How do you turn detailed digital photographs into impressionist images without resorting to Photoshop? Twist, turn and play with your zoom.

“The camera is creating brush strokes when I move the camera,” said Colin Campbell. The former high school teacher is exhibiting a collection of his striking and colourful images at ViewPoint Gallery in Halifax. Called Painting With Light, the show includes everyday images with a twist of the unique. Instead of a split-second exposure, Campbell slows his down to a quarter- or half-second, allowing time to move the camera. The results are dashes and lines of colour which combine to give an impression of what his subject matter is.

More than half the works were taken on trips up to Cape Breton Island, while others are from the north shore of Nova Scotia. The works include scenes of water — where the ripples appear more like thick mercury than breaking waves — and images of wooded glens and fall foliage.

Campbell said he looks for a subject rich in pattern and colour. “It will come out in unusual ways,” he says. “In most cases you can clearly see what I am taking a picture of, but you are just seeing it in a different way.”

Campbell says people tend to look more at the texture, the colour and the pattern of the photograph. It’s an instant visual appeal to which he hopes people respond.

“One woman sat for a long time looking at one image and said it reminded her of when she was a child, spinning around and falling backwards into a pile of leaves.”

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