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Heinrich van den Berg Headshot

Photo Tip: To Blur Or Not To Blur

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BLUR HEINRICH
Heinrich van den Berg

That is the question. A question that has tormented many wildlife photographers throughout their photographic careers. I, for one, am still looking for the answer, which is still somewhat blurred.

Every wildlife photographer goes through a blurry phase. It normally starts during the final stages of a long trip, when you have photographed a specific subject to death. It is then that you ask yourself - What if? What if you close down your aperture? What would happen if you photograph the subject with a one second exposure?

And with that thought, you would be flung head-first into a dreamy, obsessive, rule-bending photography phase. From then on you will constantly keep your lens on f22, and blur all detail out of the world around you. You will miss countless prize-winning photographs, looking for the perfect blur.

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And then one morning, you would wake up to look at your images, just to realize that there is no relation between your images and the real world. Then you would make a mental note to tape down your aperture dial on your camera. From then on you would again start photographing like a normal photographer.

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The blurry phase, however, is an exhilarating one. A phase during which you will not only lose your focus, but also your photographic inhibitions. And by losing your physical focus, you just may, if you are lucky, stumble upon the real focus or core of photography - that a photograph is not merely a copy of the world. A photograph is a copy of how you see the world.

I have gone through the blurry stage. A few times.

And for me the world still is pretty blurry.

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