Firstly congratulations to Grant Bush for winning April’s ‘Spring is in the air’ photo challenge competition. Don’t forget this month’s winner will be announced at the start of July, so make sure you submit your entry before the closing date of 30th June to be in with a chance of winning!
For this month’s Expert Advice article our resident photographer, Phil Surbey, set himself the task of capturing movement.
We’re on the move for this month’s article and related Photo Challenge – literally. Because your new mission is to take a picture that conveys movement in a creative way; if you prefer to, in an abstract way. As long as your subject suggests motion, I’ll be moved and that way you could win a great prize!
So what does this topic mean, practically speaking? Well, it can be that the subject matter you choose is a moving object (or person) and your camera is static, which can lead to all sorts of eye-catching effects. Or how about the opposite? That is, you move the camera to track something in motion or, in so moving yourself, you create the movement. Or you could shoot from a moving vehicle (provided you’re not also meant to be in control of it, obviously) – the choice, as usual, is entirely up to you.
It’s all pretty flexible and there are ample opportunities to find some wonderful angles and interesting compositions to create something really beautiful for the competition. Send me your best shot by the closing date and we’ll see where all this movement takes us, eh? Hopefully you can see from my selection of shots here, to illustrate the subject, just how wide open this month’s theme really is…
For my first image here, Shot 01, I thought I would take an obvious route and shoot my granddaughter in a local playground having fun on the swings. The technique I’ve used is to stand at the side ad try to move the camera at the exact same speed and arc as the swing. Which sounds easy… but trust me, it’s not!
It can take a lot of attempts to get a shot like this right. In this case approximately 50 of them! But that just makes the result so very satisfying. The settings I used in order to record the subject sharp and the background blurred were as follows: ISO 200, shutter speed 1/100th of a second at f 18.0, with the 14-42mm kit lens fitted on my trusty LUMIX GX7.
Shot 02 is an entirely different approach. As you can see, it is a close-up of my beloved Stratocaster, but actually just positioned standing up not being played… all I did to create a vibrant shot was to move the camera when I was shooting with a relatively slow shutter speed. I then cropped in as standard. So you can see what I mean about all the different ways you might want to approach the Photo Challenge! Settings: ISO 200, 1/10th sec at f5.0; 20mm lens.
For Shot 03, I was employing a not-too dissimilar technique, albeit photographing not my own plaything of choice but a colourful kiddies’ toy. This time, though, the camera is static and it’s the funny, chunky cogs that are in motion (it’s a spinning mechanism). Settings: ISO 200, 1/25th sec at f16; 20mm lens.
I have post-processed this and Shot 04, the spinning top, using spot soft focus and desaturation and clarity, in order to create a retro feel that I think works especially with the nicely old-fashioned toy. Settings for Shot 04: ISO 200, 1/15th sec at f4.5; 20mm again.
The rest of my efforts here are examples of the types of shot that might take a bit more time and planning, and I hope provide a complete contrast for your inspiration. I was recently in Edinburgh on an unrelated shoot and was just exploring the city in my downtime. As regular readers will know, however, I had my camera on me and was of course always on the lookout for something interesting.
Shot 05 came about when I simply looked down onto this road from a high viewpoint and instantly thought there would be a good shot, or even several shots as it turned out, to be taken. I grabbed a few experimentally, to assess my best angles and options, and then settled in my preferred position and waited for some movement to occur.
A few vehicles came past, which I did shoot (never stop snapping away!), but I just kept on waiting until the perfect opportunity crossed my path, so to speak, for the truly dynamic result that I’d decided I was after. Funnily enough, given the previous selection for the article, the bright yellow van looks strangely toy-like, don’t you think, shifting through the static frame in a blur like this? Shot 06 shows the view and area I was shooting as it looked without any post-processing, for interest…
Then, Shots 07, 08 and 09 are some of my attempts before the ‘right’ car came my way. I include these because they represent variations on the theme and make an important point for me: don’t settle for your first attempt! I was imagining, right from when I saw what a great vantage point I’d stumbled across: What if a yellow car comes through?! From that point, I was set to wait and hope! The settings for all of these were: ISO 200, 1/13th sec at f13 and the 20mm lens once again on the helpfully portable GX7.
My last two images, also taken out and about in Edinburgh, were achieved with the camera spinning and these are intended to show what I mean about using the theme this month to create an abstract. For effects like this you literally spin the camera in your hands while taking the shot. This can be tricky, obviously, but with a bit of practice a photographer can create some sublimely abstract moving images. For safety, secure your camera’s strap and plan which way you are going to spin and what both hands will be doing… !
I really love the blue and yellow of Shot 11 – it’s really asking of the viewer: What do you think this is? More importantly, I think it’s asking: Aren’t I beautiful? The settings on the GX7 for 10 and 11 were: ISO 200, 1/25th sec at f9. All my shots were taken as RAW files and post-processed in Photoshop. I changed the colour temperature of the road shots to give a blue cast, and increased the contrast as well.
So there you go. Quite a broad spectrum of movement shots that, hopefully, will inspire you to try to create your own piece of art. There are loads of things that move on their own and plenty of shots where you can create the movement artificially… or enjoy a combination of both for a terrific, very personal result. If you’re a Lumix GH4 user, why not have a go at pulling some grat 4K photo shots. If you want to know more on how just click here: 4K Photo. Let loose and enjoy yourself. And, obviously, don’t forget to send me your best shot!
Until this time next month – happy shooting!