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Today's Photo Minute

Motion blur with trees

The Concept:

While most of the time, we are concerned about having a shutter speed that will reduce our shake of holding the camera, sometimes it is fun to actually introduce blur into our images for a special effect. Today’s Photo Minute teaches a neat technique where the camera is moved during a slower shutter speed in order to create a blurred or almost “Monet” effect. This is especially useful for situations that are not as bright (overcast, early morning, late evening) when you might not have enough shutter speed to hand-hold the camera but trying something with a slower shutter speed (1/8-1/2) might be ideal.

The Assignment:

Find a subject that lends itself to blurring but also will still be recognizable to the viewer. This is where a section of trees, etc. make a great choice. Also, I personally like the tonal values to be about the same in the frame so I zoom into a subject to take out any bright sky, etc. A lower light situation and even a polarizing filter (to cut out even more light) will help to ensure that the picture is not overexposed given the lower shutter speed you will be using and the highest aperture most lenses are limited too.

Put the camera in S or TV mode which is Shutter Priority. This will allow you to determine the exact shutter speed you desire to try. I would start around 1/8 of a second and maybe even work up and down from there. Also make sure to place your ISO at the lowest value such as 100. Frame up your image and while you depress the shutter button, gently move the camera straight downward. You will see the result and then can determine how fast to move as well as which shutter speed you like the best. No two photos with this technique look the same so the possibilities and the amount of practice you can get out of this could be endless. Below are some other examples of this exercise.

1/5 shutter speed at F11 and ISO 160
1/6 shutter speed at F14 and ISO 100

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