Photography is medium well known for “freezing” moments in time, that split second recorded forever. But it is also possible to capture movement in the static photograph, represented by blur, and give the idea of motion with the use of slow shutter speeds.
This fascinating technique has infinite interpretations and great results can be achieved in a number of creative ways. The subjective “slow shutter speed” is most times still a split second. In all images displayed here, the settings are probably between 1/2 a second and 1/60 second, but this is considered slow compared to very fast shutter speeds available on cameras as 1/4000 sec. and 1/8000 sec.
Since photography is essentially a combination of three basic elements: ISO, aperture and shutter speed, it is important to keep all three in mind, even when giving priority to only one of them, in this case, the shutter speed.
To be able to get slow shutter speeds, which is literally leaving the shutter open for longer, we need low light. If you are shooting at night time, this will not be a problem, but In bright day light situations, we need to cut down the amount of light getting into the camera by closing the aperture (high number, f/16, f/22) and lowering the ISO for a less sensitive one (200, 100 ISO).
When less light gets into the camera through the small aperture in the lens and combining it with a low sensitivity ISO, it becomes possible to slow down the shutter speed, in order to have it slow enough to blur (and not freeze) the motion in the photograph.
In the main image, the PANNING technique was used. It consists in following the subject in motion with the camera while at the same time pressing the shutter release button. The trick is to synchronise your movement to the movement of the subject, making sure the lenses point to the subject as you move. For more details about PANNING, we have already covered the subject on Newsletter #7.
It will take a lot of practice until a great image comes out, so be patient and don’t give up, as the results are very rewarding. Finding the correct shutter speed to capture the right amount of blur will be the main challenge. Tune in your settings by “giving and taking”, that is, for example, if you slow the shutter speed one click (clicking left), you need to close the aperture one click (to the right) and so on. This way your light meter will always maintain the same reading (and vice-versa).
You don’t need a moving subject to capture motion blur, you can also move your camera: twist it, zoom in, zoom out, all at the same time as you press the shutter release button. Prepare for some “abstract” results before you get what you like. Sometimes, unexpected great images could be initially seen as “mistakes”. Wait until you open them on a big screen before deleting it.
Upload your MOTION BLUR IMAGES to the Flickr Gallery: ASSIGNMENT #28 for a chance to win an Evening Workshop Voucher at LSP*. Deadline: 31 July 2014.