Planning the Shutter Speed Exercises

ND8_8524I must make a note to not start TAoP in October.

I have just about managed the first two exercises under lights but it is stretching my imagination too far to complete “Shutter Speeds” or “Panning” indoors. So, as I am trying to be disciplined and working for a couple of hours each evening I thought I would look back at some of my own recent photos to see how I have dealt with shutter speed.

Before I even looked I knew that panning was not something I was going to find examples of but I was hopeful of finding some intentional movement blur. I restricted my search to edited images as this would better show how I was thinking when I reviewed any given set of originals. I restricted my search to photos of the grand-children as, if anything was going to be moving, it would be them.

I am not particularly  surprised that I only found examples of shutter speed to freeze movement. Here are three examples, all photographs that I hitherto liked, where I could have  created a much greater sense of movement with better technique and more creativity.

ND8_0753

In this photograph I like the shape and colour and know that the see-saw was moving but I have intentionally chosen a speed (1/400) to freeze that movement. It is only the shape of the child to the left that shows that anything is happening.

ND8_8247

Much the same story, by being head on to the subject and freezing the action with 1/1000, the image lacks a real sense of movement.

ND8_8524

This one is nearest to achieving a sense of movement as the subject is frozen in mid-air and it communicates that he is running. (f/2.8 at 1/1000).

This quick analysis of subjects where there is plenty of action reveals something about my style that I need to think hard about. I think I like sharpness too much. I know I like strong colours, strong shapes and crisp images. For many years I was very focussed on landscape photography where those three elements were generally beneficial, now I am trying to move forward with more creative photography and I think that I need to take greater care not to bring my old landscape objectives to every subject. I feel that I am missing the chance to tell a much more exciting story about the grand-children growing up by freezing their all-go-action as if I was a Victorian studio photographer limited by a glass plate camera on a tripod.

I want to use the shutter speed and panning exercises as the start of a process to improve my technique but more importantly to be more creative and produce a more interesting narrative. Roll on the weekend.

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