Shooting Challenge #21 -- World In Motion (Win an iPad 4!)

By Martin Snelling on at

In 1872, while photography was still in its infancy, English-born murderer and owner of one fantastic beard, Eadweard Muybridge, was asked to photograph a horse in order to answer the age-old question of whether or not all four of a horse's hooves left the ground while galloping (spoiler alert: they do). It was to become the foundations of a long photographic study in motion that spanned several years and over 100,000 photographs.


The Brief:

This week's Shooting Challenge is all about the world in motion; no, not the New Order song (which I believe is the best footy song ever. Yes, even better than Diamond Lights). I want you to get out and capture motion -- if it moves, shoot it! I want to see some form of motion; not a snapshot frozen in time. What you choose to photograph is entirely up to you; it could be a car, light trails at night, public transport, or birds in flight -- the options available to you are practically endless.


The Example:

The rather candid example above was taken by myself at the annual wheelbarrow drinking race down in Swanage last month. I only had a couple of minutes to get my images as the inebriated racers were hurtling down the street to their next watering hole. I wanted to capture the speed of the race, so I set the camera's (in this case the excellent Fuji X100) shutter speed to 1/60s, and panned (handheld) as the racers screamed past me. The location was particularly challenging as the race participants were all running towards the sun, making parts of the image somewhat over-exposed. It may not be an award-winning photo, but it shows motion. I've uploaded a few more from the race to my Flickr account -- go check them out if you fancy.


The Technique:

The key component to capturing any motion is the camera's shutter speed; the slower the speed, the more pronounced the motion blur. Decide on what you want to capture, and experiment with the camera's shutter speed. Slowing down the shutter speed will also increase the amount of light hitting the camera sensor, so be sure to set the camera's ISO and aperture accordingly. Again, experiment with your camera and see what works best for you and the scenario. When using slower shutter speeds, it is recommended to use a tripod or a camera's image stabilization mode.

There are many different techniques to capturing motion in your photograph, however for this Shooting Challenge section I'll be focussing (see what I did there) on just two:

1. A blurred background with the subject (hopefully) in focus.

This particular technique is great for capturing speeding vehicles, pets or people; the skill here lays in panning your camera at the same speed as the subject to ensure it remains in focus. Pan the camera too fast or too slow and the subject will also be out of focus. It does take practice, but the results can be fantastic. A tripod isn't necessarily required for this technique, but can be useful. If your subject is directly in front of you and is moving in the opposite direction, use the camera's zoom to create the motion effect required.

2. A blurred subject with the background/foreground in focus.

Great for light trails at night, speeding trains and for street photography where you want to convey a sense of movement in the background to a subject. Again, a slow shutter speed is crucial and it is recommended to use a tripod as you'll need to keep a large part of the image in focus. A tripod is essential if you're capturing light trails at night.


The Prize:

In keeping with the motion/travel theme and because giffgaff recently overhauled its new international tariffs (find out more here), they've very kindly coughed up a 32GB black iPad 4 Wi-Fi / Cellular model worth £579!

Because of the might of the prize this week, we're going to be extra-tough on the rules below. Make sure you have a squizz before entering. Failure to do so could mean a failure to win, so don't come crying to us if your picture was chucked out because you didn't read the rules.


The Rules:

- Submissions MUST be your own work.
- Submit your best image. Just one.
- Photos must be taken after the challenge was published; so no existing shots please.
- No image post-processing is permitted. That means no global changes, no cropping, no tweaking and no colour conversion. Submitted images must be 'as shot' by the camera.
- If a mobile phone or tablet device is used to capture an image, the device's native camera application must be used. No post-processing in other apps such as Snapseed, Vignette and Instagram is permitted.
- Explain briefly in your submission email the equipment, settings, technique used as well as a bit about the photo and the thought process behind it.
- Please ensure EXIF info is intact (if image was taken digitally).
- Email submissions to, not me.
- Please ensure your image is at least 600px wide and less than 3MB in size.
- Save your image as a JPG, and use the following naming convention FirstnameLastnameMotion.jpg
- Don't forget to include a shooting summary (see above).
- Send your best photos by Monday, 26th August 2013 at 6pm UK time with "Shooting Challenge -- Motion" in the subject line.
- Anyone can enter, regardless of location, however only those living in the UK will be eligible for the prize.
- The judge's decision is final and correspondence will not be entered into.
- The winner will be notified via email after the results have been published.
- The most important rule -- HAVE FUN!