I shoot a lot of video these days for my ‘day job,’ and one of the intriguing things I’ve discovered is how it’s affected my personal still photography. Video shooting takes place at 24, 30 or 60 frames-per-second, depending upon how you set up your camera. Putting those shoots into a timeline editor afterwards, you get to ‘re-experience’ the world at, in my case, 30fps. Things that you shot and observed in real time are now back in front of you in slow motion, as it were, the still-camera equivalent of a really, really fast motor drive.
But this is where it gets interesting. I’m becoming much more aware of how time-during-exposure can be an amazing and powerful tool in your creative toolbox. Things that you experience and photograph at, say 1/60th sec or faster, pretty much turn out the way you remember them: a fairly accurate portrayal of what you shot. But turn that shutter speed way, way down, and a different reality emerges, one that’s just as ‘real’ and just as valid, but maybe more dreamlike at times.
This was a one-second exposure. I experimented with some much slower shutter speeds as well but found the reflections smoothed out and became boring below one second; faster speeds were also uninteresting. I suppose the key here is to play around with the variables in a given situation and see what works for you.
Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog