Thanks to Mollie Isaacs and Mary Lindhjem from Awake the Light for kicking off the new Nature Visions Blog! 

There are several ways to create an impressionistic look to your images.  Some are done in-camera, while others are done with digital techniques or special software.  Whenever possible in all of our photographic efforts, our preference is to create it under our own control, and not be at the mercy of software or filters.  Sure there are times when using filters or high-end software can enhance creative vision, but generally you will feel better about the final product when you have created or manipulated an image using your own skills and creativity rather than just pushing a button to add a pre-set digitized effect.

This image was created on a rainy day in-camera with only one exposure and without the use of any software or digitized effects.  Here is how to create your own “Drive-Thru” images:

1.  As a passenger in the front seat of a vehicle (you are NOT driving!) and with your seatbelt ON, set your camera to an ISO of 100, shutter speed at 1 second or longer, f/stop at whatever your camera determines is a good exposure (usually a small aperture since your shutter speed is so long).  After taking a shot or two, check your histogram to make certain that the exposure is adequate for the conditions.

2.  A wide-angle lens works best.  This image was made with a Canon 17-40mm zoom, set at 40mm.

3.  Lean forward toward the windshield and ask the driver to maintain a speed of 5 to 15 miles per hour.  Slower speeds result in a more subtle effect, faster speeds create a feel of forward movement.  It is best to do this on quiet country roads so that your slow vehicle speed does not create a traffic hazard.

4.  Depress the shutter button and tilt the camera slowly up and down during each exposure.  You can also hold the camera steady for a different look, or move it slightly side-to-side, or in a circular motion, or around a relatively fixed center point.  Experiment with different camera movements and different vehicle speeds because you never know what will work best.  This image was made by tilting the camera slowly up and down, which is effective when trees are the main subject.  That maintains the linear appearance of the tree trunks and keeps them separated.  Shoot as many exposures as you can and edit later. 

5.  When you frame your shot, exclude as much of the sky as possible.

This is a great technique to use on rainy days when you might not want to venture over hill and dale in a storm.  If you are traveling with another photographer, trade off so that each of you can try this.  It’s also great when traveling with a non-photographer companion who is willing to drive so you can shoot to your heart’s content!  

Technical data:  Shutter Speed 1 second,  Aperture f/22,  ISO 100.
Lens:  Canon 17-40mm, set at 40mm.  Camera:  Canon 40D 

 Awake The Light Photo Tours and Workshops  –  Mollie Isaacs  &  Mary Lindhjem

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