What is ICM?

I first started using ICM when I was in Snowdonia.

Caught in the rain (in Wales??) coming down towards home from a slate quarry, the light on Padarn Lake, Llanberis, was stunning, I wanted to capture that moment, so stopped and took a couple of images.

When editing them in Lightroom, I was surprised at how much I liked the blurred lines and softness of the image which had captured the moment, the feeling of the storm and the light perfectly, as I had seen it.

I searched "blurry camera photo" and discovered Intentional Camera Movement. I then found that I loved the work from other photographers who had been using this technique for years, who knew?!

One of my ICM images in the local woods was shortlisted for LPOTY last year, its a favourite part of the woods, only 5 minutes walk from the house.

Recently, having the constraint of no vehicle, I've been wandering the coast path to the next few coves along and shooting images of the rock shapes and colours, which are always fascinating, and one of those images was in the final shortlisted for OPOTY. However, I haven't been going there as much as I used to, as we've been dog sitting and not scrambling the rocks as much, but staying more in the village and the beach right on the doorstep.

Looking back at those photos in Wales, I loved the lake, the feeling of water, the flowing lines, the feeling of the movement that ICM has, as if I was painting it. So I started to practice this on the beach using the hill and the harbour wall as my focal points.

Practicing with different times of the day, different movement of the camera and shutter speeds is the main test of your patience using ICM. Sometimes you can take quite a few images and get nowhere, other times only half a dozen and the feeling is spot on.

When on the beach the lines run left to right, so the image suits the gentle sway of the camera.
When in the woods, the lines are vertical, so the image suits moving the camera up and down.
You can also zoom in and out, thought I haven't used that as much, as I don't like the image that creates for me.

Heres a couple of images of the beach using ICM. Taken with a Canon 6D in the evening, about 15 minutes after sunset. I don't use filters, theres only a Polariser on the lens. So if you were using this technique during the day or just after sunset or just before sunrise, the light will be too bright, you will need a filter to reduce the shutter speed, maybe by 2 - 3 stops.

I find, for me, that I like the effect when the shutter speed is slowed down by 1 - 5 seconds.

The aperture is usually at f22, but that does change according to the time of day, and as its ICM, you aren't particularly going for focus, so its the shutter speed thats more important.

As the beach and woods are so close, I go out during the blue hour, so the lights just right for this technique. Yes, that means I can be on the beach at 5am or earlier or in the evenings after 9pm during the summer.
The bonus of having the place to yourself is a real treat.
I tend to ramble when on a video, but thought you might like to see what my local beach really looks like and my favourite hat!
Happy experimenting!

Melanie Collie