Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Better Photo Techniques Part #1 - Shutter Speed

Secret Creek near Harrison Hot Springs, BC. shot with a tri pod and a slow shutter speed to show movement in the water. That silky look.

Grizzly Bear, small river near Hagensborg, BC . shot hand held using a fast shutter speed.
Steelhead Burst, Thompson River, BC. shot hand held using a fast shutter speed to stop the action.

As part of a quest to make this blog more educational I am going to write a a number of short articles to help try and take some of the guess work out of our photography. If we understand some pure fundamentals than in theory we should all be able to become better photographers. For some this all may seem second nature and repetitive but I believe we can all use reminders and for those who are looking for some tips than please read on. Topics will include, shutter speed, Depth of field and ISO, to choosing the right camera and camera pack.

Better Photo Techniques Part #1 - Shutter Speed.

Shutter speed simply is the amount of time the shutter is open and light is allowed through the lens and on to the film plane or digital sensor. Shutter speed determines a few critical things for us as photographers, first a fast shutter speed allows us to stop action and freeze the moment, verse a slow shutter speed witch would show movement such as a river looking all silky. Also a fast shutter allows us to hand hold the camera with out visible hand shake were as a slow shutter speed would likely need to be stabilized from a tri pod to eliminate the blur caused from camera shake. When we have lots of available light during the day the shutter can be set very fast but when the light gets low it takes more time to expose there for the shutter will be set much slower.

When using a camera in a manual mode we can set the shutter speed our selves giving us complete creative control, cameras with auto setting such as sport mode or land scape set the speed for us. Sport mode being fast to stop the action, landscape is slower to allow more depth of field ( more on this later ). Ultimately the amount of light we have when shooting will determine how long the shutter will need to remain open however understanding a little more about how the shutter speed effects our photographs should help us take better photos. Generally hand holding a camera with a shutter speed slower than 1/30th of a second will show blur from shaky hands and the use of a tri pod would be help full.

Photo 1 shows lots of movement, a slow shutter speed of 1/15th of a second or slower will be needed.
Photo 2 and 3 show the action stopped in a split second, a fast shutter speed of 1/40th of a second or faster will be needed.

The next article will be understanding your F-stop and how this relates to your shutter speed and depth of field.


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