photography technique | Blurred Lines

After the Fire | Neely Wang Photography

One of my favorite images is this picture I took from a trip to Lake Tahoe, California a few years back. It’s one of my favorites because I shot it around the time I had really started growing a love for photography and had a better understanding of how my camera worked. There are many things that are not perfect about this image, but I was much more intentional with this photo, instead of randomly shooting things hoping to get one good shot out of the bunch. (Hey, we all gotta start somewhere, right?) But it’s one of my favourites more so because of the story behind it — that these trees were part of a forest fire, which left their trunks charred black, yet their tops survived and continued to grow. So many life lessons to be learned from these simple trees and their story of survival.

This past year, we returned to this grove of trees, and I found myself still in awe of them, admiring their beauty, form and strength. I wanted to photograph them again, but didn’t want to take the exact same images I took the first time around. There was something about their straight lines that really caught my eye — rows and rows of these barren tree trunks.

I decided to pan my camera up and down to get this motion blur. I realize it has a chaotic feel to it and maybe even be uncomfortable to look at, yet I love the dynamism that resulted in its almost painterly quality.

The Forest of Trees | Neely Wang Photography

A little wiggle of the camera while panning resulted in this image.  

A Forest of Blur | Neely Wang Photography

I know the art of photography is often considered quite literal — the image you get is what you see. But the more I experiment and fall in love with photography, I realize that it can be so much more than that — there is always more to learn, create and discover.


  1. The challenges and the fact there is always something new to learn are some reasons I love photography. The possibilities are truly only limited by our own imagination.

    • I totally agree, Nathan! I always have to remind myself to challenge myself and look at things a little differently than I would normally at first glance. I know some people don’t think photography is art or design, but I disagree. Thanks for sharing your thoughts — I really appreciate it!

  2. Neely,

    What you called Blurred Lines photography technique is quite interesting!! Love,

    Mom Wang

  3. I love these, Neely! It’s so much fun to ‘play’ with your camera and find ways to get unexpected and interesting results.
    I think these are beautifully successful.

    • Thank you, Karen! That means a lot coming from you — you have a wonderfully artistic and creative feel about your work! And yes, sometimes the best results come when we least expect them!

  4. Hi Neely. I have recently been experimenting with moving my camera while photographing in various unusual ways (to the point I am sure onlookers wonder if I actually know it is a camera I am holding) to help my creative mind and process. I have been enjoying the process and some of the results. I particularly like the first up/down movement of the trees and find it really interesting to look at. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Erin! Haha — I totally understand what you mean about strangers giving you weird looks when you try new things with your camera! Sometimes I might be practically laying on the floor or people wondering why I’m taking pictures of a weed :). It’s great that you’re experimenting — that’s what keeps it fun! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. These are beautiful! I’m inspired to grab my camera, slow down my shutter speed, and makes something similar happen.

  6. I LAVS all them!!! Love the sunburst in the first, then the second haunting cool, and the third is my favorite! :D Almost looks like a colored-pencil drawing? Awesome. Make prints. :D

    • Haha — you’re so funny! Thanks for all the love and support, and glad you liked them! They’re all very different — it would be cool to print them, especially the really abstract last 2.

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