How do you do it?

Unlike most photographers, I strive for movement when I take a photo.  I wiggle, shake, dip, and swing the camera, which imparts an impressionistic feel to the images—making them look more like a painting than a photo.  Frankly I look a wee ridiculous and a lot of people stare.  I've become immune, and look like a fool on a regular basis as a service to you.

Um... Why would you do that? 

I love that each image is entirely unique and can't be replicated.  It adds another layer of special onto the image--light, sunsets & water reflections are always different--but two photographers could get a very similar image standing in the same spot.  Few people, even me, can duplicate an image I've made.  Each is unique and awesome in its own way. 

Spring Haze is one of the very first images I made in this style

Spring Haze is one of the very first images I made in this style

Entwine is one of my newest images; it debuted in 2015

Entwine is one of my newest images; it debuted in 2015

 

where did you learn how to do this?

It started as a way to blow off steam.  In 2007 I was in the midst of a stressful 14-hour-a-day job, and I found solace and comfort in photography.  Though I was a nature photographer, the sun was up when I was at work—so I started to play with my camera at night, literally dancing around while making photographs of bouquets of flowers, splashing swaths of color across my virtual page.  With practice I learned how to move to get that painterly impressionist effect just right. 

That started my journey, but I hardly show those first images any more (Spring Haze is one from those original sessions).  Now, practice & experimentation fuel my portfolio.  I have over 30,000 images I've created in this style.  Thank goodness for nearly free digital film & cameras that allow you an instant peek at your image!  Even though I've been doing this for so long, I'm constantly learning and discovering (often accidentally!) new looks I can create with my camera by moving in a certain way or working with a new subject. Winter is a great teacher; sometimes my shivering and squirming to stay warm imparts a new look to my images (not even kidding).

Fess up....This is just Photoshop, right? 

Not a chance.  Like all digital photographers, I do very minor adjustments to my images in the computer.  Adjusting contrast, white balance, brightness, dust removal & other super boring photographer stuff-- but every little bit of the actual design or blur you see is 100% created in the camera as I shake, rattle, & roll the camera during exposure.  Just blurring everything in Photoshop would be boooooring, and frankly I don't have the patience for that. 

Here's a real-life example of the limited processing I do to an image:

RAWbeforeandafter.jpg

This is a real-life example of what an image looks like straight out of the camera.  Like most professionals, I shoot RAW images which have as much data as possible, but no processing done by the camera software.  As you can see, all the "design" is there... but in this case the color was muddy and not true to the scene, plus the image was far too dark. 

The final image I share now (this is Solitude, BTW) is here.  You can see the content of the photo itself hasn't changed--just some tweaking of the white balance & exposure, dust removal, that sort of thing.  All digital photographers have to "develop" RAW images from the camera this way to get them to look their best.