Projects in Isolation - Part 1

Friday, May 1st, 2020

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I feel like I have been bitten by the creative bug during this pandemic. I was inspired to start a little photo challenge series on Instagram. This week my first challenge was "Motion".

As we know, photographs move us in different ways (pardon the pun). Whether it's an evoked emotion that has been captured, or the way the image makes you feel - we each have an underlying reason why an image speaks to us.

For me, it is the dynamism of images. This is precisely why I chose "motion" as my first challenge. In an effort to keep my creative bone in tact and help educate others, I posted a series of videos to help people understand the basic theory behind how to capture motion with a camera. If you already know how to do this, I invite you to check out my images below and the images of those who participated in the challenge. If you would like to learn more, continue reading.

SHUTTER SPEED! This is easily the most important function when it comes to capturing motion. It seems simple, and I will try to keep it that way. For photographers who are just wrapping their heads around how intelligent their cameras are, you are damn right! They are brilliant! You just have to know how to work those smart machines.

Tip #1: You know that wheel on the top of your camera with all those letters? Set your camera mode to "S". 

Tip #2: Your shutter speed is shown as fractions - they are fractions of a second. Essentially, the idea is that the faster your shutter (say about 1/1000 of a second), the more quickly the shutter in the camera will shut to let in less light, yes, but to capture the movement more quickly in front of you. The slower the shutter (let's say 1/30 of a second), the longer your shutter will be open in your camera. This means it will let in way more light and capture any motion your subject is making, which will leave the subject in your image looking like a blur, which looks très cool. 

Here are some examples:

Fast Shutter Speed                                                                                                                             Slow Shutter Speed

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Tip #3: If you would like to achieve a look like the second image above where one person is still and the rest in blur, you are looking at something called "panning". Panning is a pretty simple concept to understand, but takes a lot of time and patience to accomplish. 

All you have to do is set your camera to a slow shutter speed (I recommend 1/30 of a second, but you will likely have to play with this if your subject is moving faster or slower). Next, while your shutter is open (you have clicked the button to take the photo) you must follow the moving subject at the precise speed at which it is moving... almost like you are taking a video of it. I recommend trying this with a digital camera first to try and master the movement before using film... there will be lots of trial and error during this process. I also recommend trying this out on moving cars as a start just to practice.             

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Tip #4: Waterfalls! Oh these are so fun to capture because they look so beautiful when you take them with a slow shutter. The trick with waterfalls is to use a tripod (yes, this is entirely necessary... or use something you can rest your camera on that will absolutely NOT move for 1 second or more). Next, set your shutter speed for 1 second exposure (on my camera this looks like 1"), which means that the shutter in your camera will be open for 1 whole second. It is for this reason that I recommend purchasing an ND filter.  Your shutter will be open for so long that it will let in a ton of light - image not blinking for that long! It hurts! An ND filter acts just like sunglasses - it stops the amount of light  entering your camera so it keeps things dark, thus balancing the exposure in your image. Just take a look at what ND filters can do...     

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Now to share with you what those who participated came up with!

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