Weekly theme 3rd June 2019 - Getting creative!

(Helen Hooker) #1

Hello everyone - I hope you’re having a great week. Many apologies for being a few hours late sharing the new theme - it was one of those mad Mondays and life just got in the way!

A few weeks ago, I signed up for David Duchemin’s new online photography course. Since stopping my 365 project I’ve lacked a sense of direction at times and I figured this might be what I need to give my creativity a boost. One of our tasks for the coming week is to get creative with our photography and try out different techniques. I haven’t made my image for this yet, but I thought it might be a good one to share with you all for our weekly theme too.

This week’s theme is Getting creative!

So, my challenge to you is to go out and try a different technique to make your image for this theme, and to share with us how you made your shot. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few ideas that sprang into my mind while considering this concept…

Long exposures

These can be great fun if you’re photographing a scene that involves some movement - for instance, clouds or water. Your aim is to use a slow shutter speed - perhaps one stretching into several seconds. Doing this allows anything moving in front of your camera to blur. You’ll need to mount your camera on a tripod, or find a solid platform to stand it on so your camera doesn’t move.

If the light levels are low enough you may be able to set a low ISO and a small aperture (large f-number) on your camera to achieve a slow enough shutter speed. Of course, you can always shoot at night, when light levels are naturally low! If you’re shooting in the daytime and there’s too much light, a neutral density (ND) filter can be really helpful. I’ve got a couple of inexpensive ones bought on eBay which slow my exposure by six or ten stops - that way I can take really long exposures.

This image is one I took in Cumbria a few years back, which shows the technique effectively. The wonderful texture of the moss on the rock is perfectly crisp and full of detail - so much so I want to reach out and touch it! By contrast, the river raging around the rocks is soft and blurred because I used a five second shutter speed to blur the movement.

Don’t worry if you don’t already have an ND filter - sometimes even quite short exposures can still produce blur. I love this picture by Sanetwo Sodbayar where the shutter speed has been slowed to just 1/15 of a second. This is enough to blur the traffic, while the people are still sharp, creating a vivid sense of the hustle and bustle of this busy city street.

Multiple exposures

Another possibility is to try a multiple exposure. If you have a fairly recent model you may find you can do this in camera, as I did here. However, there’s no reason why you can’t combine two or more images in post processing by importing them into Photoshop as layers and adjusting the opacity and blend modes of the various layers.

In this particular image I was trying to create an image which summed up my location - Liverpool. I took a photo of the Liver Building that I liked, then sought out a second image to combine with it in camera. Then I found this image of the Beatles on the end of the ferry terminal and knew I’d got what I was after! Doing this is a very hit and miss affair, and it took me several goes to get it right. However, with digital it doesn’t cost anything extra, so where’s the harm in experimenting?

Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)

Often we’re so obsessed about keeping our cameras still to capture that sharp shot that we forget interesting things can happen when you move your camera as well. ICM is another very unpredictable technique, but that’s half the fun. Set your camera on shutter mode and select a slowish shutter speed. Then move the camera as you press the shutter button - it’s as simple as that! For this image I shot at half a second, then made a circular movement with my camera while the shutter was open. The choice of movement is yours - you could also move in straight lines or rotate the zoom ring on your lens. The results aren’t to everyone’s taste, but you may happen upon a gem.


This is another technique which goes against the grain for most of us. Many of us get obsessed by achieving sharp focus in our photos, but you can create powerful images by using manual focus and intentionally leaving everything slightly blurred. A strong subject is useful for this technique, as the shape still needs to have enough definition to give us sense of what we’re looking at. In this picture, by Andrei Lazarev, we can see the subject is a hand, but the lack of focus gives the gesture much more power than a straight photo might have done.

Of course, another option is to find a beautiful garden or landscape and create your very own monet-like impressionist image!

Want more ideas?

If these suggestions don’t tickle your fancy, why not take a look at this article which is packed with ideas. Some require printing or film photography, but there’s sure to be something for everyone here!

All that remains is for you to get out and shoot - I can’t wait to see what we all come up with! Please do tell us how your created your image and which technique you used.

How to participate:

  • Please submit your photo by midnight GMT on Sunday 9th June
  • To submit a photo, hit the Reply button below and upload your image(s). Please limit each post to one image.
  • Please try to also share your picture on your page over the main Photoblog platform and encourage others to visit the theme thread to participate and vote.
  • To vote, click the :heart: heart icon.
  • If you post your picture early i n the week, don’t forget to pop back to see what others have shared and to cast your votes!

Winner of the last theme

Last week’s music theme may not have been an obvious subject for photography, but that didn’t stop you all getting out and shooting some great images for it. Our winner for this week is @turtlesnaps with this wonderfully dramatic close up of a clarinettist - congratulations Bethany!

(Piotr Matura) #2

I really like this theme! I will try to think of something (hopefully) creative and definitely post later in the week!

But today I have an early submission of an older photo.
I was on a trip and hotel room had a balcony with a view of the street. I started playing with different camera settings, defocusing, etc.
Finally I came up with the idea of defocusing, large aperture and going from maximum to minimum zoom while exposure was taken. I set long exposure time to be able to do that. Effect is quite abstract, even though originally it was just a view of a few street lamps and neons.

(Lakshmi Bhat) #3

I have Canon DSLR camera. I love to take photos of flowers. They are beautiful from any angle.

(Berckmans Peter) #4

A double exposure that I did just last week, for a schooltask from my daughter. Done in camera.

(Kenny H) #5


(Helen Hooker) #6

I tried out an in camera double exposure, playing with the sense of proportion. The character looking out through the archway is actually a small gargoyle inside the porch!

(Bethany Plonski) #7

Thank you everyone for voting for my photo last week, and thank you Helen for giving us a fun topic to practice with this week too! We had a rainy day today, so I tried intentional camera movement with some raindrops on my windshield.

(Nick Ambrose) #8

Intentional Camera Movement. A photo that I took by holding the camera on the railing overlooking St Pancras Station departures. I just moved the camera slightly in a vertical direction whilst on a reasonably slow shutter speed.