Tutorial - Shutter Speed and Motion

November 07, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

OK, so what does shutter speed mean?

You're comfortable making Photos, with your camera on Auto, and have even started using different settings for Aperture or Shutter on some photos. Now, you want to understand a bit more about how to get creative on some of your shots. Let's talk about Shutter Speed, and different effects on your photos.

To review:

Shutter Speed the length of time the camera's shutter is open to allow light into the camera sensor. Shutter speeds are measured in fractions of a second, when they are under a second. Slow shutter speeds allow more light into the camera sensor and are used for low-light and night photography, while fast shutter speeds help to freeze motion. Really slow shutter speeds, like more than a second, are often called Long Exposure. Examples of shutter speeds: 1/15 (or 1/15th of a second), 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/400, 1/800 and so on. Long exposure examples: 1' (1 second) 2', 5', 30' or even more.

What Is It About Waterfalls?

As a kid, I could not pass by running water. Whether it was a large fall or just some small trickle in the woods. I don't know what draws me to running water. I can watch and take pictures forever of waterfalls.

Let's say you want to to take some photos of water flowing. Maybe you want to stop the water motion, or maybe you want to enhance the feeling of flowing water. Using different settings for your shutter speed can enhance the mood for either.

 

Spillway In Motion

 

 

A slight, long exposure, so we can 'feel' the flowing water. In the photo above, I took the shot in Shutter Priority mode, meaning, I choose the Shutter Speed, and let the Camera think about Aperture. I set ISO to 800,  as I was under some cloud cover, and tree canopy. I also dialed in +1 EV.

 

Making any shot at under 1/60th of a second is difficult to do handheld. I set the camera on a tripod. Good, steady tripod. Also, this meant now I could take the photo with a few different settings and get the same framing. To get the water flowing, I set my Shutter to 1/13th of a second. Slow enough to get some blurring, but I still wanted some notion of water. Not silky smooth, like some flowing water photos. Usually, the slower you set the camera, the more silk or blur you will see in the water. too much and water looks unreal. Not enough and the water looks just out of focus.

 

Stop Right There!

 

Spillway in Concord MA

 

And again, only at 1/3200 to stop the motion... The faster the shutter speed (big number) the less blur. So, for here, I wanted to catch water in midair!

 

More Tutorials

Exposure Triangle:http://www.bluefinstudios.com/blog/2012/8/tutorial---the-exposure-triangle

Aperture Tutorial: http://www.bluefinstudios.com/blog/2012/11/tutorial---aperture-priority


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