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Assignment 2b – Shutter Speed

July 26, 2010

This was the second assignment from our second class, and I had about as much fun with this one as I did the aperture assignment, namely because we had to go find a fountain with fast running water so we could show the effect of adjusting shutter speed. We saw this very large multiple walled fountain in Woodruff Park a few weeks ago (and I took pictures of it then, purely on automatic mode because I didn’t know any better), so we decided to head back. Unfortunately, it was a bit of an overcast day so while the pictures clearly show what they are supposed to when you adjust shutter speed, they aren’t that colorful or pretty. I hate that.

About shutter speed….it impacts how long the light passing through the lens will touch the sensor to expose your photograph. For darker settings, you’ll need a long shutter speed (1/4, for example which is actually 1/4 of a second) because you need to let more light in to have a decent exposure. However, the longer your shutter stays open, the more things that are moving will appear blurry (which is not always bad if you want to indicate motion, you’ll see that below). I’ve taking many pictures of Cricket when the lighting is low and without flash; she can’t sit still for longer than 1/4 of a second, so she’s always pretty blurry in those situations. Faster shutter speeds will freeze motion, so they are typically good for sports, but because your shutter isn’t letting in lot of light, you’ll need some good lighting. You’ll see what I mean. I only posted a handful of pictures this time rather than bore you all with the 40+ I took for this assignment. You’re welcome.

This first picture is a good example of a rather fast shutter speed. You can see the water droplets are frozen (and not all that pretty). Also notice it is a darker picture than the next (and close to the actual overcast day) because the relatively fast shutter speed had less time to let light in compared to the second picture:

This second picture is a slower shutter speed, but certainly not the slowest. You can see how the water is starting to flow, rather than freezing in mid-air:

Both of the above are what I consider to be decent pictures that clearly demonstrate the purpose of the assignment. But here are two examples of the extremes that are not good, that help maybe even more clearly demonstrate how shutter speed works in relation to light. In the first example, my shutter speed is so fast 1/4000 of second, that almost no light can pass to the sensor. The result is an underexposed picture. The second example is a far slow shutter speed, one whole second. So much light has been able to pass through that the picture is overexposed. It’s way too bright. Yuck.

Next up, last week’s class was on Composition, so I’m super excited about my next homework assignment. We’re only presenting two pictures to the class, so I’ll fret tomorrow over which two are my best. You can count on one of Cricket!

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