Autumn “Schmear”

The subtle early morning light was sculpting the tree trunks in this nondescript scene at the Abbot Wetlands.  I had not been having much luck on this morning, and I certainly wasn’t finding any potential images in this scene.

The sun was about to hit this area, and before it blew out the dynamic range, I thought I would try a “schmear”. A “schmear” (my term – I don’t know of anyone else using it) is simply an image captured while the lens and camera are moving.  Generally, you wind up with something pretty impressionistic – streaks of color – and often they can be quite pleasing to the eye.  In this scene, all the elements were in place; there was some color, and there were several vertical elements to lend structure. The set-up is simple:  adjust the ISO and aperture combination to give an exposure of a second or more; aim the camera and trip the shutter as you move the lens up or down through the scene during the exposure, thereby creating a “schmear”.

You will never be sure what you will wind up with, but of the three shots I did at this location, this is the one I like the best.  A cheap “victory” in an otherwise luckless shoot?  Perhaps.  At the very least, I had an image that pleased me.  But beyond that, I often find that this type of shooting will just stir up the creative juices enough to keep me shooting.  Less than ten minutes later, I captured the image of the “flaming” leaves shown in the previous post.  If I had not made this image, I probably would have given up and left the park ten minutes earlier than I did and would have missed that other image altogether.