The Blizzard

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Here is another in-camera movement abstract that I thought was worth sharing. I realize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but maybe it’s image dependent… Would love your thoughts.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been able to say this, but this first posting is literally straight out of the camera. The ONLY thing I did was open in to PS from ACR, clone a handful of dust bunnies and then crop for the web using TK’s action. No ACR presets, nothing. Now, of course - there are some presets within the camera, but basically there is no post processing, not even a crop.

While this is still abstract in nature, I think the trees and forest are recognizable enough. What was amazing is that it was NOT snowing at the time. All the streaks of “snow” are from clumps of snow on the tree branches (mostly cedar I think) and the diagonal motion of the camera. There were actually two motions here. I started with the vertical motion and then “tailed off” diagonally all during a .3s exposure. Needless to say, the camera motion was pretty quick.

I’m posting 2 other variations for your opinion. Same frame only with a little more processing to draw out some color. Then a cropped version of that.

As always, your comments, critiques and feedback are welcome!!!

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Processing, colors, luminosity, etc.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any thoughts, good or bad.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

Nikon D800E, 28-300mm @62mm, f/18 .3s iso 50, single frame, handheld with motion


I love photos like these. Although I like all, I prefer the second one. The cropping in the third removes the top white streaks that I think frame the trees. I also prefer what I think is greater contrast in the second than the first. .

Lon - I really like these. My favorite is #2, large because of the natural vignette of the snow and the color is more natural and slightly warmer to my eye. Yet, I prefer the tree appearance of the first shot with more of a larger forest scene. I must say, based on the streaks in the snow, I have no perception of the vertical motion - only the diagonal. It almost appears as a double exposure…one for the vertical and one for the diagonal. Really beautiful!

The third version is my favorite of the options posted… Nice abstract, but enough base to hold me in the image. I wondered what it might look like with a tad of warmth on the trees, and just a touch more contrast. Tried this option and thought I’d share the result.

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This turned out really well and I like it because, well, it doesn’t look like an ICM image. :innocent: Of all the renditions, I prefer @Keith_Bauer 's version best, although all work for me. Good take from the Yosemite storm.

Put me down for #3 as well, Lon. It’s just a clearer statement.

Nice work achieving this effect, Lon. I think I prefer the second. Either of the first two really, since I like having more of the white encompassing the trees. The boost in color is nice in the second one, though there’s something to be said for the darker trunks contrasting against the elements in Number One.


I like the first one best, and very much. It looks like a curtain of snow blowing across the forest, but the viewer has to strain a little to see the trees. Very creative use of ICM and I love that you didn’t need to process it at all!

I agree with @Kathy_Barnhart, I prefer the first version. Relative to the 2 other versions, I prefer the first one for its cooler White Balance, and slightly lower luminosity level. All three images are nice, and work well. But as often is the case with abstracts, my instinctive reaction to an image is what rules the day, we all see these type of images differently I think.

Very clever idea to use two motions at once here, I studied the image before i read your description, and I was like, how the heck did he achieve this look? Very creative use of ICM here, it really had me thinking about this image.

Lon, this is really amazing. Personally, I like ICM images, but this one is special. Had you not explained the motion, I definitely would have thought it was snowing. It’s interesting to me that the white reads as moving only diagonally, and the trees read as only moving vertically. There are only a couple places where I can see the white turning from vertical to diagonal.

I like the slightly more saturated second image the best, but all work well.

You are really getting into this ICM thing aren’t you. You certainly had me fooled until I read your description as I thought this was a snow storm with a slow SS. This has intrigued me enough to think about giving this a try to see what comes up. I have scrolled back and forth on these a couple of times and I prefer the first version with the lower contrast. Very creative image.

Lon, all three versions look good to me. However, I’m settling in on the third version for my liking in the end. I do also like Keith’s version too. Maybe that one as a final version, especially with the tad more contrast. I’m sure somewhere in-between meets more of the actual conditions out there, but only you would know that as the photog on site.
I do like your recent abstracts in general. Gives a bit more spin or different spin to the natural world out there… :+1: :+1:

btw: this image brought back an immediate thoughts of my TDY trip to Shemya Island back in the 60’s. The main composite site chow hall and living quarters had a boardwalk & a tie rope between it and the main power plant where I worked all those years back. I can recall several trips between those points hanging on for dear life in snow blizzards that looked like this one here… :cowboy_hat_face:

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The second one is a winner in my book, Lon. Super cool. I think having the white on top “grounds” the image a little for me perhaps it’s the symmetry with the white at the bottom of the frame. ICM is not easy to do well and I think you have done exceedingly well here.

@Jim_Gavin, @Jim_McGovern, @Keith_Bauer, @Harley_Goldman, @Igor_Doncov, @Max_Waugh, @Kathy_Barnhart, @Ed_McGuirk, @Craig_Moreau, @Ed_Lowe, @Paul_Breitkreuz and @Adhika_Lie

Thank you so much for the comments and responses. These abstracts I think are hit and miss and clearly can be interpreted in many ways - which in turn leads to many different processing interpretations - each of course completely valid. The only thing exciting about the non-processed image - was just that! I think I like the end product with a bit more color and contrast.

Thanks Craig for your comments and observation. I took a closer look after reading your comment and looking closely, you can see a vertical component for all the white streaks. The vertical component can be seen easily just looking at the bottom of the tree trunks where there’s a transition from the colored trunks to the white of the snow on the ground. Although I can’t remember exactly the technique on this particular frame, judging by the streaks, I started with a vertical motion with camera pointing upwards in the scene, moving in a downward stroke and tailing off to the left about 1/2 way through the exposure.

Ed, I believe you are correct. At least having fun with it. And what is anything if we’re not having fun?

Thanks again all!

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Thanks for this reminder, Lon. I needed to hear this today.

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I like it Lon, probably for the same reason the @Harley_Goldman liked it, the photo does not look like it was a camera movement image. Fascinating how the two different movements recorded the snow and trees differently.