Thursday, February 7, 2013

Photo Project | Getting Creative With Motion

A few years ago, I read Bryan Peterson's 3rd Edition of Understanding Exposure (which is an amazing book if you are looking for a resource to help get you started with using a DSLR in manual mode). In the book, there is a chapter discussing shutter speed and implied motion. He suggests that one way to get creative is to hand hold your camera at slow shutter speeds to induce motion into the subject. His example photo really caught my eye and inspired me to give this a try.

I briefly experimented with this last year while I was working on the motion post for my tips and tricks series (which I need to get back to!), but I wanted to spend some time playing around with it a little more to see what fun images I could create.  As you know, I love bright, bold colors in photos so I decided to experiment with taking photos of some of my patterned clothing.

I basically set up a place to hang the clothing outside on a rare cloudy day, and photographed different ariticles of clothing using different shutter speeds and corresponding aperture and ISO settings.  Here is an example of the same item photographed with three different shutter speeds. As I slowed down the shutter speed, the movement resulted in a more abstract appearance to the photo.  I fear looking at the first two for very long might result in a headache (or perhaps a seizure) but the last one is kind of fun...

I also experimented with moving the camera in different directions to see how it affected the images.  Of course, how fast or slow I moved the camera also had an impact on the results.  Here is a series of images taken of the same item while I tried moving the camera in different directions...

As I was experimenting I found that some of the patterns required a slower shutter speed than others to induce the kind of abstract blurriness that I wanted to create.  It was also interesting to note the type of pattern played a huge role in what type of image the motion created.  In general, the larger the pattern on the item the softer the blur was in the resulting photo.  Here are a few examples...

While the clothes that had smaller patterns on them resulted in more linear results in the photos.

I'm sure this experiment could be done with just about anything, but I wanted to see what kind of bright abstract images I could create here. I don't think any of them are exactly frame worthy, but fun and interesting never the less.

So far I am really getting a kick out of planning and photographing these monthly photo projects.  I enjoy getting to stretch my mind a little and do something outside of my usual routine. It's great fun to ask myself, "I wonder what would happen if ...." and then to grab my camera and try it.  Permission to try something new and different, without fear of failing - that's what these photo projects are all about for me!

Did you miss some of my past photo projects? Clicking here will take you to all of my photo project posts.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
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