Impressionism is defined as “a literary or artistic style that seeks to capture a feeling or experience rather than to achieve accurate depiction.” Typically, we think of the famous painters that came out of France beginning in the 1860’s. Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Bazille and the like. But impressionism in photography is no different. The artist tries to capture the emotion of a scene rather than a literal representation. I play with both. The best of literal representational photography of course conveys emotion which is why photography is such a powerful artform.  And yet there are things that the literal representation can’t quite capture.

To me, one of the powers of impressionism is that you and I, the viewers, cannot simply take a glance, know everything about the image and move on. Impressionism somewhat forces the viewer to stop and interact with the painting of photograph. You have to change perceptions somewhat in order to absorb the atmosphere of the image. The more time you spent with the image the more detail and emotion emerge. The pleasure is in your engagement.

I love birds. I love taking pictures of birds. I find is so difficult however to capture the rush and !swoooosh! and power of birds in flight. In these five images I sought to capture that feeling of birds in flight over a river in late afternoon golden sunlight. Most of these are of the birds (Common Goldeneyes, I believe) flying upstream against the movement of the river. For these images I slowed down my shutter speed to 1/10 seconds at f/22 and panned along with the flight of the birds, following with my camera as the shutter was open.

Late afternoon, along the Arkansas River, Pueblo, Colorado, USA. December 26 and 27, 2015.

Please drop in and take a look at my portfolio.

Impressionism in Photography birds in flight

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impressionism in photography birds in flight

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impressionism in photography birds in flight

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impressionism_photography_birds_flight_river (2)

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impressionism in photography birds in flight



  1. Comment by Ron Hagg

    Ron Hagg Reply January 2, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Jim – I really LOVE these fotos.

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply January 2, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Thank you Ron! I’m very pleased with them too!

  2. Comment by maria

    maria Reply January 2, 2016 at 9:31 am

    amazing I love these photos jim.

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply January 2, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Gracias amiga! Happy New Year!

  3. Comment by Cristina

    Cristina Reply January 2, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Lovely post Jim!

  4. Comment by Cathy

    Cathy Reply January 2, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Wow, I really love these, the motion so terribly exciting.

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