Motion in Photography

I am recovering from the bitter disappointment of having missed the enrollment period for a beginners’ photography course at the Edinburgh College of Art. The course is offered twice a year – from January to March and from September to December… the thought of waiting until next September elicits a big sigh.

The consolation is that there is plenty of material on the internet, including this interesting post I came across last week.

I am beginning to understand the ‘magic triangle’ of photography – comprising ISO, shutter speed and aperture (f-stop). What I didn’t realise, or at least pause to think about, is that there are six combinations of ISO, shutter speed and f-stop for every shot that will deliver the same amount of light to the exposure. As far as the light meter is concerned, there are six ‘correct’ ways to set up a shot.

The key in choosing between them is motion. If your shot has any motion in it, you’re best with a quicker shutter speed (unless you’re looking to achieve a blurred look to show motion for artistic purposes). Ok, I get that… but what if your shot is completely still life? There is camera shake to deal with, but beyond that the more blurred you want the background to look, the slower the shutter speed ought to be. This blurred frame of reference is also referred to in the photography world as ‘motion’.

So. I took some shots – all with different settings but keeping the light meter more or less centred (sometimes favouring slightly left of centre as I prefer a warmer colour temperature for indoor night shots).

Ansel Adams I am not.

Not the correct shutter speed to capture this wriggly little monster! She would not. sit. still.

Sam, on the other hand, is a perfect, lethargic little model.

And I finally figured out how to shoot in black and white.

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