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26 Apr 2010

Project: Photographing movement, pt1

Exercise: Shutter speeds
12 photographs

Click here to view album

The purpose of this exercise was to photograph a continually moving object set against a plain background using various shutter speeds. I chose to use a line of flags that are lit up at night; with a good breeze and the night sky they provided the perfect scene for this exercise.

Using a tripod, I utilised the ‘S’ shooting mode that allowed me to manually set the shutter speed and the camera decided on the aperture, that way each photo had the same exposure. Below is a list of hyperlinks to each shot annotated with the shutter speed and f-stop. Alternatively, you can view the whole album here.

#01 1/40 sec, f4.8.

In this first image the fast shutter speed has frozen the motion of the flags, clearly showing the creases and the shadows that are cast.

#02 1/30 sec, f5.

Slowing the shutter speed down to 1/30 sec, the second photo shows little difference from the first; the motion is still frozen, showing creases and shadows.

#03 1/25 sec, f6.3.

Photo number 3 still has sharp details but the ends of the flags (where the motion is greatest) is beginning to blur.

#04 1/20 sec, f7.1.

Little difference from the previous photo.

#05 1/15 sec, f8.

Down to a shutter speed of 1/15 sec, the edges of colour for each flag are starting to un-focus.

#06 1/10 sec, f9.

By the sixth photo, the motion blur is starting to become more apparent. At the end of the Union Jack, where the motion is greatest, you can clearly see the extent of motion blur with the red and white lines running into each other.

#07 1/6 sec, f13.

Now the extent of the motion blur is clearly affecting the focus on the French and Australian flag in addition to the Union Jack. The upward motion of the Australian flag shows clear lines of movement with the white stars and the Union Jack shows a wave motion.

#08 1/3 sec, f16.

Photograph number 8 shows a lot of movement on all 6 flags now that the shutter speed is down to one-third of a second. This is juxtaposed with the stillness of the flag poles that are unaffected by the breeze.

#09 1/1.6 sec, f22.

Again, a lot of movement is shown here. Interestingly, there appears to be x2 Union Jacks!

#10 1 sec, f29.

The four flags to the rear of this photograph are so badly distorted by motion blur that you are unable to make out any lines of motion. However, the Union Jack in the foreground shows a lot of motion lines that are curiously apparent. It reminds of the motions that you would make with a sparkler on Bonfire Night.

#11 1.6 sec, f32.

So extreme is the level of blurring on the 5 rear flags that you cannot really tell that there is movement; to me they just look out of focus from a shaking hand. However, the ripples of the Union Jack make the flag look as if it is underwater.
Another interesting note, this level of motion blur has done a strange optical illusion; look closely at the top of the Canadian flag pole. It appears to be in front of the French flag though clearly that is not possible from the viewing angle.

#12 2.5 sec, f32.

Down to 2.5 seconds on the shutter, the optical illusion I noticed in the previous photograph is more apparent; now the whole Canadian Maple Leaf appears to be in front of the French flag.

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