Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Beauty in the Blur

Usually when I think of stunning photography, my thoughts turn to crystal clear, remarkably sharp pictures. However, there are times that blurry photos can be even more dynamic.

But let me tell you, it takes lots of practice. Let's start with an example of how not  to do it, courtesy of yours truly. <blushes and hangs head in shame>

Presenting Exhibit A: The mystery elephant.

I took this picture [that can hardly be called a photograph] at my local zoo. Upon first glance, it looks like a very poorly composed photo of an elephant. However, my zoo does not have elephants. Trust me-- I'm just as confused as you are... ;)

As you can see, it is obviously important to keep most of your picture in focus so that people can tell what in the world you are taking a picture of. On the other hand, despite my oft failed attempts, there are times when blurry is better.

For example, I'm sure we're all familiar with the wonders of bokeh. Doesn't light do gorgeous things when it's out of focus?

But wait! There's more blurriness can do! [I think I must be unleashing my inner infomercial actress now. Sorry you had to hear  read that. :D]

I have a small [okay, pretty big] obsession with taking photos of water. I love the different effects that can be achieved by varying the sharpness of my images.

This first one of the waves is in focus. I really like how this photo captures the energy and wildness of the sea. The water is frozen in time giving the photo a sense of action and movement.

Now, let's take the same subject and throw it out of focus a bit.

Completely different mood. Rather than ravenous rage, this photo has a sort of dreamy, slow motion feel to it. Using focus to your advantage can really help you convey emotion in your artwork.

The same concept goes for this waterfall. In the first image, the water if crisply frozen. The water droplets almost give it a furry look. [Personally, I'm not exactly a fan of this pic of mine. It reminds me of those scary monsters on the Matterhorn ride at Disney land. haha]

To create the second photo, I lengthened my shutter speed a bit to give the water a stringy effect. Once again, you get a whole other feel to a photo. While the first one alludes to fast movement, this one feels oddly tranquil. 

The final example I have for y'all is one from my trip to the Oregon Coast this summer. The fog in the background combined with the somber blue tones just seems to scream mystery. I don't think the photo would be quite the same if it were crisp and sharp. I think the blurriness adds a nice touch to the dreary mood of the piece.

What can you do with blurry pictures? Try it. You might just be surprised. Just don't go too overboard like I did on my mysterious elephant. ;)

[Now, if only we could convince Disney to make a new version of Beauty and Beast for photographers. Beauty in the Blur. I can see it now. :D]

Happy Tuesday!



  1. What kind of camera do you shoot with? I love photography and have taken a few classes but only own a Cannon that is somewhere inbetween a point and shoot and a DSLR but not quite a DSLR. I always feel so limited with it. I play with my best friend's DSLR sometimes and am thinking of getting one. What kind do you reccomend?

    Also, I love this post!

  2. Thank you! I'm really glad you liked the post! :) DSLR's are a huge investment, but they are so worth it. I have a Nikon D5100 and I absolutely love it. I believe that the Cannon equivalent is the T3i. Honestly, I like both brands a lot, I had just used Nikon more so I went with it. Before I bought my camera, I did a lot of price comparing on Amazon, eBay, and Costco. It really helped me figure out what I wanted in a camera and what good prices were. There are some great deals out there. Good luck!


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