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Matthew Lacy's picture

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Though the saying is generally in the negative, I find that removing the "not" makes it work especially well for ICM photography. To me, it speaks for the way the camera motion and the artist's intentions (trees) come together to make a final image (forest). Just like an actual forest, there are so many ways to see an ICM image. Different people can enter a real forest and look at it from nearly any angle, yet it still is the same forest. The same applies for the subjective way that people view the results of ICM. The trees are the same, making up the same forest, but 10 people could have 14 different opinions on a photo.

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5 Comments

Alan Brown's picture

Hi Matthew. Another fine image.

As an FYI one of the key elements I have discovered in my ICM experimentation is that the direction of the camera moves really has an impact.
In this case I suspect that your camera movement was downward, thus overlaying the foreground/grass onto the trees (an upward motion would do the opposite, overlaying the upper branches/sky.

Not that either is right or wrong, just pointing out as it can make a big difference to your image.

I like this image, but for my own personal taste it is a little too green overall (other may totally disagree). I think if you desaturated the greens on the trees it would better fit my own taste.

Great job, and as you point out ICM is so subjective - in all cases stick to what suits your own taste.

Matthew Lacy's picture

I will likely come out with a third version and even a fourth. I'm finding that the RAW file for this one is a true playground for me to edit. In each of the ones that I've finished, I've played around with other versions as well.

Matthew Lacy's picture

You are right about the downward motion. I experimented with both downward and upward, but found downward to work best for the trees. By going downward, I could be certain where the base of the tree was in the final image. The downward motion also worked more to give the effect I wanted in the image, so that was ultimately what I went with.

Alan Brown's picture

Sounds good, I think had you panned up you may have been disappointed with results .I'm eagerly looking forward to future images.

BTW - if interested I have just thrown together a (more advanced) guide to the various ICM techniques I see being used today. It's a bit off the cuff as ICM by nature is a technique of informality, but it may provide food for thought.

https://www.alanbrownphotography.com/a-personal-guide-to-icm

Matthew Lacy's picture

I have a few pictures that I did pan up for that I can make a post about. I didn't really like the look of them though.

Eidt: I read your article and found it quite entertaining. I personally use a different type of complex pan in some of my landscapes that you didn't cover. I have no idea if anyone else does it though. I use a sinusoidal or wavelike motion on a horizontal pan moving the camera up and down as I go to the side.