Wednesday’s Impressions ~ Let the Wind do the Work

Black-eyed Susan in the Wind

“Black-eyed Susan in the Wind”

I used a long shutter speed allowing the wind to move the black-eyed susan to create an impressionist style photo. The black-eyed susans in the background were also blurred by the motion of the wind allowing the background to blur perfectly. (1/3 sec at f/13; ISO 100)

This is another great way to create an Impressionistic photo in camera. This technique works well with flowers and other natural subjects that are normally “motionless”. However I have created impressions of animals in motion with this technique.

    1. Pick a day that has at least a small breeze. It also helps to do this on an overcast day, which helps keep the shutter speed slow. You’ll see why this matters in just a bit.
    2. Choose a subject.
    3. Mount your camera on a sturdy tripod. If it’s very windy a lightweight tripod might topple over, which is never a good thing, especially when your expensive equipment is attached to it.
    4. Frame the subject for a pleasing composition.
    5. Using shutter priority or manual exposure controls, check your meter for what the camera calls the “proper” exposure. I like to use a remote shutter release for this type of photo. I have used the self-timer function set to two seconds which is the fastest delay time for my camera.
    6. Watch your subject and wait for the wind to move it. When you see it move trip the shutter. This is a bit more difficult when using your self-timer because you’ll have to anticipate how much the wind will move the subject and when it will move. You get fewer “keepers” using the self-timer, but I won’t tell anybody.
    7. Check the photo you just created. Can you see any movement? If you’re happy with what you see, that’s it, you’re done.

So what if you don’t like what you see in the first shot? Well, now you get to start playing around and get “artsy”. If you don’t see any motion in your photo, the shutter speed is too fast. This is why an overcast day and shutter priority work so well for this technique. The overcast will keep the shutter speed slow to begin with, and if it’s still too fast all you have to do is slow the shutter speed until you get the motion you like.

Slow the shutter speed in small steps and take a shot for every change, keeping an eye on the subject and how much it is moving. Different wind speed/shutter speed combinations will create a different photo every time. Just keep playing with the settings until you create something that shows the original vision you had in your mind when you decided to create the photo.

If it’s a very windy day you can use this technique on a sunny day. Remember to use a sturdy tripod.

Wind in the Palm Tree

“Wind in the Palm Tree”

The wind was blowing so hard the trunks of the palm trees were swaying. You can feel how strong the wind was blowing looking at this photo. I created this photo from inside our friends house in Nevada. A lot less worrying about everything toppling over that way. (1/8 sec at f/22; ISO 100)

~ Daniel Kmiecik


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