Panning and shutter speed

•July 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Possibly a slightly more complicated use of panning than the exercise called for in that my moving target (my daughter Emily) was moving in an arc while rocking in the swing seat and swinging her legs in another arc but I think the resulting shots show quite nicely the effect of shutter speed and panning the camera in a rather interesting way. Passing cars, bikes, trains etc. would have been easy!

First off a slow shot, 1/8sec

Lots of blur in the background and in the subject, the movement of the  swing chain is clearly visible and the image has an almost abstract quality, with the top half of her legs having pretty much vanished into the background. I guess if the lens had gone smaller for a slower shutter speed a very abstract picture would have resulted.

Speeding up to 1/13 sec and the difference is already very clear

Different planes of movement are starting to become apparent, while the chains are taking on definition there is clearly panning induced blur in the background at an angle of about 30 degrees mirroring the direction of panning. Emily is starting to become more ‘solid’ than in the slower shot and the backwards and forwards motion of her head as she swings is given away by the motion blur of her hair.

Another shot at 1/13 while not really the best in terms of illustrating the point of the exercise is my favourite in terms of showing the movement of the scene.

The background panning blur is apparent again but there is a load of rotation blur on Emily as she throws her body back and legs forward to make the swing bigger, but strangely her bright red Doc Martins are almost sharp which seems to emphasise the movement in the rest of the frame.

Speeding up the shutter a bit more and things are starting to become almost clear. 1/25 sec

While the panning wasn’t tracking her arc movement perfectly detail is starting to become clear in Emily’s hair and the the folds in her cardigan while there is much stronger movement in the background in the direction of the panning.

Going to 1/50 sec and we have what I think is the worst photo in the set.

At this speed the background image is simply starting to look out of focus and while I’ve managed to track the arc movement pretty well the movements in other directions blur the effect.

At 1/125 sec things are starting to become sharp.

But the sense of motion is lost, look very close at the bottom left and a little movement blur is seen in the swing post but I don’t see an overall feeling of movement in the photo.

Finally 1/500 sec and it is frozen movement

Action is frozen but it looks like the autofocus picked up on the striped t shirt of the boy behind Emily so she is a little soft. Lesson is learnt, when trying to do panned action shots pick on a single focus point in the autofocus system and make sure it is on the target of the shot!

Moved to WordPress

•July 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Well this blog started life on another well known blogging site. As a starting out photographer who maybe one day will manage to earn a little back on all his photo kit spend this article linked from the OCA Flickr group had me a little worried so over to WordPress it is!

I think I’ve made sure everything has imported OK but if you’ve found something that doesn’t work please let me know.

Shutters and movement

•July 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Here are my shots for the exercise looking at how different shutter speeds give a sense of movement. I didn’t quite do it according to the book, far too small a range in f stops (F4 to f22) on the 24-105 lens to cope with the shutter speed range of 30sec to 1/8000sec of the 5D MkII but a range from 1/13 to 1/400 nicely illustrates thing along with an illustration of smaller f number = smaller depth of field. Now for the photos, not the most exciting of compositions I know but the scientist in me wanted to illustrate the point of the exercise as much as possible. I set this up to give me several different movements. First is the nearest duck which was having a good old scratch, next the almost chaotic movement of the water over the rocks to the right of the ducks and finally the vertical movement of the background waterfall. For all the shots focus was on the closest duck

f22 1/13

In this slow shutter speed shot the water and the duck show movement blur looking effective for the water (particularly the waterfall which the narrow aperture leaves in focus).

f20 1/25

My favorite, the slightly subtler blurring of the water allows the green of the rocks to show through and there is enough blurring of the ducks head to suggest movement without looking to out of focus.

Moving through the series all give slightly different effects of motion blur which would vertainly have use in different aspects of photography. By 1/250sec motion in the scene is effectively frozen though depth of field effects are starting to put the background out of focus.

f14 1/50sec
f10 1/80sec
f9 1/124
f6.3 1/250
f4.5 1/400sec

Rule of thirds

•June 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t started the composition part of the the course yet as I’m trying to come up with something a bit more interesting than passing traffic for the panning exercise. If pushed on what I know about the subject already I think I could only come up with the rule of thirds. Every week I some really great photography dropping into my in-box thanks to the Magnum picture of the week service.
Last week it was this photo by Chien-Chi,
If ever a picture displayed the rule this one has it by the bucket load! Vertically the couples eyes are about on the 1/3 up line and the tops of their heads 1/3 down, each of their noses are about 1/3 in from the edge, that and the looks in the eyes of the couple all add up to a very engaging picture.

Lightroom plugin now registered!

•June 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

And one more post of the same photo now the size restriction is gone!

This shot was taken a couple of years ago on a lovely spring day in the main square of Wroclaw, Poland. Everyone was so focused on the huge bubbles being blown I could happily wander around with the dSLR (EOS 20D with a Sigma 18-55mm  for this day) snapping away candid shots that would normally have been noticed by everyone in the frame!

Lightroom plugin

•June 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This is just a quick test of uploading images direct from Lightroom using a rather useful little plugin from . Once I’ve made sure this works its back to doing battle with printer profiling to try and make what comes out on paper match what I see on my nicely calibrated screen.

As it seems to working I think its time to make a donation to remove the 300 pixel longest side limit on the free version.

Monitor Calibration

•June 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been happily using my Macbook Pro on its standard monitor calibration settings. The course material said it was important to properly calibrate the screen. So tonight’s bit of digging around in the innards of OSX was to find how to do the calibration (nice and easy, system preferences, displays, colour, calibrate, then tick the advanced box as the not advanced just seems to make things worse!). Follow the instructions on screen and WOW what a difference! I really hadn’t realised all those white screens I’d been looking at were actually a dirty grey colour until I started flipping back and forth between my nice new calibrated profile and the standard one and looking at various photos the improvement is equally obvious. Next job sorting out the printer colour matching I think as the shots I’ve printed for my files so far look a little dark.