Capturing motion in a photograph

A couple of years ago, during a trip into London I took some pictures of a Merry-go-round next to the river Thames. Although I like the pictures, they are very static photos showing none of the motion involved during the ride.

During our holiday in County Durham, James and Emma took a ride on a Merry-go-round at Beamish and I tried to take some photos of them which captured the motion of the ride. The best result is shown here.

A picture capturing the motion of a Merry-go-round ride

Merry-go-round ride

Although this isn’t perfect it certainly captures more of the excitement  and motion of the ride than the image I took in London. The real negative point, is that Emma is looking away from the camera – if she had been caught laughing and smiling it would have been a great picture.

The technique used was to use a slow shutter speed and pan the camera with the merry-go-round to try to keep the subject stationary within the frame as the rest of the scene blurred. Of course the key to the technique is to choose a shutter speed which will enable you to keep the subject stationary whilst still blurring the background. In this picture I used 1/15th sec – the other, less successful pictures, used a variety of other speeds. It’s really a question of trial and error until you have the experience to better judge the correct shutter speed to use. I’ll just point out that I’m certainly in the class of photographer who is still learning the technique !!

  • Pentax K5
  • Sigma 18-125mm HSM
  • 36mm
  • f/16
  • 1/15sec
  • iso200
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