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 Motion Studies Using RGB

There are many ways to represent motion in a photograph.  You can use a fast shutter speed to freeze action at the peak moment. You could use a slower shutter speed and keep the camera steady, so the motion in the image blurs while stationary objects remain sharp. You can also pan the camera in time with a moving subject, so the subject remains sharp and the background becomes blurred.


Another technique uses a special device known as a "Harris Shutter", which is basically a rectangular strip with red, green, and blue filters lined up in it.   The strip fits into a holder that is mounted in front of the lens. When an exposure is made, the strip is dropped past the lens, recording a red, green, and, blue version of the scene all on the same image.  Objects that are stationary remain normally colored, because they have an equal portion of red, green, and blue filtration.  However, objects that moved during the exposure get either a red, green, or blue bias depending on which filter was moving past the lens while that object was in a given position.  This creates an overall effect where the moving objects have swirls of color in them.


This effect can be reproduced digitally as well, with software that allows separate manipulation of the Red, Green, and Blue channels of the RGB color space.  Three images are recorded of a moving object, with the camera firmly mounted on a tripod, so the three images are in perfect register:



A new, blank document is created with the same dimensions as the original photos.

Each of the three images are copied and pasted into one of the color channels of the new document (Red, Green, Blue).





When the images are all copied, the composite RGB version can be viewed in the new file, showing motion and time's passage within the single frame.



This is the technique I used in the series Ethereal Cadence