Friday, January 18, 2013

Exploring With a Camera ~ Artistic Blur

This has been the most inspiring and fun photography week that I've had in a while!  I've been getting outside and trying new things as I photograph nature. If you have a minute and haven't already seen my last post, I'd love to have you read about the fun I had shooting Nature and Water Abstracts. I mentioned in that post that Kat at Kat Eye Studio had been one of the inspirations for the project. She has been using her iPhone apps to creative images with artistic blur. In this month's Exploring With A Camera she has challenged us to shoot blurry photos. You read that right, blurry!!  Blurry is not always bad, it can lead to some amazing photos. It's like painting with a camera.
There are several ways to achieve blur; looking through something, out of focus shots, camera movement, or  reflections. All of these photos are pretty much straight out of the camera. I did adjust the contrast a little and did some cropping. Next month Kat is going to show us how to use some post-editing to achieve artist blur.

I thought it would be fun to try several of Kat's suggestions. I started with LOOKING THROUGH something. I found there are lots of ways to do this.
This image was taken looking through water. The white squiggly lines are the sun's reflection.

Looking through fog creates a mysterious blur.

I even taped a piece of plastic over the lens and took this picture of silk flowers. I liked the soft look it gave them! 

This one is one of my favorites. I'll try to explain how I took it. I am looking through the blades of a whirling windmill. I  overexposed this to get the washed out look. I was quite surprised at the image it created.

Next, I tried taking a photo slightly out of focus.

This was the hardest one to create!  It was hard to not cross the line and be too out of focus or look like a blurry mistake! I do like all the pretty bokeh it created!

Long shutter speeds and camera movement is also another way to get blur, but it's a little tricky, too. Too little movement and it just looks like a bad photo; too much and it's a mess.

On this one I tried to focus on the gumball and slightly rotate the camera. I never got the image I wanted. I wanted the gumball a little more in focus, but I just couldn't get it!

One evening this week we had the most gorgeous sunset. The lower part of the sky looked like it was on fire!  To obtain the blur, I barely moved the camera in an up motion.

I used the same procedure here only I moved the camera slightly to the right. I was surprised when I ran across this dandelion blooming in the middle of winter!

And lastly, reflections in water make beautiful artistic blur.

I focused on the reflection, leaving real life completely out of the picture. I rotated this image, it's actually upside down.
It was a fun learning experience and one I'll be repeating more often. I'm a little addicted to this!!
There's still plenty of time for you hop over to Kat's blog, read her artistic blur post, grab your camera, and give it a try. If you do, please be sure to link up to her post so we all can enjoy your images!


  1. Love the blur on the sunset photo. Looks like you had fun with these.

  2. Beautiful! Did you ever see the ones I did with the lights theme? I swear half the time I have my camera out of focus rather than in focus lately. I actually painted with the lights on my tree, oh so fun. Can't wait to try it with valentine lights!

  3. I can see that you had great fun doing all of this, Cathy! You have some great examples and good colour! My favourite is the 'gumball', but I'm not sure what that is!! That forest shot in the sunset really does look like it's on fire!
    I haven't quite finished doing this exercise, but I'll be posting it today or tomorrow! Not much colour here, we're all covered in snow!

  4. These are fantastic. I love the sunset shot in particular and the one where you're looking through the blades of a windmill. Looks like you had fun with this, great job!

  5. Wow, Cathy! You really have had an exciting week with your explorations. I love how you have made the effort to interpret nature in so many different ways, using a vast array of new techniques. I can sense your happy enthusiasm and see the results in your images - very inspirational. All of these are quite fabulous but my absolute favorite is the sunset. It really does look as if the forest is on fire with those gorgeous fuchsias and oranges. The artistic blur is like a shimmering haze of heat and adds so much to the overall mood and feeling of this image. Such great work.

  6. you are getting some wonderful shots Cathy!!

  7. Hello Cathy - I am visiting from Kat's new Find Your Eye Class. I love your blog, and how you explain each shot. Great work. I am drawn to the fog shot, because I really want to have a chance to go out and take some fog shots next time we have some.

  8. Wow, some beautiful photos here.I especially like the gumball and the fog. I must get out and play with my camera soon.

  9. What fun! I love the gumball one. Your blur has created some very artistic images.

  10. All of these are fabulous! That sunset image is my favorite because it really looks fiery...and I think as a print it would make a great photo to hang above my mantle!

  11. what a great series! i'm always a little nervous about taking blur on purpose type photos. love that you shared all the different ways to go about it.

  12. Cathy, you did an amazing job! I'm glad you are having so much fun with this. My favorites are the sunset forest (WOW), the reflection at the end and through the windmill. What a creative way to approach this exploration! Thanks for sharing all of this!

  13. You are such an inspiration, Cathy. I love the rain on the tree and the one with the sunset in the trees so much. Hope you're having fun with the new lens. Your blog is always a delight to visit.

  14. Your reflection shot and sunset image are particular faves but you've got some great ones here.


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