An Artefact Informed by Extra Curricular Activity

For part of my module, 154MC, we were asked to produce an artefact informed by extra curricular activity; this could be in the form of a photographic piece, poem, song, video etc. I took influence from the work of Jonathan Shaw who came in and spoke to my course about his work; one collection that stood out for me was the photographs he did for the Birmingham Royal Ballet; this project was about creating linear images. For this body of work, Shaw looked at the movement of the dancers, showing the dance in a single shot but over a long span of time using a long exposure time. The use of long exposure times meant that the photographs were more expressive and showed flow and movement, echoing the idea of the movement in the dance.

Ballet 4

For this module, I wanted to create a set of photographs based around the sport of skiing, taking influence from Shaw. I wanted to capture this sport in a different way and show the movement and lines created by skiers on the mountain, taking influence from Shaw’s work and use of long exposures, by capturing the movement and beauty of a sport.

When I went skiing it soon became apparent to me that using long exposure would be impractical as due to the snow reflecting sunlight, the photographs would be far too over exposed and much detail would be lost. Instead of using long exposures, I decided to use motion blur to show the movement of the skiers.

I found a good website that gave me information on how to create the best motion blur in skiing photography, I took the information below from it: http://www.valthorens.com/winter-en/val-thorens/live/news/news-detail/how-to-take-great-ski-holiday-photos—going-further.378.a554.html

Motion blur technique (speed effect):

Widely used for action photos, “motion blur” consists of keeping the subject sharp and the background out of focus. This lets you isolate the subject from the background and reinforce the sense of speed of a moving subject. It’s a technique that will be particularly useful to you for taking photos of skiing, snow scootering or motor sports such as the Andros Trophy.

First of all, you will need a camera on which you can adjust the shutter speed (generally known as Tv or S mode). Once in this mode, you have to apply a simple formula: 
Shutter speed < focal length.

For example, using a 200mm telephoto lens, your shutter speed should be 1/125s or less. 

Next, you have to position yourself at a right angle to your subject. Once the camera is in place and above all, stable, you should follow the skier/snowboarder, synchronising your movement to theirs. You need to press the shutter release while continuing your movement

I tried using this method and there were some good photographs and others that were not so good:

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I found that often it was a lot harder to capture the whole person in the shot as I was concentrating on their movement and following them. Some photographs looked okay, concentrating on the skis/snowboard more, whereas others did not.

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I managed to capture a range of different skiers and snowboarders, showing their movement and skill with the motion blur. I decided to make all these photographs black and white, as I wanted the movement to be the main focus and I feel that addition of colour, from the different ski outfits, would become too distracting and take away from the movement. Some photographs have worked better with the motion blur that others, however I still feel that they all show the movement of the sport well.

 

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Some of the photographs I decided to crop as this meant there was greater focus on the lines and movement of the skiers.

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These two photographs show the movement well in an almost abstract and unique way, the figures are still clear and what they are doing is, but the blur creates a distorted effect on the bodies and so they are less clear, their identities lost in the movement of the sport.

I am really happy with my set of photographs looking at the movement of skiing; from this idea of movement and time, I decided to try creating some time lapse photography of the surrounding mountains that are used to ski on. I wanted to look at the continual flow of life, symbolising both the natural movement of time and the human movement of the skiers who use these mountains for the sport.

My first time lapse was not very successful, it was very juddery and the light was overexposed. I decided to revisit it and try to do a better job; I think that my second attempt is much better.

This time lapse was very successful and so I decided to do another of a different location and this too was successful.

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