Long Island ICM

Intentional Camera Movement or ICM for short! Dragging the shutter. Long Exposures. Panning the camera for unexpected results. What an artful combination to employ!

But be prepared to keep shooting the same subject until you get it just right! If you hate to Chimp, then this might not be the best form of photography for you. If you love unexpected results – have some fun!

Here are some pointers I subscribe when out in the field. But I can’t emphasize enough that this entails a lot of fun experimenting. The hardest part for me about ICM is knowing when to stop.

I usually shoot digital (you will be amazed at how many frames you will shoot in order to nail that one perfect shot of a stupid tree). I keep my ISO very low, around 100 to eliminate any noise. My F/Stop is normally around F/8 or F/11. Shutter speeds need to be on the slower end. Sometimes I use Aperture Priority. Sometimes I just use Bulb setting to see what I get. Oh, I like using a 50mm for this but there is no rule for that. I recently saw some beautiful work done by an English Photographer who used Canon Tilt Shift lenses and his results amazed me!

One thing that I have noticed that greatly helps this type of work is using both a circular polarizer and a neutral density filter helps balance out contrast and time.

The trick is to get your timing right in regards to how you want to manipulate your subject. If your shutter is too fast, your photo will look messy and unfocused. If it is too slow, there will be nothing to hold the viewers interest. If done just right – well, you will just know! And again, the key to getting it to work is just by doing the act itself. Sometimes I like creating a complete abstract while others I like to keep it more representational. You will see from my work below how I like to manipulate my subject matter.

If you are shooting a horizontal line like an ocean, drag your camera horizontally. If doing trees or vertical lines, then drag up and down. But experiment here, too. My first photo below I dragged vertically with a horizontal line and loved the results! Just play around. But keep moving the camera even after the shutter releases in order to capture fluid movement. Do you need a tripod? Personal preference. I don’t use one even though I use a tripod for almost 90% of my work.

I am not going to bore you with too much more technique. There are many tutorials on Google that will take you through the process step-by-step. I just wanted to serve as an introduction to those who might ask how did I get the below shots. Here are some of my personal favorites of mine. Let me know what you all think!

Ocean In Search For Ahab Looking for Pitcairn Before Storm In The Thick of It Reeds Abstracted Reeds Abstracted II A Day Of Forest



  1. Pingback: Swirling Water Long Exposure « Raven Photography UK

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