1.10: Shutter Speed

Make a series of experiments bracketing only the shutter speed, for example by
using1/250th sec, then 1/60th sec, 1/15th sec, etc. You’ll go from freezing movement to blurring movement.
Think about interesting moving subjects and note down some ideas: people, nature,
machines, etc. Note the most effective ways you could photograph them: by panning the camera with a moving object or by holding the camera still.

It’s been hard to get out and about in the recent weather apocalypse, and too cold to spend hours outside waiting for things to whizz by at a useful speed, so I ended up visiting Hermitage Basin, a small enclosed body of water near Tower Bridge and very local to where I live in Wapping. I have spent many hours there, admiring the waterlilies in summer, watching the resident heron fishing from his platform, and enjoying the endless bread fights between the ducks, swans, moorhens and gulls that frequent the place.

There is a fountain in the middle of the basin (to keep the water fresh and oxygenated I presume) and I used this for some work on shutter speed. I used shutter priority mode and went to the extremes of fast and slow shutter speed the light conditions would allow, with the aperture changing accordingly.

Fast Shutter: f/5.4 1/1000 sec           Slow Shutter f/20 1/8 sec

You can clearly see the droplets of water in image one, and the water is nicely misty and ethereal in image two.

Notes and ideas on moving subjects.

I had done some thinking about what I could photograph for this exercise, and had thought of the following:

  • A busy car-park
  • people getting on and off a bus
  • traffic from a high vantage point
  • Clipper boats on the Thames
  • snow falling (I tried this but the snow was too fine to show up well against the sky)
  • a tap running
  • reeds/wheat blowing in the wind

In the end the weather restricted me as I wanted to get this section done and get on with the first Assignment.

4 thoughts on “1.10: Shutter Speed”

  1. Nice exercise Marion and you achieved the brief in my opinion.

    I don’t know if you’re interested in landscapes but if you are you might consider the use of filters to “slow” things down if you don’t already. They’re not particularly cheap but great fun and you can get some lovely effects. For example a Lee “Big Stopper” slows things down by 10 stops so, for example, an 1/30 second shot becomes a 30 second shot. It has a great effect on water and moving clouds.

    Some “before and after” shots can be seen on Lee’s website. http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera and I have done some recently and posted them on my Instagram account, e.g. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfq72dTn5dI/?taken-by=bhoyracer61

    Apologies if you’re already familiar with filters.

    1. H Andy, thanks for the comment and advice – great minds and all that but I had already just ordered a variable ND filter as I had been trying to capture movement on a bright day and had exactly the problem you described! I went for this variable filter initially as it is a good price and has had some good reviews – I can upgrade if I need to later. I’ll post some shots on my blog once I get going.
      PS: Love the Instagram shots – am now following

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