The basic “elements of art” include an understanding of “lines”, and it should interest the photographer to know that diagonals always imply “energy” of some kind. For example, the artist who paints trees at a slight diagonal is implying that they are blowing in the wind. This usually incorporates some interest into their work, and the same can be said for photography too.
The problem with this sort of “energy” in photography is that it usually puts the camera at risk or makes things a bit difficult where blur is concerned. For the focus of this brief article we are going to consider some of the challenges and solutions for making images on windy days.
Consider the image below…
This is not an image that makes you think “Ah…a gentle breeze”. The viewer understands immediately that this is a powerful blast of wind that is causing this palm to clump together and bend so dramatically.
The photographer making this shot was wise to wait for a nearly cloudless day full of bright sun to make such an image. Why? This is because they were able to freeze the tree in motion with a very fast shutter speed. If you consider that they used a small aperture to keep the entire scene in focus, you can understand that this could have been difficult if the day was dark.
The problem with making such an image is that it might be very hard for the photographer themselves to remain upright safely in such a blast of wind. Because of this, they can always secure their tripod to the ground, and rely on a cable release or remote control to cue the shutter to fire.
The next image (above) may have presented the same sorts of struggles. The photographer used a very fast shutter to freeze the laundry in motion and to capture the effects of the wind in the grass. This was not as simple as it might seem due to the overcast conditions and the need for a small aperture to record the entire scene in sharp focus.
To create drama, they offset the focal point into two-thirds of the scene and balanced it out with the cluster of clouds that are a bit deeper in colour than the rest of the sky. This emphasizes the energy created by the garments moving in the wind.
This image would have also been possible from a hand-held position, but the use of a tripod and cable release might have been quite handy too in the heavy winds.