Nature in Motion I - Woods & meadows

May 09, 2012  •  1 Comment

Breeze through a bluebell wood at sunset

When we think of photography traditionally we picture a moment frozen in time. Movement may be implied through poses and positions of subjects, but the word 'capture' tends to imply an isolated instance extracted from the flow of time. The world is constantly on the move though, both in our everyday lives and in nature.

Sunset over a lush field of grass

Many forms of photography inherently benefit from the use of faster shutter speeds to freeze motion and preserve split-seconds (such as sports and press photography), but landscape photography isn't necessarily one of them. In these articles I will be looking at ways of intentionally capturing movement in your photography through use of longer exposures.

I should mention that most (if not all) of these techniques require a sturdy tripod and the ability to manually adjust your camera settings. Anyone can make a blurry photo, but to compose an image with the blur where YOU want it and some static focal points for it to contrast with, you're going to need some stability. Cool? Cool.

Those times you find yourself battling the wind in an attempt to freeze its motion, stop and ask yourself: could I present a better sense of what it's like to be standing here if I just went with nature's flow? In the images in this article a longer exposure (1/4 of a second or more) has been used to convey a sense of movement, helping to add to the dynamics of the image. No special filters have been used, just a D-SLR camera and an appropriate balance of ISO, aperture, focal length and shutter speed to achieve the desired effect.

Focal length plays an important role too, as in the image below which was shot at 200mm. Zoomed right in like this, any movement becomes more magnified and exagerrated, so if your aim is to freeze motion then you will require a faster shutter speed than if you were shooting with a wide angle lens. The image below was shot just as the last of the sunset light beamed across the field, and I wanted to try and create a sense of the moment using only a few details. Technical details: 200mm, 0.4s, f/9, ISO 50.

Focal length plays an important role too, as in the image below which was shot at 200mm. Zoomed right in like this, any movement becomes more magnified and exagerrated, so if your aim is to freeze motion then you will require a faster shutter speed than if you were shooting with a wide angle lens. The image below was shot just as the last of the sunset light beamed across the field, and I wanted to try and create a sense of the moment using only a few details. Technical details: 200mm, 0.4s, f/9, ISO 50.

This technique does come with a disclaimer though: use in moderation! If you think the wind might add a touch of drama and soul to your image then sure, have a play. But remember that blurry elements in an otherwise static photograph will always draw the eye. Be sure the movement you incorporate flows with the composition and doesn't serve as an incoherent distraction... as easily as a bit of blur can help take your image to the next level it can just as easily ruin it!


Comments

2.shawncooper78(non-registered)
freezing the motion just to capture a better photograph outplays and suppress the beauty of nature. a very nice attempt by the photographers here to retain the beauty and the flow of the nature.
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