Derek Gale was welcomed back to Devizes Camera Club to deliver his presentation entitled Movement in Photography. He jokingly hoped his comments as a judge last season had been forgiven and forgotten!
Derek introduced himself as a professional photographer and trainer based in a remote village in Oxfordshire that Shrivenham is near! He explained that this presentation started out as a 20 minute talk to his local camera club which has since developed into a workshop that he presents to RPS (he also presents Introduction to the Creative Eye). And it has now become the basis for a 4-day photography holiday with HF Holidays, for whom he has become a photography leader.
Firstly, Derek stated that there are 2 types of movement - Camera movement and Subject movement - and sometimes you can do both together.
Starting with Camera movement, Derek explained that you can either deliberately use camera shake creatively, or you can use long exposures and move the camera during the exposure. Either way, the effect is to make the image more abstract as is the case when taking an image of woodland and panning vertically. He showed how the details in the opposite plain (i.e. horizontal) became blurred. Contrast will also be lost and may need to be tweaked in post-processing.
He also showed examples of long exposure images in which he had “clicked, held, then moved” to provide an area in the image that was in focus, as with the OXO Tower apparently moving across the night sky. There was an image of a decorated Christmas tree for which he had opened the shutter and walked towards the tree, creating wobbly light trails.
Derek also talked about Rolling Shutter Effect which can happen with cameras that have a relatively slow sensor reading time. The result will show bent lines in reasonable focus instead of being blurred. An image of a brick wall demonstrated this effect.
Further images showed the use of other techniques, including combining flash with a long exposure to provide some sharpness amongst the blur. This technique can also be used to provide a sense of movement, as in an image of the statue of Cabot in Bristol which looked as though Cabot was walking through a storm on the dockside.
Derek then moved on to talk about Subject movement and spent some time considering how to freeze this movement with short shutter speeds. But what constitutes a short shutter speed? He demonstrated that 1/2000th of a second was not enough to prevent blur of the primary feathers of a pigeon as it took off, but 1/640th was plenty to freeze waves crashing on rocks in Hermanus, South Africa. As he said, it depends on the distance to the subject, the speed the subject is moving - and the “photographic intent”.
Flash can also be used to freeze movement. Turning the power down to 1/128th on a Speedlight will provide a flash duration of just 1/41600th - but not much light. With the right setup and supplementary lights, this can be used to freeze water droplets. Derek also showed us a number of images of a white glove which he dropped towards a white table top.
After the interval, Derek talked about showing the movement in subjects. Generally, a longer shutter speed is needed for this, but, again, the duration depends on distance, speed of movement and photographic intent. To illustrate this he showed comparative images of the same waterfall taken at 1/6th and 3.2 seconds. The longer the exposure, the more blurry the water appears, giving an impression of movement. The photographer needs to decide how much blur best reflects the feel of the image.
In sunshine, filters will be needed to slow the shutter speed. Derek had a fascinating image of sparky light trails which had been taken of a small area of moving water with a polarising filter and several ND filters which slowed the shutter speed to 1/10th at f32. He had also had some fun spinning a blue mixing bowl on a kitchen surface taking an image at 1sec. And he demonstrated how people can disappear in long exposures at tourism attractions.
Derek uses Olympus Micro 4/3 cameras which have a feature called Live Composite. This enables the photographer to build up and image over time in live mode. He showed how he had used this feature to build interesting images using Pixel Sticks and Light Blades to light-paint shapes over some of his garden furniture. He also talked about Harris Shutter which uses different colour filters to record movement in different colours. Multiple exposures using different colours superimposed on each other provides a surreal effect.
He also showed how camera movement and subject movement can be used together to provide more excitement. Panning at a different speed to the subject provides blur to both the subject and the background, as in his exciting shot of a racing car.
Derek brought his talk to a conclusion by saying that “Movement brings fun to your photography”. You can present images with a fun content and have enormous fun trying different approaches. In thanking Derek for a fascinating presentation, our Chairman endorsed this view, suggesting that many of us will have been inspired to try something different in our photography. DF Images © Derek Gale - Top: Reeds, right: Wrapping Paper, bottom: Crown of Water