Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.


For the last week, I have been on a family vacation in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. This was a family outing and so the opportunities for serious photography were somewhat limited. Nonetheless, I did get out to photograph early on two or three mornings, before the rest of the family got up. In coming posts I will show some of these images. But today, I wanted to write about experimentation because I think it is one of the most creative and overlooked aspects of photography.... and the digital age makes experimentation easy.

Most people know how to make abstracts by moving the camera during exposures. This, and just about any other 'experiment' with motion, shutter speed, and aperture can be easily accomplished and the results seen immediately on the LCD screen of a digital camera. Although I don't suggest that immediate editing decisions regarding any images be made 'on the spot' (I think more deliberate editing is better done with a larger image on the computer screen), the immediate feedback of digital can help guide you on a course. In the case of camera movement during an exposure, the LCD can give important feedback as to whether the degree and speed of camera motion is giving you the type of results you were hoping for and suggest changes that can then be used to achieve the look you want.

One afternoon, while waiting for my kids to get ready to go out for dinner, I was walking through the garden in back of the condo where we stayed. There was a plethora of orange lilies growing and I had a few minutes to spare, so I got my camera out. I didn't want to spend time taking the types of flower photos that I might typically take at home, so I decided to experiment a bit and took a series of images using camera motion. I was hoping that the resultant abstract blur might express the essence of these beautiful, but common, orange flowers in a different sort of way.

Lily Abstract
Copyright Howard Grill
I can understand how some might say the image is little more than a blurry flower photo, but to me it communicates a bit more....