Exercise 1.11 Capturing stillness and movement

29th August 2019

This project is an opportunity to produce a series of landscape or environment photographs that fuse the stillness inherent to photography with the movement inherent to life.


For this exercise I have decided to take on the theme of environment photographs in the form of buildings and construction which have people moving out, across or through them. My ideas are shown below, there are quite a few that I would like to do but as this is only an exercise I will shoot three environments, depending on weather and time. 

The title of my series is, ‘A Path Well Trodden,’ and it looks at the ritualistic tendencies we have as we walk the same pathways week after week just like others do in our town.

The areas that I was thinking would be good to shoot for this project involve places where people frequently go. The list so far is – Great Yarmouth/ Lowestoft promenade, Lowestoft church on a Sunday, Lowestoft McDonalds at rush hours, Lowestoft football stadium, Great Yarmouth boot fair, Great Yarmouth/ Lowestoft/ Norwich theatre or cinema, Holiday sea-front ice-cream shops, Norwich train station, Lowestoft bus station, London Underground, Great Yarmouth/ Lowestoft alley ways or scores, Lowestoft/ Norwich/ Great Yarmouth buskers and street artists, Lowestoft/ Norwich bridge, schools/ colleges, workplaces. I have chosen three to work on, which will mean three days of shooting. I have kept the three images to the one concept which is people and familiar buildings, although I really wanted to do the street entertainment people who are moving statues.

The chosen three shoot notes are below:

I have also decided where I will be situated for each shoot.

  • St. Margaret’s church, Lowestoft – 01st September
  • McDonalds, Lowestoft – 29th August
  • Norwich train station – 31st August

The ‘still’ part of my images will be the interior of the train station and the exterior buildings of McDonalds and the Church. The movement will be people and hopefully a push chair, or mobility scooter as well.

I have also researched rules and regulations involved around taking photographs in these public places. As I was doing the research I came across this article about the French photographer, Philippe Echaroux, who used a Big Mac box to light portraits. This gave me another idea that I am keen to follow up one day, which is to make a camera out of a Mcdonalds box and take long exposures in McDonalds with the box which will look inconspicuous to the public.

29th August 2019

Practice Outdoor Shoot

I had a practice shoot today down by the sea while I waited for my counselling slot. I am so lucky I did because the shots that I managed to get were not what I expected. 

I set the camera up at ISO 200 as I cannot get my camera below this as it is an ‘extended’ ISO, Panasonic writes that if you shoot this low then you lose too much dynamic range. To let as little light in as possible I set the F-stop to 22 and had the camera on my tripod with a shutter release cable attached.

I set up the composition so that half of the picture plane is the negative space of the foreground so that people can walk in front of me and I can also catch the people in the background as well as the carousel. The still image part of my shot is the shops in the background and the arcade that runs down the right side of my photograph.

I was quite shocked at the results, expecting lovely blurred people. However I did not think about the amount of light and now it is obvious to me that most of the images became overexposed due to the shutter speed which was increased to allow the blurring of movement. 

The results can be seen below, although when I converted the shots to jpg somehow I had given them the wrong name and they are labelled TV shots instead of ‘movement one shots.’

Contact sheet showing first trial at movement

The above photograph image settings were all shot with F22 and ISO 200 but their SS are as follows, running in order L to R:

1-3: 1/125  4-7: 1/60  8-11: 1/30  12-16: 1/15  17-19: 1″  20: 0.5″

If you look at the photographs there is a little blur but the best of these, numbers 12-15, are very overexposed.

On reading around shutter speed, blurring people outside and light problems, I have found that when taking shots like these people add a neutral density (ND) filter to the lens so that it blocks light coming into the camera. This explanation on the website theschoolofphotography.com, explains very well how a ND filter works and what it can be used for, the post is called – ND Filters – In Depth Guide For Beginners.

1st September 2019

Indoor Shoot – Norwich Train Station

Due to not having a ND filter I have decided that I am unable to shoot the Church or Mcdonalds series as they are also outside. Therefore I will continue with the Norwich Station photographs.

The terms for photographing in a train station can be found here. As a courtesy I also offered them the chance to look through the photographs at the end of my shoot which they did.

Below are the contact sheets for the Norwich Train Station shoot and I am very pleased with the amount I learnt today, the confidence I found for setting up in a public place and the quality of the movement within the photographs.

The shots from Norwich station worked well. The photographs are split into two ISO batches, 200 and 400 and an aperture of F22.

I have chosen six shots that I particularly felt worked well which are below.

Lastly, I want to note how different strengths of blur was obtained depending on how fast or slow people walked. I know this is obvious but it wasn’t until I saw the contact sheets that I actually figured it out. I loved the shapes, the ghosting and the ‘parts’ of bodies that the slow shutter speed produces.

This is definitely an area I want to follow up on and practice more. The reason is I love street photography and now I have another dimension I can plan into my shoots.

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