A Study in Motion Blur and Fading Winter Light

Study No.1


Fields of White and Gold


“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

Playing with Motion Blur

This motion blur study is the direct result of boredom and low light. I took all the shots from our moving vehicle as we cruised across the Canadian prairies on an eight hour long road trip. It was a cold, cloudy December day, the sun was low in the sky and the light was fading, but the landscape was beautiful nonetheless. The subtle beauty of the passing prairie landscape, with its muted winter colour palette, the snow-speckled fields and the starkness of the naked trees, all slowly dissolving into the pastel light of dusk, had me reaching for my camera over and over again.

Unless otherwise noted, all of these shots were taken at 1/60 s to intentionally blur the trees and the landscape whizzing by.

Study No. 2


Hay Bales and Cows


Study No.3

I played with this image in Corel Painter using a Wacom Tablet and stylus to hand draw some lines on the photograph to accentuate the tree branches.


Naked Beauty


Study No.4

Shot at 1/5 s


Where the Trees Meet the Sky


Study No.5

The last light of the day and the last image in this motion blur study.

The huge, abandoned old barn seen in this silhouette has such pleasing architecture, with its classic gambrel roof and double cupolas perched on top (the double cupolas are real, not the result of motion blur!). I’m glad I got this shot when I did because this beautiful old barn has since collapsed.

Shot at 1/13 s


Last Light


“For an Impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the subject,
but to realize sensations.”

~ Paul Cézanne


Image Credits:

All images by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2011 madlyinlovewithlife

22 thoughts on “A Study in Motion Blur and Fading Winter Light

  1. I love them all, and I love messing around in Corel Painter, so I know you enjoy that program, but I gotta say, you make the blur look exceptional. Thanks for the views.

    • Thank you, David. It’s fun to play with the camera and vary the shutter speed to get different kinds of motion blur effects. And, yes, I really do enjoy Corel Painter, though the program is much deeper than my ability to fully use it. Nevertheless, I really enjoy playing with all the digital art software and art apps that are available these days! Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week! :))

  2. Boy oh boy are these photos beautiful and strange — and when I say “strange” I mean it in the best possible way. It’s as if you’ve “re-seen” (nod to Thoreau) the landscape, and your photos help the viewer re-see them as well. And thank heavens you captured that gorgeous image of the barn, since collapsed — what a treasure! I also like the lines drawn in using the stylus — very cool. Jeannie, I think you’ve invented a new way of photographing — and seeing — the world! :)

    • Thank you very much, Debra! I know what you mean about the images feeling a bit strange. To me, they seem a bit ghostly and surreal, almost other-worldly. I like that I find them pleasing, yet they create a bit of cognitive dissonance—the mind doesn’t know quite what to do with them.

      Enjoy your week ahead! :))

  3. Ooh, this is so cool!
    I’ve yet to play around with motion blur, but the photos in this series look fabulous, and – as has already been mentioned – I love seeing the scenery in a new way :) Amazing what technology (and good skills of course!) can help artists accomplish! :)
    Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend.

    • Thank you, Takami! I do enjoy playing with a bit of motion blur now and again—it’s especially fun to do when one is a passenger in a moving vehicle. It’s different for me, not my usual style, and I like to step out of my box and experiment a bit. I find I learn a lot about my camera by playing around. I have some interesting night time light trail shots that I took with the camera stationary on a tripod while zooming the lens during a long exposure. This gives a totally different kind of fun effect. I shall post those in a future post. Wishing you a very happy week ahead! :))

  4. So beautiful, Jeannie. Love the technique and colors!
    Are you familiar with the pictures of focus pull fireworks? If not, just google “focus pull fireworks”. They are stunning!

    • Hello Lis! Sorry about my late reply and thank you once again for your great comment. I had never heard of focus pull before and I checked out the images on Google! They are amazing! It makes the fireworks look like flowers! (Here’s a link for anyone interested in checking out these really cool images: http://daveyj.ca/fireworks) I really appreciate learning about this new and beautiful technique, so thanks so much for sharing that information with me! :))

    • Thanks, Randall! It’s fun to play around and experiment a bit just to see what happens. Most of my shots were pretty bad, too blurry or the light was too low, but I had fun. Wishing you a great week ahead!

  5. Hmmm…. Sounds like someone got a new toy?? What kind of camera did you get – or are you experimenting with one that you have?

    You bring up good points – about going outside the nine dots. Having been a sports photographer in my (very young) youth, I dreaded motion/blur. That is entrenched in my psyche. Thanks to your story here, I guess I’ll think “differently”. My fave was the cows and bales shot that also looks vintage, although they are all artistic – typical Jeannie!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Koji. No, I don’t have a new toy. I’m still using my trusty old Nikon D80. I was just playing with low shutter speeds as we drove across the prairies. I really didn’t think it would amount to much but then I ended up liking some of the shots.:))

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