Exposed: India in 3D

Exposed: India in 3D

Exposed; The Story Behind the Image” posts pull the covers back on how some of my favorite images were made. The image above is fun. It has a surreal 3D effect which, if truth be known was a combination of luck and skill. Left unexplained, you might think I used a Lensbaby on it, but in fact I didn’t.

The image is of six Rajasthani women walking along the roadside to the Kumbh Mela festival in India.

As I was traveling, I saw many ladies in colorful saris walking along the road and I knew this was a photo opportunity. I was sitting in the front of a packed “Vickram” — a large auto-rickshaw or tuk-tuk — so I knew the only option was to snap a shot while on the move. I wanted a certain amount of motion blur so I shot it at 1/40 sec. I knew this was the right speed because I shot several other sample images along the road. It was not a huge amount of skill, but a few minutes of preparation that led to knowing this was the right speed to shoot. I also knew, from experience, that by shooting at a slower shutter speed, by panning the camera from right to left, and by using the Vickram’s forward movement, the ground would blur into a circular pattern.

What I did not know was that if any object or person was found to be on the axes of the rotation, they would be sharp. Sharp objects or people against a blurred background ends up creating an artificial 3D effect.

Like many great photographs, it is a combination of luck and knowledge.

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About The Author

Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer. In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.


  1. Matt Welsh

    OK, that is just plain wild! The 3D effect is pretty pronounced…!

  2. foggodyssey

    Matt- Great post and keep these coming PLEASE!! Been reading your site for a while now and really like it but these kind of articles will really make you stand out in the blogging world. Wish more people did post about before & after, how to, special tricks or edits exc.

    I started a series on my blog about how I edit photos and people really liked them. I'll for sure try this trick next time when out and about. Thanks! You can see a few of my posts below (i only use Adobe Lightroom)

  3. heber vega

    Great Matt!
    I was curious about the circular pattern as well… great tip!
    I'm gonna love this section of your Blog… one more. I also noticed your new plug-in for sharing your photos, it's really cool.
    Matt you are, without a doubt, one the best sources of learning among the photography community. I appreciate it, you got a generous heart. (I'm glad to have you as a mentor)

  4. photog7

    Great shot, Matt! Thanks for sharing it, and for letting us know the details about how you went about capturing it!

  5. photog7

    Great shot, Matt! Thanks for sharing this, and for letting us know the details about how you went about capturing it!

  6. Irene Abdou

    VERY cool effect! I've done horizontal pans, but hadn't thought of a “rotation pan” before. Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. Matt Brandon

    Yes it is a very strange effect. I knew I would get the spin, but I was completely surprised at the 3D effect that resulted. It was a first.

  8. heimana

    Hey Matt, this is a really great effect… I like to have this “filé” effect, but never tried while mobile myself! Great tip and thanks for sharing!
    As Heber said, you're always the one to share your little tips, thank you for that!



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