Working with wood – a multi-exposure ICM experiment

Working with wood – a multi-exposure ICM experiment - Blog-Beitrag von Fotograf John Harrop / 01.01.2024 01:29

Recently, one of the ICM methods I’ve been working on is long exposure ICM. Long exposure in the context of hand-held ICM needs a little clarification. Most of what I was working on used 4 to 8 second exposures which enabled something like multiple exposure if you moved between subjects quickly during the exposure. One of the things I was finding I could do was generate some interesting images that could be used as a layer for blending with a portrait or still life. There is an old railway station near where I live that I had been wanting to work on using ICM. The platforms, benches and building are all wood with a nice mix of paint, light and dark coloured wood. But I didn’t want to lose all the texture of the wood in the movement and preserve that as part of the character of the subject. Long exposure with two or three vertical or horizontal pans across the scene with the camera rotated for each pass could do that and preserve textures in each pass. To make this more precise I decided to use in-camera multi-exposure which I had not used for some time and never with my newer camera. This, I though could also improve the control of each pass rather than having to rush in the camera body rotation before each pass. Each individual exposure was 2s, so still working with the same total exposure range as before. This worked better than I expected – always an encouraging experience, and also allowed me to try out the four blend modes on my camera. Keeping the darker pixel mode was often the most interesting result and tended to create more “shadow” that gives some depth illusion. Previewing the previous image while framing up the start of the next pass was hugely effective in helping compose the image. With the success of the experiment, I’m eager to go back to the station or other locations that would provide similar subjects and use the resources to paint some emotive images!

There are three resources/subjects in these images. Two are light coloured wooden benches with bare wood. One is on a wooden platform in front of a painted wooden wall while the other is in front of an old train carriage. The last image is using a using a window with dark trim and light-coloured painted walls – also wooden.

These are works in progress. No cropping, as shot at the 3/4 camera ratio. If these were normal, representational images then I would do perspective or rotation correction by default in my workflow, but I’m not sure it makes as much sense with abstract work like this which tolerates or even benefits from some imperfections.