Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Class #5

Shutter Speed, Time and Motion
Our first couple of classes, our instructor kept telling us "the most important thing to remember about photography is we are representing the 3D world in a 2D medium".  This week we learned the second most important thing about photography "We are creating a flat, motionless and silent representation of a very dynamic world".  We are trying to let the viewer know the things we are photographing are alive, dynamic and moving.  So how do we do this.....

1. Sequence
I'm sure you've all see the below picture.  Eadweard Muybridge's "The Horse in Motion".  As a little history lesson......These pictures were taken to help a friend of Eadweard's with a bet.  The bet had to do with whether a horse in full stride has all four hooves off the ground or not.  Multiple pictures were set up with wires that tripped as the horse ran by.  These multiple pictures describe the passage of time and motion, while also capturing a view the eye was not able to see.  To really capture and measure the movement, add something static in the picture.

2. Stop Action
A fast exposure can stop an action that otherwise would be imperceptible allowing the viewer to study the intricacies of the motion.  The shorter the shutter speed, the faster the action can be stopped. 
How about a little more history.....In the 1940's Dr. Harold Edgerton designed a flash with a duration of less than 1/10,000th of a second that could stop a bullet.
Stop action photos allow the viewer to study an event they can't with the naked eye.  You freeze the moment by increasing your shutter speed.

3. Blur
- Static Camera Blur
First you need to set your camera up on a tripod to hold it steady.  Then allow the action to streak onto your film.  By adjusting your shutter speed you can adjust the amount of blur.  The slower the shutter speed, the more blur.

- Panning Camera Blur
For this method, you're trying to hold a moving object constant in your frame as you pan along the moving objects path.  Again - you can adjust the amount of blur by adjusting the shutter speed.  The trick with Panning is to begin moving the camera with the subject before the exposure then release the shutter when you have smoothly matched the speed. 

When Bad Blur Ruins Good Pictures
A couple of tips
- Do not handhold a camera at less than 1/60th of a second
- For lenses longer than 50mm, select a shutter speed equal to or higher than the focal length of the lens.
- Tripods or cable release can help eliminate blur.  Removing your hands from the camera can greatly improve the sharpness of a picture. 
- The mirror lock up feature allows you to release the mirror and stop the lens down prior to the actual exposure eliminating the vibration.  (I have to do a little research to see if my camera has this feature and how it works)
- Learn the proper way to hold your camera.  It should be cradled in your left hand with the left elbow against the body.  Your right hand holds the camera firmly with the entire palm.
- When taking a picture, don't push the button.....squeeze until it fires

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