Photography: shutter speed for still subjects


For seasoned photographers, this may not be a big deal but for a novice like me, finally grasping basic concepts like shutter speed and aperture and what they can do to a photo is almost like an epiphany.

Going into details of exposure or how to set it, is a little beyond scope here. Also there is a wealth of information already available on the internet. Yet I was lost regarding how theory translated into practice.

So this weekend I tried playing with some manual settings, especially the shutter speed. Now I know the shutter speed can help us to do cool things like blur background in motion, blur the subject and freeze subjects. But that’s not it’s first function, is it? So I started with trying to visualize the most simple effect that shutter speed can have. By definition, the shutter speed is the amount of time for which the shutter remains open when we click a photo. So, it decides how long the sensor will ‘see’ the image. What I can understand from this is, if light falls on the sensor for an insufficient amount of time, the image will be dark and vice versa.
I didn’t want to try motion blur or other cool stuff right off the bat because all I get is images which look like I took them under influence balancing on a 6 inch wall.
I wanted a large depth of field since I was shooting landscape and it was sunset, so existing light wasn’t enough and I hate flash anyway. So I chose an aperture of f11 to see how low I could go on the aperture without going black and increased the ISO to 800 to increase light sensitivity. Keeping both these constant I played with the shutter speed.

Now I’m a big fan of Mr.John Shaw and he says “Correct exposure is the exposure you want”. Being a sucker for control you can see why I like the idea.
So my target was to get a nice sunset and I didn’t much care about how the land part looked. I wanted a pretty, fiery, orangey sky but it was a pretty bland yellow that day.
Aaannd ….


…I fell in love with the genius of the camera all over again 🙂

I actually went through about a 150 clicks with different aperture and ISO and shutter speeds before getting the color I wanted. It was exhausting and so worth it.

PS: My previous photography related posts are here and here. I am using this platform to document my learning process and I’d love for you pros out there to give me advice, critique and feedback. Also correct me if I am talking bullshit.


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