Creating New Ocean Art

Creating New Ocean Art

I’ve long admired photographers that produce amazing ocean art using long exposures and panning techniques, and I figured it’s time for me to get in on this. I’ve decided to share my learning process here, and show you what I’m working on along the way. 

I went to the closest beach, in lackluster conditions with no expectations, other than to just get started.

Here’s a handful of my favorite shots from my first day out learning panning photography. 

The Panning Technique for Creating Ocean Art Abstracts

I’m quite comfortable with long exposures, but panning is something that caught my attention in the last year or two. The idea of creating abstract art by “misusing” a camera intrigued me. I say “misusing” because cameras come with image stabilization and advanced focusing systems to keep things clear and crisp. In panning photography, most of that hardly matters. 

Wonderfully Minimal

The abstracts created with panning are minimal, but in a very intentional way, which is one of the reasons I think it’s a great technique for creating ocean art. Even when the photo is totally obscured with motion blur, you can still tell it’s a beach or body of water, and there is often a serene or dreamy nature to it. Since the camera is moving horizontally from one side to another during the exposure, motion blur usually only occurs on one axis. There are innumerable ways this varies, but that’s the basic idea. 

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the first results. I can see that the fisheye effect imposed by panning with a wide angle lens might not be as ideal if perfectly straight lines are the goal. I might add one or two of these to my for-sale portfolio, but the biggest take away from this first day out was getting inspired to do more and keep learning. 

What do you think of these panning abstracts? Does this type of art appeal to you? I’ve love to hear what you think. Email me or leave a comment below.

6 thoughts on “Creating New Ocean Art”

  1. I had never heard of that before and thought it was because of a special lens. I think it is fabulous that u r trying new methods!

  2. Hi Steve,
    I think these photos are gorgeous. I am not any sort of expert but think these almost look like a painting. Thank you for sharing! .

    1. Yes indeed! Sorry for the late reply. You can browse much of what I have available for sale in prints and wall art here on my site. Just use the links in the navigation for “The Work” and you’ll be browsing my collection of purchasable work. If you need any help in figuring out what to order, sizing, etc. I would be more than happy to help you. Please reach out through my contact page if you would like assistance.

      – Steve

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