Garland Wetlands - Combining Infrared and ICM / by Jeremy Mudd

Earlier this year a co-worker made me aware of the Fairborn Art Association’s call for entries for their annual Landscape gallery. This year’s theme was the Garland Wetlands park, and was open to all forms of 2d and 3d art. Given that one of the challenges I set for myself this year was to enter more shows, I put this one on my list to enter.

I first visited the park in early March, with my D750 digital camera, a few lenses, and a tripod. Ready to get my landscape on! What I found out on that visit was that the park was small. Very small. My yard is bigger. The park consisted of a very short boardwalk situated in a wetland area that took all of about 1 minute to walk. I quickly realized that there wasn’t a great deal there to shoot, and that there would probably be a lot of paintings and photographs of that boardwalk that get entered. I needed to do something different. So I left without taking an image that day – to regroup, gather my thoughts, and decide what to do.

My first thought was to bring the macro gear back to the site and so some macro. But that idea wasn’t going to work because to me, macro is not “landscape” and I wouldn’t be happy with that, even if no one at FAA cared about that distinction.  I also thought about doing one of my “tiny planet” images (360 degree pano that’s stitched together at the ends and inverted in photoshop), but the park with its straight boardwalk and surrounding trees didn’t have a lot of good separation, and would make for a lack-lustre tiny planet image in my opinion.

Then it finally came to me – infrared. I’ve shot infrared in the past for photo competitions, and the different “look” that it has often sets it apart from other images.  I’ve been looking for a project that I could use infrared for again and this was perfect for it.

Armed with my 720nm-converted D2X I visited the park again and took a lot of images. I wasn’t happy with them at all. They looked like the same thing everyone else would shoot, just with the novelty of infrared.

So I went back again. I ended up sitting on the boardwalk for an hour listening to the birds, watching the wind in the trees, and hearing the occasional bullfrog. Watching the trees swaying and moving above me made me think that maybe catching that movement with a long exposure could be interesting. But would that translate well? Probably not.

What else could I do? Oh! I know. Intentional Camera Movement. Otherwise sometimes referred to as “ICM”. ICM is a technique using a slowish shutter speed and moving the camera while the shutter is open. The movement can vary – circular, side-to-side, up-and-down, etc. It makes for a somewhat dreamy image and often times can make the ordinary look interesting. I’ve played around with this technique a little bit in the past – it completely goes against my whole “its gotta be sharp and perfect” mantra and is outside of my comfort zone. Perfect!

OK, now this is starting to work. Over the course of the next few months I visited the park several more times.

At different times of the day.

In different light.

In different weather conditions.

After many visits I came away with several images that I really liked, and entered three of them in the FAA competition. Whether I won anything or not I was just happy to have done the project and push some of my boundaries.

This image did win a “Judges Merit” award, which was a great surprise!

 

The gallery is located in the old Central School building on Central Avenue in downtown Fairborn, and is open for viewing Sunday July 21st and Sunday July 28th for viewing from 2pm-4pm. Congrats to all of the artists who showed work!

Thanks for reading!

Jeremy