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Abstract and Creative Photography

On Monday 26th February 2024, our guest speaker was Andy Page who was joined by about 20 club members on Zoom. Andy talked about “Abstract and Creative Photography” which he defined as creating images that are not intended to be traditional or realistic. Andy added that he tries to do as much as possible ‘in camera’, with very little post processing.


Andy described techniques that most photographers know about even if they haven’t tried them. He talked about ICM (Intentional Camera Movement), Double Exposure, Altering White Balance, Changing Depth of Field, Zoom Burst, and Zoom Twist. It is essential to know if your camera offers these functions and how to find them and use them quickly while shooting. Andy suggests getting as close to the subject as possible and shooting tight, to avoid cropping later. He suggests using the equivalent of a 40mm full frame lens (25mm-30mm with a cropped sensor, or 20mm with a micro four-thirds sensor).


Examples of pictures taken by Andy Page

The big difference in Andy’s approach is that he often combines two or more of the techniques while taking the photo. Typically he will set the exposure time to one second, having adjusted aperture and ISO depending on the light level. This works well in low light but an ND (Neutral Density) filter may be required in brighter situations. During the one second exposure time, having set the camera to double exposure, Andy may use ICM during the first capture, move the camera slightly, and alter the aperture to soften the image or alter the white balance setting, or switch to mono, before taking the second capture. Mixing the techniques does require much experimentation.


As well as moving the camera up or down during the capture, other variations on ICM include rotating the camera (by about 15 to 20 degrees), moving the camera gently in the shape of a letter or number, or slowly taking a few steps forwards or backwards. Andy added that it is worth trying ICM with a long lens (450mm full frame) with double exposure.


Zoom Burst is extending the zoom barrel during a 1 to 2 second exposure. Zoom Twist is holding the lens steady and twisting the camera body, which combines Zoom Burst with rotating the camera.


Andy encouraged us to try these techniques and to combine them with double exposure. Be curious and think “what if…?” Be brave! Andy aims to create photos that look like paintings. Post processing may be necessary to brighten or darken areas to guide the eye of the viewer through the final image.


More of Andy’s work can be seen on his website

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