Simplifying a Scene



Blending colors, shapes, lines and light together in the camera to produce a simplification of a scene is especially intriguing to me as I create this type of image. Moving the camera through the scene while the shutter remains open can gather all of the available elements together and combine them in a way that results in a style of image that particularly appeals to me. Using this technique, the camera allows me to see something that otherwise would not be evident… something mystical and magical.

In the image above from my weekend visit to the Bangor Forest, there were several patches of brighter light breaking through the trees and illuminating the many colors that were strewn across the forest floor. I played with the exposure settings on the camera to control the brighter spots of foliage, allowing the backlit trees in the foreground to go dark and silhouetted.

When searching for opportunities to create this type of photography, I generally look for strong lines, relatively even lighting, complimentary colors, and the potential for striking scenes with some depth. I then compose the scene looking through the viewfinder as normal, but then move the camera across and through the scene during what is usually a half a second or so long exposure. The direction of the movement and the speed of the movement can both have a dramatic impact on the final image, and of course having the benefit of immediately gaining feedback from the review screen is incredibly valuable. Adjustments can quickly be made to the technique, and I usually only have to make a half dozen or so passes at a scene before I can determine if I am going to capture something I like.

Below are several more from that same morning, and as you can see the colors on show were breathtaking. These simple images might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but to me they are very appealing… and that’s what matters most, right? Oh yeah, they make awesome wallpaper backgrounds for the iPad 🙂


4 thoughts on “Simplifying a Scene

    • David Patterson

      Have fun… I love that every time you press the shutter you get a different photograph… even with the same scene. All you need is a longer shutter… I use between half a second and one second, and find that works best. Good luck!

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