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The motion in the story

I love a photo with clean lines and graphic detail, organized and neat, compositionally balanced.  I also love to capture the reality of my life, which is actually quite chaotic and scattered in the most perfect way.  I spend my days with two spunky, silly, joyful, but kind of messy kids — and I wouldn’t want it any other way (okay, maybe I would want them a bit neater, but…).

I have been making an effort to let go of trying to obtain compositional perfection and spot-on focus, working more on having the courage to take photographic risks to capture the wonderful motion that makes my life so joyful.



dance field

While I love cranking up that shutter speed to capture my kids mid air (where they so often are), the motion photos that excite me most are the more creative ones – utilizing slower shutter speeds, experimenting with creative focus, playing with ripples in water reflections, or post processing to add a feeling of motion when there wasn’t any in the original scene.   Of course, taking these photographic risks leads to more photos in the recycle bin, but the keepers are worth it!

While I was watching these butterflies, I was drawn in by how many details we miss when we watch them from afar.  I loved the fast shutter speed for highlighting those details, but I also wanted to find a way to capture their graceful dreamlike movement.  By using a macro lens with a wide aperture, I was able to freeze the motion of one butterfly while also capturing the ethereal movement feel of the scene.


In this photo with my daughter, I hoped to show the infective energy and spirit that she has — you can’t really be around her without smiling.  I had plenty of images of her spinning and playing on her own, but I wanted the viewer to feel like they were part of the scene.  I set my shutter speed at 1/60, grabbed her hand and started spinning and shooting.  I love how the background blur shows how fast we were spinning but that her face is in focus enough to see her expression.

spinning copy

She’s a jumper.  Couches, playground equipment, beds, even just flat sidewalks — there’s always a hop in her step.  On this morning, she was wearing her Wonder Woman pajamas and jumping onto her brother’s bed.  It felt nostalgic so I decided that an intentional out of focus image would express the memory best.  I love how the focus fell on the bottom of her feet as that is the part of her body I often see as she leaps away from me.


I am obsessed with the dreamlike movement of puddles.  Even when there is little movement, water gives photos a feeling of movement.  In this photo, I wanted to play that up even more, so I asked my son to ride in and turn, hoping that the ripples from his scooter would create a motion line that would draw our eye to him.


My son has a healthy fear of heights.  We shot a series of photographs with him conquering this fear (with a huge turning point zip lining in Costa Rica over Thanksgiving!).   In this photo, I shot from below the play structure with a 1/100 shutter speed and a wider aperture.  There wasn’t any movement in the original photo, but I wanted to create his feeling of acrophobia (a shaky, motion discomfort).  I duplicated one side of the photo and placed it on the opposite side to create a symmetrical photo and then used the radial tool in Photoshop to give it that uneasy feeling or trembling while climbing.

8 copy

In the Art of Storytelling Facebook group this month, I am challenging the group to let go of that perfection with me, to take more risks, and see how we can better express our vision by including motion in our stories.  I can’t wait to be inspired by what everyone creates!

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