motion blur


hyena in motion blur at sabi sabi private game reserve

When it comes to still photography, it is always a challenge to try and portray movement within a single frame. To achieve this, one of the techniques is to use a slow shutter speed on a moving subject, causing an effect known as motion blur.


This creates a very arty feel to the image but also gives the image a feeling of motion instead of the subject being static and frozen in the frame.


One of the key elements in achieving a picture like this is to have the main focal area in focus and not the entire subject being one big blur. This does call for some practice and having a good tripod head that allows for smooth panning is a good investment, especially when it comes to the heavier lenses.


When I took this photo, we were watching a clan of hyenas finishing off the scraps of a waterbuck kill, which the pride of lions had made the morning before. The clan was very active and were running all over the place to get their pickings. The overcast sky was not favourable and allowed for me to experiment a bit. My Nikon D3s was already set on ISO 800 to compensate for the low light. Photographing in aperture priority, I closed my aperture all the way down to f10 to allow for my shutter speed to drop down to 1/30.


As the hyena came running past, I kept the focus point of the camera on the head of the moving subject and clicked away, panning as smoothly as possibly. The effect speaks for itself and is definitely one worthwhile trying out with any moving subject.


Stay focused


Darred Joubert



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