Jim Swift: Sense of Forest p. 2


Jim's approach to creating the images and poeming them into haiga may be gleaned from things he's said when posting them to the online workshop groups. He's said, for instance, that the 'cathedral grove' haiga in the Forest series was accomplished with a setting of 1/2 and a wrist rotation that pointed the camera lens up and down. Mid-motion, he clicked the shutter. He tries to visualize the camera movement needed to achieve a particular effect, but also experiences pleasant surprises.

Of 'light dancer', he writes, 'I stumbled on this effect when I was checking a new wireless remote for use with bulb exposures and the camera was moving all over the place with 2 - 3 sec exposures. There was just a single lamp on at the time and I was facing a mirror so the light was further away than normal in a room. I happened to look at the shots on the card after wireless remote tests and saw the possibilities. So I just adjusted the aperture to get a decent colour and started to play with various movements of the camera. Light dancer was one of the more complex movements.'

‘Night time’ was also serendipitous. The actual shot was of a cedar branch in an old growth forest near his home in Port Alberni. A change of hue triggered memories of walking past Preservation Hall in New Orleans one evening. Other people have seen different levels in it, especially after Katrina, he says.


Jim's Camera Motion images and haiga may be found in on his online albums:


His multimedia slide show, featuring three of the haiga in a matrix of landscape images of old growth forest, may be viewed at

The West Coast Forest, Photodex Presenter version
The West Coast Forest, Flash version

There are copious resources available online for camera motion or blurred images. Jim writes that he's enjoyed playing with this technique for some time, though had not encountered many other photographers of similar interest until he took the course and found that not only Neill, the instructor, but three other students also used it (William Neill, Impressions of Light, Sadna: 2008, online at www.williamneill.com/books). Another site he's called to my attention is Alain Briot's columns on landscape blurs at The Luminous Landscape (online at www.luminous-landscape.com). Google 'camera toss' and you'll find more resources, including Ryan Gallagher, Camera Toss (The Blog), which has galleries and how-tos. At WHChaikumultimedia, we've done camera toss haiga exercises; in fact, one of Jim's Forest haiga placed first in our February kukai.

One more url that many of us will also surely find useful:

The Photo Haiga Help site

Until last year Jim instructed a photography and Photoshop class at his local community college. Knowing his expertise in digital post-processing, we at WHChaikumultimedia often ask him questions, while at Moonset, where he is editor of photographic haiga, an'ya remarked to him several haijin have said that they would like to get into photographic haiga but the complexities of digital camera were beyond them. Not surprising, Jim says—In a recent survey in Britain, digital cameras topped the list of intimidating new technologies. Good photography has always had a strong technical component, although most of this used to be hidden from users in the complexities of the film and printing labs.

Ever the teacher, he realized a need for a central resource for photo haiga and created Photo Haiga Help with articles, links, and a question/answer section. To date the website has had over 300 visits from people 16 different countries. We urge you to visit, ask questions, and help to build this site as a resource for the photo haiga community.