For this exercise I decided to use my friend’s dog chasing water emanating from a hose pipe. I chose a cloudy day to shoot this exercise so as not to create harsh shadows or severe over-exposure in the latter half of the assignment using slower shutter speeds. The idea of incorporating water and a moving animal in this task was to supply more reference to the images. A simple yet subtly interesting background of flowers and bushes keeps the viewer focused on the subject.
I used an 18mm-200mm lens to be able to fill the frame more easily and hastily, a tripod to steady the camera and a shutter release remote to ensure a crisp exposure. I took a series of twelve images using the following shutter speeds: 1/3200, 1/1250, 1/640, 1/320, 1/160, 1/80, 1/40, 1/20, 1/10, 1/5, 1/2 and 1/1.3.
I have labelled each image with the shutter speed used from fastest to slowest. The settings are as follows:
With a fast shutter speed, the movement of the dog and the splashes and water droplets are frozen with minimal motion blur. The image is almost accurately exposed, correctable with the manipulation of the ISO and aperture.
In this image the dog had just started the shaking process that enables them to dry their fur. This has enabled me to capture the movement of the head and ears as she starts her first oscillation. The water droplets are again captured clearly and the image is correctly exposed, or possibly one stop too dark.
The exposure of this image is correct and most of the dog has been sharply captured with the exception of the tip of the tail, the front and hind right paws, the cheeks and especially the water droplets. Motion blur has started to appear on parts of the dog.
The dog is still in fairly clear focus however the movement of the dog in this image is less than that of the previous images. The water has started to suffer from motion blur creating a noticeable sense of movement.
The water has started to adopt a stream-like appearance in this image and the paws of the dog are still blurred, the rest of the dog seems to be quite clearly focused.
Every moving thing in this image is now subject to severe motion blur. You can only make out contrasting shapes and colours such as the dark part around the dogs eyes and the shadows between the tendons of the dogs legs.
Again, the dog isn’t moving a lot in this image but you can get a true sense of the movement by evaluating the character of the water as it progressively streams more and more with every image.
Character lines are visible in this image but most of the dog is very blurred. The tail is virtually invisible with no character lines or contrast.
Colours and contrast are the dominant features of the dog in this image, all detail and focusing is lost.
The images are starting to look slightly over-exposed, a low ISO was used combined with the smallest aperture. A neutral density filter would have been beneficial for shutter speeds slower than 1/10s. Only two of the legs and three quarters of the body are visible in this image, every other part of the dog has almost disappeared; you can still identify the subject.
The water is a steady, soft stream and some of the leaves and grass are now experiencing some motion blur due to the wind. You can still tell what the subject is.
This final image, compared with the first image, is a fine demonstration of the contrast between a fast and a slow shutter speed. The image is still over-exposed and a trail of washed-out colour has been left where the dog once was. Only after close scrutiny you can make out the nature of the subject.