Emotion in Motion
By Captivating Photography Journal profile image Captivating Photography Journal
5 min read

Emotion in Motion

In the previous journal issue, Stephen Milner presented our readers with an intriguing challenge: ‘Emotion in Motion.’ We are thrilled to introduce you to the most interesting works from two finalists who have elevated their understanding of this challenge to a whole new dimension.

The objective of the challenge was to craft a sequence of photos that vividly illustrate how motion can stir emotions, and to compose a brief reflective essay delving into your journey.

By Jan Whybourne

Macro style

What does ‘Emotion in Motion’ mean for me with regards to my photography style and topics? Who exactly am I taking these pictures for?

Typically, I share a few with my friends, but generally they sit on my computer hard drive.

Every morning I like to grab the camera and head out into the yard to see if anything interesting popped up overnight. Perhaps it’s a heavy dew on the plants, it could be a new wildflower I’ve not seen before, or even an insect I’ve not encountered in the past. If time allows, I will also head out later in the day as well.

I feel a sense of calmness and peace when I’m outside, camera in hand. Is that my emotion in motion? Do my photos reflect that? Is there anything in my photography that brings it to a new level, to something never done before? I don't think so, however, I do very much enjoy the challenge of maybe, just maybe, I’ll one day capture something that’s never been captured before.

I also very much enjoy taking things to another level trying to create something totally different with everyday objects. Can there be emotion in that too?

Let’s move on to some images that create ‘Emotion in Motion’ for me. Hopefully they also create some for you.

Just three different size marbles sitting on a ceramic tile that a friend painted using alcohol inks and glaze. I also placed one in behind to add more colour. This image, when I saw it on the big screen, made me go wow. I love it!

A blue straw, some soap bubbles and a blue background. I saw this and immediately thought ‘praying mantis’ (too bad I didn’t use green).

These two previous images come about when the weather doesn’t allow me to be outside, but I feel like playing with the camera.

There is something so calming and lovely in dragonflies.

Who doesn’t love seeing a bee…?

Does it get any more beautiful than this? I always smile a little wider and breathe a little deeper when a butterfly lands long enough for me to photograph.

A dwarf bleeding heart flower from my garden.

If it’s not obvious, I do love having my macro lens on the camera.

I hope I have created a sense of emotion in motion for you.

By Ann Kilpatrick

Competing for treats

Around our place we have planted trees, including puriri and kowhai, to feed the birds. The kereru and tui fight over both species. The previous owners planted banksia which the wui feed on in the Autumn. And, of course, many of the birds love our strawberries, apples, cherries, pears, figs and olives, which we didn’t actually plant for them.

For this challenge, I wanted to catch the energy, aggression and movement of the tui as they come to the feeding station outside our kitchen window.

It is easier to capture a tui on flax, blossom, or in a kowhai tree but when they (like people) are competing for limited resources, it is more challenging to capture an image.

I started out trying to capture handheld images, mostly at a shutter speed of 1,200, then put it up to 1,600. After reading posts by Excio members about how they capture their beautiful bird images, I increased the shutter speed to 2,000. Thank you Excio people.

I used three different lenses for the photos below, just experimenting or actually being too lazy to change lenses. Or sometimes, just because that was the lens on the camera in the moment I wanted to capture.

Eventually, I bit the bullet and put our tripod up in the kitchen to mitigate the weight of the lens and my unsteady hands. Sometimes, my tripod was too close to the subject for my long lens, so I inadvertently cropped wings, tails and beaks.

I struggled to get a bird in flight, I watched them a long time but found it hard to get them in view, or get a shot.

In the end, I thought if I prefocused on a spot and set the camera to manual maybe I could wait till they flew in. That experiment is for another day. I tried using live view but there is a delay until the shot is taken from live view.

I shot through our kitchen window, because this was the best angle for the feeder, not ideal in terms of splashes on the window … and the photos.

I was thinking about capturing movement and realised that I am drawn to photos that have some sort of blur or movement in them. I think they come alive and draw one in to the frame.

One of my big challenges is curating and culling photos so, no doubt, I am posting too many photos here. They are not technically good photos at all, but I hope you get the sense of the birds competing for their treat.

The photo below is shot on a 28–300mm lens.

The next two photos are taken with a 500mm lens, handheld.

The next three photos are taken on my 105mm macro lens, cropped in a long way.

All the remaining images are taken with a 500mm lens on a tripod.

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