The Human Zoom: In-Camera Abstracts in Italy

Drake Busath has been a working photographer for 35 years. He guides workshops in Italy, where he has worked, lived, and traveled extensively. Drake teaches professional seminars from Australia and Asia to Europe and in most U.S. States. He has been featured multiple times on the cover of Professional Photographer magazine, and his photographs hang in thousands of homes and offices across the country.

If you ask me, sharpness is a little over-rated. I like things in focus as much as the next guy, but sometimes you’ve just got to play. Sometimes it’s motion that describes the situation best.

In Italy, just before dinnertime, people dress up and go out and for a walk. It’s called passeggiata. For this image in Siena, Italy, I was walking briskly toward the foot traffic, with shutter speed of one second. With a wide angle lens (16mm), some of the distant objects tend to stay relatively sharp looking while objects close to the camera show more movement—like the street in this case.

This hand-held technique is what I call "human zoom." The only Photoshop needed was to enhance contrast and color.

Here’s another favorite human zoom done in Venice. I like the way it subtracts mundane detail and leaves the motion you feel and the iconic shapes you see on the canals. This is best done in low light, simply to achieve a slower shutter speed.

Less camera work means more camera play! Try it out!

November 2012