Intentional Camera Movement

A creative technique when you are out shooting any type of landscape scene is to capture it abstractly. Intentional camera movement ( ICM) is easy to produce and can give you a different perspective of the location you were shooting. I also like to save these to use as textures with other images. Here are my tips for capturing great abstract landscape images. 


  • To create horizontal ICM images you want to think about your composition. Set up your shot just like you would for a traditional image. 
  • Camera settings: I recommend you set your ISO low to 100.  Then, stop down your aperture to F20 or F22. Finally set your shutter speed between 2 sec to 1/30 of a second.
  •  If you are shooting during the day and with bright sun,  you may want to use an ND filter to help combat the bright sky. 
  • Set the camera to continuous shooting mode, so you can keep shooting as you move. This will help you achieve a shot you like. 
  • I encourage you to have the camera strap around your neck. It is preferred to shoot these moving images handheld. You will want to stand still and keep your arms close to your body. Hold the camera out in front of you. Use the LCD screen vs the viewfinder to capture the image. 
  • When you are ready to take the image move your body to the right or the left as you press the shutter. You will have to move fast depending on your shutter speed. Try to keep the camera level with the horizon line if there is one visible. 
  • I take multiple images panning both right and left. 

You can also create abstract images with vertical shooting vs horizontal.

Follow the same setup, just move the camera in an up or down motion.  This works great for trees or tall tree-like structures. 

Creating a circular motion ICM is another creative option. If you are able to stand under a group of trees looking up you can then spin the camera as you press the shutter. This will give you a circular pattern. 

Remember these are supposed to be abstract, so embrace the out of focus and blur that these images create. Once you capture some that you like you will be hooked on ICM






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