Hazelnut Orchard

And if it needs to be more abstract/impressionist…

Today I rode my bike to this Hazelnut Farm/Orchard to practice my landscape ICM techniques! These trees actually blossom in the winter! They have these yellow blossoms, don’t actually look like flowers but they’re kind of a long shoot.

Specific Feedback Requested

Does it look intentional?! Or accidental?!
Anything else! @Lon_Overacker @Keith_Flood @Ed_McGuirk

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Nikon D3400
ISO 100

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I like it. I think the technique is good. I’m not sure, but I wonder if the composition is just so-so?

Hi Vanessa,

I think the third image is starting to approach and abstract look. To be honest though, IMHO, these still are too close to reality. I like the comp and setup of the first one with the main tree and the inclusion of the repeating trees/patterns as the backdrop on the right. Still, it comes across as I think has been mentioned, like “someone kicked the tripod by accident…”

Of course everything is subjective, personal choice… but I’ll turn it back and ask you if there is a specific look or result you’re looking for? In the first one here you actually used a faster shutter speed and not a longer one, so a more exaggerated camera movement would be required to record the effect of motion. Then again, maybe your not after the full abstract results that some of my examples showed.

A secondary comment would be when blank sky (or any uniform space with no texture/pattern) is included - there won’t be any appearance or effect of blurring; so the sky in these images look just like like gray sky, further adding to reality side rather than the abstract. Hope this makes sense.

Keep experimenting!


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@Lon_Overacker Hi Lon! Thanks for looking! And your inputs. Actually I’m not wanting to go quite as abstract as some of yours are. I kind of want it to look like an impressionistic painting. I do actually have other images from this series that are very abstract. So maybe that’s more what ICM is?
Not to be a pain but I did just submit another today… It’s from a pine forest… I kind of want the viewer to know what it is but to not be sure if it’s a painting or a photo… Is that still considered ICM? Thanks for your time!

The truth is ICM is a very personal and subjective thing, and different people perceive them very differently.

To me image #2 is the least strong, things are too unrecognizable, and I think the composition is not very good, with the strongest element (the left tree) being right on the frame edge, and little structure in the rest of the image. I do agree with Lon about white sky being a problem, not only does it inject some reality, I think it creates distractions, bright spots that pull attention away from the rest of the image. To eliminate sky, get closer to your subject, and pay attention to whether your camera movement introduces white sky, even if the original starting camera position / composition has no sky before you move the camera.

I react to the first and third images slightly differently than @Lon_Overacker does. I prefer image #1 over image #3. To me image #1 does not look like a tripod kick, I think it is impressionistic, but with a higher degree of reality. I’d crop it to eliminate the sky though. I think image 3 has a stronger composition than image #1, but for my subjective taste, it is too abstract, and the trees are less recognizable as such. I guess I just prefer more reality than Lon does, but that doesn’t mean either one of us is right or wrong.

The other thing to pay attention to is the direction of camera movement often is dicated by the shape of the subjects. Doing trees with an up (or down) vertical movement is a common approach. Landscapes that have strong horizontal lines or shapes, are often shot with a sideways horizontal camera movement. Here are a couple examples of my own ICM’s that illustrate this.

Aspen trees done with an upward (vertical) camera movement

Flowers done with a slightly U-shaped horizontal camera movement from left to right

In both cases, note how I got close enough to the subject to fill the frame with their abstract shapes. That’s why I prefer your image #1, the shapes fill more of the composition And the direction of my camera movement was harmonious with the flow of the shapes in the scene. And as Lon said experiment a lot…


Vanessa, thank you for expanding a bit on what you’re after. I totally understand and respect the notion that many of what I have produced are not necessarily what you’re after - and clearly most all of mine are way more abstract; most of which the viewer would have no clue what so ever what the original subject was.

Your response made me think of this - which I think is an important distinction. At least for me, “ICM” is merely a technique. It’s not a style or genre, it’s merely a method for creating content. “Pictorialism”, “Realism” or “impressionism”. So to answer your second question, absolutely what you’re doing is “intentional camera movement.” That actually isn’t really subjective; it’s more closely related to stitching for a panorama, than it is doing impressionistic work. In fact, many images using reflections in water can result in Impressionistic images; where ICM may or may not.


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Beautiful Ed!

@Vanessa_Hill - without even asking, I’m going to say that Ed’s examples are more what you’re after! Thanks for chiming in Ed!

Thanks, so much Ed! The first one is my favorite too. I really like what you did with yours. That’s kind of along the lines of what I have in mind with ICM. If you get a chance would you mind looking at another one I submitted yesterday? It’s with a Pine forest that I went to the other day.

Thanks Lon! That makes sense… It’s a technique or a ‘tool’ that can help different people achieve different results! Depending on what results you want!

Hello again Lon and Ed, since this is such a subjective, personal thing should I even be posting these? There is a tag for it. But I don’t want to keep putting this stuff up if nobody wants to see it! I really do want input but don’t want to get kicked out! :slight_smile:

No, just because this is subjective it does not mean you shouldn’t post ICM’s. There is no right or wrong on the degree of impressionism for example. But if you notice, many of my comments have been on technical issues. Underexposure, overexposure, movements dictated by subject shape, filling the frame with subjects, avoiding distracting hotspots, shoot on overcast days to avoid excessive contrast. You have some technical issues with your experiments, and critique can help you to identify and address these issues. That is the point of NPN critique, learn how to self identify these technical issues, and how to overcome them. Just my opinion…

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Sounds great! Yeah, between you and Lon I’ve been trying the different movements and shutter speeds. What you said about exposure is very useful. I think I didn’t think it was as important but now I know it is. One question about the sky… What if it’s a pretty blue and it’s just a little bit? I have another landscape I want to post where to my eye that’s the case. I am going to also revisit all these places and give it another try…

It depends more on brightness than color. A viewers eyes naturally gravitate to the brightest part of the image. Do you want the view drawn to that area or not? Blue might or might not be a distraction. A dark blue, not so much. But the brighter the blue, and the more it is near a edge or away from the main subject, you begin to ask for trouble with distractions.

Look at Igor Doncov’s recent post Abandonado

The house is the brightest thing here, and since it is the subject, thats where he wants the viewer to look . If there was a big bright white rock at the horizon halfway up the right frame edge, well then that bright rock would have created a distraction.

It’s the luminosity of the sky that can create distractions in an ICM, since I assume you wan the viewer looking at the rest of the image. Small patches of blue sky might work if they fit harmoniously with the rest of the patterns in the image however. It depends…

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No problems posting Vanessa and as you note there is a tag for it. Just understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea… and please don’t take that personally. And without going in to too much history… NPN did used to have a “Photo Art” category that ICM’s I think fit in to nicely. When this category was eliminated, the intent was to have ICM’s and other “artistic renditions…” be absorbed in the most appropriate category - in this case in to Landscape Critiques. Ed’s daisies could have easily and appropriately placed in Flora.

As Ed point’s out, this is a critique site, and as such is perfectly acceptable to solicit feedback on images, including ICM’s.

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I, personally, like the composition of your first image. The ICM (I keep wanting to say ICBM) produces just enough blur to mimic the brush strokes of a painting and makes it look impressionistic. Just a big more sky would have been nice and some color variability. It’s a pretty good image in my opinion. The other two images look like what you’d see looking out of window of a moving car. They don’t do much for me.

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Ok! Thanks for the demo with this photo. I guess in this case the sky is dark enough to work and the light patches from shadows in front are small enough to not be distracting? That’s my takeaway anyway.