Motion in photography typically evokes concepts like energy, activity and restlessness. That makes it a powerful visual cue for portraying the frenetic energy of the world’s biggest and busiest cities.
However, Munich-based landscape photographer and visual artist Roland Krämer was also recently inspired by motion in a unique and unexpected way. A recent road trip along the French west coast led him to shoot “The Motion Series,” a documentation of the Atlantic’s flowing waves through artful abstract photography.
The ocean has been a potent source of inspiration and creative juices for photographers. But, as someone who finds it a strange and foreign place that is hard to grasp, it was a rather surprising experience for Krämer. Still, this series shows us how easy it was for the hypnotic rolling and crashing waves to win him over.
Capturing the powerful movement of the sea
According to Krämer, spending time on the beach almost daily for five straight weeks allowed him to develop a deep relationship with the ocean. This, he added, led to an intimate experience of documenting the unique motion of the rolling and crashing waves. With the swell of the water being different in every second and in every wave, he found himself immersed with photographing the ocean. First, for hours, then days, and eventually, a whole month.
Before this trip, he would usually photograph waves using fast shutter speeds but wouldn’t feel satisfied with the result. “The motion was missing. The motion that made every wave crushing against the french coastal line so special,” he said.
So, he experimented with slow shutter speeds between 1/10s-1/50s instead. He also added some camera movement, much like panning the camera to follow a speeding car. He found it a “super fun and addictive, but a rather difficult process.”
For this series, he also used focal lengths of around 300-400mm, as he usually does, to create close-up shots that give a more immersive feeling. The goal was for the viewer to get the feeling of being right next to the rolling waves, which I think he was able to achieve in this beautiful abstract photography project.
Diving into the details
Any lover of the sea can attest to the fact that the beach provides a powerful and multisensory experience. I definitely see and feel it in Krämer’s photos. Apart from being stunning texture study, this abstract photography project is also a chronicle of the memorable time he spent diving into the details gifted to him by the sea. The colors and textures are also almost painterly in some of the photos, making this series one of the most beautiful use of motion I’ve seen to date.
If you’re into documenting beauty in the details of nature, I’m sure you’ll find this abstract photography project a fine example. Most of all, I love how Krämer was able to use motion to document both the dynamic and the dreamy faces of the sea.
All photos by Roland Krämer. Used with Creative Commons permission.