Shutter speeds

The aim of this exercise was to test the effect on photographs of the camera’s shutter speed. While keeping the camera still in front of a moving scene, several shutter speeds were experimented with. I decided to set my tripod in front of the busy public transport hub of a train station.

01-L1009903Shutter speed: 6 seconds. Walking people are barely visible (only faint traces are visible in the centre left). Moving vehicles leave  a streak of light.02-L1009896Shutter speed: 2 seconds. Here, moving people are more visible. It is interesting to note that the legs are less blurred that the upper part of the body.03-L1009910Shutter speed: 1 second. Walking people can be fully distinguished, yet still blurred.04-L1009904Shutter speed: 1/15 of a second. While the moving subject is blurred, people standing at the tram station appear sharp.
On another occasion, I thought of this exercise and improvised a few street images.

06-M1001284At a high shutter speed (1/1000th of a second), this car appears still.
07-M1001293Here,  the shutter speed was 1/15 of a second and I had to rest the camera on a railing. Even the walking subject is blurred.

One interesting application of shutter speed is shown in the last photograph of this exercise. It was shot at night during the Basel 2012 carnival.

08-_S2V0585This photograph is composed of two effects of light:

  1. The street lights gave a blurred impression of the drummers’ group;
  2. Then their frozen  picture was lit by a flash (the duration of a flash is approximately 1/1000s).

This was obtained by the combination of two techniques. First, the shutter speed was adjusted according to the street lighting (1/6 of a second). Then I set the camera flash to trigger when the shutter’s second curtain closes. This setting is commonly called “rear curtain” flash mode. In simple terms, this causes the flash to trigger just before the shutter closes. This mode may not be available on simpler models of cameras.

This entry was published on 22/02/2014 at 10:25. It’s filed under Exercises and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: