shooting the above image, one of the cormorants probably desired a bit of solitude and came and landed a little closer. One normally doesn’t keep the subject in the centre but, well…one normally doesn’t move the camera around like a wand either !!
I loved this image, the way the waves look so chaotic, frothing furiously ( to me it looked as if painted by a brush ) and when seen along with the blurry head of the cormorant, it made me caption this - Troubled Minds.
It had stopped snowing and some of us thought it was a good idea to go for a walk. Nice call. It was a snow covered world around us, a line of trees in front of us and a dainty lil red house. I took the standard image first and felt that it looked…well, normal. Had a go at ICM, a relatively slight movement of the camera and I thought this one looked a little ok.
You have a group of mountain hares in front. You have the lights in the right place. If you don’t experiment now then when else will you ?
Something snazzy, maybe ?
These are initial, mere baby steps for me. Lets see where this keeda takes me.
If this subject intrigues you, do check this interview with Jiri Hrebicek : https://photographylife.com/jiri-hrebicek-interview