Exercise 1.10 Shutter Speed

Make a series of experiments bracketing only the shutter speed, for example by using 1/250th sec, then 1/60th sec, 1/15th sec, etc. You will go from freezing the movement to blurring movement.

Think about interesting moving subjects and note down some ideas: people, nature, machines, etc. Note the most effective ways you could photograph them: by panning the camera with a moving object or by holding the camera still.

Try not to fall for visual cliches; if you’ve recognised that something is a cliche, move away and search for something new. All visual art is refreshed by new ideas.


A list of interesting moving subjects

  • People moving like ants in a well trodden pathway, ritualistic – for example coming out of Mcdonalds, walking along the promenade, coming out of the church doorway, undergrounds, train stations. This should be interesting as the images will contain people of all ages including pushchairs and mobility scooters.
  • People enjoying park rides, fare rides and children on swings etc…
  • People playing sports or playing an instrument/band.
  • Animals moving in their particular way – seagulls swooping and flying, dogs walking, running and bouncing, rabbits hopping, twisting, cats climbing, running, leaping, playing etc…
  • Machinery transport e.g. cars and trains, horse and carriage, boats, windmills, fairground rides
  • Fireworks

Panning – moving with/ against the subject, in rhythm with – ghosting and negative ghosting – moving the camera in different ways e.g. jolting, up and down, left and right – zoom in and out with the lens. I would want to use all of these methods on the subjects because they would all produce a different outcome. From there I would choose the method that I personally like and take the photographs further by making a series and presenting them together. It all depends on how, as a creative photographer, you would want to see your work and present it visually. The photographs would be produced by a specific chosen technique, personal style – what you as an artist photographer ‘like,’ and themes that your working with. I say, creative photographer as personally we would be ‘creating’ a ‘creative’ image and not a documentary photograph.

I took some sneaky photographs last night of people moving on the television screen. I thought photographing a fight might be pretty interesting. The contact sheets of the full shoot can be found here.

The programme that I experimented with TV shots is Amazon’s, Preacher, Season 2. The reason I chose to shoot people from the television, is I thought it might give me a little more creativity. Yes, I am still looking at how different shutter speeds capture movement in their own differing way, but I also had the unknown of how the television images and the changing ‘Preacher’ scenes and their camera angles would impact my images. I am glad I did this as I actually got so much from it.

I have chosen one shot out of each differing sets to give a cross-section of images taken, which can be seen below.

The above images are presented in the order that I took them. Due to the fact that I was experimenting with the shutter speed and trying also to see what happens when a different ISO is used they are not presented in number setting order. 

Below: ISO 800

As we can see the settings on ISO 800 above and increasing shutter speeds from slow to fast alter the exposure of the photographs due to the amount of light entering the camera being changed. I can also see that the longest shutter speed provide the most blur. Something that I also like is that the longer the shutter is left open for television shooting, the more we can see the lines made by the TV from where it is constantly refreshing, adding another dimension to the finished images.

Below: ISO 3200

Looking and comparing the above images that were taken with a very high ISO, I notice that these photographs are ever so slightly lighter, the colours are not as rich and the blur effect is not as noticeable.

If we look at and compare the two photographs below which were both taken at SS 1/15 but using different ISO’s we can see the difference easier.

I also noticed the interesting ghosting effects and if the television programme switched angles or to another scene, a double exposure image was obtained which was exciting to discover. I had actually planned which scene I was going to shoot and watched it so many times, I roughly knew when certain actions would be performed and when the scenes changed. It made for exciting unpredictable outcomes at first then I became use to where to push the shutter release button.

I actually found this exercise very interesting and informative, although I bent the rule a bit and took still photographs of moving images with the aid of a television screen. I have decided to practice this quite often, shooting images of fight scenes. Initially I thought from different shows but I have decided to just stay with Preacher, and call the project ‘Ephesians 6:11.’ The Christian Bible extract says: ‘Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.’ So we have the title of the show, ‘Preacher’ and the fighting against good and evil in different scenes.

My favourite images from this exercise are below. The first image is the original, the second has been altered in Photoshop and the third converted to black and white and altered again in Photoshop.

The image below is of a hand moving and it is holding a mobile phone.

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