Here are the top ten images uploaded to Photocrowd from Round Six, Movement, with comments by the AP team and our guest judge, Ben Hall. Be sure to enter the current round on Travel, which is open now.
The most exciting thing about a theme such as movement is the scope it gives for creativity and shooting styles. A split-second capture of a fast-moving animal and a long exposure of a seascape both represent movement, but in completely different ways. Then there are the worlds of sports photography and candids, too.
Panning, fill-in flash and intentional camera movement are all techniques that can be deployed to effectively capture a sense of motion and action. What links our top 10 images from this round is the simplicity of their compositions. Movement is definitely a theme where less is more, as too much detail can result in confusion.
1 Nguyen Tan Tuan, Vietnam, 100pts
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 16-35mm at 16mm, 1/6sec at f/16 ,ISO 200
Guest judge Ben Hall says: ‘This is a beautiful image which symbolises the competition theme of movement perfectly. The chosen shutter speed has rendered motion in the people and falling salt, but not to the extent that they are unrecognisable. This portrayed motion also lends the image an air of mystery.
A wide focal length has captured the scene in its entirety, providing context and showing the relationship between the people and the landscape. The patterns in the foreground lead the viewer’s eye through the frame to the people, and then beyond to the dazzling sky. The sun itself provides a key part of the composition, appearing close to the right hand third and bursting over the horizon with a well-executed sunburst effect. Overall, a stunning image and a worthy winner.’
2 Terry Scales, UK, 90pts
Fujifilm X-E2, 50-230mm at 230mm, 1/50sec at f/22, ISO 200
This is an image that draws the viewer deep into the frame, leaving us feeling as if we are surrounded by the flying sanderlings. There’s no focal point to the composition, but it doesn’t need one, as much of the aim of a shot such as this is to replicate the sense of chaos and confusion there must have been at the time.
Restricting the colour palette to only black, white and green keeps things coherent, and there is just enough sharpness within the movement to know exactly what it is we are looking at.
3 Angela Lambourn, UK, 80pts
Nikon D750, 50mm, 1sec at f/11, ISO 2500
There is a huge confidence to this image that really makes it stand out. Even to see the potential for such a shot in the first place is to be applauded, because many of us would simply walk past it. Angela created this abstract by panning her camera during a long shutter speed, thus capturing the lights along the shore of this fjord.
The deep, velvety tones of blue merging into green are simply gorgeous, leaving the viewer in no doubt that they are looking at a seascape. The curve of the lights does a great job of dividing the scene into two, without being too harsh. We’d like to see this one printed to at least a metre wide and hanging on a wall.
4 Bogdan Zarkowski, UK, 70pts
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm at 24mm, 1/4sec at f/22, ISO 50
A beautiful and hugely imaginative composite from Bogdan. It’s the kind of image where it’s possible to observe something new each time you come back to it. The viewer feels as if they are seeing deserts, seascapes and sunsets among the abstract lines and tones, when in fact (stop reading if you don’t want a spoiler) what we are looking at is nothing more exotic than passing lorries.
For consistency, Bogdan used the same focal length and shutter speed for each image. If this sequence doesn’t demonstrate that there is beauty in everything, then nothing will.
5 Mike Martin, UK, 60pts
Olympus E-M1 Mark II, 40-150mm at 43mm,1/250sec at f/5.6, ISO 200
We see this technique – which entails capturing puffs of flour at just the right moment – quite often in APOY, but this is a particularly good example. The model’s pose is very pleasing, particularly the fact that he’s poised on his toes. The lighting is excellent, too, with beautifully balanced light and shade areas, and capturing the translucency of the flour very well.
6 Daniel Newton, Dubai, 50pts
Sony A7R IV, 24-70mm at 70mm, 1/4sec at f/14, ISO 50
You can almost hear the thrum of these wild Arabian oryx’s hooves as they bustle past, on their way to who knows where. Shooting at 1/4sec and panning as they trot has captured just the right level of movement.
We can imagine the speed at which their legs are moving, but there’s just enough sharp detail to balance out the scene. The processing does a good job of highlighting the harsh desert conditions in which these creatures live.
7 Ron Tear, UK, 45pts
Canon EOS 5D, 75-300mm at 185mm, 1/640sec at f/9, ISO 400
Here we have two moving elements coming together in all their natural drama. First, the calving glacier creates a huge impact, and then it causes the flock of seabirds take flight in response. The moment has been captured very well.
The black & white conversion brings out the textures of the glacier extremely well, although there was some discussion between the judges, with one or two saying they would have liked to see it in colour. Either way, it’s an atmospheric scene that captures the brutality of nature effectively.
8 Edwin Godinho, UK, 40pts
Canon EOS R5, 400mm +1.4x converter, 1/8000sec at f/4, ISO 640
This is a superb action shot of a moorhen racing across the water, apparently defying gravity. Everything about this image has come together beautifully, from the splashes the bird is leaving in its wake, to the separation between the outstretched wing and the bird’s head, to the claws being just clear of the water.
It’s all topped off by the backlighting and the gorgeous clean background, which means our attention goes straight to where it’s supposed to.
9 Alexa Popovich, Russia, 35pts
Canon EOS 80D, 10-18mm at 10mm,1/250sec at f/6.3, ISO 100
This is another great example of a shot that captures movement, but without a hint of blur to be seen. The effort on the young boy’s face is what jumps out of the frame, as does his flying hair and dynamic pose.
Shooting from a low angle has heightened the sense of energy, and the wideangle focal length was a good choice. The background is perhaps a little cluttered, but overall it’s a fun, lively shot.
10 Allan Copson, Australia, 30pts
Olympus E-M5 Mark II, 60mm Macro, 0.3sec at f/20, ISO 100
There’s something of the Jack Vettriano about this capture. The way the light, the composition and the anonymity of the two figures as they walk across the sand come together makes for a very pleasing whole.
The green and blue tones give it a rather sombre atmosphere, as opposed to a warm one, but that makes it all the more intriguing. It’s the kind of image that triggers the imagination, making the viewer create a story behind what they’re seeing.
Round six winner, Young APOY
Olly Hill, UK, 100pts
Olly says this image is an updated version of the Harris shutter effect technique, in which an image is shot through red, green and blue filters, with the subject moving between each frame.
It has a pleasingly retro feel to it, and the dynamism of the model has been nicely captured – she looks natural and as if she’s having fun. It’s an imaginative way of capturing the theme of movement and fulfils the brief very well
The 2021 leaderboards
Angela Lambourn, who received 80 points for her imaginative third-placed image in this round, has leapfrogged Pete Baker into first place on the APOY leaderboard. A number of other photographers, including Pete, are snapping at her heels, so a lot could change over the course of the remaining rounds.
Lucy Monckton, who has been extremely consistent with the standard of her entries, retains her lead in Young APOY. Launceston Camera Club and Royston Photographic Society are managing to maintain their first- and second-placed spots in the camera club rankings, while Bristol Photographic Society move from fourth to third.
Winning kit from MPB
The gear our winners used can be found at MPB. Angela Lambourn’s subtle third-placed image was shot using a Nikon D750. This DSLR, launched in 2014, includes technology from the flagship D810, but in a smaller body. It features a 24MP sensor, 6.5fps shooting and is weather sealed. This superb full-frame camera can be picked up at MPB for £874 for a model in excellent condition, and £784 for one in good condition.
In fifth place, Mike Martin used an Olympus M.40-150mm f/2.8 Pro for his compelling capture. Compact and lightweight, its equivalent full-frame focal range is 80-300mm, making it a highly versatile lens. It’s also dust, splash and freeze proof, and has a minimum focus range of 50cm throughout its range. This desirable lens is available at MPB for £879 in excellent condition, and £789 in good condition.
Alexa Popovich, who was awarded 9th, took her engaging action shot using a Canon EOS 80D. With its 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, 7fps capability and 45 all cross-type AF system, it’s a great choice for capturing split-second moments. This DSLR is available at MPB for £629 in excellent condition and £564 in good condition.
A low-key, studio portrait where shape, form, and movement are the focus of the image has won ePHOTOzine’s ‘Photo of the Week’ (POTW) accolade.
Titled ‘Dancing in dishcloth…‘, ePz member robhillphoto has shown how a bit of imagination and some great lighting know-how can produce a creative portrait that stands out in the ePHOTOzine Gallery.
We love how 1-meter of cleaning cloth has been used to create an outfit that’s inexpensive yet when combined with the model’s pose and Rob’s photographic knowledge has created a shot that’s award-winning. This image shows that high-fashion photography doesn’t have to cost the earth to be attention-grabbing and we love that. The lighting is superb as is the model’s pose with its strong shape that’s almost graphical thanks to the low key/monochrome effect. We simply don’t have enough positives to say about the shot and can totally understand why it’s won several awards and has been exhibited in a London Gallery.
All of our POTW winners receive a Samsung EVO Plus 64GB MicroSDXC card with an SD Adapter courtesy of Samsung. To be in with a chance of becoming our next POTW winner, simply upload an image to our gallery where you’ll also find all of our past POTW winners.
Plus, going forward, we will also announce a new ‘Photo of the Year’ winner who’ll win a Samsung Portable SSD T7. Each POTW winner, 52 in total, will then have their image shared in a new POTW forum where, in January 2022, we will ask you all to hit the ‘like’ button on your favourite images. Then, the ePHOTOzine team will count up the likes and our first ‘Photo of the Year’ winner will be announced.
Focussed on the sharp, perfectly composed, and exposed shot? Why not try Intentional Camera Movement or multiple exposures to create something unique. You may quite like it.
Most of us as photographers are looking for sharp, perfectly composed and exposed images. It is what we are taught or have learned and so, therefore, try to achieve. Sometimes, though, it’s fun to change this up a bit. Intentional camera movement is exactly that, intentionally moving the camera when taking the shot to produce a creatively blurred image using longer shutter speeds. Multiple exposures are where you set the camera to take a series of multiple shots of the same scene or of varying scenes and elements to make up the resulting image. Your camera’s menu settings should allow you to do this. But if not, there’s a three-step tutorial below.
Intentional Camera Movement
At the time of taking these images, my longest focal length for shooting was the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Lens, so all have been captured at 70mm. The longer the focal length, the shorter exposure required, plus the movement registers more quickly. The wider the lens, the longer the exposure and less movement recorded. You can also add an ND3 stop if conditions allow or depending on the type of effect you are seeking. Most of the exposures shown have shutter speeds of between 1/2th and 1/8th second. My choice of aperture for these was f/5.6, as I wanted slight clarity in any areas with little movement. The final effect you achieve will be up to you and will depend on the conditions when shooting. More blur, longer shutter. Another note I’d like to make is the tonality of the images shown. This is my choice to edit them with these similar tones, as I feel it complements the images and the dreary weather we get here. Plus, I’m a big fan of the artist J.M.W Turner and his works. You can opt for vibrant foliage and flowers or sunsets. It’s entirely up to you.
Some photographers may tripod their shots and lock off any direction of movement that they do not wish and then take the shot. Think vertical panning of trees and horizontal panning of seascapes.
However, if you handhold the shots, there are multiple directions you can move in; just don’t drop your camera! Flick your wrist, drop your wrist, spin, pan vertically or horizontally while rotating. Add a zoom blur while moving, though takes a bit of practice. All are fun to try, and all will produce varying results. Plus, there is nothing to say that during the editing process you can’t combine multiple exposures to get another unique image. It’s totally up to you.
You will also find a great article and techniques on shooting intentional camera movement here by photographer and Fstoppers writer Jason Parnell-Brookes
Your camera’s menu should allow you to take multiple exposures of a scene, but if not, keep reading, as I have a brief tutorial on how to achieve similar results below. What I normally do when shooting these is set my camera to aperture priority, although manual works just as well, with the aperture being around the f/8 mark. My Nikon allows me to take up to 10 multiple exposures in an overlaid sequence, shown in the viewfinder, before creating the final JPEG. The in-camera blend mode is set to average. Please note if you are thinking of trying this, shooting in JPEG and not raw will save processing time in the following tutorial. I don’t refocus between images.
Most of the movements I make are only quite slight, overlapping, moving up or down, and rotating slightly. When rotating, I try to imagine a fixed center point of the scene in my viewfinder. I also find that higher-contrast scenes or scenes with varying colors produce better results. These images were photographed using the Viltrox AF 85mm f/1.8 Z Lens for Nikon Z.
Smart Object Blending
If you choose to shoot these singularly instead of in-camera, try to visualize the rotation point of the previous image and don’t keep checking the playback. Smaller movements will result in better images I have found. As I mentioned the Z 7 records 10 multiple images and displays/overlays them in the viewfinder when I shoot, as will most cameras nowadays. It also records them as individual files, and this is what this tutorial is based on.
First, select all your images in Lightroom and then right-click, open in Photoshop as layers.
Next, in Photoshop, select all your layers and convert them to a Smart Object. Don’t auto-align here, as we want them to be as you shot them.
Once this has been completed, go to Layer- Smart Objects – Stack Mode – Meanm and let Photoshop do the rest. Remember if the images are raw files, this could take a minute or so. If you shoot in JPEG, the time will be much shorter.
The resulting image is in Photoshop.
From here, just go on to edit your image however you want. Below are both the in-camera image and the resulting Smart Object image using the tutorial above. Yes, there are differences, but you get the idea.
For myself, these techniques were born out of necessity due to one of my dogs being so impatient when out with the camera. I enjoyed shooting when out walking, just recording a scene or location that I would perhaps come back to. However, one of my dogs, Inca, had other ideas and would get up to all sorts of mischief when I stopped to shoot. So, to keep an eye on her and shoot, I would keep walking and do intentional camera movement on the move. She’s a lot better now, and now, I can stop for five minutes or so and do whatever I feel the scene dictates.
If you’ve tried intentional camera movement and multiple exposures, you’ll know that they can be quite rewarding at times and produce something unique. Plus the bonus is that you’re not so caught up with focusing and exposure effectiveness. I’m looking forward to trying multiple exposures with architecture when I head to the city.
If you haven’t tried it, give it a go; it can be fun and breathe a new dimension into your photography.
Here are some great tips to inspire you to enter the Movement round of APOY. Controlling motion is as much a part of photography as capturing light, whether freezing action for that decisive moment or deliberately stretching time to convey speed. Caroline Schmidt speaks to experts for their insights and inspiration
Your guide: Caroline Schmidt An experienced family and children’s photographer, Caroline’s portraits and expertise is regularly published online and in magazines as well as shared during photography workshops. www.carolineannphotography.co.uk. See Instagram: @carolineannphotography.
Capturing children Children aren’t best known for staying still for long, following instructions nor giving genuine smiles to the camera on cue but, so long as you have this expectation, you’ll have the patience to capture great portraits. Children are meant to be free and playful, and when they’re enjoying themselves the picture-potential comes thick and fast – you just have to be ready to capture it.
Having a good camera with fast and accurate autofocus, such as the Nikon D750 and Sony A7R III, will dramatically increase your chances of isolating those perfect expressions – the smallest of lags between pressing the shutter and the frame firing can result in a miss.
Use continuous focusing mode so that the camera detects the subject’s movements and refocuses accordingly to keep the subject sharp. Combining this with back-button focus will give you more control over your focusing, too, and continuous burst mode will increase your chances of getting ‘the’ shot between acts of chaos.
For your shutter speed, it’s best not to drop below 1/250sec-1/320sec so this may mean increasing your ISO to accommodate a smaller aperture like f/5.6; having more depth of field will give you more image space for a child to move in without falling out of focus.
Ultimately, however, once you’ve mastered your techniques you can aim to shoot at wider apertures like f/1.4-f/2.5, whilst retaining focus on their eyes, for a beautiful balance of sharpness and blur that helps produce a better portrait. Aside from the technicalities of photographing children, a lot of your best portraits come from controlling the chaos. Children love to play so encourage that by initiating games, but ensure it’s in an area with a clutter-free background and good lighting so that you can focus your attention on them.
By setting the portraits up, you can try to predict their expressions and when you should start to fire your shutter. Don’t wait until you see the perfect portrait because that will be too late; begin firing frames when you think it’s on its way and don’t stop shooting until the moment passes completely, and somewhere in the middle you capture the unexpected.
Pets and Sport
Your guide: Jordan Butters A professional automotive photographer and dog owner, Jordan specialises in creating dynamic and energetic images in the automotive sector but enjoys photographing his own and other people’s canine friends. See www.jordanbutters.co.uk, Instagram: @jordanbutters, Twitter: @jordanbutters.
Dogs make for great subjects – they’re animated, easily bribed into position and when they’re in motion, with gums and ears flapping, they’re the ideal subject for showing off movement. There are two ways to approach capturing dogs.
You can use aperture-priority mode to select your widest aperture, which will ensure that you get the fastest-possible shutter speed for the correct exposure. Or use shutter-priority mode and choose a fast shutter speed. If you choose the latter, keep an eye on the aperture readout – if it’s flashing it means that your aperture can’t go wide enough to expose the image correctly. Matching your ISO to the light you’re shooting in will help achieve the right exposure, too.
Bumping up the ISO higher can help you to reach those fast shutter speeds needed to freeze the moment. A shutter speed of 1/320sec or faster should be quick enough to freeze the speediest pups. Choose a long lens and get down low for that eye-level perspective. Select continuous burst shooting mode and use continuous autofocus so the camera adjusts the focus as the dog gets closer. Then ask someone to hold the dog in place while you tempt them with a treat and move a good distance away.
Then, on your command, they release the dog and step out of the frame as you call it towards you. Fire off as many frames as you can, placing your focus point/s on the dog’s eyes. Just remember to put the camera down and prepare for landing before the pup gets too close – there’s nothing more painful!
Sports Whether it’s photographing a children’s five-a-side football match or a Premiership game, splashing in the pool or competitive swimmers, most of the time you want to stop movement in its tracks. It relies on good timing, accurate focusing and very fast shutter speeds.
A great sports shot shows a subject at the peak of its action, like a sprinter crossing the finishing line, a dancer at the top of a move, or a diver finger-tip distance from the water’s surface. As well as camera skills, you need to understand the subject’s behaviour so you can predict when that peak will be and the best viewpoint from which to capture it from.
All the factors have to work in unison and a split-second delay can make all the difference between getting a great image or not. Use aperture-priority or shutter-priority mode, and assess the speed of the sport. Start at 1/250sec, which is the average speed for children running, and increase as deemed necessary – a fast-paced football game needs at least 1/500sec but 1/1000sec isn’t unheard of if light levels allow.
For slower movements, or if you want to introduce blur to convey a sense of motion (see panning), you can get away with a shutter speed like 1/125sec. To get high speeds when ambient light is low often means shooting wide open with high ISOs.
The shallow depth of field means that focus needs to be very precise, so set continuous autofocus (or your camera’s equivalent) to track your subjects and a high burst rate so you can take multiple frames per second. Explore back-button focusing too in order to help keep your main subject sharp, even if other subjects in the frame interrupt the camera’s autofocus.
You could also consider using off-camera flash, when appropriate, as this will provide equivalent shutter speeds far faster than anything your camera is capable of (see high-speed flash on page 39) and explore flash settings such as slow-sync mode that will allow you to drag the shutter to record movement whilst the flash freezes your subject.
Your guide: Caroline Lowe Award-winning food photographer, Hampshire-based Catharine shoots regularly for restaurants, magazines, events and food companies. Cath is a winner of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year, Portraits, 2021. See more at www.cathlowe.com, @cathlowephoto.
Fantastic food Sieving, stirring and sprinkling are a few of the actions you can expect to capture when endeavouring to use motion to make food still-life images more dynamic. Alongside your choice of light, shutter speed plays a key role. Do you want the movement of a whisk in a bowl to be blurred or crisp?
Every scenario is different, every liquid or particle moves at different speeds so there’s no set suggested shutter speed. You need to consider how fast your subject is moving, how much motion you want to show and then experiment with various shutter speeds.
To achieve a fast shutter speed, whilst maintaining a mid-to-small aperture for sufficient depth of field, you will need a lot of light. It could come from a bright, close-by window bounced off a white card for extra diffusion; or use flash and its high-speed sync mode so you can shoot faster than your camera’s sync speed (typically 1/160sec-1/200sec). Increasing your ISO can help, too.
A tripod and remote shutter release are also essential so you can create the action whilst still firing the shutter. For hands-free shooting use the camera’s self-timer mode. Use continuous shooting mode to increase your chances of capturing a great image, but shoot a scene-setter before you take an action shot.
Getting an unspoilt image of the set-up before you introduce any mess will be invaluable as you can use it to clean up images in post-production.
Pouring Once you’ve shot a scene-setter, try taking an image with the pouring vessel empty so that you can see where best to hold it for the final picture. Take a number of shots pouring onto your subjects in a few places to give yourself choice. Ensure the vessel is turned towards the light so the liquid is nicely lit.
This image of pouring rhubarb liquid was taken using daylight and at 1/45sec as I wanted some blur to show the liquid was moving.
Splash When preparing a big splash, ensure that no flying liquid can hit electronic equipment or that no props can be damaged by spilt liquid. For a big splash, fill your glass to the brim so the liquid can escape easily. Coins make dramatic splashes when dropped but can look odd in transparent liquid so I often blend a shot of clear liquid with another image with a great splash (but with about 20 coins within).
Sieving Flour and icing sugar can look beautiful when sieved and swirled from side to side at different speeds. Try tapping the side of the sieve rather than moving across for lovely movement and make sure you choose a contrasting background so that white swirls show up, ensure your hands are presentable and your clothing doesn’t distract from the scene.
I used flash here and experimented until I got a mixture of blur and sharpness to give a real sense of movement.
High-speed water and still life
Your guide: Richard Webb A photography enthusiast and full-time air traffic controller from Hampshire, Richard spends any free time he has that’s not with his family shooting spectacular water motion photography. He constantly develops creative ways to capture the beauty of water in a blink of an eye. Facebook @rich.rwphotography.
I have a love affair with water. I spend my time looking for things I can put in my dunk tank and new ways to create splashes or drops. Whilst you can shoot water droplets with no more than natural light, a hole in a plastic bag and a shutter speed of 1/500sec or faster, it’s imprecise and time-consuming.
For me, speedlights and a splash water drop kit revolutionised the quality of my work and the success of my images, allowing me to become more creative and look for objects to use such as creating a droplet within a bubble or a bottle.
The drop kit syncs my camera and flash for when the droplet impacts the water’s surface, almost guaranteeing sharp and impactful shots. Without it, the process is very hit-and-miss as you have to predict the moment of impact and fire a remote release in unison. Using flash gives me an equivalent shutter speed far quicker than a camera is capable of without compromising on depth of field through using a wide aperture and a high ISO to achieve a shutter speed fast enough to freeze imprecise action.
I always set my lens to a mid-aperture, like f/8 to f/11, and my camera’s flash sync speed of 1/160sec; the flash is what freezes the action whilst the shutter speed captures the ambient light. I almost always use 1/64 power on my flash, sometimes increasing it to 1/16 power if I’m bouncing it off a white surface behind the set-up.
Backlighting is nearly always the most effective way to light water splashes and glass as you avoid reflections, glare and unsightly highlights. It’s one reason why I only use water or coffee; milk, not being transparent, needs to be lit from the front too to avoid them becoming silhouetted and creates glare spots.
The beauty of high-speed water still-life shots is that the set-ups do not need to be big; I do all mine in my garage studio, often in a space the size of a sheet of A3 paper. Instead of a macro lens, I prefer the flexibility and greater depth of field of an 18-135mm lens and use a humble Canon EOS 80D – creating great images needn’t be expensive.
Your guide: Helen Trust An award-winning amateur photographer, Helen has a passion for architectural photography that takes her around the world. She is an ambassador for Formatt-Hitech filters with a penchant for long exposures and minimalism. Instagram @Helen_Trust, helentrustphotography.com.
When photographing cities, I’m always negotiating people – sometimes including them helps to bring context and scale, other times using a long exposure rids the scene of movement to focus on the architecture. When shooting indoors, tripods aren’t often allowed but to blur or eliminate moving people you do need some support during a long exposure.
Banisters, walls and discreet Joby tripods can work well, but it helps to find a viewpoint that doesn’t have any heavy traffic. In the Oculus New York, its white walls and fluorescent lights make it very bright so I found I had to stop all the way to f/22 at ISO 100 to get a long enough shutter speed.
I often begin with a sharp shot and then adjust the shutter speed until the people blur but retain some structure. The exposure depends on how fast they’re moving. Generally, anything longer than half a second will introduce movement. To vacate a busy scene, you need a shutter speed of at least four to ten seconds to avoid any ghosting stragglers.
Photographing a flow of people leaving a train in one direction, for instance, is easier than having walkers coming from different directions at different speeds as it’s likely at least one or two people will be rendered as ghosts in the exposure – though that’s not always a bad thing.
Your guide: Jordan Butters A professional automotive photographer, based in Northamptonshire, Jordan specialises in creating dynamic and energetic images in the automotive sector. He works for a mixture of commercial and editorial clients across the globe. See www.jordanbutters.co.uk, Instagram: @jordanbutters, Twitter: @jordanbutters.
From capturing split-second moments using a fast shutter speed to bolting cameras onto cars to capture motion around your subject, there are a lot of creative possibilities you can explore when photographing moving cars, but the best one to begin with is panning. The technique – usually carried out in shutter-priority mode – has you tracking the passing subject with your camera, keeping it in the same place within your viewfinder, whilst triggering a continuous burst of images.
It’s a technique that can be honed from the spectator areas at a racetrack, but photographing any passing car (or cyclist) is good practice. Whilst perfecting your panning motion is important, choosing the right shutter speed is equally importrtant and there are variables you’ll need to consider, namely the speed and direction in which the car is travelling in relation to where you stand. Cars moving parallel to the camera are the easiest to capture: set your camera to shutter-priority mode and choose single-point, continuous autofocus, as well as continuous burst mode.
Begin by picking a ‘safe’ shutter speed roughly three-to-four times the speed the car is passing you. For example, on a 40mph road, choose 1/125sec; for a car passing at 60mph choose 1/200sec. As the car approaches, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lock your elbows tightly into your sides. Look through the viewfinder, place your focus point onto the car, and rotate only your torso at the hips as the car passes, whilst firing off as many shots as you can until the car has passed completely.
At these ‘safe’ shutter speeds there will probably be some motion in the car’s wheels, but not much in the background. Once you start seeing consistent results, start stopping the shutter speed down. Once you get to a 1:1 correlation between the car’s speed and shutter speed (i.e. 1/40sec at 40mph) you’ll notice a lot more background movement, and with enough practice, slower speeds such as 1/10sec on a car passing at 100mph becomes entirely doable! If the car approaches or moves away from you at an angle, slow shutter speeds become increasingly difficult as the distance between you and the car is always changing.
Panning is a technique that requires technical skill, the right physical movement and a pinch of luck.
Camera and light painting
Your guide: Jason D Page A light painter, Jason’s work focuses on using a camera as an instrument for recording light rather than a tool for documentation. He’s the founder of LightPaintingPhotography.com, an educational resource for all things light painting, and is the inventor of the light painting tool system, Light Painting Brushes. See www.lightpaintingbrushes.com, www.instagram.com/jasondpage_lightpainter, www.facebook.com/jasondpage, www.youtube.com/user/LightPaintingPhoto.
Kinetic light painting, otherwise known as camera painting, is when the camera rotates to create a wild kaleidoscopic design of light over a static scene. To be able to rotate the camera 360°, you need a Panoramic Tripod Gimbal and a hotshoe-mounted spirit level to see the degree of rotation.
What’s fantastic about this technique is that it can produce amazing images from the most mundane scenes so long as there’s a lot of ambient light such as bright buildings and neon signs. It’s important to triple-check your camera is securely attached to the gimbal before turning it upside down, then find your centre axis rotation point. It’s easy to do in live view with the grid active, then slowly rotate the camera to make sure the point stays in the centre throughout the 360° rotation.
For your exposure, find a baseline for the scene and start there. For instance, if it’s a night scene it might require f/8 at three seconds (ISO 100), in which case you switch to Bulb mode and only remove the lens cap for three seconds at a time. Start the exposure with the lens cap on so the sensor cannot record any light and stop the exposure by replacing the cap.
For an intricate design, you could stop every 45° to remove the lens cap for three seconds before replacing it and rotating the camera another 45° before repeating the process for a full 360°.
Traffic trails At night, cities can have so much energy and atmosphere, which traffic trails do well to capture. For mesmerising, continuous streaks of light created by passing head or tail lights, position yourself with a wideangle lens and a tripod by the side of a road (remember to wear reflective clothing)!
A wideangle lens will exaggerate the streaks closest to the camera as well as include background detail. If there’s a lot of sky in your image, aim to shoot into twilight so the sky is still blue against the city’s lights. To calculate your exposure time, count how long it takes for a vehicle to pass through your frame to ensure the trails don’t start or end abruptly in the frame.
Use shutter-priority or manual mode and a small aperture of f/8-f/11 to extend depth of field to the background; Depending on the speed of the traffic, you’ll probably find that between five and 30 seconds works well.
Light painting Light painting and drawing can yield surreal results as the camera captures the illuminated brush strokes of the light painter during a long exposure. When scouting for open locations, be mindful of any ambient light like street lights that might intrude into your scene at night.
Even the moon can affect exposures: a full moon will emit much more light than a new moon. Also look for tripping hazards in the light for when it’s dark; and always let someone know where you’re going. Light painting is when you project light from a handheld source on to areas of a scene to illuminate them.
In this forest image, I used various colours from the Light Painting Brushes Color Hood set and moved through the scene, ‘painting’ it with light for the course of its 857-second exposure. By using a hooded light source, the camera doesn’t record any light streaks and, by wearing dark clothes and constantly moving around, I’m not recorded either.
Light drawing, however, is different in that the light source is recorded by the camera as it’s shone directly at the lens – whether that’s writing words, drawing around subjects or creating my own shapes, as I have here. I turned the light source on and off while I drew diamonds and rotated my body 360° to create an orb. Each time you turn the light on, it leaves an impression on the camera’s sensor.
The exposure for light painting relies on a recipe of ingredients: the ambient light, the light source’s lumen output, the tools you’re using, the speed at which you move and your camera settings. Tweaking any of these elements can dramatically change your image. You just need to find the right combination to bring your creative vision to life.
A good place to start is in Bulb mode at f/8 and ISO 100. See how long it takes to get a good exposure of the scene without any light painting, then you can work it out from there. A three-minute exposure will mean I know I have three minutes to create my drawing. If I know it will take more or less time to finish the design, I adjust the exposure accordingly. Most of my landscape images are generally created at ISO 100 between f/5.6 and f/11 and anywhere between 30 seconds to many minutes.
Your guide: Helen Dixon Cornwall-based landscape photographer Helen is a self-taught professional and widely published in magazines and newspapers. Her work is used for calendars, greeting cards, brochures and can be found on the walls of many corporate clients and art galleries. See www.helendixonphotography.co.uk.
Wind Trees, crops, clouds, flowers… wind – whether a gentle breeze or a fierce gust – creates fantastic opportunities for making static landscapes more dynamic. By embracing the wind rather than flighting against it, I can add energy to my images.
A wideangle lens lets me fill the foreground with movement and still retain a sharp background, and 1/2sec is often a good place to start. Finding the right balance between blur and retaining some detail and texture takes practice and experimentation – the right speed could be anywhere between 1/2sec and three seconds. In really strong winds, you may need to increase to 1/10sec.
If there’s a lovely breeze by the coast, I often like to use a ten-stop ND (or a 0.9ND at twilight) with the purpose of blurring clouds moving towards or away from me – I look for low clouds that are punctuated by sky as these move faster and show movement.
Sea Water in a landscape offers countless possibilities: waves crashing on rocks or shoreline, wispy waterfalls, smooth meandering streams and glass-like sea are a few of the styles that adjusting your shutter speed can yield. I prefer to capture my water with some texture.
With big waves, 1/3sec is often enough to blur movement without losing detail and I try to include a static, manmade subject like a lighthouse or groynes to bring a sense of scale to the waves when I can. When seas are calm and in a retreating tide, that’s when I make the most of them with a longer exposure for a surface that’s smooth as glass and wispy lines in the tide.
If the sea is stormy, I opt for an exposure of 1/50sec to 1/250sec to freeze those droplets in mid-air. Extending your exposure can require a combination of ND and ND Grad filters, but I begin with a polarising filter for its two-stop advantage and glare-eliminating benefits. Sometimes this can be enough without an ND but on bright days, I may also need to use a two- or three-stop ND filter.
Intentional Camera Movement ICM, as it is commonly known, is a technique that deliberately introduces controlled blur and movement to a frame as you move the camera during an exposure. My favourite effect is when the camera is moved vertically in a woodland, rendering the trees colourful streaks, or panning horizontally in a field of flowers like daisies and poppies.
Moving the camera horizontally across the coastal horizon during an exposure blends all the scene’s colours into a soft, streaky palette. I often use a 24-70mm lens to keep my framing tight and my lens is focused to infinity. I use a mid-aperture and aim for at least 1/20sec or longer – sometimes an ND filter is needed to help lengthen the shutter speed to complete a panning, zooming or rotating movement.
A tripod can help to keep lines straight, but it is possible to do the technique handheld. Start at the top of the scene and carefully drag the camera in a downward, or sideward, motion at a consistent speed.
Further reading The Movement round of APOY is now open
It’s time to enter the latest round of our Amateur Photographer of the Year competition (APOY), the biggest and best contest of its kind… It is hard to believe but we are on round 6 of APOY already – the theme is Movement.
With APOY’s varied categories, there should be a round for you, no matter what you like to shoot. You might choose to enter just one category or enter them all with the aim of taking home the main prize and, of course, the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.
The competition is open to all amateur photographers* and we have again teamed up with Photocrowd, who will be hosting the competition on a simple and intuitive platform. This year we have two new categories. Under-21s can enter the Young Amateur Photographer of the Year, with each category winner receiving a £250 voucher for MPB, and the overall winner being awarded a £500 voucher.
Finally, there’s a camera club category, where you can accumulate points for your society. The most successful club will receive a voucher for £500.
*For the purposes of this competition, an amateur photographer is defined as someone who earns 10% or less of their income from photography or photographic services.
Send us your best movement shots!
One of the biggest challenges in photography is capturing movement. Whether that’s freezing the action unfolding in front of you with fast shutter speeds or flash or creating an implied sense of movement with long exposures or camera panning.
Whichever technique you choose to use, there are a whole host of potential subjects on offer. We’d like to see your interpretation of movement, whether it’s people on the go, sports or trains, planes and automobiles.
‘Life in Colors’ by Zay Yar Lin – winner of the APOY 2020 Keep on moving round.
There are £11,000 (GBP) worth of vouchers to win in APOY 2021, supplied by sponsors, MPB, plus the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.
Your guide: John Dexter Photography has been John’s passion on and off for 40 years but in the past four years, he has been concentrating on developing his own ICM technique, kickstarting his passion for photography again. To see more, visit www.johndexterphotography.com and see @johndexter photography on Instagram and YouTube for video tutorials.
ICM (intentional camera movement) photography has changed my life – it is exciting to be able to create unique art that cannot be replicated and to see the world in a new way through your camera. In this feature I will explain how I create my ICM images, as there are many aspects to this technique that can be used. I hope to inspire you and send you in the right direction so that you can eventually develop your own style of ICM photography too.
Intentional camera movement is a wonderful way to record abstract observations of everyday scenes
Take lots of photos First and foremost, unlike conventional photography you are free from rules and you can shoot in all weather, any time of day. Good light will sometimes help in your creation of an image, but just work with the light you have. This freedom is what makes it exciting and allows you to create unique art. However, this does not make ICM easy; quite the contrary.
With rules you have guidelines on what makes for a good image, with ICM it is all down to practice, vision and creativity. Take lots of images of the composition that you have chosen. As a rule I will take anywhere from 200 to 500 shots if I think it will make for a good final image. ICM is very random in its results, however proficient you get, so be prepared to have a massive throwaway rate. If you get one good image from this number of shots you are doing well and sometimes you will get nothing. Just remember with digital it costs you nothing to press that shutter. After taking the shot, look at it on the camera screen and assess if that is the look you are after.
If not say to yourself, what do I have to change? It may be your camera settings, camera movement, a longer or wider lens, or a slight movement to improve the composition? I find they always look better on the camera screen than they will do on your computer. Very often after viewing my images on the computer and finding one that I like, I think it can be improved so I will return to where I took the shot and retake it, adjusting my settings or movement.
Getting set up You don’t have to own an expensive camera or lenses for ICM. After all, we are not after pin-sharp images here, but if you are thinking about selling or exhibiting your work, better gear will pay off when enlarging your images. Best of all you can leave the tripod at home! When it comes to lens choice, the composition will determine the focal length lens you will need, whether it be a wideangle or zoom, but always focus on the subject as you would if it was a conventional shot. A neutral density filter is highly recommended and a worthwhile purchase.
These can help you control the length of the shutter speed in varying lighting conditions. When it comes to selecting your camera settings, I recommend shooting in shutter priority mode for full control over the shutter speed. The required shutter speed for this technique varies between 1/3sec to 2 seconds. This is dependent on the time required to move the camera and the look you’re after. For example, bigger movements will require a longer exposure. If you find you can’t achieve a slow enough shutter speed owing to bright ambient lighting conditions, that is when you will need to attach a neutral density filter. Typically these filters come in a range of light-reducing strengths.
A pulling technique enabled me to create the illusion of waves breaking over the groynes
I find that a 6-stop ND filter works well in most scenarios. Exposure is unpredictable with ICM. Learn how to read your histogram so you can see if you are clipping your highlights or shadows and then adjust your exposure compensation accordingly. White balance is not so important, as we can tweak the colours at the editing stage, but I will use anything from sunny, cloudy or even auto. Choosing a composition A good starting point is to look for colours, structures and shapes and experiment thereafter. If it helps, look at other photographers’ work for inspiration. As this technique is so experimental, keep shooting and you’ll soon get a feel for what works for you and after time you will develop your own unique style.
On my ICM journey I’ve found that certain camera movements suit particular compositions. This is only a guide however, remember it is all about experimenting and seeing what works for you. The most important thing with any type of ICM movement, is to try varying shutter speeds and degrees of movement to the camera. Look at your composition and decide what you want the image to look like. In time you will learn what movement to use to achieve that result.
Panning vertically and horizontally These are the most commonly used movements in ICM photography. A vertical pan is typically used for trees as it follows the line of your subject(s) or a horizontal pan for seascapes and landscapes to emphasise the horizon and separation of elements such as the sky and ground. In these examples, the image below shows a vertical pan – from bottom to top – to capture some moored boats.
If I had started the movement from the top of the composition, the masts may have disappeared from the top of the frame. My other image (below) is the same scene and I decided to ignore the natural vertical lines created by the masts and instead I’ve panned the camera horizontally.
In this case it makes no difference if it is left to right or right to left but creates an interesting effect.
A subtle shake This technique requires a subtle shake of the hand, almost as if you can’t hold the camera still. I occasionally will use this for people or if I just want to soften the image, such as a landscape with trees in the scene.
Pulling This movement involves pulling things into the image like clouds (above) or sunsets. For the latter, I focused on the ruins, pressed the shutter and then moved the camera into the sky, pulling the ruins into the sunset. Another example of this is pulling water over rocks to give the illusion of waves breaking.
Extreme movements This involves twisting the camera with a flick of the wrist and moving it left or right, up and down, all at the same time. I don’t use this movement very much but this example (right) is an example of the results – this technique can produce very abstract images and is worth experimenting with.
Create a curve For this image example of Stonehenge (below), I have moved the camera in an ark shape from 11 to 1 o’clock to add another dimension to the scene.
A moving subject All the other examples show how to add a sense of movement to static subjects. In this example I’ve allowed a moving subject to do some of the work for me. All I’ve done is give the camera a little shake to soften the background and it’s produced a wonderful result.
Motion and movement is a wide and varied photographic subject and as a result there are many ways a photographer can create a sense of motion or movement in their shots. Slow shutter speeds can be used to exaggerate the flow of water while fast shutter speeds will freeze the force of a wave as it crashes against a sea wall. ePHOTOzine has written many tutorials that cover motion in some shape or form and as a result, we’ve decided to group the most popular ones together so, hopefully, you’ll be fuelled with enough inspiration and ideas to make you want to head out to capture motion. Here’s our top seven:
Do landscape shots always have to be static? If you think about it you’ll realise that they’re often not. This tutorial adds to the tips John Gravett gave in his article, covering clouds, trees and people as subjects.
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