Thursday, 15 September 2011

Is your 1/15 sec speed still a virgin?

Are you one of those photographers who spent a  couple of grand on a fancy DSLR and has never used 1/8000 sec or one second as shutter speeds? After ten years your 1/8000 and one second may still be brand new and virginal. These shutter speeds allow you to extend human perception. The human eye has the equivalent of about 1/15 sec as a shutter speed. our eyes can't freeze action like your camera. Neither can your eyes record the movement of subjects with trailing lights.

In this little exercise in one of my UWA courses I asked students to shoot a walking portrait. No tripod, no monopod and no Photoshop. I start my students practising on 1/20 sec. When they get it right I move them to 1/15. Then, when they are hot I let them loose on a 1/10 sec pans. One tip is to have soft, low-level lighting, a great background and the subject about 4-8 metres away. Its also a  good idea to switch the camera to manual focus to stop the camera focus 'hunting'.
Be prepared to shoot lots of image - this is no 'one-trick dog shoot. The averagae is about one shot in 50 looks reasonable.
My UWA courses recommence early in 2012. Keep an eye on http://www.extension.uwa.edu.au/courses/leisure/photography

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