Zip Wire

Shutter Speed

My second “lesson” in photography – shutter speed. So a nice sunny weekend evening and Dad says that we could go to the park close to our house and take some photos and that he would teach me some stuff about shutter speed or how fast the shutter opens and closes. As always, Dad brought his camera and I took mine. Dad also brought a tripod for us to use. I was really excited about this, although now, I am not sure why.

So Dad explained the usual bits about “exposure” and photography being “painting with light”.

Aperture – how big the hole is in your lens. The lower the number, the bigger the hole and the more light it lets in.

Shutter speed – how long the sensor is exposed to light or how fast the shutter opens and closes. The bigger the number the slower the shutter opens and closes or the longer the sensor is exposed to light – so more light on your image.

ISO – how sensitive the sensor on the camera is to light – the lower the number, the less sensitive it is, so the more light (or slower shutter speed/bigger aperture) the sensor needs. Dad said that adjusting any of these changes the way the picture will look.

Yep – my brain couldn’t take it either, but I understood aperture from the last time Dad an I went out for a photography lesson. 

So Dad set up the tripod and pointed the camera at the nearby road! I was not very impressed as it wasn’t very pretty or worthwhile taking photos of in my mind.

Dad then set the camera to Tv (so we could change the shutter speed and the camera would change the other settings for us) and told me to start taking some picture of moving cars!

 So what did I learn from this? Well I learnt that the slower the shutter speed, the more narrow the aperture for the lens and that that it will make moving objects blurred and show their speed (The tripod meant that anything not moving stayed sharp and was not blurred by me shaking while holding the camera):

Moving Car

 Boring photo of a moving car all blurred – f10 (fairly closed aperture) and shutter speed of 1/4 of a second (it took the shutter a quarter of a second to open and close)

 The faster the shutter speed (or the quicker the shutter opens and closes) – the more still moving objects look and the wider or more open the aperture.

Still Car

Boring photo of a moving car “frozen” – f3.5 (wide open aperture) and shutter speed of 1 640th of a second (a fast speed – so the shutter opened and closed really quickly)

 You can even see the man in the last photo – looking at us!…………Hello!

So I kind of got what Dad was showing me and he then went on to say that we could use this for showing speed of people and objects. Dad showed me a trick called “tracking”. So this means keeping the moving object in the same place in the frame, by moving the camera at the same speed as them, while having a slow shutter speed. This is really tricky to do and Dad took some photos first of me on the zip wire. Then it was my turn and I took some photos of Dad on the zip wire (he was having lots of fun and he didn’t want to stop!):

 Zip Wire

Dad on the zip wire and me “tracking” to show movement and Dad in Focus (not perfect – but it is really hard). F11 (fairly narrow aperture) and 1 20th of a second shutter speed (it took the shutter 1 20th of a second to open and close)

We practised this some more and Dad took photos of me on the other stuff in the park. Tracking is difficult, but I will keep trying.


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