Today’s Photograph December 27, 2010

West End pilings. Canon 70-200mm zoom @ 125mm, 1 sec @ f16, ISO 50. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

West End pilings. Canon 70-200mm zoom @ 125mm, 1 sec @ f16, ISO 50. (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

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

Posted in: Gallery

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

3 Comments on "Today’s Photograph December 27, 2010"

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  1. Enivea says:

    When I see those really slow shutter speeds, they usually relate to water. Are there other situations where it can be applicable to please?

  2. Oh sure. Any time you have ‘movement-over-time’ it could be a great factor to consider: maybe clouds moving, or instance, or fog or smoke in a scene. I think you just want to be open to the possibilities and you’ll start to see it come up in your shooting.

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