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Dear <<First Name>>,

I am tempted to begin today with a philosophical expounder on the idea of ‘Blur’ and its connotations, implications, indications in the drudgery, or picnics as the case may be, of life itself. I could say that life is but a blur of moments where some glinting memories glint sharp; Or that in the blur of the photograph, time leaves its gleaming, snail-like track; Or some even more incomprehensible nonsense.

Or, I can say the truth. I like blurred photographs. Maybe I stumbled upon it by unintentional shake or reading the shutter-speed wrong, but I like it.

Today I write about:

  • the beauty in the undefined blurs and why they look excellent on walls

  • how you too can shoot blurs

  • my gratitude to those who missed these letters

I hope you find this entertaining.

Intrigue in a blur makes an engaging picture

Zoom. Open edition 8"x8"

Is it a golf cart, or a vintage car, or a sports car passing in-front of a gate?

Most of us are avid Instagram scrollers. The thumbs really move fast and tens of images fly past the screen, and attention, in seconds. Some images though are the Thumb Stoppers!

Mostly, the Thumb Stoppers are the images that need some time to explore, to appreciate, to make sense of. The ability to retain attention, to keep offering new figures for exploration to the eye, is a defining quality of good images.

Blurs excel at that. The viewer has at least a few seconds worth of mystery to solve, interpretations to conjure, visions to make in their heads. And that makes a blur so much more likeable than a crystal sharp image that exposes itself completely at the moment of introduction.

And that is why blurs should have a claim to every tasteful collection of fine art photographs, or well appointed walls. The visitors to the drawing rooms will have pictures to draw themselves to…to appreciate for some time.

The technique is mostly straightforward unless you are attempting a shutter drag (only the keenest of photographers may bother) or a panning shot (which I do not consider a blur strictly speaking).

I will come to that in a while. Allow me first to show you a few blurs that I shot last year. For sometime I had had this bee in my bonnet about shooting flat angled blurs of cyclists and I found myself in the town of Münster, the cycling capital of Germany. What luck!

Many of these are available in open edition 8”x8, or 12”x12” prints should you want to see them on your walls. Let me know.

‘Dance of the Swans’, Limited edition print, 1/12. 16”x26”. Price indication starts at USD 1,735

‘Whistle me a song’. The blurring of the features lend simplicity to this shot removing the clutter of the foliage, and expression yet hinting at gay abandon. Is he whistling?

‘Mural’. Living, breathing, speeding mural on the wall!

‘Dance of the Swans’, Limited edition print, 1/12. 16”x26”. Price indication starts at USD 1,735

‘Girl on a bike’. I especially like this for its simplicity!

‘Dance of the Swans’, Limited edition print, 1/12. 16”x26”. Price indication starts at USD 1,735

‘The Student’.

‘Dance of the Swans’, Limited edition print, 1/12. 16”x26”. Price indication starts at USD 1,735

‘Looking at you’

‘Friends’

Before you dismiss me on a bicycle…

‘Dance of the Swans’, Limited edition print, 1/12. 16”x26”. Price indication starts at USD 1,735

Rain?

Jungles, gardens, any foliage that sways provides another opportunity for making some wonderfully relaxing blurs.

I had the good fortune again of finding myself in a national park in India earlier this year. Here are a few pictures.

‘Dance of the Swans’, Limited edition print, 1/12. 16”x26”. Price indication starts at USD 1,735

The turn in the woods

‘Dance of the Swans’, Limited edition print, 1/12. 16”x26”. Price indication starts at USD 1,735

Grass, wind, and a tree

Branches

Of course, you can create very enticing blurs when nothing moves. Sample this scene from a market in Germany.

PrincipalMarkt in Motion

Creating a blur is easier done than said

If you shoot with a camera:

  • Set the camera to Aperture Priority, or AV. This will let the camera choose the right aperture itself for correct exposure

  • Choose a low ISO value that you are happy with. 160 for Canons works very well

  • Set the shutter speed to a slow value for your composition. In my experience 1/30 of a second works for most situations.

  • All that remains is to compose your scene and press the shutter.

If you shoot with a mobile phone camera, you will need to use a specialised app since phones do not give exposure control by themselves. Once you have the app, the settings should be pretty much as I have explained for a camera above.

Some of the apps that let you control the shutter speed are:

  • Slow Shutter Cam

  • Ultra Slow Shutter Cam PRO

  • LongExpo

  • Slow Shutter Insta

It would help to have an idea beforehand of what you want to shoot and the picture you want to make. So, think before you shoot…and you will have pictures that may look like nothing that anybody has shot.

I need to Thank You!

Many of the readers of my letters do reply or message, some of you even telephone, to tell me how useful or entertaining they find these to be. I am forever grateful for their politeness and courtesy.

But, I had not thought that anyone would miss these letters when I do not write. I am absolutely taken by the number of friends who have questioned me on my silence and some have even upbraided me for my lethargy.

I cannot thank you enough for the love that you shower on my writing and my photographs, both of which may not stand critical scrutiny….

….but you are too polite to be honest. Thank you! ☺️

I hope reading this has been worth your while. Please do shoot great masterpieces and show them to me too. I’d very much love to be in awe of you.

~Cheers

Jitendra | Jiten | JC

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