Groovy Oaks & repost

Groovy Oaks

I had my short lens on a quick rainy walk today thinking I would try some landscape, hills and clouds in the distance, nothing really happened except for seeing 2 Red-tail Hawks which made me wish I had my long lens. So I settled for trying some ICM on this oak forest.

Specific Feedback Requested


Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Nikon D3400
ISO 100


My comments are subjective so please take them with a grain of salt. For me ICM works when its taken far enough that its obvious that it wasn’t an accident. For this shot I’d go for more movement as it could be confused to be accidental.

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It’s heading in the right direction for my taste. Any where you took it even further?

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Yeah, I did but was afraid it would bug people’s eyes out but I was just about to repost it because I think what I just put in wasn’t too different! So here goes…

@Nathan_Klein sorry to keep bugging you, but I wanted to show you this one too, the ones before I was panning back and forth and this one I was going up and down. I’ve read you can do it both ways, any feedback?..

Hi Vanessa,

You’re not bugging me :slight_smile: I’m no ICM expert. I think @Lon_Overacker has explored this area quite bit and may have some insights.

For me ICM works when it creates an impressionistic result bordering on abstract. For example,

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That’s really neat! I’ll have to keep experimenting. I have a few flower ones that I’ll have to submit another day. But I probably have a long way to go! Thanks for your feedback and help!

Hi Vanessa,

Welcome to NPN! Great to have you here.

Kudos to you for trying the ICM and doing something a bit different. From the conditions you were in, I think not a bad idea.

First a thank you to @Nathan_Klein for tagging me and drawing me out of the woodwork. Been a while since I’ve posted and certainly haven’t been commenting like I should. Pretty impressed Nathan you remember any ICM post - last one had to have been in 2019… :grin:

To your post Vanessa, my first thought concurs with Nathan in that if one is going to go abstract with various techniques one needs to go far enough to take it just enough beyond reality (or even further!) so that the viewer is clear of your intentions. The first two images are much closer to reality than abstract and so the impression comes as simply a blurry landscape.

Now I really like the 3rd image and I think this one is approaching more of an abstract. Interesting too as you changed the direction of motion. Here the bald, gloomy sky and the dormant trees combine for great contrast - approaching a high-key scene. The branches in the main tree, upper portion of the image have taken on an abstract form and I think this one is a great start - and teaser in to the world of ICM.

Funny that you posted and Nathan called me out as I’ve been embracing the ICM for the last couple years. Understandably however, it’s not everybody’s thing and certainly not quite the fit here considering NPN is overwhelmingly a nature photography forum… and ICM’s, well are more digital art than nature, so I understand that. Anyway… I put a few of my ICM images up on Google Photos if you want to take a look. This particular album, all are images of the very same tree right in my own back yard; captured during 4 different time (one of those times being during fall color… duh)

Personally, I am captivated by the random results; Colors, lines, patterns - simply amazing what can be created. And for me, it’s just fun. A few things I’ve learned that you might consider:

  • A little bit slower shutter speed, such as 1/4s, 1/3 or even slower. Faster as you had in your initial post require much more deliberate and faster movement of the camera in hand. Of course there is no set speed, just slow enough to allow the motion to be recorded.
  • A polarizer and some combo of ND - neutral density filters to allow the slower shutter speeds in brighter light.
  • Experiment with ALL motion! horizontal and vertical pans, diagonal, wavy, shake, half-circle, full circular motion (longer shutter speeds to allow for a full circle.) Also - combine movements! For example, start with a horizontal sweep, then before the shutter closes, jerk the camera up or down; all during the exposure of course.
  • Start your motion well before pushing the shutter release. Timing takes practice. (Great thing about digital! there’s always the delete button!)
  • The other part of the equation is recognizing potential situations for ICM. Look for contrast, localized and varied color - the more colors the better! Trees are fantastic subjects to experiment with; typically the trunk and big branches provide some anchoring, while the smaller branches, leaves, etc. do well with lots of movement. Add some color in the sky (or lack of it with your effort above.)
  • Experiment with all focal lengths - wide angles are great beneath a tree canopy… zoomed in with longer focal lengths to blur on select colors and shapes.
  • Possibilities are endless. I keep toying with writing something up, but just haven’t put anything together.

Anyway, way MORE than initially was going to respond to, but hopefully this might inspire you or others to dust off the old rule book and have some fun with some ICMs!

Looking forward to more and welcome aboard!



Vanessa, @Lon_Overacker has given you some great advice on how to approach ICM’s, it would be hard to add much to what he said.

My own personal, and therefore subjective, view on ICM’s is similar to @Nathan_Klein’s, the better ones yield an impressionistic result bordering on abstract. This is my own personal bias, but I think ICM’s that include a lot of bald, white sky can be facing an uphill battle in terms of working for me. For me, the bright whites of hte sky dominate over the abstract shapes, textures and colors in the landscape. When I do ICM’s myself, I try to look for compositions where I can avoid including white sky. Just my personal opinion. Look at Lon’s or Bill Neill’s ICMs, the sky is eliminated or minimized, which lets the other colors and shapes stand out better.

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Hi Lon! Thank you, so much, for your welcome and for all your time in explaining and basic tutorial on how to achieve this! Thanks for showing me some of your work as well! I really like some of your colorful trees! I can’t right now but I will be trying my hand at this some more and also have a couple that I’ve done in the past that I would like to get your input on as well. So can I let you know when I post them? Thanks again!

Hi Ed! Thanks for your inputs! Yeah, honestly what I did the other day wasn’t what I would deliberately go for but I’ve seen stuff like it so I thought I’d give it a try! I have a few others I did in the summer, which are more colorful but I don’t know if it looks deliberate or like an accident! When I post them I would love to get your feedback! Thanks for your time!

This is a great post Lon, thanks for sharing I learnt a lot. And your ICMs are looking great!

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@Lon_Overacker @Nathan_Klein @Ed_McGuirk
Hello Nathan, Lon, and Ed! I just did some more ICM today and posted one of them it’s called “Hazelnut Orchard" I have 2 other landscapes I’ll be posting in the next 2 days as your only allowed 1 per day. I would love if you get a chance to look at it and let me know what you think!
Thank you!