Set your camera on…something!
Well, I feel compelled to say at the outset that if you choose to take pictures while your car is in motion, you should make sure that someone else is driving it.
As someone who spends a lot of time in the car, I often find myself wishing I had more time to shoot. Of course, it’s clear that one can’t hold the viewfinder to one’s eye while driving—that would be stupid. But there are certainly ways to use this time on the road creatively without putting yourself or others in danger. And that brings me around to what I am thinking about today.
I often have to remind myself to put the camera down. That doesn’t mean stop shooting—it means literally to set the camera down on something. You can’t get the good shot every time by holding the camera in your hand, and you can’t always use a tripod for the purpose of getting “that shot.” So I will many times just pick a surface, put the camera on it, and shoot some long exposures. In this case, that surface was the center of my car’s dashboard, but your surface might be any firm foundation you choose.
To fire the shutter, I had the remote plugged in to the camera, and I’ll tell you, that continues to be the best ten bucks I ever spent. Get yourself a wired remote, and you’ll be surprised how often you’ll use it. Anyway, I shot a couple of dozen frames at around a one-second exposure, and this is the one that I thought was the most interesting. The suggestions here: set a smaller aperture (higher f-number) to get a greater distance in “focus” (I use this term loosely because good focus doesn’t mean much with this level of motion blur!), and raise or lower the ISO to get the right shutter speed. An alternative is to set the shutter speed AND aperture in manual mode and let the auto-ISO do the rest…or in the case of this shot—set the shutter speed, and then change the ISO to get the right aperture! See? There’s three ways to do everything!
Funny part of this shot: see the dip in the lines at the far left of the frame? That’s where I hit a bump right after I pushed the button. Adds a neat effect that this shot wouldn’t have had. And I’d LOVE to know what the green line is from. Red and orange (amber) are common to truck clearance lights, and white is obviously headlights, but what the heck is the green?
This shot came in at F/11, as I had set a shutter speed of 1 second and ISO 800.
And of course, I pulled over to the side of the road to make those adjustments.
COMING SOON: a full discussion of my new Canon EOS 60D…