Photography to me is catching a moment which is passing, and which is true.
— Jacques-Henri Lartigue
Maybe, like me, you’re drawn to scenes with planes soaring overhead, waterfalls cascading down a cliff, bees hovering near a flower, people strolling down the street, or cars speeding by. You may also like to capture motion to convey a mood, like one person standing still amidst swirling eddies of pedestrians.
This week, we are inviting you to explore the movement of objects or people in your photos. You have several options to do this. Here’s one way: set your camera on auto and let it do most of the work. It will automatically increase the shutter speed and freeze the action. You can also manually adjust the speed settings. That’s when the real fun begins.
Freezing an Object in Motion
In this photo my cellphone camera used a fast shutter speed (1/900th of a second) to capture the movement of the steamboat in Vancouver harbor. The camera processed the scene automatically and kept it completely in focus.
Last weekend, at the Abbotsford Airshow, I used manual settings to capture the thrilling and blazingly fast USAF Thunderbirds flying in formation. My shutter speed was 1/1900th of a second in shutter priority mode.
You can also selectively focus on a section of the image to highlight the part in motion. In this image, the background mural (my subject) is in focus, but the cars in the foreground are in motion.
This type of image is a bit tricky to capture. I shot this image at 1/13th of a second, so I could keep the background in focus while the cars zipped past. I had to hold the camera very steady. Better yet, I could have used a tripod.
Sometimes the reverse is true: I keep the foreground in focus, while the action (the water in this case) is blurred in the background. In this situation, I used a slower shutter speed because slower speeds blur motion.
Using Motion Blur Tools
You have another option to show motion. You can use post production tools in Photoshop or Lightroom, for example.
For this post, I explored one of Photoshop’s tools to create motion blur. The photo on the left is the original unedited image, shot at a very high speed, with everything in focus. After cropping the image and using the dodge tool to lighten the plane, I used the motion blur tool to create the illusion of the clouds moving. On the right, you’ll see the plane is in focus, but the clouds in the background are blurred. Does this give you the illusion that the plane is moving fast?
Creating an Animation on Your Cellphone
Cellphone cameras have become very sophisticated, rivaling the capabilities of some older digital cameras. Some cameras can even create animations and do action panning and time lapses.
Here’s an example of an animation of water droplets hitting the surface of the Lost Lagoon Lake in Stanley Park. The phone cleverly takes two photos and combines them to create the illusion of motion.
There are other options to capture motion, such as action panning and time lapses. I’m just beginning to explore them.
This week, we invite you to have fun with motion. Show us images where you froze the action or focused on the moving parts of an image in the foreground or the background. Maybe you discovered techniques like action panning or time lapses. It’s your choice. Just remember to link your post to this one and use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find your post in the Reader.
Last week Anne Sandler challenged us to explore the question “What’s Your Photographic Groove?” A great challenge, Anne. It was fun comparing our “grooves!” Next week, our talented Amy will lead the challenge. Visit her site next Saturday at noon EST to join the fun.
Until then, have an inspiring week. Stay well and stay safe.
Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.