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Trying something new – ICM

I have been meaning to run this “try something new” series for quite a while (at least a year!). I set myself a challenge of trying something new, with my camera, each month, but the regularity has not been achieved.

That said, I’m starting off with ICM – intentional camera movement. It can be a handy excuse for a wobbly shot, but it’s also a great way of going abstract and adding something different to your image. 

It can be a solution to your frustration with a flat, grey day, or your boredom with a place you visit regularly. It could be more than that too. It allows you to add atmosphere, to highlight certain elements in your image, and to add some anonymity to your images. 

If you’re wondering what it is, it’s as obvious as its name. You can move the camera as you want: slow; fast; wiggle & juggle; up & down; left & right. You may know what to do to suit the image you have in your head, or you may need to play to get what you want. 

Vertical movement was the obvious choice for this shot

The other question is how long to move for. That again depends on what you have in mind. You may want to hold still for a while and then move so that the image has more solidity. Or you may keep it short and fast. My main comment on this point is that if you make it too short it will just look like a mistake. 

And how to do it? Well, there aren’t (m)any rules. 
You just need a long enough exposure to do as much movement as you want. On a grey day you can get away with small aperture (F22 or smaller), a low ISO and a longish exposure. On a brighter day, you’ll need the help of an ND filter to keep out some of that light. 

And if you have image stabilisation, turn it off. If you have fancy stabilisation on your camera or lens, you might only want to turn off wobble in one direction, depending on your plans.

A quick guide:
1) settings and filters
2) compose, bearing in mind how much you plan to move the camera
3) focus
4) GO!

I’ve tried out ICM a few times (last year’s trees and bluebells, below, being a favourite), and started playing a bit more seriously last month. So, here are a few that might inspire you to give it a go yourself. Click to see them larger, and I have added the direction of movement as a caption.


I’ll be back with some more soon, but do please link in your own ICMs, and leave your thoughts on what works and doesn’t.



Copyright Debbie Smyth, 18 March 2020

26 replies »

  1. Unlike Jo above, I am a big fan of abstract art. So I really love these photos. You inspired me to try this again one day. Have to drag the SLR camera out again. The vertical snowdrop photo is the best along with the vertical ?tenement style buildings. Thanks for inspiring me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a big fan of abstract art and to me this is in much the same category. The ones I like best are probably the least distorted. But that’s just me. Good to experiment, Debs 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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