Shutter Speed

Home Forums Photography Q&A Shutter Speed

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #53119
    Joshua Ong
    Participant

    Early this morning I took some sunrise pictures from a busy street that overlooks my neighbourhood (first picture). In addition to the sunrise, I tried experimenting with different subjects, such as the trucks that pass by. I’ve enclosed such a picture (second picture). However, the truck is out of focus, and I’m guessing that the shutter speed may not have been suitable for the shot. What shutter speeds would be recommended for fast moving objects like cars/trucks? How do photographers predict appropriate shutter speeds for their cameras especially when the exact speeds of objects in motion may be unassessable? Thanks.

    Attachments:
    #53122
    Frazer Family
    Participant

    Yeah, that’s a really tricky situation, one in which you sometimes don’t have much time (sunrise is only so long!), or many chances, to experiment.
    Speaking purely from personal experience, if you really want to completely “freeze” a vehicle, wheels and all, that’s moving at, let’s say, 100 km/h (60 mph), you’re going to have to use a shutter speed of at least 1/500th of a second. In your second shot, you’d have needed either a much higher ISO or a much larger aperture (probably the first, given it’s a landscape shot.)
    Since vehicles typically aren’t going to be going much faster than that, I’d suggest starting at that speed and working your way down, 1/500, 1/400, 1/300, etc. until you find the ‘sweet spot’ balancing exposure and motion blur. Keep a sharp eye on your image previews on-camera, watching for motion blur on the wheels and bumpers. Use time-priority mode (Speed priority on Nikon) and automatic ISO–but keep an eye on it!–if possible.
    As an aside, in some cases (see attached), you’ll find that a slower shutter speed, coupled with a steady hand, can make for some pretty awesome shots. This was shot at 1/60th second, in full sunlight. The wheels (obviously) are blurred out, but the rest is quite sharp.
    -William Frazer

    Attachments:
    #53127
    Joshua Ong
    Participant

    Hi William,

    Thanks for your tips regarding the shutter speed. I really appreciate it.

    I wonder if the shutter speed would depend on the direction the vehicle is travelling and/or the position of the photographer relative to the vehicle. But I’m pretty sure 1/500th of a second would still be a good benchmark, whether the vehicle passes from left to right in front of the photographer or moves away from the photographer.

    Speaking of time-priority mode, I discovered that my options may be somewhat limited as the picture could be over- or -underexposed when the shutter speed is changed substantially. Often, my camera would notify me by displaying shutter speed values in red if the exposure is not what it should be. For example, when my family went for a hike over the weekend, my brother and I experimented with slow shutter speeds when taking pictures of a waterfall in broad daylight. But we soon discovered that our pictures tended to be over-exposed when we slowed our shutter speeds. Perhaps, this was due to the fact the we used a bridge digital camera (Panasonic DMC-FZ30) with limited features as opposed to an SLR. Or, that we were simply inexperienced photographers in changing camera settings!

    Regardless, I should have taken the picture with the truck in Shutter Priority Mode as opposed to Manual Mode. I see that your picture seems to be quite in focus, especially the front half of the pick-up truck (or as we say here in Australia, “ute”). Was the picture taken in panning mode?

    Thanks again for your comments, and I hope to incorporate them the next time I take a picture of a vehicle in motion.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Joshua Ong.
    #53174
    Lydia Bennett
    Keymaster

    @joshua_ong, if you search “Panning” here on Lenspiration, there’s a whole bunch of resources to explore on the topic. You might enjoy checking those out!

    my brother and I experimented with slow shutter speeds when taking pictures of a waterfall in broad daylight. But we soon discovered that our pictures tended to be over-exposed when we slowed our shutter speeds.

    That makes sense. The slower your shutter speed, the brighter your picture will be (there’s more time elapsing during which light comes into the camera). When that happens, you simply need to balance out the other two elements in the exposure trio, aperture and ISO, and you can correct your exposure. If you shoot in Full Manual, you have complete control over each one of the parts of the exposure trio: Shutterspeed, Aperture, and ISO.

    Now the problem you’ll run into on a bright sunny day, like you mentioned here, is that you’ll reach a point where you just can’t compensate for the amount of light you’re allowing in with the slow shutterspeed, no matter how narrow your aperture is, or how low your ISO is. There’s nothing you can really do about that, other than buying an ND filter or something, or just waiting for it to get a little bit darker! There’s just a lot of light going on, so the photo becomes over-exposed due to the slow shutterspeed.

    Not sure how much you’ve shot in Full Manual, or how familiar you are with the semi-manual modes, so let me know if I need to explain further. 🙂

    #53176
    Frazer Family
    Participant

    I wonder if the shutter speed would depend on the direction the vehicle is travelling and/or the position of the photographer relative to the vehicle.

    The amount of blur on any given part of the vehicle depends upon how much it moves in the frame during the exposure. Therefore, if you’re closer to the vehicle, or more zoomed in on it, you’ll end up with more blur.
    If you look closely at the picture I sent you, you’ll notice that the front of the blue ute is less blurred than the back. The reverse is true, somewhat, in your picture of the truck.
    So to answer the question, yes, the appropriate shutter speed would certainly vary.

    Was the picture taken in panning mode?

    Frankly, I’m not quite sure what that is. I panned the camera horizontally during the exposure, for sure.

    …Perhaps, this was due to the fact the we used a bridge digital camera (Panasonic DMC-FZ30) with limited features as opposed to an SLR…

    That could be. I noticed from the link you sent that this camera has a minimum aperture of F/11, which still lets in a good bit of light (versus f/32 or f/36, for instance). Thus, even at ISO 80, you won’t be able to use a very slow shutter speed in high-light situations, without getting overexposed.

    #53184
    Joshua Ong
    Participant

    Thanks @bennett-family and @frazer-family for your tips.

    Frankly, I’m not quite sure what that is. I panned the camera horizontally during the exposure, for sure.

    Yes, I was referring to moving the camera horizontally in accordance with the motion of the subject. The camera I use happens to have a “Panning Mode.” Sorry for the confusion.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Would you like to participate?

Create an Account!

Pin It on Pinterest