Expressing motion in photography: Beach Grass and Crescent Moon

When I first began doing photography, I thought that the prime objective was to freeze all action to record a moment in time.  Getting a sharp capture of a fleeting moment can indeed be difficult, whether it is a closeup view of the supermoon rising on the horizon, a sports photograph like a MLB baseball player nailing a fastball, or a bird photo like trying to shoot a tiny Tree Swallow mid-air.  There is also great validity to having motion within your frame.  In some cases, this can evoke moods like quickly fleeting action or on the other hand, serenity.

NJ Shore Night Photo

DSLR Nature Photograph from New Jersey showcasing how motion caused by wind can express time and add further dynamics to an image.

The above image was taken recently at the New Jersey Shore using a tripod-mounted Canon EOS 60D camera and the Tamron SP 90mm VC 1:1 F/2.8 Macro Lens.  Camera settings in manual exposure: 2.5 seconds F/7.1 ISO 100.  VC off (lens stabilization motor), Mirror Lock-up, 2 Second Timer, One Shot Autofocus (near the middle of the grass), and Auto White Balance.

I think the crescent moon has a really great distinctive shape, a shape I generally associate with a peaceful sky.  The grass that I have included within the frame is typical vegetation of the mid-Atlantic shoreline, so this gives a nice sense of orientation for the viewer.  For others, the grass may be reminiscent of a prairie or meadow.  The back and forth motion of the blades of grass tell us that time is passing, and also gives the photo a much softer edged appearance than a motionless capture.  I did shoot several similar frames, but in the other images I actually felt there was too much motion and not enough definition on the grass.

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