Monday, April 18, 2011
Creative Shutter Speeds
A carefully chosen shutter speed does a lot more than provide a correct exposure. Used creatively, it can freeze the motion of a hummingbird’s wings or create an impressionistic rendition of a galloping horse. Fast shutter speeds arrest action, while slower ones tend to imply motion. When slow shutter speeds are combined with panning, photographic works of art can be created.
Anytime a photographic subject is in motion, an artistic rendering can be made. Compare the effects in the side-by-side shots of the running bisons. The image on the left was shot at 1/800 of a sec, ISO 400 at ƒ/5.6. The bright overcast afternoon light provided me with just enough shutter speed to stop the action. During the stampede, a thicker cloud passed in front of the sun diffusing the light so I took advantage. I stopped the lens down to ƒ/11 giving me a shutter speed of 1/30 and I panned the camera with the running bison. Same subject matter in the same conditions, but completely different renditions.
Challenge yourself to go out and create some great motion photographs. Use a high shutter speed to freeze the movement. Then use a slow shutter speed to create a more painterly effect. Then try panning the camera in the direction in which the subject moves. Try varying your shutter speeds while panning. Each will provide a different effect. Look at the LCD to see if you’re getting the desired effect. If not, adjust the shutter speed accordingly. It’s a fun technique and it may net you some winners.
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