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.


Photography: Composition


So, here I am following up on my brilliant idea 😀

The advent of digital photography has already reduced the possibility of bad pictures to a large extent but there will always be a difference between a good picture and a great picture. And that difference, is the eye of the taker. A great picture always tells a story. It has a theme. Take an ad-campaign for a car. A Porsche is always shown in front of a huge mansion or with a suited guy. The USP is accomplishment. Simply a picture of a Porsche in the middle with nothing around will not mean much, whereas the idea of achievement attached to owning a Porsche, by using symbols of the same in the composition, will sell.

In effect, how the photo is composed speaks volumes. My genius photographer friend (GPF from now on) told me a simple rule of the thirds. Divide your frame in 3 and then shoot. So for example, if I’m shooting the ocean and sky , instead of splitting the picture half and half into water and air, pick one third ocean and two thirds sky or vice versa. That removes the boringness (I make up words, shut up) of the picture. Adding to that principle, if there is a subject for the picture, instead of placing it/them smack in the middle (Its not a passport photo for God’s sake) place them such that there is a context to them and allow the picture to have a flow.

New Idea


I love taking pictures. Sometimes for memories, sometimes to capture a beautiful view, sometimes to interpret what I see. But I am not a photographer. For quite a few years I did not pay much attention to the details, just clicking away. And I remained an amateur. But I believe that any art is also a science. And if you know the science you can create good art.

So I am thinking of writing a few weekly posts on the basics of photography as a science. Not because I’m a master but because I learn better when I write things down. Sort of like taking notes in a class. And hoping to get input, comments and tips from you all.