We seem to be spending a lot of time in the woods these days, and there are some spectacular woods and forests in this area. This time it was Tinkersdale Woods at Hawarden, and I had a go at a technique I’ve been meaning to try for a while. I’ve always been drawn towards what’s known as ‘impressionist’ photography. There are a number of different techniques, but one of them is to use a slow shutter speed and move the camera while taking the shot. Depending on how long your shutter speed is and how much you move the camera, you can end up with something that’s very abstract indeed or something that just shows a little of the effect.
The images above and immediately below used a shutter speed that was slow enough for me to move the camera up and down two or three times, and it’s produced a very abstract – but I think quite pleasing effect. Don’t ask me for specific settings, because I haven’t a clue – I just keep changing them till it works! I have tried this technique once before, but it does need some interesting colour and light for it to be effective and that just wasn’t there the last time I had a go.
In the next image, I had a much shorter shutter speed and the effect is considerably more subtle and less painterly, but you do get a better appreciation for the scene.
Much as I like these techniques, I have mixed feelings about them. Just as I’ve never really seen the point of photo-realistic paintings – why not just take a photo? – I wonder whether using photography to achieve the effect of a painting is a bit misguided. I think a painting might offer more in terms of texture, and being a hand-created object, and so on. But still, you know, I like doing this so I’m going to keep doing it, whatever. There’s something about the way the colour and light gets smeared and blended that fascinates me, and I love the unpredictability of it. I’ve always said I’m a painter manqué, and many of my favourite photographers actually started out as painters. I don’t know if I’d have taken up photography if I’d turned out to have painting talent. I think perhaps I would have anyway, because it’s different in many ways and just as satisfying in others. But if I’d been able to paint well, would I be doing this kind of thing with photography? I wonder.