Category Archives: Part 0 – Introduction

Exercise 3 (b) – Panning


Image 1 – 1/60 at f/4

To complete the photographing movement exercises we are asked to compare panning at different shutter speeds.

Using the same modelling team who assisted me with the shutter speed exercise I took a series of photographs at comparatively long shutter speeds.

I knew that panning is normally successful at fairly slow speeds. For example 1/125 for cars and motorcycles, 1/60 for bicycles and 1/30 or 1/15 for people running.

However, I found that hand holding the camera at slower than 1/60 was not practical for me and using a tripod was highly restrictive given the erratic nature of a four year old’s running. Consequently I concentrated on achieving a set of images that expressed dynamic movement.

The subject ran very close  to me in the above image 1 and although I have not achieved effective motion blur in the background there is a good overall sense of movement with blurred grass and parts of his body in motion.


Image 2 – 1/60 at f/4

Image 2 was taken immediately after the previous shot, his head and body appear still but his legs and hands are pleasingly blurred, as is the football. As with the first image my panning technique is poor and the shutter speed probably too fast but I like the photograph as it shows a mixture of concentration and motion.

1/60 at f/6.3

Image 3 – 1/60 at f/6.3

In image 3 I think that I am too front-on to the subjects to get any degree of motion blur streaks in the background and I suspect that a shutter speed of 1/60 is too fast but I have captured a real sense of motion, the blurred feet, grass and background but quite sharp faces work for me.

Image 4 - 1/60 at f/6.3

Image 4 – 1/60 at f/6.3

Image 4 taken in the same sequence is very similar to image 3 in terms of what is blurred or not blurred but probably because the subjects are now more side-on to the camera there are the beginnings of motion blur streaks on the goal posts.


Image 5 – 1/60 at f6.3

The final image, image 5, is the nearest to achieving “classic” motion streaks in the background but there is also the most shake on the subject’s faces. I have consciously left this a little dark as I like the contrasting light on the women’s face. It might have been worth while to put a little more light onto the boy’s face as well but overall I like this image the most. I find it powerful and full of energy and leaves no doubt as to what is happening between the older women and the young boy.

Exercise 3 (a) – Shutter Speeds

1/2000 f/2.8

1/2000 f/2.8

This exercise requires the selection of a subject that “moves several times or continuously”.

The process is to make a series of exposures ranging from the fastest available to the slowest available shutter speeds.

The images are to be compared and the slowest shutter speed that freezes movement identified.

To complete this exercise I chose three different subjects, firstly wine being poured into a glass, secondly a child playing football and finally car lights at dusk.


I found this a useful exercise as the three subjects were very different reinforcing the point that the “right” exposure is dependant upon the subject and the objective of the photograph.

On reflection I felt that freezing the streams of wine created the most powerful images for that subject. For the footballer the most interesting images were captured by freezing the footballer but blurring his feet and the ball (1/80) or having the completely blurred boy running at the goal (1/30).

There was less variation with the car lights and I preferred the faster shutter speed of 1.3 seconds to the light streams produced at 20 seconds; however, this was probably because the light streams were too much of a cliché whilst the partially blurred cars at least asked the viwer to look twice.

Continue reading

Exercise 2 – Focus at Different Apertures

TAoP-Excercise-02-3-NI8_0493I carried out exercise 2 at work, a chef was producing a few hundred petit fours and as I had lights rigged to take some food shots I borrowed a tray for the exercise.

The tray of chocolates was ideal as any variation in sharpness would be easy to spot.


I set the tray up under one fixed light (from left/rear ) and a soft box with a hot shoe and my flashgun (right/rear).

Image 1 - focus on central petit four taken at f/3 1/125 ISO 100

Image 1 – focus on central petit four taken at f/3 1/125 ISO 100

I have focussed on the petit four in the centre (on yellow line, third in from either side). The yellow line shows the subjects in focus . There are varying degrees of blur further away and nearer to the camera. The further and nearest petit fours are very blurred.

Image 2  - focus on central petit four taken at f/8 1/100 ISO 450

Image 2 – focus on central petit four taken at f/8 1/100 ISO 450

In the second image I chose f/8 as the mid point. Focus is on the same petit four and I have drawn two yellow lines to show the approximate area in focus. There is less blur at the extremes.

Image 3  - focus on central petit four taken at f/36 1/100 ISO 6400

Image 3 – focus on central petit four taken at f/36 1/100 ISO 6400

The third image has the aperture stopped down to minimum at f/36, I have focussed on the same central petit four. The whole tray is in focus.

As these images were captured under lights indoors and I did not want to set up a tripod in the kitchen I ensured that my shutter speed did not fall below 1/100 which I generally use as my minimum shutter speed to avoid camera shake. (Vibration control on lenses was invented just in time for me as it has become harder to avoid camera shake as I get older). When I am shooting in the kitchen I usually set the ISO to automatic as my “client” is more tolerant of a bit of grain than of not getting the shot. The consequence of shutting down to f/36 and holding the shutter speed at 1/100 is a jump in the ISO to 6400.

I have been reading Bryan Perterson’s 3rd Edition of Understanding Exposure. I have found Peterson to be very good at explaining how to use depth of field and shutter speed for creative effect. I understood the reciprocal relationship between aperture and shutter speed but had not realised that ISO also changed in direct proportion to changes of the other two until I read “Understanding Exposure”. On reflection it is fairly obvious that it would act in this way but I had never thought of it in such terms. I have found his “Photographic Triangle” to be a helpful way to think of the relationship between these three controllable settings.

Exercise 1 – Focus with a Set Aperture


An interesting place to start on a dark October evening as the choice was to wait for the weekend and some daylight or carry out the exercise indoors. I chose indoors and decided to try photographing some small subjects, in this case baby tomatoes, on my old light box.

This is a technique I have been meaning to try for ages although I had it in mind as a technique that would work well with thin slices of fruit.

Continue reading