Motion…stop, use, or both?


Most of the time, I find that taking pictures of a moving object involves setting the camera in such a way as to stop the motion.  Taking a photo of an amusement ride after dark, for example, would require a very fast shutter speed and a powerful flash to accomplish this.  But occasionally, you want to do just the opposite–you want to USE the motion in the image.  And sometimes, you want to stop certain things, and depict motion of other things, in the same image.  This is where it gets complicated. 

In this shot, I had some issues.  I wanted a lot of depth of field (small aperture, then, so there wasn’t a lot of light getting in).  I wanted the whole swing of the lighted ride (long shutter). And I wanted visible detail of the people in the photo (flash). After about six tries at this I arrived at these settings: Second curtain sync on the flash (more on that in a later post, there are better shots to demonstrate that technique), f/16 (probably smaller than I needed) and a shutter speed of two seconds. Why? Well, I knew (by watching) that the swing took about two seconds, so I set the shutter.  I took a couple of test shots–the camera, in auto-ISO and shutter priority, picked too small an aperture and went for ISO 100.  So I forced it to ISO 400 to get some more depth of field. Yes, I know–I could have used exposure compensation to accomplish the same thing, but unfortunately I didn’t know that at the time–which is what this blog is all about!

The second curtain flash (the built-in flash on my XSi) stopped the people in the image at the end of the two seconds, but the camera was far enough away that the image doesn’t look flash-lit.  

My lesson here? A couple of things: I should have adjusted the white balance a little bit (the colors in this version are straight out of the camera–it should have been set on Tungsten to take out some of the yellow); AND use exposure compensation instead of higher ISO. 

Later, more on exposure compensation, since you called me out on it above.  OK, maybe you didn’t, but I’ll do something on exposure compensation anyway. 

About Brian Angelo

I am an amateur photographer with no designs on going "pro." I just want to learn, and I suspect there are a lot of others who have the same aspirations. So I'm here to share what I've learned, and some of my favorite shots AND favorite mistakes. Learn along with me!

Posted on February 9, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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