09 January 2012

52 weeks of photo challenges

So I want to do 52 weeks of photos this year.  Yes, I know I am already a week later starting this, but who says I cant end it a week late or just be short or even add an extra challenge in somewhere?Several people who responted with interest about this challenge said they are new to SLR cameras so I thought I would share some of the articles I wrote for an online magazine.  This first one is about using the shutter speed on the camera.  There are a few photos for examples posted here too.  Every camera is affected by motion blur, though, so dont feel like you cant participate because you don't have the right kind of camera.  So lets get this year started and take a photo or 3 of something in motion! 

Your keys to controlling light
If you are using a camera you have probably heard these terms, but do you know what they mean and how to utilize them to your advantage? Once upon a time I did know what these meant, but when I got my first digital camera with all of its automatic settings and no manual ones, I kinda forgot everything I learned about these terms in college. . Fortunately, I still have my old college text book to help refresh my memory on all the terms I needed to know. My pack rat ways have finally paid off!

To start, I took a peek at my point and shoot camera and, as far as I could tell, they don’t allow you to really control changing the shutter speed or the aperture. When you change your settings to the images like the flower, the mountains, or the star, the camera automatically sets these things for you. No problems. On the other hand, DSLR cameras give you the freedom to point and shoot with automatic settings or manually adjust your own preferences. You can even set the camera so it won’t do your focusing for you.

F-Stop, Shutter speed and aperture are the things that are going to be the most important to your photographs. We will explore these concepts through the next few challenges.

Shutter Speed Signs

- Shutter speed controls “the amount of light by the length of time shutter remains open.” Doubling the amount of time the shutter is open gives one more “stop” of exposure to the film. To do the opposite, or go back one stop, means that you have cut the time that the shutter is open in half. Digital single lens reflex cameras don’t use a mechanical shutter for capturing images, Instead, they have a sensor chip that turns on and off for the same amount of time that a shutter would be open.   
So how does this shutter speed affect the photos that you take? It depends on what you are photographing. If you are photographing something that is moving fast, you want a fast shutter speed. Something slow does better with a slower speed.

These 2 photos of the water coming out of my slip and slide show how the change in shutter speed can affect the image. Photo #1 was taken at a fast shutter speed
( 1/1000 of a second or f-10) so it captured the individual droplets. Photo #2 was taken at a much slower shutter speed (1/25 of a second or f-40) , therefore it looks like a constant stream of water. I know you may not go out and photography the sprinkler often, but you might want to go and photography a pretty little stream as it tumbles over some rocks. To get that nice smooth look of water you definitely want to use the slower speed.

Other factors can also affect the blurring of the photo when considering the shutter speed. Objects moving toward the lens will not appear to blur with a slower shutter speed because, to the lens, the will not appear to have moved a significant amount. Also, objects that are closer to the lens will cross more of the view and appear to blur more than objects that are further away, but moving at the same speed. It is also possible to trick the lens with slower shutter speeds by panning, or following the subject as you photograph them. Panning will keep the subject in focus but the background will blur with the motion of the camera.

Photo #3 is the perfect example of how things moving toward the lens don’t blur even with a slow shutter speed. This was taken at with a 1/200 shutter speed. Not as slow as the water, but with the nearly white background, my aperture couldn’t compensate at a slower speed. Photo #4 is a great example of panning. She is nicely in focus along with the splashes of water from around her legs, and her motion is well expressed through the blur seen in the background.

I do have to say that I prefer to faster shutter speeds. For capturing my images of kids. It is great for capturing their energy. With a fast shutter speed it is possible to capture things in midair. Check out these great action photos I got!

I hope this article will inspire some play with the shutter speeds on your camera this month!! Be sure to share the photos you take on my facebook page or by linking them in the comments here!! I would love to see! For directions to the shutter speed on your particular camera, consult the manual that came with it. Next time we will explore aperture and delve into that befuddling subject called the f-stop.

{Pic} A Pepper Siggy

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