Dapple Design Shop will be CLOSED FOR CHRISTMAS from December 10, 2016 to January 4, 2017.

Friday 12 September 2014

A Personal Photo Challenge: Movement

This month's Photo Challenge is all about controlling shutter speed to capture a sense of movement in a photo.  This is all very new and very intriguing to me, so after pouring over Donna's suggested reading I found my camera's Shutter Priority setting and took my favorite moving target to the beach. 

Experiment #1:  Freeze Motion.  
She's just learned to jump and was more than willing to practice in front of the camera.  Here she is in mid-air.  It was a bright day and the picture is overexposed, but the alternative would have been to adjust the exposure compensation and lose that lovely smile to the shadows.  I've been contending with that little conundrum all summer and seeing faces always seems to win.  

Shutter: 1/640  Aperture: 4.5  ISO: 100

Experiment #2:  Blurred Motion.  
It takes 20 minutes walking along a forest trail to access this particular beach.  It's a beautiful walk and a lovely beach -- well worth the effort -- but a certain amount of prioritizing is necessary.  On this day, towels, snacks, bucket and shovel won out over the tripod.  I took this picture by steadying the camera atop a backpack frame.  The objective here was to use a slower shutter speed to blur the waves a little to create a softer image.  I included a bit of bare sand in the foreground for contrast.  When I compare this shot to others taken at the same time at faster shutter speeds, I'm not sure it made much of a difference.  I'm sure a tripod would have helped.  It was also a very still day.  Maybe the effect would work better with more wave action.

Shutter: 1/60  Aperture: 16  ISO: 100

Experiment #3:  Panning.  
Minimal success here too.  I think lack of practice is the main issue and I know what to do about that.  Looking at this picture, I also wonder if the background is too simple -- too horizontal -- to blur properly.  Thoughts, anyone?  At very least, I had a good time directing Little Miss's energies.  Though this picture doesn't look how I hoped it would (with a blurred background streaking past a crisp little girl) it certainly gives a sense of motion.  She's running like the wind.

Shutter: 1/80  Aperture: 16  ISO: 100

finally, A Word of Explanation
This is my first post in quite a while.  I stepped back in an effort to do one thing well rather than many things half way.  It's working too.  My Etsy shop is thriving.  But I miss a few things about this blog, so I'm back in a sort-of-kind-of way.  I'll post when I feel like it and you might see a little more about my shop.  At very least, I'll do this Photo Challenge because I enjoy it so much.

Joining, for the first time in a while, Donna's Personal Photo Challenge.  


  1. Well done! This was a fun challenge with lots to learn and experiment with. Love your captures - the Little Miss in mid-air and the blurred running are wonderful and certainly capture that effect of motion.

  2. I would say you captured motion well in each of your photos. Looking intently at the last one, I can see the little gal's hair flowing back as she's running.

  3. Your photo's are so bright, clear and to capture your sweet little one just learning to jump, priceless.

    1. Thank you for visiting Return to Loblolly, your comments is so appreciated....have great weekend making memories.

  4. It's so nice to hear from you and know things are going well! You had a cute subject for some of your movement photos and I love anything on the beach or the water! Enjoy your weekend! Sweet hugs, Diane

  5. My goodness, welcome back to the personal photo challenges! I wondered where you had wandered off to. I quite understand about doing one thing well rather than many things half-way. But I also jumped for joy when you said that you enjoy the challenges and want to continue your participation!

    Oh, I surely do love how you approach an assignment with a plan of action! You favorite subject matter in the first and third photos was clearly having the time of her young life. Sheer joy is being expressed in addition to movement! That first photo sure does win my heart.

    Now, to answer some of the questions or issues that have you pondering... When you have a very contrasty scene like a sunny day at the beach, invariably you will have blown highlights with a single image because the camera sensor isn't nearly as magical as our own eyes. The only way to avoid it is to do HDR images. But HDR (made with a series of photos at different exposures) won't work with subject that have a lot of motion. So you are doing the right thing by exposing for the subject (her face), and letting the bright highlights off of the hair blow out. It's a delicate balance, but you're doing it right!

    On the second photo, your camera was doing the best that it could given that it was a bright and sunny day. Your data shows that it was taken at 1/60 of a second. That speed isn't going to give you much blur. But you already had your ISO as low as you can go and your aperture closed down. So what's the solution? You would need to add a polarizer or a neutral density filter on top of your lens to slow down the speed. You really need several seconds to smooth out the water with creamy blurriness, and many pros try to go as long as 30-60 seconds (on a tripod, of course) with an extremely dark neutral density filter. I highly recommend a polarizer filter as basic equipment to reduce highlight glare, so you might want to see if you can add that to equipment budget sometime. Just make sure that you get the filter size needed for your particular lens, and look for it to say "circular polarizer." We can converse about it by e-mail if you have any questions.

    On the last one, again your camera was doing the best that it could given the bright light. Your panning technique looks just fine. But 1/80 second shutter speed isn't going to deliver the panning look that you are after. A polarizer filter would help immensely to cut down on the amount of light hitting the sensor. Or else make it easy on yourself and practice the technique on an overcast day. Keep your aperture at 1/16 or higher, ISO low (like 100), and the speed will automatically be slowed down.

    Sorry to be so long in explanations, but you always ask the BEST questions on these challenges! And I always try to explain things when folks ask! Great job, once again, Cristal! And your little girl is growing like a weed, LOL. She's lovely.

  6. These are awesome! Precious little one. :)

  7. Cristal, you have captured the movement very well in these photos, especially of your precious little one! I just love those...well done!!

  8. Excellent photos. I love the ones of your little one. Kids are great subjects for movement! Pam

  9. awww, I so love that first shot. I would have it enlarged in black and white and it would be hanging in my bedroom to look at and smile over. :)
    All your photos are wonderful.

  10. Congratulations on working so hard on this challenge! In the first photo, I like how you can see the shadows of your little girl's feet and the space in between. The shadow in the last photo is nice too. So, even if you didn't capture movement to your liking, you did a great job with shadows!

  11. Such bright and cheerful photos of your Little Miss!! I think you have captured her movements (and her spirit) beautifully!

  12. Lovely to see you met this month's challenge Cristal - and you did so well with all the shots.
    Your Little Miss is a great subject - and it's obvious she's having so much fun jumping and running in a wonderful watery area - you are so lucky to live on that island, one of my favorite places to visit!

    Isn't Donna great taking time to explain so many details? We are fortunate to have her share her huge knowledge of this wonderful creative hobby.

    Happy day on your island -