Panning with different shutter speeds

Panning with different shutter speeds

This exercise was practiced using a car repeatedly driving forward down a quiet road. The car was driving around twelve miles per hour. I used the same car and scene to make the images easier to compare and to achieve a more consistent set of results. I set the camera on a tripod and loosened the head so as to be able to move the camera in a panoramic fashion. I hoped for a cloudy day to minimise reflections and highlights and to enable me to shoot at slower shutter speeds without running the risk of over-exposure.

I used a Nikon 18-200mm lens, a tripod, a shutter release remote and a neutral density filter. I shot twelve images with shutter speeds ranging from 1/2000s to a one second exposure. The shutter speed was lessened by four stops with each image and was compensated for by contracting the aperture or lowering the ISO. I used a neutral density filter on the last two images (1/2s and 1”) to correct the exposure. I flicked between cloudy and shady white balance depending on the nature of the light.

I have labelled each image with the shutter speed used from fastest to slowest. The settings are as follows:

Shutter speed – 1/2000s
ISO – 640
Aperture – f/5.6

The car in this image does not appear to be moving at all. The image is completely focused and sharp and has frozen every moving part in the image. The same also applies to the next two images.

Shutter speed – 1/1000s
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/5.6

Shutter speed – 1/500s
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/6.3

Shutter speed – 1/250s
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/9

If you look very closely, you can see that the wheel hubs and the edge of the tyres on the car are starting to blur only very slightly, almost un-noticeable. The background is also starting to suffer from motion blur. The image is correctly exposed. The same applies to the next image although slightly under-exposed.

 

Shutter speed – 1/125s
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/13

Shutter speed – 1/60s
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/18


Shutter speed – 1/30s
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/25

You can really begin to see that the car is moving now as the wheels and the background adopt some motion blur. A correctly exposed image.

Shutter speed – 1/15s
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/25

The car is quite sharp and focused in this image while the background is very blurred resulting in a strong suggestion of speed. This is probably the best result.


Shutter speed – 1/8s
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/32

The background is now streaking through the image quite dramatically and the wheels are very blurred. The car is a little blurred but is by far the sharpest thing in the image.

Shutter speed – 1/4s
Aperture – f/32
ISO – 100

Well framed as slightly sharper than the previous image.

Shutter speed -1/2s
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/32
Neutral density filter

This is my favourite image in terms of aesthetics. I like the image as it portrays a sense of erratic movement, it is almost unpredictable. I find the impressionistic effect very appealing.

Shutter speed – 1 “
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/32
Neutral density filter

After looking at this image you can clearly see the difference between the fastest and the slowest shutter speeds and what each of them conveys.


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Shutter speeds

Shutter speeds

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:

Shutter speed – 1/3200s
Focal length – 40mm
ISO – 800
Aperture – f/4.5
White balance – cloudy

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.

Shutter speed – 1/1250s
Focal length – 50mm
ISO – 500
Aperture – f/5
White balance – cloudy

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.

Shutter speed – 1/640s
Focal length – 50mm
ISO – 400
Aperture – f/5.6
White balance – cloudy

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.

Shutter speed – 1/320s
Focal length – 50mm
ISO – 250
Aperture – f/6.3
White balance – cloudy

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.

Shutter speed – 1/160s
Focal length – 50mm
ISO – 250
Aperture – f/8
White balance – cloudy

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.

Shutter speed – 1/80s
Focal length – 32mm
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/5
White balance – cloudy

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.

Shutter speed – 1/40s
Focal length – 38mm
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/11
White balance – cloudy

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.

Shutter speed – 1/20s
Focal length – 40mm
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/16
White balance – cloudy

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.

Shutter speed – 1/10s
Focal length – 40mm
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/22
White balance – cloudy

Colours and contrast are the dominant features of the dog in this image, all detail and focusing is lost.

Shutter speed – 1/5s
Focal length – 52mm
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/29
White balance – cloudy

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.

Shutter speed – 1/2s
Focal length – 32mm
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/25
White balance – cloudy

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.

Shutter speed – 1/1.3s
Focal length – 32mm
ISO – 100
Aperture – f/25
White balance – cloudy

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.

Focus at different apertures

Focus at different apertures

To show what this exercise is trying to illustrate, I used a subject with a lot of depth choosing a pile of books shot at an acute angle. Focusing on the word ‘light’, I shot the three images, each with a smaller aperture than the previous to create a broader depth-of-field with each image. A Nikon 85mm achromatic lens was used to accentuate the depth-of-field at its narrowest.

Image A
Focal length – 85mm
Shutter speed – 1/160s
Aperture – f/1.8

Image B
Focal length – 85mm
Shutter speed – 1/120s
Aperture – f/5

Image C
Focal length – 85mm
Shutter speed – 1/2s
Aperture – f/16

Focus with a set aperture

Focus with a set aperture

For this exercise I used an 85mm achromatic lens to achieve the shallowest depth-of-field possible. The subject was a brick wall and needed to be shot at an acute angle to accomplish the necessary result. Three images were captured (A, B and C), each focused at a different distance on the subject.

A

B

C

 The settings for images A, B and C are as follows:

Focal length – 85mm

Shutter speed – 1/2000s

Aperture – f/1.8

Image A is the best of the three images, in my opinion, because the attention is drawn to the lower third of the image. This means that the image is easier to look at than the other two. In terms of composition, image A adheres to the rule of thirds which results in an image with more energy, balance and interest. Image C also meets the criteria for the rule of thirds but is less interesting.

Focal length and angle of view

Focal Length and Angle of View

Using my back garden as the scene for this first exercise, I took three images at different focal lengths: 18mm, 55mm (my angle of view) and 200mm.

I measured my angle of view by looking through the viewfinder at the scene with one eye and at the scene (unaided) with the other eye and changing the focal length until the two scenes matched. I then recorded the focal length.

The following are the settings I used for each image to achieve the correct exposure:

Focal length – 18mm
Shutter speed – 1/160s
Aperture – f/9

Focal length – 55mm
Shutter speed – 1/160s
Aperture – f/11

Focal length – 200mm
Shutter speed – 1/160s
Aperture – f/9

After processing, I held each print up to match with that of the surrounding scene and recorded the distance between my eye and the image. The results are as follows:

18mm – 180mm distance

55mm – 555mm distance

200mm – 2000mm distance