Homework Assignment No. 2: Shutter Speeds, Diagonals to Corners
My second homework assignment is to send me 2-5 photos in Shutter Priority Mode (“Tv” on Canon and Ricoh cameras, and “S” on Nikon and Sony cameras) and to include a line to a corner.
Vary Shutter Speed
Motion blur is controlled by changing the time the shutter stays open. If things are moving in front of the camera, or the camera is moving, longer times produce more blur. Shorter times reduce blur, until it cannot be seen.
I encourage you to try various shutter speeds, especially at the extremes of your camera. For most cameras, that is 30 seconds at the longest and 1/4000 of a second at the shortest.
Shutter Priority mode is semi-automatic; that is, if you set the shutter speed, the camera will adjust the ISO and Aperture to give you a good exposure. You can also set the ISO; the camera will then set the Aperture. If you set the ISO, it may need to be low for long shutter times, high for short shutter times.
This exercise is especially interesting if something is moving in front of the camera, like a waterfall or people running. In some situations, moving the camera at long exposures produces nice images, as in my image in the upper right. Here is a link to some of my long-exposure photos of neon lights with the camera dancing wildly:
In 2016 and 2017, I was enamored with images shot a 1/3-second. Here is a link to my exhibit “Those Who See Slowly” at the Washington Printmakers Gallery in June, 2018.
If you don’t have a tripod for a long exposure and want detail, set the camera on something solid. If you like the look of blur, move your camera creatively and see if you can get something wonderful.
Composition: Lines to Corners
The composition task of this assignment is to frame scenes so that diagonals come from one or more corners; that is, so items line up to diagonals going to corners. Here is a link to Eric Kim’s discussion of diagonals:
Below are three photos of a cast-iron pancake griddle in my kitchen sink with water falling on it from the faucet.
In this first shot, at 30 seconds, the water motion is blurred but anything not moving is sharp because the aperture number (and depth of field) is high, f/13; because the ISO is low, 100; and because the camera is on a tripod.
In this second shot, at 1/8000 of a second, things are crisp because the shutter speed is so high except where the focus falls off because the aperture number is so low: f/1.4. Lots of noise because the ISO is 12,800. The spout of water curves because I am rotating the water nozzle in a circle. With the naked eye, I could not see waves forming where the water hit the cast iron. At 1/8000 of a second, the waves are clear.
In this third shot, the shutter speed is one half of a second = 0.5″ = 1/2 second. This is a typical shutter speed to make water look milky.
Above is a photo taken at 4/10 of a second (0.4″) at Buttermilk Falls State Park in the Finger Lakes area of western New York State. I used this is my Photo Prayer 2013-36. I did not have a tripod with me, so I rested the camera on the rock wall next to the path. Composition? Lines to corners are pretty obvious.
Above is another photo, of ice found along Cherry Lane in Arden, Delaware with lines going to every corner. I was not consciously trying to do that. After awhile, composition becomes second nature. This is only a problem when you want an image to look un-composed. Then you have to consciously forget the rules of composition.