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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Shutter speeds


The idea behind this exercise was to ‘fix’ position then to take a series of images from a fast shutter speed to a slow shutter speed, then make notes and compare the image effects.

I set the camera on a tripod at the location adjacent to a busy 30mph road (so there was no shortage of subject matter all averaging at around that speed)I used my 18-55mm kit lens; however I kept the focal length constant throughout the exercise; 28mm, however they have been cropped to fill the frame with more of the cars. Also for consistency I kept the ISO at the lowest setting of 100. I also used a cable release so I could watch the road as cars approached without having to frame the shot each time.

Connected to this was the problem with the camera not being able to autofocus in time to the cars as they travelled past . Therefore I opted to ‘pre-focus’ the camera on a manual setting at the point where the cars past, which did not change throughout the exercise.

The weather conditions were cold, sunny with intermittent cloud, and the sunlight coming from behind the camera. There isn’t a great sense of depth (generally this set is quite ‘flat’) , however there is some diminishing perspective created by the houses in the background (left side) and a few people in some, that help a bit. ; admittedly I didn’t bother too much about the perspective or depth of the image, it was all about the ‘movement’ and speed for the exercise.

Throughout the exercise I changed the shutter speed only and left the camera to adjust the aperture for exposure. 


28mm f/4 1/2000 sec The was the fastest shutter speed I used for the set. The camera was in fact go as fast as 1/4000 however to add shots at that speed didn’t add anything to the exercise. The image is a little dark; the equipment set up struggled at the extreme ends of the shutter speeds to set a more reasonable exposure. Everything in the image is frozen; it is as if the car is parked.


28mm f/4 1/1500 sec There was little difference at a shutter speed of 1/500 this car still looks stationary. The image is slightly lighter due to the slightly longer exposure.


28mm f/4 1/1000 sec Again very little change and the vehicle is still sharp with no feeling of movement, and the image is brighter due to the change in exposure.


28mm f/4.5 1/500 sec 
Ever so slightly brighter than the previous image(3) and although the car lacks a sense of motion and looks stationary, I noticed a slight blur on the wheels. I also noticed that the driver should consider his very bad habits when driving at 30mph…


28mm f/6.7 1/250 sec

It maybe not seen at this size of image, however there is definitely a slight blur to the car starting to appear and the wheels showing a lot more motion blur too; even so I still feel that the image lacks ‘movement’ and the car doesn’t feel like it’s in proper motion yet.


28mm f/10 1/125 sec starting to see some motion blur to the car while the background remains still. Although the car has wide ‘spokes’ I get the impression that are moving faster. I now start to get a sense of movement


28mm f/13 1/60 sec motion blur is now starting to sort of streak slightly, increasing the sense of speed and forward movement, the spokes on the wheels are blurring further adding to the sense of them moving, they are also ‘stretched’. The driver of the car is also starting to stretch out more.


28mm f/19 1/30 sec feeling of speed is gaining in this image, the car is starting to stretch out further; the wheels are now stretched into oval shapes and the driver is hardly recognisable; subject is still recognisable as a car though


28mm f/27 1/15 sec is the last image in the set where the subject still has some recognition as a car, the motion blur is quite strong and has started to distort the shape. The wheels are almost like tank tracks, now that they are stretched out so much!


28mm f/27 1/8 sec

At this shutter speed the image has lost the sense of what you are looking at; almost abstract. The context of the image clues us that it is a car, but it is so far stretched it is pretty much unrecognisable, a very interesting effect though. The camera is also starting to struggle with the exposure; even with the smallest aperture the length of time the shutter was open (on a bright sunny day) caused the image to be overexposed. My camera has various options to assist with this (e.g.exposure compensation control) and the ability to tweak post shutter in the ‘digital darkroom’ software, however I decided to leave it as the camera found it to illustrate the light effect of long exposure


28mm f/27 1/4 sec of a second and there is nothing recognisable of the car, all that is left is a green flash. The image is now very over exposed.


28mm f/27 1/2 sec is little to add on this image; at half a second shutter speed in these light conditions the image is too overexposed to be of value. I was going to leave it out of the blog but this is my learning log so left it in to show my experience of the exercise 

I really enjoyed doing this exercise and testing the effects of shutter speeds. I have had a play with shutter speeds in the past and will post a few results at the end of the Photographing movement project and after the next exercise.

I’m also interested in images 11 and 12 to see if I can make something more interesting out of them using Photoshop Elements. I liked the abstract image of the ‘seagull in flight’ In the course text.

Out of this set images 8, 9 & 10 are my favourites for showing the sense of motion, they all give an effect of movement with the motion blur, but still retain the context of what it is. Having said that we will see what I can do with images 11 and 12.

Now onto the next stage of this project…Panning

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