ICM with the iPhone

Recently I have been experimenting with ICM with the iPhone.  First, let’s clarify that ICM is an acronym for Intentional Camera Movement. It’s a new technique that has been getting a lot of traction lately. It is fun to create ICM images and is one tool for me that stimulate creativity.  I have shot ICM images with my Sony mirrorless and recently came across an app for the iPhone that will allow ICM with the iPhone. 

Like many, I sometimes want to take photos without the weight of my big girl camera, even though my Sony camera is much lighter and smaller than the Canon DSLRs I used for decades. The iPhone has just tremendous capabilities in a smaller package and my iPhone 13 has a pretty great camera also!  I am sure Windows and Android based phones are equally as powerful; I am just not familiar with them.

The App that will allow you to create ICM images with the iPhone is Slow Shutter and available at the Apple App Store. It’s a fun app with a lot of flexibility in the preferences.

The preferences permit you to select the photo resolution, aspect ratio and file format. There are options in the Capture Mode for Motion Blur, Light Trail and Low Light also. The images below were generated using the Motion Blur Capture Mode with a 4 second Shutter Speed and a Low Blur Strength.  I use the greatest photo resolution allowed 12 mp, the 4:3 aspect ratio and a tiff file format.

Below are examples of images taken using the Slow Shutter app and the same scene shot traditionally.

ICM Image

Traditional Shot

ICM Image

Traditional Image

As you can see, the app changes the scene dramatically sparking some creative juices. For tips on creating an interesting ICM image, check out my blog post here.  I find shooting ICM images with the iPhone truly fun and we all need a little more fun in our lives! I hope you give it a try.

Thanks for stopping by and more of my work can be viewed at https://susanmcanany.com

Saint Nicholas Day

I was out with friends recently and we chatted about Christmas stocking. It brought back a memory of Saint Nicholas Day from my childhood. Funny, I had not thought about this holiday in decades, but I can vividly remember the thrill and excitement of hanging my stocking along with my siblings one evening in early December.  Even more exciting was waking in the morning and having the stocking filled with candies and small trinkets, especially since December 6 usually happened on a school day.

Being a lapsed Catholic, I did a little research to refresh my memory about Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas was truly the first Santa Claus and he was a real person living around 300 AD. Orphaned as a child by the death of his parents in Turkey, he was raised by Christians and dedicated his life to service, giving anonymously to the poor and children. He became a bishop in the late third century, recognized as a saint in the 800s and Catholics in France began celebrating Bishop Nicholas Day in the 1200s.

Europeans were the first to celebrate St. Nicholas as the Feast of SinterKlaas on December 5. Children would put out shoes with treats for the saint’s horses in hopes of receiving candies and gifts. Also this date would correspond with the beginning of Advent, a Catholic tradition. 

Most of the previous information came back to me while I was reading a couple of articles, but one new tidbit emerged about the symbolism of the candy cane.  Apparently it represents St Nicholas staff and was left in the shoes of children, along with candy and toys to decorate their Christmas tree. I don’t remember ever hearing that before and find in quite interesting.  More info about the tradition and lore of St Nicholas can be found here

Lastly, I want to wish everyone a very joyous holiday season and peace, prosperity and creativity in the coming New Year. May your stockings be overflowing!

Green, white and red decorated Christmas stocking

My work can be viewed on my website.

 

ICM – A New Technique, A New Beginning

ICM, Intentional Camera Movement, is a new technique I am experimenting with. It is a method that requires a slow shutter speed and movement of the camera. There is a delicate balance between the amount of movement and shutter speed required so it takes a bit of practice and a lot of frames to get a memorable shot. But then what in life doesn’t require practice. 

I got interested initially by an YouTube video organized by SHECLICKS.  Charlotte Belamy is the instructor and shoots beautiful nature scenes using this technique and is super forthcoming with data. Roxanne Bouche’ Overton is another outstanding ICM artist and likes to shoot city scenes which I find interesting. I took a two day workshop with her and learned some great info and techniques. 

The easiest and most fun way to take photos using ICM is to use the hand-held method along with a shutter speed of 1/15 of a second or slower and very slight movements of your head to get motion.

Desert Rain f11 1/8 shutter speed

Another method is to mount the camera on a tripod and slowly move the camera. The image below I shot in studio using a tripod. My studio lights were turned on and used for ambient light. I liked this method and the results. But I have a tendency to like things close up.

Peach tulip photographed using ICM technique.

Achieving the slow shutter speed can be challenging at times so reducing the ISO and also the use of neutral density filters can help make that work.

Like anything, the only way to make great ICM images is to get out there and shoot them over and over again. The title of this post states “a new beginning”, and continual practice is where this comes in. Not only is it exciting to capture images that are unique, but I feel like I am beginning on a new photography journey, similar to when I first started taking photos decades ago.  It takes a lot of practice to get a good shot, I’m not sure exactly what I am doing and the results can sometimes be a disappointment. But when a keeper emerges it is thrilling!

Thanks for looking and more of my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com.

Apple Mac Book Pro – My New Best Friend

Let me introduce you to my new  best friend, a 2022 Apple Mac Book Pro!

MacBook Pro 2022

This computer is a sweet thing and very maxed out with the M2 chip, 2 TB of storage and 24 GB of memory. I was taught a long time ago it is better to get as much storage and memory as possible, because I like to keep my equipment for a long time. My boyfriend is fond of making this analogy when it comes to storage and memory:  “You can never be too thin or have too much hair”.

My old laptop, also a MacBook Pro, was hard to let go. It served me well for many years as my travel and studio computer. It was still in use until it finally just pooped out after hundreds of thousands hours of use and probably just as many images. I have no complaints. Purchased in 2011, it was a very good friend and workhorse.

Mostly, I am very happy with my new Mac Book Pro laptop. It is sleek, lightning quick, has a long lasting battery and is much lighter than my 2011 version. The new backlit toolbar at the top is cutting edge along with the larger touchpad. The display is very vibrant and it seems like I experience less eye fatigue.

MacBook Pro Keyboard 2022

One thing that I am not too happy about are the number of ports on the device. Hey Apple, what’s with only 2 USB 3.1 ports? This makes it difficult if I want to connect a display, card reader, Wacom and external drives. All of the devices I use on a daily basis. So back to the Apple store I go to buy $70 worth of dongles to make everything work. I’m sure Apple is pleased.

Final analysis is the MacBook Pro is a sleek, beautiful piece of equipment that I hope will serve me for another 10 years without any problems. Prepare yourself for dongle purchases. Now that I’ve made the transition, I am looking forward to having it as my new best friend!

Thanks for reading. My work can be viewed and www.susanmcanany.com!

Make it a great day.

Red Apple – A New Image

Red Apple, a new image and print was recently uploaded to both my website and my Saatchi Art Store.  Interestingly enough, I was going thru my Work in Process Folder from a previous year and came across it. I kept looking at it and wondering why I never uploaded it before.  It has all the criteria I am always wanting in an image. 

  1. A vibrant subject.
  2. Dramatic lighting.
  3. Perfectly exposed and focus is spot on.
  4. Composition is great.
  5. I love the contrast between the red apples and weathered wood.

Then I noticed the highlight on the red apple in the foreground and remembered I was really concerned about that and even tried to fix it in Photoshop and didn’t like the results. Now, I love the highlight!

The point I am trying to make is we are all so critical of our own work and sometimes just putting time between the shooting and editing or posting, gives us a different eye. Not only have we emotionally disconnected from our subject, but also as photographers/artist we have grown and growth is always a good thing!

Red Apple

Red Apple shot on weathered wood fine art print.

Red apple on weathered wood.

Thanks for stopping by! More of my work can be viewed and www.susanmcanany.com.

 

 

New-Old Image Stacking Technique

Recently I have been trying what I call the new-old image stacking technique. The old comes from having used an image stacking technique quite a bit in my macro work to achieve greater and sharper focus. Focus image stacking increases depth of field, something often needed in macro work.

The new image stacking technique creates a more abstract look. Sharon Tenenbaum teaches an image stacking technique that yields more of an impressionistic image style image using the camera. I really enjoyed the webinar and would recommend Sharon if you have an interest in learning this technique or any other webinars she offers that might interest you. She is great teacher and also gives all attendees a recording of the workshop.

The Technique

In the new image stacking technique you take 5-7 photos of the subject. With this technique it is critical to find an interesting subject and to move around the subject in a semi-circle keeping the subject in the same location in the viewfinder.

From there, download and edit the individual image files in either Photoshop or Lightroom. When edits are complete, load the image files into Photoshop on different layers. This can be done using Photoshop or Lightroom. Attention to lining up the images is critical. I like to select something in the image to use as the focus point and align all layers to that small specific area. Next, a create a black mask for each layer. Then fill the black mask with white of different opacity percentage, allowing different parts of the image to show through. From there, use a brush (20% opacity-black) and take out any detail that doesn’t fit with the composition or the look you are trying to achieve.

Lastly, when the overall composition is complete, merge up the layers and complete any fine tune editing or special enhancement. This includes adjustments such as brightness, color enhancements, etc.  This is done with Photoshop Adjustment Layers, Topaz, Nik Plug-In or other software programs available.

Sample Images of Image Stacking Technique

First Subject using the Image Stacking Technique – Acacia Tree
More Recent Image. Carousel, Bryant Park, NYC

I truly love this process and as you can see, you get better with practice! It allows me to be creative in ways I never experienced before. Also, it provides a new twist on an old subject matter.

Thanks for reading and I hope your inspired to try something new with your photography! To view more of work, please visit my website.

Square Flower Images for Inspiration

Here are a couple more samples of square flower images for inspiration and fun. Once again, I photographed them in my make shift studio that I have managed to get completely dark. It is such a joy to work in the dark and sometimes difficult to do since there is a bank of windows on one wall.  Absolutely no ambient light on these images! Working in a totally dark room requires an artificial light source, obviously, to illuminate the subject. For these flower images I used a strobe with a small soft box and a white foam board for fill to light the subject. Also, I used my 100mm macro lens at an f-stop of f11, shutter speed 125.  It was a lot fun to work through the process. Here is a page showing some the set up I am using.  

I do want to mention a totally dark room is not required and a tripod will work just as well as a copy stand. Also, any light source could work with an adjustment to f-stop, shutter speed or ISO.  I have used all those techniques.

The background I edited in Photoshop to give a different feel to the image and make them a one of a kind square flower images for inspiration. That process required creating the square format and selecting and masking the subject or flower in the image. Then copy that mask to a new layer. Photoshop has some great tools that makes this process fairly easy, although I still needed to clean up any areas it did automatically create correctly.  Lastly, to give the images the distressed and textured look in the background I added textures from Flypaper Textures.

Thanks for stopping by and viewing my post about square flower images. I hope you find inspiration here, in nature and in your own backyard or neighborhood. More of my work can be viewed at susanmcanany.com.

Have a wonderful week!

square flower images for inspiration

“Lily Duo” White lily bud and flower photograph intertwined with textured background.

square flower image for inspiration

“Sunflower” Yellow sunflower with green textured background.

 

 

Back in the Studio

I am happy to be back in the studio, or at least a my temporary one till I move to another location. Reunited at last with my copy stand and all the rest of the photo toys I have accumulated over the years is a really good feeling. And also a ton of fun.

In the Studio

Working with the copy stand.

To get me jump started in the studio I am working on a series of still life photos that are shot in studio on a neutral gray background. Later in my digital darkroom I combine those images with different cool texture backgrounds.  Some of the textures I have created myself, but quite a few I have purchased from FlyPaper Textures. They are a great resource for interesting textures and edges.

I have been excited about this process and the results. Although, like all things photography there are several technical issues to work out along the way. Setting up the lights and synching to the camera came easily to me, once all cables and meters were found.  However, getting those flowers to look just right took some time. Photographing a living thing does require some speed, as it begins to deteriorate once it is removed from water and placed under lights. But, I love the process, being back in the studio and I am getting some great results.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Joel Grimes. Without his tutorials, I never would of started this project.

Thanks for looking and reading. Check out more of my still life texture images on my website

 

The Library Book Is A Must Read

“The Library Book” by Susan Orleans is a must read for your summer or fall reading list. If like me, you grew up going to the library as a form of entertainment, you will find this book relatable and very interesting.

Susan Orlean’s book resonates with me in several ways. She also had an affinity for the library having gone as a child, so I found her personal story very relatable. For myself, growing up in a family of eight there was always lots of noise. Often I remember how quiet the library was. The library offers a whole different ecosystem and a world of it’s own. 

Ms. Orlean’s book also gives a history lesson about Libraries and specifically the Central Library in Los Angeles wrapped up in a story telling style that kept my attention.  A key part of this history are the many librarians and their philosophies as they guide the library through changes over the decades.

Of course the main theme throughout the book is the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Library. This devastating event lasted over seven hours and burned extremely hot due to all the books.  During the fire over 800,000 books were destroyed or damaged. In addition thousands of historical documents, photographs, microfiche and historical artifacts were destroyed. The library closed for seven years affecting hundreds of employees and patrons.

Harry Peaks, an aspiring actor and pathological lair was suspected and arrested but never formally charged or convicted for the crime. To this day the fire at the library remains unsolved.

One last thing this book details is the importance of the library system in people’s lives. Not only does it provide enrichment and answers for people, but it is also a refuge for many when their lives are broken. The library accepts everyone, rich, poor, homeless or not.

For me, the library is a special place often a spiritual place. If you were lucky enough to grow up using the library, I am sure you feel a forever connection also. A library is full of knowledge and freely shares it. It provides community and hours of entertainment to all who use it.

Amazingly, all of this is free. Truly, a fascinating read. “The Library Book” by Susan Orleans is a must read this year!

Thanks for reading and you can view my art at susanmcanany.com.