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Wildlife in Motion

by Editor Rob Li
Published the 1st of March 2021


This article is inspired by 'Dancers in Motion'  written by Yvette depaepe 

When we talk about wildlife photography, what pops in most people’s mind are sharp clear photos with great still moments and stunning details. These photos are typically achieved by using fast shutter speed and good lock-on focus.

However, many wildlife photographers are looking for creative ways to produce different results. One of the methods is to utilize slow shutter speed to capture the motion of wild animals. This method is especially used for bird photography. As a result, it brings out the artistic rhythm and vibrancy of the wildlife and creates photos that are more dynamic in portraying motion and fluidity.

'Spring time' by Milan Malovrh

Capturing a good-blurred photo in wildlife photography can be as difficult as getting a sharp one, if not more challenging. The success percentage for slow shutter capture is relatively low because slow shutter speed, camera movement, and moving speed of the target can all have a great impact on the result. The general rule of thumb for slow motion photograph is to start at around 1/50, then dial down the shutter speed to 1/30, or even 1/15, while continuously shooting (in burst mode). This can help greatly to increase your chance of success.

The slow shutter capture can be achieved in three ways:

Mount the camera on the tripod, using low shutter speed without moving the camera. The slow shutter speed in combination with a super-telephoto lens can magnify the shake of the camera. Tripod can effectively eliminate the camera shake.

Using the panning technique, through which the photographer cam moves the camera along with the object while shooting at a low shutter speed. The key is to move the camera at the same speed as the subject.  Panning requires a lot of exercises. It can be achieved by handholding, mounting the camera on tripod or monopod.

Using the two-camera system, one to freeze the moment or action at high speed, the other to capture the motion with low speed. Milan Malovrh 1X - milan malovrh - Latest photos has a superb portfolio using this technique.


As photographers, we all know the importance of lighting. When shooting in a low light environment, or in bad weather, low shutter speed can not only get the motion of the movement, but can also help lower the ISO, which is essential for the photo quality.


'Dream Flight' by John Fan



'Fly' by Larry Deng






'Pelican' by Qingsong Wang



1/25” by Eddy Helsen



'A Mighty bird' by Cheng Chang



'The Catch' by Corry DeLaan



'Emerging' by Marsel van Oosten

Motion blur created by Panning can effectively help to smooth and minimize the distracting background.

'Spoonbill in flight' by Rob Li



'Rose in the Air' by Phillip Chang



'Flamingos in Dawn' by David Hua



'Slow motion horses' by Xavier Ortega



'Egretta garzetta' by duketung



n/t by Katsuhiko Akazawa


When shooting large group of wild bird flying, slow shutter speed created these stunning pictures of the magic, scale, and grandeur of bird flying:

'Migrating Snow Geese in Slow Motion' by Jane



'Early flight-2' by 李从军 / Austin Li



'Red-Heads' by Picart



'Natural art' by Roberto Parmiggiani


In certain scenarios, the blur motion can emphasize stillness, which creates another dynamic aspect within the photo:

'Die Invasion der Bergfinken' by Stefan Völkel



'Before Dawn – A Day of Snow Goose Migration' by Jun Zuo

Finally, the two-camera technique utilized by Milan Malovrh has generated many stunning slow-motion with unique sharpness within the photos:

'Landing' by Milan Malovrh



'Love dance' by Milan Malovrh

Thank you very much for this inspiring report!
Thank you very much for the Author @Rob Li, @Yvette Depaepe. I have great lesson here. The images are so stunning
Thanks for your appreciation, my friend!
Wow, great images :) I just love these kind of photos. i will say it`s much more difficult to achieve such result, than an "ordinary" sharp one :)
Great collection of images from great photographers! Love the birds in motion. Appreciate it! Big shout out to Rob and Yvette! All the best!
Thank you, Jaco ! Your big shout out reached Bruges ;-)
Wonderful images, thank very much Yvette !!!
Merci Thierry!
Great collection of wonderful images Rob Li - First Class all of them... Thank you Rob and dear Tvette for your hard work. Cheers. Larry
Thank you, Larry! MF
Congratulations to the authors of these wonderful wildlife shots in motion and thanks to Editor Rob Li for this fine article. Cheers, Yvette