Capturing Movement in Stills
this lesson is all about using movement to capture. Powerful compositions were going to scout out along this creek here through the woods and try and find a good spot that will help draw the I N, while also paying attention to how to slow motion down or potentially to freeze it. To show the power of the creek, I'm in a location scout. I'm gonna show you how to use polarizing filters, Andy filters, reduced light control, aperture ISO and shutter speed. And at the end of this, you know exactly how to capture movement and motion for your photos. So this creek is ideal for making compositions. It's really beautiful. There's a lot of rock features, got pine trees and logs, and, in general, the creek. It is winding its way through, which is really what I'm looking for in general is to see shape in line and symmetry through the forest. The challenge, however, is the time of day. So as the day gets later, the light gets hired, it comes through the trees, and it creates these hot spots, and tho...
se hot spots could be really, really challenging to manage even whether you're using post production or HDR when capturing movement. It doesn't always work out all that well. And a lot of times these hot spots can look very unnatural if you over manage them. So when I'm gonna look for is a really good spot to make a composition in here. So give a strong sense of place, freeze the water, maybe blur the water, a lot of different techniques and try and apply to make a good image. But at the end of the day, I'm really looking for a spot that's gonna be mostly in the shade. So I'm gonna check it out, see if I can find something that strikes me and work through it with me. So join me on the walk. I mean, ideally, this is a great spot, but I need to figure out what's gonna be in the background. The goal isn't to just go in. Photograph one rock. The goal is to try and photograph this strong moving creek in a way that's dynamic and shows the landscape. So the first thing I noticed is that there's a bridge out in the distance, but it's completely in the open, and so the sun is hitting it and if I were to photograph this with that bridge in the background would be completely blown out, and it wouldn't have that nice uniform look, the only other way to really manage that would be to come out in the very, very early morning before sunrise. A cloudy day certainly would work very well, and you would get the whole data work. Or, of course, in the evening, usually after the sun sets or goes behind the mountain. Generally speaking, when working in the forest are working with water trying to get that nice, slow, soft moving water. You want lower light situations because ultimately I'd like to use a long shutter speed. That's what's gonna make this really work. So I'm gonna keep looking and see if this opens up in an area that maybe will give me a little bit more opportunity to make a composition. I like the way I like the way this log here as water flowing over it, and with a long exposure, it will aggregate all of those little lines that you see, is they kind of come over. So this is something to keep in my mind. Maybe take a photo with my phone to remember it. And I think that this could really work because this will really show motion very dramatically. Anywhere there's a ripple or white in the water really could work very well. The other thing that sometimes bring out your phone will give you a sense of where is it too bright? Where is it? Too hot, that kind of stuff. So that's kind of a neat way to look at it. And I also love you know, some places where, like, for instance, Yosemite, where you might have flowers that drape over the river, the motion could become a background element. It doesn't always need to be a foreground element. It doesn't have to be the thing that's front and center. And so one thing to think about is maybe there's a different composition in here with wild flowers or something else that I can put in the front and then leave the river and the motion in the movement in the background. So this is pretty cool. So I like this down here, especially with cloud cover. So if I'm lucky in the cloud stick around, this might be a really good spot as Well, because here I get the real curve of the water and the curve of the river with the forest, and it's really pretty. So this might be another good spot, but this is also looking pretty cool, too. But you got to be careful in here. I think the best way to pull this off is gonna be to really get right in there. Uh, that means probably hitting right in the water because I want to bring the drama. It's close to the lens as possible, but I still want to see this little area in the woods because it looks like it condenses down and it could be really pretty. So this is really pretty in here, and it's great because you've got different layers of waterfalls. Um, and this is really dark, which is what I'm looking for. I want to find the darkest area is ultimately I already know in my head that I want a long shutter speed. I'm hoping to really capture that slow sort of movement. I do want a freeze movement, probably at a different spot, but not right now. I'm looking for the dark spots, so this is pretty cool It does look a little deep, though, and a little sketchy, so I don't really want to go in right here, but it might still be able to make a great composition right from the edge of the shoreline. I'm still gonna check out one more spot. I want to find out where this ends up emptying out into because that could also help with composition. This is great, but unfortunately, we're so close to the campground that I'm seeing cars and sort of rooms the mystique of the shot. So I don't think this will work, but and the other reason to is this branch is actually moving around quite a bit. I'm really looking for features that hang over the water, but I don't want to show movement in that tree. I want to show movement in the water, and that's really a compositional choice, because if everything is blurry, doesn't really work. You want to make sure that you have some stability in the image and that stability is really what you're gonna be working within the framing. So I'm gonna just check out where this little creek actually pops out. I can tell its a lot brighter, and this probably won't work for trying to do what I'm going to do. It just slow the movement down and captured that software. But in the evening, this could be a really great spot. So this might be something that I remember take a few pictures of and come back at a different time of day because this down here still has water rushing in. I like the way it's going out into this placid lake. There's a lot of good color, and it's actually quite pretty. So this is something that, while looking for the movement shot, I'm saying, Okay, this could be good, but honestly, that could be a lot of great landscape opportunities. Right here is well, so this whole area is sort of working out, But I'm gonna head back into the woods and really focus on what I came here to shoot. So as I'm walking back, it's too bright out by the lake. I noticed this spot right here, and I was just thinking in my mind and talking to you about the fact that I like the idea of having a foreground element that's not moving and having motion in the background. And I caught the texture on this log. Always looking always thinking about how you could make these things work. The vibrant green. Nothing here is moving. I'm not sure it's gonna work, but I'm gonna give it a shot. I think is a good place to start working my way up the river, working the scene and trying to see if I can capture a good movement shot along this creek. So the lighting in here is pretty good. But no matter what I do because I know I'm shooting a long shot, I'm gonna use a tripod. And I don't want to get committed to the tripod right away. Like always. I want to make sure I spend some time. I'm gonna go wide, going to use my six. I'm gonna use my 16 and and double check. Make sure you got no extra Hitchhikers on the front of it. Looks pretty good. You notice that I usually spray it before I wipe it down. Just make sure nothing of grit. It gets caught between the cloth and the lens. I don't want to scratch the lens and a lot of people ask me why don't I use a UV protector? Because I've got a really great lens on here. I don't want to put some piece of glass in front of the elements. That's a risk I'm willing to take. I want as much of the actual image to pass through the glass element that is the lens. Before I actually put it on some sort of ah, filter of any kind that could also get dust has a little more distance in front of it. So I'm gonna stick with this. I'm gonna definitely end up using a polarizer, so because the water is flowing and because I want to cut my light as much as possible and may even use nd's. But I'm definitely gonna use a polarized, so I might as well just get that out. Now. I don't even need the lens hood and make that part of my composition because I can start rotating and making sure that it's gonna work in the way that I wanted to work creatively to check that out. It is very important. Make sure these things are clean, any smudge that you can't see my causing area to be out of focus. So All right, so now I'm gonna just work on getting my compositions figured out. I'm using auto focus, an image stabilizer. I don't really plan on getting anything while I do this, but I'm gonna still keep it going. And for this shot I'm gonna use is low and I eso is possible. So basically, this is all about slowing everything down slow. I s so long shutter speeds reducing the amount of light, dark, shadowy areas I want nice and slow because that's what I want to convey. So now I just gotta figure out where I want to be, So I'm gonna just take a look around, I'm getting a hot spot way back up in the woods and that's something I'm noticing right away. The wide angle is so wide that it's showing me things that I might not think you're gonna be in frame. That's why it's important to look through the camera, not just okay. I'm gonna do this and set up. You might spend all your time setting up and then realize it doesn't work only after you start taking pictures. So it's really important step to make sure this work because the highlights are very important now. I can zoom in a little. That's pretty cool. Not really. Doing exactly what I want to see. If I could do this, that was a foreground elements. I'm not terribly excited, but I do think I can still get in here and shoot across into the woods, maybe crop out that moving branch, shoot around this tree and make a vertical image. That's kind of what I'm thinking. I'm gonna try and crop out that piece that I was saying was moving earlier because I want to show stability. Still shoot this tree. Maybe from right here in the water. I don't think I need any other extra filters or lenses. So at this point, I'm Joe and get a little wet. Start making some images. Somebody get in the water right here. And one thing to be mindful of and working and water is you might not realize that you get a little splash every now and then that might get on the lens because I'm gonna be maxing. My depth of field is again all about cutting light. I want to show movement. Slow it down. You will probably see that little smudge of that little piece of water, and that could be pretty annoying to get rid of is in post production. So as best the files that possibly could get I'm gonna try and get but let's see what happens. So it dips in here, so I'm gonna extend my leg a little bit. So extend that out. I've got a pretty good spot here. Pretty low. Keep the strap out of the water. I'm just gonna take it off right now, and I'm gonna clip these two things together. The last thing I wanna do is have the strap end up in there and then end up flashing cameras. So stick that in my pocket and I'm gonna go up. Teoh I So, down I go 100 where I'm already at. I'm gonna move an aperture priority mode to 22. Reduce the amount of light. It looks like I'm getting about a four second read. And then, without completely getting in the water, I'm gonna start working on my composition. And because I'm already so close, I'm picking up the parking lot, but I'm gonna see if I consume a little. All right, we're getting that. Let's see if this works. But now I'm still getting that branch over here. So's I composed this. I'm really trying to hone in on the elements that are interesting and this isn't really working from this spot, but I'm gonna try and work it anyway. I'm gonna get a good focus here, and I could see it's already splashing the lens and I'm rotating my polarizer and I'm gonna try and get a shot and take a look at my results. It looks pretty good, Honestly, Try and get one that's a little longer, but I'm getting a lot of splash right here, and I'm not really getting the results I want. I'm getting the slow motion and I'm getting that nice blur. But compositionally I'm getting a really boring foreground. All the action seems to be up here around the tree, so I need to either cross and recompose up there or find a different spot because I'm not really showing the motion in the way I want is a foreground element here, and I'm not really finding anything as a foreground element that's not moving as well. So time to move on. Last spot didn't work because it really wasn't able to get a composition that showed movement and gave me the framing I wanted without getting cars or parking lot in the background. So now is them further up. I'm rounding the corner and I'm taking a look to see how this works. And one of the things I'm looking for is small branches moving in the water like these right here. I don't want that. Ideally, I'm trying to just get a nice, clean shot. I like the stability of the logs, so I probably want to find a way to shoot around those. But I do like the color, the shape of this. I also love the root system for the tree behind it. So I'm gonna do is avoid these, go around it and see if I can shoot right in this area real low to the ground and make a composition there that gets me a better, stronger foreground with movement. So what I'm doing compositionally here is I'm using this bend. It's sort of the through line from which I'm showing the water come through. I'm actually going to go and try and use the movement and wrapping around to work. So I'm gonna rotate my polarizing filter, Make sure it's in the right spot looking to soften the highlights in those areas and looking pretty decent in general here. So now what I'm gonna do is make sure I got a good focus. And at f 22 s 0 100 I'm about 2/3 of a stop over exposed because I want to get as much out of this is I can, Which means I'm getting about a six second exposure. A full six seconds. The curtain is staying open and I'm able to show this nice soft water. Now, if I were to move my aperture all the way to the other end of the spectrum f four and shoot, I get 1/5 of a second and I still get a little blur. And the reason is because this water is moving super super fast. Now, if I move the I s so upto I s 0 400 or get even faster by taking the polarizer off, which wouldn't want to do with the reflection, but hypothetically, at that point, I can completely freeze the motion and you would see all of the bubbles and all of the waves and everything flowing around really boils down to what you're trying to achieve, what your vision is of the shot I personally love, creating that soft sort of look. It's a artistic interpretation of the scene, and often it works pretty well as a design element. I like the human aspect, which is a bridge in the distance, and it is a little too hot up there. But the clouds keep moving and enough where the light is diffused. I'm gonna see if there's a way to still set up in the middle of this river and instead of capturing a vertical frame trying capture a which is what I was thinking of originally trying capture a horizontal that brings in the trees, the rocks, the river, all of these elements and see if I can pull it off. It's really just about using the river as a foreground element creek rather, and it's moving. So I extended the legs up a little higher cause I don't want to be super low to the ground. And now the big challenge with capturing movement in this is it's literally moving, so you're gonna want to keep a hand on your camera when you're doing this kind of thing and probably warm spot to dry off after this is pretty cool. Definitely liking this tree is moving a little, but a much wider, less of the focus, and I'm using the river. Almost. The creek is a dead center compositional element. Remember to tweak my polarizing filter. Make sure it's where I want it, which is to get the glare off the river. Five Second exposure slightly over. Exposed 2/3 of a stop at a and generally not bad. I've got enough cloud cover down there that I can probably make this work in post production by tweaking the shot, a little bit, little dodging and a little burning. Probably very little work to get the results, so I'm liking it, so I might as well grab a vertical while I'm here. There's it's very important to try and remember, especially if you're looking to market your images, to grab both vertical and a horizontal whenever possible or whenever the composition seems to warrant it. So this is a tricky one. Now the key is make sure the leg is not in the and keeping the horizon line straight tricky because we've got a pretty unbalanced area. That looks pretty great. So I'm actually keeping a lot of the action. A little off the left in the frame. And now I'm gonna make sure I got a good focus again. My polarizer. So I went from horizontal the vertical. So I wanna make sure my polarizer is in the right space. Right? Fire frame. It looks pretty good. I've got some people walking through, so I'm gonna wait for a minute. And that brings up honestly, a good point, Which is, if you're doing a slow explosion to caption motion Here you have people walk through your frame. If they're walking fast enough, there's a good chance you won't see them at all. So the goal is to have people in your image. You're gonna want them to not move while you capture the movement of something else. You gotta really be thinking about what isn't moving on. What is moving in the frame And how is that gonna work? And this isn't just for water. This is whether you're shooting a field of wildflowers blowing in the wind. Someone's hair blowing in the wind. Whatever is actually moving in your frame is gonna have a very large impact on your end results. But they played my brain cute again, so the lights changing get a little brighter. So it went from about five seconds, the 3.2. But that's pretty good. I'm gonna lower my depth of field a little bit down 13 get a faster shutter speed, and I think I've got someone's foot in it. But it looks pretty good. So generally not bad going to keep working my way up the river and see if I can find another spot that really, really shines, because these are all good, not great. Keep working on how toe bring this movement of this river home in a good photograph. So I see a slower moving area right here in the middle of the river that I think could work well as a foreground element. It's not too deep, it's more shallow, little more safe. And as a vertical, I think I can capture that as well as putting this bridge here out in the distance as part of the layers of my composition. So I think I can capture movement here and then hypothetically if I was out on a hike with somebody, I could go up there or use a self timer trigger to do a self image up there. Of course, if I don't have anybody with me, so I'm gonna get in. And the only thing I'm thinking about the second I get out here, of course, is a little bit of a longer walk. So I'm keeping the camera around my neck. Keeps a hand free. Could always use the tripod for stability. If you need a little bit more. And when working in the water like this, take your time. There's no rush. Uh, find your footing. Make sure you know where you want to be. So this is great. It's looking pretty cool. So it's working out the way. I'm thinking it might, but now I need to just figure out where I'm gonna stand because it's a little uneven over here. All right, so generally not bad. So I think I can just set up right here. Get real low. Keep this in the distance. Aysel campground up there as well, which is pretty cool. And the second come out here. I'm not in the tree cover the same way I was before. Now I'm more in the open and thankfully, I love some cloud cover. So I saw that diffused light that I'm looking for. If the sun comes out, the shots not gonna work to spotty the reflections would be too intense. But because I have more light because I don't have the tree cover, I may need to reduce my life by using a neutral density filter. I want to keep showing motion the same way I had back there. I want to reduce light. It's all about controlling light in order to control the motion. So let me get set up. So a little high. I'm gonna try and get these lower. Good idea. After working in water with the tripod is extend the legs all the way out and have them dry out. That way, you get a little more life out of your tripod. These rocks are not that deep. So what? I want to try and dio pretty good there. So rotate this around and I know that I'm gonna flip, so that's gonna work pretty well for me. So I'm already getting some splashes, which means that could be a real challenge here. I might need to back up a little bit, but the next thing to do is I'm gonna add this ring to the front. My hand got a little wet, so it's a little more of a challenge. And this is so I can add my neutral density filter and cut the light so that it's similar to being under the trees and still get that nice, slow shutter speed. So my neutral density filters in here. And thankfully, the case that it comes in also works as a lens cloth. So I'm gonna move that smudge print, all right? And snap my filter on, all right? And I'm gonna go right for the boldest filter. I have the nine hard and before I even do anything else compositionally I'm to make sure I'm covering the entire lens equally all the way throughout. Okay, that looks pretty good. Now I'm gonna just right to f 22 s 0 100 and I'm still getting a pretty fast shutter speed right now, but I think once I get tucked in down here in the water, how many years live you? Because it's safer. And that's pretty good. So making sure my horizon straight and I did not adjust my polarizer. I'm gonna do that now and see if getting lucky. And I am. So I should have adjusted my polarizer first, but that's all right. I'm gonna check my focus. I want it right there, the foreground and getting a nice, long, long shot. But the problem I thought I was gonna have exactly what I'm having. Entire front element is wet from way too close to my subject. So I'm gonna need to rethink this composition a little bit, maybe get a little higher, and then back up is well, but I like what I'm getting. But one of the things I said about using filters, that's the real challenge is every little speck on the front. When you got maximum depth of field, it shows up. So the upside of having filters and having more of them being able to clean them off pretty good. Now, I probably would do more than just like this on my leg. You know, actually, give it a really good cleaning. Just stick it in my pocket for a second. I'm gonna recompose further away from the splash So first things first. Let's see. So this looks pretty good here. And now that I'm a little further to the right, the challenge becomes keeping that composition. Same. Now, I'm getting way too much over there, so I'm gonna want to move this big kind of cleared area over here isn't really working for me. I'm gonna try and back up over here, see if I can keep my stability working. All right, so, you know, more leg. All right, That looks pretty good. All right, that's better. Photography, Yoga. I'm telling you to think, all right, I managed to keep my composition zoomed in ever so slight. And now I'm gonna do what I forgot to do before, which is make sure I just my polarizer. Okay, so it is still pretty good. I'm gonna throw my bracket back on, and this is a little unstable. This is fresh water, so I can actually get away with cleaning the filter this way. But if it were salt water, you get a lot of film sometimes on it, and you'll actually need Teoh get a cleaning fluid and really clean it down. So So now I've avoided the splash it's looking good. I mean, overexposed. Using the filter, I'm getting the exact same shutter speed. Five seconds was getting back in the woods earlier, so essentially getting the same thing. I'm seeing my horizons a little crooked of making an adjustment thing of 22 overexposed. 2/3 of the stop five seconds and we're looking pretty good. So the only thing that could make this a little better is having somebody on the bridge looking down, enjoying the view. But otherwise I feel like I've really been able to capture motion, make this river work and, in general, control the light for this scene and make great compositions out of it. Below the bridge. In the darker areas, I was able to slow motion down and show the nice soft movement of water flowing over rocks and use them as a compositional element Over here. I want to try and do the exact opposite. And so, where I was trying to reduce the amount of light coming in down there and slowing the motion down here, I want to freeze motion. I want to show the power of the river, and to me doing that shows the splashes the drama. All of that that comes through as it comes over the rocks, trees, everything that's happening right here behind me. So I want to get down in the action. And instead of using filters, I'm going actually eliminate my neutral density filter because I don't want tohave less light. I want to have as much light as I can. However, I don't want to have direct sunlight because they'll still suffer from the same problems I would anywhere else, which is that bright, sort of spotty contrast. Delight. It's very, very hard to manage and takes away from the composition, so I have soft light. But I have a good ambient light. Good clearing here. There's a lot of action, a lot of energy flowing over the rocks. I'm gonna try and capture that as best as I can. And I'm gonna do that with my polarizing filter on. I'll leave the ring on for now as well. And instead of being an I s 0 100 f I'm gonna go up to a faster I So I so 400 which is a negligible difference. But it gets me that extra that extra speed and those extra stops. By adjusting for that, I'm gonna go down two F 16 because I don't think I need a ton it up the field. I'm really trying to capture the energy and the movement here. So we go to 16 to basically I'm opening up, letting more light in shortening my shutter speed, allowing my sensor to be more sensitive with the I S o reducing. I'm sorry, not reducing increasing the amount of light that's actually coming through the lens by getting rid of the neutral density filter. Unfortunately, I'm gonna leave the polarizer on because there's still a lot of water reflections and things that are happening. It will help cut that and still make a good composition I may or may not need. It might want to try it both ways and then ultimately make that decision when I'm editing these shots later. So right now I'm gonna just get set up and see if I can get close to the action so the tripod may or may not work here what I might actually do, and often times it's great if you bring a little being bag with you or something like that or a little bag full of lead, that is, you can move around like dive weights. They could be really great for rocks and situations. You could just plop them down anywhere. Set your camera and it becomes a stability peace. I don't have one of those with me today, but it's a good idea to bring one with you. You can remember to bring it, but in this case, I think I'll be all right just using the rock or at least try and I'll use these is my tripod. And because I'm not as concerned about stability because I'm going for faster shutter speed, I can just fire away and let's take a look. Just get a sense. So I've got my rock here in the foreground, but I'm getting still a little bit of motion blur. So I'm actually gonna lower my F sub down F nine and I'm not going over exposed as much as well when you get closer to make sure that rock is out of cream. And there we go using auto focus. Still, a little bit of motion blur. I would actually go. I s 0 800 Take a look at my polarizer position. Sure, that's right. It's easy to forget to do that. All right, try again. All right, Now we're really talking motion, starting to get more and more frozen. You're starting to really get the sense of how strong the water is. This for posterity. I'm gonna do one more real shallow depth of field to show you the difference. And now we're seeing every drop of water flows over the rock. Ultimately, it's up to you the creative vision and what you see in your mind's eye how you want to convey the scene. Soft, beautiful. Are you slowing motion down and making it blurry? Where do you want to freeze it? Show the power in the drop. This is a fun class. Got to get a little wet. It's pretty, pretty cold water coming off those snow fields and mountains up above. But at the end of the day, it's all worth it. Location, location, location. And in this case, motion motion motion. Getting into the water was a great way to bring the compositions closer to the lens and then use aperture. Shutter speed is so polarizing. Filters and nd filters all combined, sometimes just to slow things down, make them beautiful and make them subtle. And other times you went up into the woods were able to show the power of the river by freezing it, showing the individual drops of water flowing over the rocks and over the trees these air to great tools in your bag of tricks to figure out how you're gonna tell the story of the landscape photos that you're trying to tell wherever your adventure takes you.