Photographing Shape and Movement

Beach Afterglow, Great Ocean Road, Australia

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens @ 40mm. Exposure: 1/10 second @ f10 ISO 100

Shape and Movement

This photo was made during the afterglow, just after sunset, along the Great Ocean Road. It’s a very simple image that deals with notions of shape and movement.

The obvious area of movement is in the water. The incoming tide is moving at a speed too quick for the camera to freeze at the shutter speed required to provide an acceptable exposure under the low light conditions.

Naturally, dramatically increasing the ISO would have resulted in a much faster shutter speed. But, in this case, I was hoping that movement would produce a more evocative result.

The other important element in this photo is compositional. Shape, as evidenced in the low lying cloud, is further referenced in the incoming tide on the far left of the frame and the hills slopping down towards the sea. It’s the shape of these otherwise quite disparate areas that work together to form a harmonious image. 

It’s amazing how paying attention to such compositional elements can really lift the quality of your photography. Try it to discover the difference.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru