Lessons In The Landscape

Happy Trails

Our Land
F22, 1/20s, ISO250

with Judy Stokes

A passionate relationship with photography started when I found a style/genre of photography that moulded perfectly with my personality.


Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) suited my quest to find a style that was free and spontaneous. For me, ICM is a way of playing behind the camera – a way to find that joy and sense of wonder we had as kids, a way to explore the unexpected and feel a bit of magic touch our day – simply a way to have FUN while out in nature! I also love the quirky fact that the images turn out to really look more like paintings than photographs!

So how do we create these photographic images that look like paintings? I have chosen some images to tell the story of ICM creation in the landscape.

Milking A Moment

The grand masters of photography would throw up their hands in horror at this approach but I have found it works for me! When something catches my eye that I want to photograph I literally play with it with my camera and I use the viewfinder to think through the process.

Here you can see how I play - I take some “straight shots” as well as experiment with different types of camera movement shots with a variety of results.

The one I ended up with as the chosen shot of this set is called “Storm meets Sea”. The bottom three images, straight out of the camera, show how I adjust my ISO to be able to get different slow shutter speeds. The “Storm meets Sea ” image has very little post-processing, mostly removal of dust spots which is a thing you will need to watch out for with ICM images!!

Feel The Soul Of A Place

The reason I do photography is not for the results and images I end up with, but for the pleasure of the process and how I feel after I have been out with my camera. I love the way photography slows me down - makes me stop in a beautiful place and gets me to be at one with nature. I will often take the time to sit in a place and get a feeling for it before I start my camera playing.

I always shoot on my own, hand holding my camera, and don’t like to use filters therefore, forests are fabulous for ICM as they enable me to slow down my shutter speed. These two images are taken from the same spot but you can see I focused on different parts of the forest for them. In the first one, I focused on the nikau frond and in the second, the trunk of a large native tree. You can see how in these images I also played with exposure compensation. I often use exposure compensation as a “mood tool”. Again, these images have had almost no post-processing.

Read the full article by Judy Stokes in Issue 57 of NZPhotographer magazine.

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