Blurred Vision
Sometimes It's Not So Bad
Probably the best blurry image I have ever shot, was by accident and no longer do I have the original negative or a print of it. I can think of a few times over the years where I intentionally tried to blur the image in the camera, with results that were not very pleasing to me.

The examples shown in this first window were captured with the camera sitting on a rock as a tripod and both were processed the same. As I dug through the years of archives to find intentional blurry or even accidental blurred motion, I have to say this one shown here "Dizzy Spell" is my favorite attempt at blurred motion. Although I never quite liked it enough to put on-line in my web shoppe!

Recently my great friend Randy revived his interest in photography, and it just so happens he desires to make blurry photos intentionally. But not just out of focus blurry, but a special blurry where it looks to capture motion in one frame and not 24 frames per second.

Frozen Motion - Not Counting Waterfalls & Night Lights
The type of image in question has either the whole scene blurred or the subject is uniquely blended-in with the rest of the scene, having either one of the two being blurry. A horrible example I tired of that later technique is shown in this image from 2004 on Kodacolor film.

I am sure after I saw this result, I vowed to never attempt intentional blur images ever again.

I will exclude waterfalls and the lights of passing cars at night in this project topic since they are already so overdone. Who even wants to shoot another flowing water or tail light trails image again?

My reasons being that water is a motion that is continuous in one place and tracers of car lights are scenes of motion thats already happened. I think the ideal scene Randy has in mind are ones where the image speaks motion and captures it as it happens.

In the second image of the pop up window of larger images, I tried a mesh between getting the "tail light tracers" and the subject still in the scene. But I do think thats the general idea of this project. I also shot about 4 frames of this bus passing, and this was the favorite that I chose. Yet still, a far cry from being something I would print, let alone put it in the gallery.

Even though with the bus at night image, I was still not even close to being comfortable with predicting the results and haven't been totally thrilled with the outcome yet. As I continued to go through the years of my image catalogs , I realized I did come up with some pieces of intentional blur that I was pleased with and in fact have several in the web shoppe.

When I lived in Sevierville, I was just minutes away from The Island at Pigeon Forge, and made frequent trips there to just snap off a few pictures and walk around taking in the sounds, the people and the lights.

Out of the many captures from my adventures to The Island, the final piece shown here, "Hard Candy" is my favorite. It has a mix of intentional blur and tack sharp qualities to it.

The thing I loved about shooting at The Wheel, was the fact you never got the same image twice. I also would shoot about 10 frames at least of different exposure lengths and adjusting ISO if needed to keep EV's that I felt I wanted.

Most of the time I went with ISO 2000-3000, with shutter speeds from 1/4 of a second to several seconds (adjusting the ISO accordingly) and trying to keep the aperture in the f/11-18 range.

Another cool added effect happened in the third example in the larger image window, of bokeh being produced from lens flare at f/22. Not the f-stop you normally expect to see bokeh with.

Part Still Shot / Part Motion Blur
One of the cool things I liked about shooting The Wheel and as shown in these examples, captures from the State Fair. is the mixture of still objects and buildings with moving objects with lights.

So far in this project I have discovered that I am in fact, happy with some of my night time motion blur captures, but don't seem to have any daytime images I would even print a 5x7 proof of.

In the third image of this pop up window, I think is getting closer to what my friend had in mind. Most all of the scene is motion blur.... except it's at night time and my goal is to produce something I like in the daytime.

Breaking down this topic into two categories, one being where there is a mix of still objects with stop motion subjects and second would be the entire scene is predominantly the stop motion subject only. For the most part for me, I have found that scenes like at The Wheel, where you have lights moving with stationary object around seem to work out easier.

For motion blur scenes in daytime, I just haven't hit on anything I like yet that I have tired. Unless you count the "reverse motion blur" that happens when shooting at Road Atlanta or some other moving object sport. Except that you actually try to get the subject sharp as you pan the camera along with the movement. You hopefully get a nice sharp subject frozen in time against a motion blurred background.

Getting back to the root subject of this project... Intentional Blur
The basics of the image I am searching for is one that has the subject frozen in time but during movement. If there is background in the image, it may or may not be in sharp focus. The emphasis is on the motion blurred subject being dominant enough that the background doesn't even get noticed.

The captures at Road Atlanta typically were at ISO 400, 1/250 second at f/14, which would be quite different than the EV needed to use for this stop motion project. Being that I will need to keep the shutter open much longer to allow movement while the time the shutter was open.

I could tell from the previous failed attempt at using a train as the subject would be a good place to do a re-take. I happen to be in Blue Ridge, GA at a gallery event and of course went on a walk-about before I was scheduled to begin my appearance.

I was also loaded with a different glass than my usual 24-85, today I was sporting the fast 85mm f/1.8 bokeh master. I rarely shoot with anything but the 24-85, but really need to enjoy my other glass too. As such, the sweet 85mm was with me today as I headed over to the Blue Ridge Railway to re-take a trains frozen moment.

Unfortunately when capturing a passing train, you have to make the most of every moment since you wont be able to get a repeat drive by in case you goofed the exposures. With trains, you rarely will even have the time to make a test exposure to see if you are going to like what your about to shoot.
As the next tour was getting ready to leave the station, I had to get in place quick. I grabbed several test shots at ISO 50 for 1/6 of a second at f/16. But didn't have time to look on the LCD to preview since the train was about to be out of range.

I kept firing and moving the camera angle a little. The train had passed in about 13 shots and I had to hope for what I managed to get, which already adds some excitement to whether or not it turned out.

Since I am not one to try and fully scrutinize an image by what I see on the LCD screen, I had to wait till I got home that night to see the images on the big screen. Of course the train had already passed and I couldn't do a re-take anyway.

Out of the 13 frames I fired off during the brief few seconds I had to shoot before the train had passed by, I still ended up with 3 captures that I was fairly satisfied with in comparison to any previous attempts at freezing a moving train.

I ended up having a good exposure basis and general idea of the results I can expect when I shoot something like this again. I will look for more opportunities of course to try and refine my stop motion style, but since it's not in my natural passion to shoot, then it could be a while between attempts.

On A Mission To Blur
The opportunity to combine daytime motion blur and night time motion blur presented itself in the form of the Tennessee Valley Fair recently. I have usually shot the fair with images captured from a solid base the camera was setting on and a shutter speed to freeze the scene. This year for some reason I was on a mission to shoot with intentional blur.

Right out of the gate I was shooting primarily long exposures to maximize the motion feelings of the fair. Even in the end I had shot about 1100 images and only a handful of them were fast shutter hand held shots.

In the examples shown here you will see a range of images with mixed sharp & blurred subject in one scene as well as images that are a complete blur... but I really was quite happy with some of them and even printed a few 11x17's of some such as the one of the roller coaster coming at me.

Sometimes your only option for a stable surface also happens to move during exposure... And sometimes you end up with the rare blend of psychedelic blur that you absolutely love it. As in the last two images in the examples shown in this pop-up window, where the vibration of the surface was moving while I had the shutter open.

The one secret I can say about how to get a motion blur image you will be happy with...
Shoot lots and lots
of the same scene at different EV's. During my adventure to the fair, I probably shot at least 20-30 images of each scene composed.

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