Red Lodge, Montana

He’s so fast! I wish I could stop him

Rodman Banner 2014-03The world is always moving, and much too fast for me, thank you. I became interested in photography because it captured a moment, a special one, any one I decided. Just one moment that can easily be missed. I don’t need to be entertained anymore. I enjoy silence, simplicity and these individual precious moments.

Making a still image consists of two components: shutter speed, and f-stop or aperture. Stopping time involves the shutter speed part of the exposure and is measured in seconds, or usually, fractions of a second. It is the length of time the shutter is open and light will be hitting the film or the sensor in your camera. The aperture is like the iris of your eye that opens and closes the pupil to vary the intensity of light entering your eye or the camera.

Since shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second and may be noted on your camera as 15, 30, 60, 125, etc. remember that that number really means 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, and 1/125 of a second. If you think about it, trying to hold your camera still at anything slower than 1/60 of a second is going to create a blurred image simply because you just can’t hold the camera still when the shutter will be open at slower speeds. At that point you need a camera stabilization device (tripod) or you need to support the camera against a solid object like a wall, tree, or fence post depending on the shutter speed you’ll be using.

When you think about the image you wish to capture, ask yourself if anything in your photo will be moving, and if you want to stop the action of the object or maybe have it blurry. Moving water will blur even though the rocks surrounding it will remain sharp if a slow shutter speed is used and the camera is on a tripod. You can follow a moving object with the camera while taking the photo and the background will blur in a panning effect. If you want to stop the action of someone in a sporting event you have to make sure that you have a shutter speed fast enough to stop the action. The faster the object is going the faster the shutter speed you’ll need to use. In the 1930’s and later Harold Edgerton created images with a special flash that could stop the action of bullets going through apples, a crown created by a falling milk drop, and a balloon popping.

If you’d like to experiment with the slow end of shutter speeds you can go for a second or two exposure in the evening to capture the lights of the city with the blurred lights of the cars on the road. I’ve even set up my camera to record the stars in the sky as the earth moved creating arcs of different colors. That exposure was several hours long.

The great advantage of using a tripod is that image blur due to camera shake is non-existent.

Rodman-Smooth Water

This month’s photos are of some water in Beartooth Lake taken with the camera on a tripod and a motorcycle photo Tracy took during the Beartooth Rally that shows the panning effect.


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Categorised in: Arts & Entertainment, Outdoors