Photography is about lines and light for me. I love a simple graphic image, uncluttered by unnecessary details or a complex background. That makes photographing in the dense Oregon forest a challenge for me! Lately I’ve found using Motion Blur mode in the Slow Shutter Cam app, I can get the simplicity of the light and lines I’m looking for in the complex forest environment. Plus, it’s just fun to play with intentional camera movement!
So how does Slow Shutter Cam work? It’s pretty straightforward. The app takes multiple images during the exposure period, and then blends them together. How blurred your final image will be depends on the settings you choose as well as the motion you use when you take the photograph. You have lots of options in both settings and motion to experiment with.
When you open the app, you frame your scene and set focus and exposure. Nicely, you can tap to set focus and exposure similarly to ProCamera. I’ve found that overexposing a little bit often works best for my images, but you will want to play around with exposure settings yourself.
To change your blur settings, you can tap the aperture/iris icon in the lower left and a pop-up menu appears on the screen. I use Motion Blur as my capture mode, and then play around with Blur Strength and Shutter Speed as I take different images. Tap anywhere on the screen to close the menu when you are done adjusting your settings.
To take the photograph, tap the camera icon in the bottom center. Start moving your phone to get the motion blur on a stationery scene. The window in the top left will show the scene unblurred, while the rest of the screen shows what the blurred image looks like as you create it.
The image you create will depend not only on the settings in the app, but on how much, how fast, and what motion you use as you move the camera. Experimenting with types of motion (up/down, wiggly, circular, etc.), start/stop points, exposure, blur strength, and shutter speed will result in very different images. Below is an example of six different images of one scene. I will often take many more than this, changing the app settings and my motion to get a different result in each one.
Those are the basics for Slow Shutter Cam! Pretty simple, huh? The secret lies in experimentation with the settings and movement in this case, rather than complexity in the app.
The rest of the fun with these images comes later, when I sit down to edit. I will look through all of the images I’ve created and see which ones have the most potential. I’m looking at the light, the lines, and the impression the movement gives to the overall scene. It’s easy to be too blurred, or not blurred enough. You want the image to look artistic, not like a mess or an accident.
Once I’ve selected the image, I follow my normal processes of basic adjustments, artistic edits, and then blending to get the final image. For the image at the beginning of this post, here is the starting photograph, as captured by Slow Shutter Cam:
I wanted to focus in on a certain part of the scene, so I cropped and did some basic adjustments in Snapseed:
The image is called “Awakening” and is one of my favorites so far in this forest series. I think the dramatic light and dark, along with the blur, work well to create a mood.
Your turn! Enjoy playing with Slow Shutter Cam and let me know how your experiments turn out.