Blur: It’s Just the Opposite Of Sharpness

by | Sep 22, 2021

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

In the blur of the photograph, time leaves its gleaming, snail-like track.—Wright Morris

Let me tell you a secret: Your image files don’t always have to be tack sharp. Sometimes a soft focus image is just what the doctor—or photographer—ordered and blur and selective blur, especially in a black and white image, can add a film noir touch to an otherwise ordinary photograph.

There’s no doubt that when all or part of a photograph lacks sharpness, it’s blurry. Blur can be caused by camera or subject motion and can be accidentally or deliberately created by an object moving while the camera’s shutter is open or by moving (inadvertently or not) he camera or both.

One of the classic photo tricks is producing light trails from car headlights and taillights at night by using slow shutter speeds. That’s one age-old technique for creating streaking light images. Another classic trick for creative blur is the zoom during exposure technique. Here’s how to do it: Set your camera at a slow shutter speed, start to zoom the lens, press the shutter, and keep zooming during the exposure. This technique can be unpredictable and takes some practice but is really easy to do with a DSLR or mirrorless camera because you can immediately see the results and adjust exposure or your zooming technique accordingly. When shooting film, no so much…


How I Made this shot: This photograph was made at night when I was visiting the Akihabara district of Tokyo. It was shot with an OG Canon Digital Rebel and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. The Program mode exposure was 1/8 sec at f/22 and ISO 400 with a minus one and one-third exposure compensation to punch of the colors.


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