surf shutter

_MG_9279surf shutterFor the exploration of the last aspect of the exposure triangle, shutter speed, I slipped into my flip flops and headed to the beach – click on the highlighted elements of the other two parts of the triangle, ISO  (also here ) and f-stop , if you missed them and want to catch up. The shutter controls how long the camera’s sensor is exposed to light. Shutter speed  is measured by fractions of a second and the numbers represent the denominator of the fraction,  a higher number is a faster speed, 500 is 1/500th of a second, which lets in less light and a smaller number is a slower speed, 13 is 1/13th of a second, which lets in more light. The numbers get lower until you get to a whole second which is denoted by 1″ and from there the numbers starts climbing again, my camera’s high end is 30″, or thirty seconds. The shutter also controls whether you will freeze an action in your scene or blur it. If the shutter is open longer, a slower shutter speed, there is more time for the camera to record motion. This is where you can get creative with your use of shutter speed. Moving water is fun to play around with. When exposed using a slower shutter speed, the water takes on a velvety look. For this photo, I used a shutter speed of 1/13.

_MG_9173surf shutterThen to freeze the water and capture the drops I used a shutter speed of 1/1000.

_MG_9190surf shutterThe exposure triangle comes in to play here because when you adjust one of the elements you have to compensate by adjusting one or both of the others to obtain a correct exposure. For the first photo, the shutter speed was 1/13 and the f-stop 22 with an ISO of 100. It was fairly early in the morning and beginning to get bright out (even though the sky was gray with clouds) so I had to shut my aperture down to the smallest opening possible and put the ISO down low to cut the light sensitivity of the camera in order to be able to use a slower shutter speed and capture the velvet blur of the waves’ motion. In the second photo, I raised the ISO to 200 and opened the aperture to f4 and used a shutter speed of 1/1000.

An egret flew in for a look about and stayed for awhile as I snapped away at the yellow-footed beauty. First, I wanted to catch it with detail and freeze any movement it might make and used a shutter speed of 1/125.

_MG_9212surf shutterThen, I wanted to capture the movement of the bird walking along the shore and switched the shutter to 1/13.

_MG_9214 surf shutterStanding perpendicular to the waves is a way to be able to capture the movement. A 1/6 shutter speed was the setting for this one, giving the water a soft, smooth appearance.

_MG_9235surf shutterAt a shutter speed of 1/500, you can see how the details in the water are distinguishable and the wave is frozen in mid-air.

_MG_9273 surf shutterIf your shutter speed is too low and you don’t have a tripod, you may end up with a blurry picture due to camera shake. In general, for hand-held photography use a shutter speed at or higher than the focal length of your lens, for example if the focal length of your lens is 100mm, you want to use shutter speeds of 100 or greater. The longer the focal length the more susceptible the camera is to camera shake. There may be times that you just have to use a tripod to get the shot.

If you are interested in further exploration of capturing motion check out this previous post.

With an eye for action this week,

~ Susan

Embracing the Blur

Blurry pictures are not generally a goal in photography. But there are times that blur in a photo is used as a means of conveying motion. There are a couple of different ways to accomplish this. Calling upon my most faithful backyard model for this motion photo shoot, we dusted off the old cruiser bike and headed out. The first way to convey motion with blur is to put the camera on a tripod, compose the scene, set your exposure settings using a slow shutter speed (anything from 1/30 and lower will work) and have something or someone move through your scene.

DSC_0934motionThe shutter speed I used for this was 1/25. I tried a slower one of 1/8 and it was so slow the subject was unrecognizable.

At the playground, a tether ball beckoned.

DSC_0935motionSo, we set up and had some fun here.

DSC_0940motionFor old time’s sake. . .

DSC_0943motionAnother method of conveying motion is panning. This involves following a subject with your camera creating a blurred background and focused subject.

DSC_0952motion1To achieve this effect, use the tracking mode in auto-focus (or as an alternative you can preset your focus to the spot you will be capturing your image), a slower shutter speed  (once again anything from 1/30 down), holding the camera very steady follow your subject in the viewfinder and moving the camera in the same direction as your subject, shoot away. A fluid movement is key to this effect. If there is any jerkiness your subject will also end up out of focus. A mono-pod or tripod can be used but sometimes this is more troublesome, the choice is yours. This works best for subjects moving in a predictable motion that remain at a constant distance from you; subjects moving in a line parallel from you. Cars, bikers, joggers and pets (anything moving really) are all fun subjects for the panning technique. It can be tricky and may require some practice but is a fun tool to add to your photographic toolbox.

So go on and get out there and embrace the blur!

Shih tzu dog at play

~ Susan

Blur can be used in photos to convey motion and this can be achieved by using a slower shutter speed and keeping your camera still on a tripod while an object or something moves through your scene creating a blurry subject and focused background or by using a slower shutter speed and moving your camera with your subject creating a blurry background and sharp subject.

Think of things in motion you everyday and how you can convey that motion in a photo.
Using a tripod, set up and capture the blur of something moving while the rest of a scene stays in focus.
Pan your camera with a moving subject. This may involve taking many photos to get one but it’s worth it.

Call upon your most faithful model and set up a scene with them in motion. Could be jogging, skateboarding, bike riding, scootering or even simply walking with gusto and try using both motion capturing techniques on them. Play around using different shutter speeds also.