Depth of Field: The Story Behind the Image, "Windblown Daisies”

By: Chris Murray

Volume 14, Issue 9, September 2019

I have a tendency toward the literal when it comes to my photography, most likely due to my geology education that required me to be analytical. Analytical doesn’t work well when it comes to art, however.

"Windblown Daisies" Exposure Data: 1/2 sec, f/22, ISO 50, Nikon D800E camera, Nikkor 28-70mm lens at 70mm

I was strolling around Morgan Island at Kring Point State Park one summer evening when I came upon this group of daisies. The wind was blowing almost incessantly and I was waiting for a lull that would allow me to photograph the daises still and sharp.

It came, but I found the resulting image to be dull and routine. It was that analytical voice in my head saying that everything always needs to be tack sharp and in focus. In doing so, I robbed the scene of its spirit, its essence. The scene was beautiful because of the wind. It then hit me: embrace the conditions you dolt, don’t fight them.

I proceeded to photograph the daisies as the wind was whipping them around. To further exaggerate the effect, I handheld my camera and moved it as the image was exposed, during the half-second the shutter was open, a technique known as intentional camera movement, or ICM. I made at least a dozen exposures before I found the one with the most impact. To many, this image resembles an impressionistic painting, but that was not my objective. My goal was to make an image that reflects how I saw the scene and how it made me feel.

In the foreword to his book “The Adirondack Heart” photographer John Radigan states, “My photographs are not meant to literally document the Adirondacks. They are my way of making visible, the relationships I sense here.” I love the way he puts that; make visible the relationships he senses. That has become my approach here in the Thousand Islands, to make images that are not recordings of the obvious natural beauty that surrounds us, but rather reflect my personal reality, inspired by a place more magical to me than any other.

By Chris Murray, Chris Murray Photography

Chris Murray is a full-time photographer, instructor, and writer. His work has appeared in several magazines, including Popular Photography, Shutterbug, Adirondack Life, Life in the Finger Lakes, and New York State Conservationist, among others. Chris teaches classes at the Thousand Islands Arts Center, in Clayton and at Jefferson Community College. He is a staff instructor with the Adirondack Photography Institute. API’s 2019 workshop schedule is now available at For more of Chris’ work visit

Posted in: Volume 14, Issue 9, September 2019, Photography

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