Capturing Subtle Movement in Landscape Photography

In this video Gavin Hoey demonstrates how he captures subtle motion in landscape photography—in this case, very minimal movement of a grass crop blowing in the wind in the foreground of his main subject, a lighthouse. He uses a nine stop neutral density filter to reduce the ambient light that is allowed to enter the camera, enabling him to increase the shutter speed (all the way from 5–20 seconds) without the result being a white image. Post production in Photoshop is also outlined, from removing chromatic aberration to white balance correction:

When you’re capturing a picture in daylight with a lot of sun and you want to capture movement, how do you avoid a white image? A neutral density filter helps. Gavin doesn’t use just any neutral density filter, he uses a 9 Stop ND, the ND400 by Hoya. With this filter he can drop the shutter speed down to 5, 10, even 20 seconds in the middle of the day with bright sunshine!

landscape movement

ISO 100, F/11, 5 sec, 24mm with 9 Stop ND Filter.

With a filter like this, you will be unable to see much (if anything) through the viewfinder and will likely need to flip to live view mode. For SLR users this is an advantage because it reduces camera shake, as does a tripod, and using a self timer – all of which are important when delaying shutter speed.

The objects closer to the camera will blur more, making the framing of the shot very important.

landscape photo techniques

F/22, ISO 100, 20 sec, 24mm with 9 Stop ND Filter.

Gavin recommends a series of shots with different shutter speeds, you can pick your favorites once you get them on the computer.

Gavin crops, adjusts white balance, gets rid of chromatic aberration, and adjusts contrast on the foreground. Here is the final product.

motion in landscape photography

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3 responses to “Capturing Subtle Movement in Landscape Photography”

  1. flashfs says:

    Thank you for showing all the process, not only one part of it.

  2. Dan Bod says:

    Hi there. Where exactly did you focus? I dont recall an aperature being mentioned. Nice shot.


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