Heron Landing creative blur

I know creative blurs are not to everyone’s taste, so apologies to those of my followers who aren’t fans of the genre. I’ll post something more traditional later today.

I’ve been creating artistic blurs for a couple of years, but mostly trees and other stationary, distant subjects. I love wildlife images painted in wet in wet watercolors, and I get a kick out of creating photographic images that have an artistic feel. I find that creative blurs come as close to wet-in-wet as I can get in-camera.Β  Creating this blog and receiving such positive feedback to my images has given me the courage to spread my wings a bit more with the processing. Recently I’ve been inspired by Denise Ippolito’s gorgeous bird and flower photography. Seeing her images fanned the flames under my inclination towards creating blurred images both in-camera and in processing, so I’m giving you a headsΒ  up that for the next little while, I expect I’ll be posting quite a few more…

Click on image for larger view.creative blur of Great Blue Heron landing

This great blue heron took me by surprise. When I belatedly saw him coming in to land nearby I knew the shutterspeed on my camera was too slow and I didn’t have time to adjust it. So rather than miss the moment, I snapped my camera up and did a quick pan (oh, the freedom digital gives us!). When I saw this resulting image loading into Lightroom, I didn’t think I’d give it a second look — I quite liked the effect of the motion, but the contrast between heron and background wasn’t adequate and even after adjusting it in LR the whole thing was rather lacklustre, really just a blurry mess. With nothing to lose, I decided to use it as a guinea pig for a test run in an app, Tangled, I’d just downloaded onto my iPad. The effects in this app are really way over the top, but when I dialed all the settings down I found my heron had popped right out of the background and his neck feathers were beautifully highlighted, and unless viewed at 100% the actual effects weren’t particularly obvious.Β  I’m sure there are those who will think it’s still a blurry mess, but I really like how the image turned out. I just love the neck feathers and the sense of movement in the wings! The larger image does it more justice.




17 thoughts on “Heron Landing creative blur

  1. What a blurry mess! One that I wish I could replicate. Call it what you will, it is beautiful! Definitely reminiscent of an ages old painting technique. I love it!


    • LOL! Thank you Emilio! Well, I couldn’t replicate it even if I tried, either! That’s part of the fun, you just don’t know if it’s going to work or what it’ll end up looking like. This one shouldn’t have worked, but it did… Glad you like it!


      • Most of my shots are still lifes- no movement to speak of. But I need to try this technique. When it works it is fantastic.


      • When it works, yes. πŸ™‚ You can add movement to your still lifes. Be prepared to play around a lot with how you move the camera, what shutter speed you use, don’t be stingy on how many frames you shoot. I go through A LOT of images to find one that I really like, especially with the moving targets. I’m looking forward to seeing some of yours, Emilio. πŸ™‚


      • Every time I go out with the intention of shooting blurs I always come home having learned something new, even if I haven’t captured a blur that makes me say “ooh…” And if it doesn’t make me say “ooh” it gets trashed. So even if you don’t succeed first time out, you’ll learn from it. Then again, you may come home with some great shots! One thing that IS important to me for a good creative blur is that the image has all the same components as a sharp image…good composition, good exposure, etc. Also that it isn’t just out of focus, it needs to have a sense of movement in it, either from the camera or from the subject, or both. I always focus on the subject, even for abstracts, and then I move the camera. The important thing tho is to enjoy yourself. So have fun this weekend, Emilio! πŸ™‚


  2. I agree the image is best seen in full screen…. looks like a windy day with the ruffled feathers! Having just struggled to take a clear shot of an egret flying off from its perch, I think I need to have a play with the blurred image before hitting the delete button. πŸ™‚


    • This one really shouldn’t have succeeded, Chris. πŸ™‚ It was a fluke, but I delete enough of the ones I hoped would work so I’ll take it! Looking forward to maybe seeing your egret…!

      Chris I posted in response to your question about processing software in the Reifel bird sanctuary post.


    • Thank you, and I’m sorry it didn’t work. There’ve been a couple of posts that people have reblogged and it worked for them. I don’t know enough about WordPress to be able to help you with it. 😦


  3. You’re right about digital freedom! I’ve been photographing birds this past Summer with limited equipment, but birds are hard to catch in flight at any rate. That’s why I love this photo! I’ll be posting some of my own at my photo-blog, too. A couple resemble this effort in lack of focus, and I like them a lot!


    • There is some phenomenal photography out there made with some pretty basic equipment… I do have a dslr, an entry level camera with just the kit lenses. I love shooting wildlife, but I don’t have the lenses for the kind of images I’d like to capture, so I make do in other ways. It’s funny…since I got serious about my photography, I’ve been really hard on myself if I don’t freeze the action just so, or get an image as sharp as I think I should have been able to. Now that I’m spending more time stalking artistic blurs, I’m finding successful blurs are way harder to pin down than freezing the action and getting a sharp image! I totally lucked out with this image, I’m still shaking my head over how well it ended up. But I accept happy accidents graciously. πŸ™‚ I’ll look forward to seeing more of your blurs…the little blurred furballs on your site are cute. πŸ™‚ I was out shooting dog blurs a few days ago, too, and I’ll post those at some point soon. Thanks for stopping by, and for the likes, the comments and the follow!


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