Photo Challenge Week 6 Recap: Motion

Hi everyone! The Motion assignment is now complete, and as usual, I saw many really creative photos posted in the Facebook group. You guys continue to impress and inspire me! Here are a few photos that caught my eye this week.

This week’s best shots

This photo by Michael Nalsky is a good example of using motion blur to create shapes that lend energy to the composition. The long exposure blurred the motion of waves crashing on the shore, creating lines leading the eye deeper into the scene.

For this next photo, I admit I’m a bit of a sucker for the “tiny planet” panoramic effect. Brian Drourr created this 360 degree pano by stitching together a bunch of photos, and then wrapped them around the image frame in the digital darkroom to create the spherical effect. The motion blur works really well here, creating lots of compositional interest.

This photo by Metin Kent might just be my favorite of the bunch. I love how the motion blur renders the swinging people as artistic abstractions. Finding just the right amount of blur takes some experimentation and Metin nailed it. Everything about this composition is dynamic and creative. Nicely done!

Susan Liepa’s photo of skateboarders finds that perfect balance between motion blur and sharp capture. I really like the dynamic spacing of the three skateboarders across the image frame, creating a balanced yet energetic composition.

Simon Waldram posted a really nicely executed star trail shot, the result of the spinning of the Earth during a long exposure. I especially like the complementary color scheme created by the blue sky and the hint of warmth in the lower right quadrant of the image frame.

Allison Davies pops up again in this assignment with an extremely energetic shot. Although she froze motion here, the resulting composition implies motion—it feels like it is moving, which is exactly what we always want to do when creating a photograph. Solid composition is really key when trying to create energy in your photos.

I love this photo by Gi Ku, taken in Denmark (I also love how international the challenge has been). The shot would have been perfectly fine with just the sunlit highway creating lines leading to the sun. But the motion-blurred cars take this one over the top, making it much more interesting.

Rimas Paisinis posted this lovely shot of sand blowing over a tall dune. The blowing sand takes the eye to the right, but the bright cloud pulls the eye left again, creating visual tension (which is a good thing). The result? The viewer can’t tear their eyes away!

An assignment on motion blur just wouldn’t be complete without at least one vertical swipe of trees, and Alyce Bender’s shot is a really good example. This effect is accomplished by vertically moving the camera during a long exposure (usually a half-second or one-second is best). It takes practice to get the speed of the swipe just right, and to make sure you keep the swipe completely vertical. As with any motion-blur shot, practice, practice, practice! Keep experimenting until you get something you like.

Here’s another example of a static capture that implies motion because of a dynamic composition, posted by Jayant Mathur. The radiating pattern created by the cast fishing net results in an energetic shape. Love it!

Becky Gillum’s photo of a quaint stream ably demonstrates how long exposures can use motion-blur to create interesting shapes. She chose the perfect shutter speed to render the drifting fall leaves as dynamic streaks in the water.

Finally, I really like this coastal scene by Marnie Patchett. The long exposure blur gives the scene a dreamy quality, and the multiple layers of interest get the eye moving through the entire composition.

Congratulations to all of you for pushing your creative boundaries and having the courage to post your work during the challenge. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

We’re nearing the end of the challenge but you can still go back and check out the previous weeks’ assignments. Make sure to check out the Facebook group too where you can see even more photos from this week’s assignment.


About the author: World-renowned professional photographer and Tamron Image Master Ian Plant is a frequent contributor to several leading photo magazines and the author of numerous books and instructional videos. You can see more of Ian’s work at

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