Choose a subject that includes both stillness and movement. Create a series from a
variety of different instances of this subject.
When you’re assessing your photographs, try not to think in terms of what is ‘photogenic’ in the usual sense of the word. Go beyond that. Ask yourself if your photographs communicate what you intended: stillness and movement peacefulness and energy.
Do your photographs communicate any other ideas? In other words, are they symbolic or metaphorical? This capacity to take something unintentional and make something out of it is a sign that you’re developing as a photographer.
Still at Hermitage Basin, the water was partly frozen over, and a flock of seagulls were making the most of the opportunity to stand around and argue over scraps of food.
There was stillness – the frozen stillness of the water, the motionless gulls standing hunched against the cold.
There was movement – the rush of the fountain water, the sudden swoop of a landing gull, the flurry of motion when a piece of bread was thrown onto the ice, the acrobatic fight for possession.
Reflections on the photographs
I had not brought my tripod, so was hand-holding the camera and resting it on the railings, changing from slow to fast shutter speed as events played out.
I was pleased with the results, despite realising I would have been better to use a tripod. I think the unpredictability of the gulls lent itself to the handheld approach and I think some of the unintentional camera movement has added to the blur effect in the slower speed shots, which I really like.
I think if I was looking for a symbolic or metaphorical angle then there is something there about stoic waiting turning into chaotic conflict, but that might be a little too anthropomorphic. There is also a feeling of slightly hallucinogenic confusion in the blurred images that I also quite like.