There’s no better way of bringing a dramatic scene to life than with a hint of movement. Whether it’s a branch swaying gently in the breeze, or long grasses being buffered around, it’s a quick and easy way of giving your shot that all-important X-factor.
Shutter speed will depend entirely on wind speed and the effect it has on your chosen subject, and also the amount of blur you want in your image.
For example, an exposure between 1/15sec and 1 second may be enough to capture a subtle sense of movement in blowing grasses, while a longer shutter speed between 1 and 4 seconds may be needed with larger subjects such as trees.
It’s a technique that can also be used to blur water, which can sometimes help to simplify a composition by smoothing out the ripples and waves, allowing rocks and other foreground features to become more prominent.
Shutter speeds will vary between 1 second and several minutes though, if you’re blurring a waterfall, about 1/2sec may be enough, depending on the water’s flow rate.
If you’re capturing waves on a beach, shoot when the waves are receding to create lines of foam that draw the eye into the shot.
It’s essential to use a sturdy tripod and head to prevent camera shake in the wind. Whatever you do, don’t hang your kit bag from the centre column, as this will only create more movement!
Instead, anchor your tripod into the ground, using the leg spikes if your model has them, and resist the temptation to extend the legs any further than necessary. Always extend the chunkier upper leg sections first.
SUGGESTION > The movement can be further exaggerated with a wide-angle lens, especially when shooting grass from a low angle.
Just experiment with shutter speed to create the perfect blurring effect.