Capturing stillness and movement

Exercise 1.11 asked to choose a subject that includes both stillness and movement and then to create a series from a variety of different instances of this subject.

At the start of the year I picked up a book full of lists of things to complete. One of the lists revolved around places that I find peaceful. At the top of the list is nature. Whenever I get the opportunity I try and spend some time on my own in the countryside, whether that is parks, mountains or woods.

With that in mind I took some time out on Sunday to catch up with some of the course exercises. Wandering around the country park on the edge of town I was able to capture some photographs of the streams and lake there.

Exercise 1.11 Ninesprings small pond stream
Ninesprings Country Park, stream leading to pond (f/20, 1/2 sec, 35mm, ISO-100)

Within the park there is a small pond as well as a larger lake. Leading from the pond is a small stream with a very tiny jetty, no chance of mooring large boats alongside this unless their model ones.
When I was examining Toshio Shibata’s work I noticed that there are a lot of geometric lines within the images. A lot of this is achieved by means of man-made structures. While choosing subjects to photograph I tried to include some form of geometric structure using man-made and natural lines.

Exercise 1.11 Ninesprings stream end
Ninesprings Country Park, stream leading to undergrowth (f/20, 1/2 sec, 35mm, ISO-100)

I chose the above image because of the very definite ending provided by the undergrowth. Unlike the previous image where the stream links into the pond with this there is no obvious link to anything beyond it.

Exercise 1.11 Ninesprings stream bend plant
Ninesprings Country Park, stream running along bottom of gardens (f/20, 1/2 sec, 35mm, ISO-100)

Initially this was just another stream. Although it isn’t clear from the photo, the stream bends in the top left corner and at this point has travelled along the bottom of a number of gardens.

What fascinated me when I was looking at this view, and considering it as a possible image, was the large plant in the garden. I don’t know what the plant actually is but the leaves on it were huge.

I also like the way the reflection of the plant in the water, especially where the leaves closest to the water are reflected a lot clearer than those further away which appear more as a shadow.

Exercise 1.11 Ninesprings overflow
Ninesprings Country Park, overflow (f/5, 1/15 sec, 135mm, ISO-100)

Walking through the park I heard the sound of rushing water. When you look at the streams, ponds and lake there is hardly any indication that the water is flowing. It must be otherwise the water would be completely stagnant. Peering over the fence alongside the stream I spotted an overflow spilling water into the stream that leads through the park and into the River Yeo.

Exercise 1.11 Ninesprings Heron
Ninesprings Country Park, lake with heron (f/9, 1/13 sec, 200mm, ISO-100)

Sunday was a lovely day and as I wondered around the park families were strolling along, looking at the ducks, coots, swans and the lone heron. Lots of families had spent time feeding the ducks, including a work colleague I bumped into who was with his grandson. Taking a picture of the heron, who must be more recent resident of the park, was a natural choice to make. The way he stood calmly amongst the scurrying of the ducks was a nice counterpoint I feel.

Exercise 1.11 Duck 2
Ninesprings Country Park, Ducks in Motion (f/9, 1/13 sec, 55mm, ISO-100)

When I initially chose the images I was going to use for this exercise I excluded the above photograph. The blurriness of two of the ducks put me off it as I didn’t think it was sharp enough.

This morning, however, I was reading an article in Black+White Photography magazine about capturing motion. The author had taken a photograph of two dogs as they were running around and made a point of mentioning how the blurriness of the animals provided a sense of energy and movement. With that in mind I included this image, in the hope that the blurring of the middle duck will give a some indication of how fast it was moving through the water.

Exercise 1.11 Ducks
Ninesprings Country Park, Ducks in Motion (f/9, 1/13 sec, 66mm, ISO-100)

Finally, the wakes from these ducks made it an obvious choice for inclusion in a series with the theme stillness and movement.

Reviewing the series as a whole I can see that there are two halves to it and I could easily have developed either half into a full series.

The first three images of the streams are very structured with rectangular elements to them. The fourth image provides a link into the wider feel of the final set of three with the rectangular shape of the water flowing from the overflow connecting with the rounder splash point.

While I was writing up this entry I used Google Maps to look at the area around the country park and in particular the course of the streams. From the information on the map I think another series could be made by following the course of the stream as it passes through the town from its starting point in one of the housing estates, through the country park all the way to the point it joins River Yeo. I think the contrast of the stream with its environment could be interesting, particularly as for a lot of its course it runs beneath houses and roads before surfacing every so often.


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