Monday, September 06, 2010

Radial blur then and now

click photo to enlarge
Yesterday I posted a solarized image that achieved through digital means an effect available to photographers using film. For many years I used a 35mm SLR (and rangefinder), and developed my own film and transparencies, but I never once tried to solarize a print. However, I did try to master the effect shown in today's photograph. It wasn't until I'd had an Olympus OM1n for quite a few years that I bought a zoom lens: up to that point my few lenses were all fixed focal lengths. With my newly acquired 70-200mm though, I soon tried zooming with the shutter open, aiming for an effect that I'd seen in photographic magazines. The camera had to be placed on a tripod, and a neutral density filter or low light (or both) was necessary to achieve the slow shutter speed that was necessary. Even then, quite a few shots, trial and error, luck, and an appropriate subject were needed. But I did it. And, having mastered it, I never tried it again! I suppose I couldn't see too many occasions where the zoom effect (we didn't call it radial blur in those days) enhanced the subject.

Today, of course, this effect is very easy to achieve in software. So, I thought, it's twenty five years or so since the last attempt, it must be time to have another go. The section of motherboard is the same one shown in yesterday's image but taken from directly above and with the main microprocessor square in the frame. The ease and flexibility of producing radial blur using a computer program meant that I could adjust the degree of blur, and place the focus of the effect off centre: I chose the middle of the chip.

So there you have it. Not a great shot, but one that was much easier and cheaper to achieve than using analog methods!

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f11
Shutter Speed: 1/6
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On