Sunday, July 15, 2012

Today's Guest Blogger: Alex Morley

Today's guest blogger is Alex Morley. Alex is a doctor in Eugene, Oregon and an enthusiastic and very talented photographer. Most important, he's my friend.  Take it away Alex.

The topic for my guest blog post: Creative Use Of Shutter Speed

Last week I attended the US Olympic Track and Field Trials near my home in Eugene, Oregon. This was a great opportunity to get some shots of the best athletes in America. I did not have a press pass so all of my shooting was from the stands without a tripod. 

We are often instructed to shoot in aperture priority.  I decided to challenge myself and shoot in shutter priority. Sporting events are a great place to experiment with fast and slow shutter speeds. You can also practice wherever you are with anything that is moving. Shoot people on the street, wildlife, and of course running water (a future blog topic).

Shoot with a fast shutter speed to freeze motion. The faster the subject is moving, the faster the shutter speed will need to be. 1/500 second will stop most motion if it is not super fast. You will have to open up your f-stop and/or push up the camera’s ISO to get that fast shutter speed.

I like subjects that show emotion such as the jumper in the opening photograph for this post. The spraying sand adds to the frozen-in-time effect.  This photo was taken at a shutter speed of 1/1250 second, f8, ISO 640, and without a polarizing filter.

These hurdlers also required a fast shutter speed. This was shot at a shutter speed of 1/800, f 6.3. ISO 1600, and without a polarizing filter. 

Shoot with a slow shutter speed to get blurriness.  This is something that often will spoil a photograph.  But not all good photos need to be sharp because blurriness can emphasize movement in a very creative way.

A problem will be too much light. Turn your ISO down and push your f-stop up in order to get that slow speed. Start with a shutter speed of 1/30 second. If there is still too much light, put on a polarizing filter to cut down 2 more f-stops of light.  If you have to, use a neutral density filter to cut out even more light. And turn off your image stabilization to get the blur. Experiment with even slower shutter speeds.

Here I was trying to pan at the speed of the runners to get something in focus. This photograph was taken at a shutter speed of 1/8 second, f 30, ISO 200, with a polarizing filter, and image stabilization off.

Sometimes if everything out of focus and blurred it also works.  This photograph of three runners was taken at a shutter speed of 1/13 second, f 32  ISO 200, with a polarizing filter, and image stabilization off.

Have fun experimenting with fast and slow shutter speeds.

For these and more images you can find me at:

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