You're Smarter Than Your Camera - Shutter Speed Applications and a bit more!

March 13, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
You're Smarter Than Your Camera - Shutter Speed Applications and a bit more!
Good morning and welcome to more fun with shutter speed.  This second blog on shutter speed will go into more of the applications of controlling the shutter speed as well as introducing the light meter.  I don't want to scare you...I know we have't switched to manual completely, but if you get to grips with aperture, shutter speed and the light meter - you are pretty much in control of your camera - there are of course many other setting you can make use of and we will cover these in future blogs, but we are right in the guts of it at the moment! 

The images above were taken at a fantastic vintage racing car event in Southern England, called Goodwood - its a great event and not only are the cars dressed for the occasion, but most of the people as well.  It feels like you have just stepped back into the 40's and 50' much fun!

So sit back and enjoy the races....oops, I mean blog!

Thanks for reading,

Below are two images of the same waterfall, what do you think might be the difference?
Shutter speed - 1/800 of a second
Shutter speed - 1/13th of a second
Notice that the image below shows lots of movement in the water.  Which image has the slower shutter speed?  It is the 1/13th of a second.  So the shutter on this image is open longer than the one above.  Essentially, the water is moving too fast for the camera to take an image of it in one place (freeze it).  So the image of the moving water is essentially blurred....yes, it is ok to have blurry images sometimes.  However, the rocks to the side are not moving (perhaps getting a little splashed) and so are not affected by the slow shutter speed.  Both images work and can both be used and it is really up to the photographer to choose which image they like best....which one do you prefer?
So here's the to shutter speed and aperture work together?
Both aperture and shutter speed increase or decrease the amount of light that enters the camera and is responsible for creating the image on the sensor......wait for it.....I love this bit...the way they are designed to work together is fabulous.  One stop down in aperture is the same as one stop up in shutterspeed - they are configured to compliment each other perfectly so you dont have to work out any of the just need to remember how many turns of the dial you make and perform the same adjustment on the other. '  For example if you increase the amount of light you let into the sensor by 4 settings (stop the aperture down by 4) so as in our image above, the aperture has been adjusted from f/16 to f/4, you can then increase the shutterspeed by exactly 4 settings and you will have exactly the same amount of light entering the camera.  Enter the term - Exposure.  In other words, making the same stop change to aperture and shutter speed maintains the same exposure.
This is a good point to introduce the light meter in your camera.  When you look through the viewfinder to take a picture, you should see a little scale very similar to the one shown below - 
This scale shows what the camera thinks the exposure is.  In the light meter scale, the 0 indicates that the image would be perfectly exposed.  My image above shows that image is going to be underexposed by 2 stops because there are two lines added to the left of the scale.  If there were lines added all the way to the negative sign on the right of the image, it would indicate that the image is likely to be very underexposed and you should probably think about changing the settings (aperture or shutter speed) or use an additional light source.

One point to note is that the camera makes it's decision on how well exposed the subject is by using the focus settings.  We will cover focus in the April blog, but suffice to say for now, that if your image is going to contain a lot of contrast (wide ranging brightness and darkness) then the camera finds it very difficult to expose correctly.

You can do a quick test with your camera to understand these settings and I have outlined it in your challenge for this week.  
Your Challenge -

Get to grips with what information the light meter gives you - We have not experimented with setting the camera to manual yet (and no...we're not going to do that just yet :-)), so stick with either aperture priority or shutter speed priority and try taking some images at a certain setting.  Then trynotice that the camera will always try to set the automated setting so that the light meter is centered around 0.  So for example, if you have your camera set to shutter speed priority, try increase the shutter speed and watch the light meter as well as the aperture setting that the camera is in charge of.  You should notice that the light meter (if it is possible) will always be centered around 0 and that the aperture setting will change in accordance with you changing the shutter speed.
Next Time – I will cover a little more about shutter speed and some of the cool things you can do to get great effect and have fun with shutter speed.  Until then, thanks for reading and enjoy your photography :-)
This was quite a bit to take in and is a little tricky if you are new to the concept....hopefully I haven't confused you too much and as always, do get in touch if you don’t understand anything or if you would just like to comment.
Thanks again,
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