Gossamer Geese - Doug Johnson

This image is curious. It isn't what I intended and it's certainly more interesting than I expected. Where did all those ghostly wings come from? They make "Gossamer Geese" my favorite "accident" -- turning an ordinary nature photograph into something mysterious and original.


Gossamer Geese


I don't know what happened (let alone how to recreate it) but here's my best guess. Most modern cameras have a feature called "image stabilization" or "vibration reduction" that tries to sharpen an image that otherwise would be blurry because of excessive camera and/or subject motion. In this case, EVERYTHING was moving. I was drifting in a wobbly kayak vainly trying to steady a long telephoto lens mounted on a monopod. These geese had just lifted off and were flying about 100 feet in front of me. The camera shutter speed was a fairly slow 1/30th of a second so this photo should have been a schmear of blurry swirls. I think the vibration reduction function tried it's best to sort out all the moving pieces but was overwhelmed -- resulting in a mishmash of relatively sharp heads and tails, motion-blurred wings and random goose-ghosts haphazardly generated by the camera's digital processor.


Anyway, I would love to uncover the secret behind this technique. Any "best guesses" of your own out there? ;-)



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