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Mike Osmond's picture

My venture into ICM (inspired by Alan Brown)

Just a few notes as a point of departure:

My aim for the exercise was to see what effect ICM had on images taken by myself so that I could:

a. Overcome what had been drilled into me that images are supposed to be "PIN SHARP" and,

b. learn how to move the camera

2. The bush-veld is bone, bone, dry at the moment awaiting the spring rains. This is the view from the back of the holiday home and I chose this intentionally without much thought of composition, lighting etc etc. There was a slight pattern in the tree trunks seemingly slightly inclined to the right, so I thought that I would try a vertical movement with that slant.

All images were taken with the 55mm Canon lens with the following settings:
f 6.3
ISO 100

The first image was taken as is for baseline comparison.

And so for the second image and in timid tredipidation I tipped my toe into (for me) the untested territory of ICM and…

Nothing! hardly any movement at all....still not a total failure as I now realized that I really had to MOVE that camera...

So onto the third image and I really jerked the camera and voila! I had entered the magical realm of ICM and my universe would never be totally the same again (ok, slight exaggeration)

Ok so it's hardly likely to win any accolades or competitions but it was a revelation to me and I've overcome my own personal hurdle and I'm on the way...

I did get that vertical (slanted to the right) movement that I was looking for and interestingly enough, I found that the highlighted (brighter) parts of the image accentuated the movement...

So... more to follow....

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Ruth Carll's picture

Welcome to the moving and shaking world of ICM! Your description of your process is very interesting and perfectly explained your posted images.

I think you are off to a great start! I have a very shaky hand and I am jealous that you are getting only this much movement when you are trying! I think you have picked the perfect location as these black branches with space between are going to look great. But... (sorry that there is a "but"!) I would suggest you get the camera moving even more. I use a 'flick" method to get ICM shots that help get the movement, well, moving.

I focus (on manual) on the area I want the image to begin and then
lower the camera so that point I picked is about mid-frame. Then I start my motion by flicking the lens up and click the shutter immediately afterward - hopefully just as the point I focused on hits the bottom of the frame (luck is a major factor here!). The flick is a full-motion from bottom to top. Like my dad used to say about swinging a baseball bat - swing through. The same applies here. Flick through! This gives smooth motion throughout. I think of the camera like it is anchored to my eye and flick up the end of my lense. The eyepiece doesn't move and the "flick" creates more controlled motion then moving the entire camera.

This may be clear as mud. I haven't had my morning coffee yet. I think I'll go make some now.

Looking forward to seeing the next round!

Mike Osmond's picture

Thanks for the encouragement Ruth and I'll be sure to try out your technique as well....

Alan Brown's picture

Hi Mike, I am so honored to have inspired you, I can't think of anything more gratifying.

One of the biggest challenges in ICM is getting a low enough shutter speed to create the effect you want. A typically recommended starting point is 1/15th or slower. If you stop your lens down to f22 etc you will get a longer exposure/more blur. I prefer longer speeds so I can control the motion a bit more, but faster 'flicks' as Ruth suggests work fine as well.

For longer exposures (I experiment with up to 2 seconds...) you will either have to use a ND filter (6 stop is commonly recommended) or shoot in low light (cloudy/dusk etc).

Regarding your images, I would go with what Ruth recommends (more 'flick' or longer exposure) and move the camera to follow the most dominant line of the trees (eg vertical, curving to the right). That will create blur while maintaining the essence of the trees.

Otherwise, take a large number of shots so you can investigate impact of movement and speed.

You may have already seen this, but I have a similar process outlined on my website blog;

Can't wait to see more from you!

Ruth Carll's picture

Interesting Alan. I struggled with the long exposure vs over exposure issue. I am also going to try some evening work to see if I can slow my process down. I be back. ;)