Week 7 – Capturing Motion.

Tweet Last week I talked about varying your aperture to create different effects through depth of field. In a static landscape scene where nothing is moving, you can set your aperture, then use whatever shutter speed gives you a proper exposure (assuming you are using a tripod if your shutter speed is less than around […]

Use a fast shutter speed to stop action.

Last week I talked about varying your aperture to create different effects through depth of field. In a static landscape scene where nothing is moving, you can set your aperture, then use whatever shutter speed gives you a proper exposure (assuming you are using a tripod if your shutter speed is less than around 1/125 second.) However, when part of the scene is moving, your shutter speed becomes just as important as your aperture in determining the final look of your image. Do you stop the action, or let it blur? That’s your decision to make, but in this week’s video I explain the techniques required to freeze action or blur motion as it crosses your camera’s field of view, as well as a couple of specialized techniques that I commonly use to get a unique look to my photos. I also discuss the proper use of ISO when determining what shutter speed to use.

A five second exposure transformed the crashing surf in this scene to soft, blurred water.

Here’s your assignment for the week:

1) Watch the video to learn what you need to do to stop or blur action in your photos.

2) Get out and shoot. Find some action. Streams and waterfalls are great if you can’t find any adventurers to take pictures of. Create photos with a sense of energy by freezing action with fast shutter speeds, and create other photos that have a sense of motion because you blur the action with slower shutter speeds. Don’t forget to use what you’ve already learned regarding light, exposure, and composition!

3) Post one or more photos to our on-line Flickr Group before Wednesday, April 4th.

On Thursday, April 5th, I’ll select one photo to critique and mail a copy of The AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography to the photographer.

On a side note, there are currently 3 spots left for my April 20-22 Cape Cod Workshop, 6 spots for my May 18-20 Vermont Workshop, and 4 spots for my May 26-28 Acadia Workshop.

Thanks for watching, and have fun!

-Jerry

This post was written by

Jerry MonkmanJerry Monkman – who has written posts on Photo Tips from Jerry Monkman and friends.
Known for his conservation photography work in New England’s wild places, Jerry Monkman has spent the last 15 years artfully documenting the mountains, forests, and coastlines that define the region. Staying true to his mission of “promoting ecological awareness through creative photography,” his images have contributed to raising awareness and funds to protect a diverse collection of wild places, from a small Connecticut trout stream not far from New York City, to New Hampshire’s Great Bay, to Maine’s Katahdin Lake near Baxter State Park. His work has appeared in magazines, books, and calendars around the world, including Outdoor Photographer, National Geographic Adventure, Audubon, and the New York Times. With his wife Marcy, Jerry has co-author several books about the region, and recently released his first book on photography instruction, The AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography. Jerry also leads several photo workshops annually in Vermont, New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Acadia National Park, and the Cape Cod National Seashore. He is currently the president-elect of the North American Nature Photography Association. To see more of Jerry’s work, visit his website: www.ecophotography.com.

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2 Responses to “Week 7 – Capturing Motion.”

  1. Fabio Gregorio says:

    Hi Jerry,
    Thanks for these tips. I’d like taking some photos like those I’ve seen at the end of the video. Do you think that a Nd 8x filter could help me to take these photographs with that mystic atmosphere at sunrise, or it’s better to click before ?
    Sorry for my broken English.

    Fabio

    • Hi Fabio,

      AN ND 8x filter will definitely help you achieve slower shutter speeds, and just before and after sunrise would be a great time to try it. It won’ give you the flexibility of a variable ND, obviously, but in low light, you’ll be able to get some nice and slow shutter speeds, especially with a low ISO and small aperture.

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