Shutter Speeds

The brief was to take a series of photographs at different shutter speeds with the camera mounted on a tripod to give me a static frame. This was to show the effect that different shutter speeds have on the outcome of a photo. Originally I chose to take photos of F1 cars as described in my previous post. However, due to the technical nature of the shoot I decided against it and went for something altogether slower and more predicable. Buses. To negate the variable speed and direction of the vehicles (which would impact on the resulting photographs) I set up near a bus stop so that all buses were braking at a similar point, hence producing a (hopefully) similar speed. These were the results.

ISO200, f/22, 1/8, 21mm

1/8 sec. The bus is barely discernible, the colours blur in to each other. It is very easy to tell it is still a bus though such is the viewers familiarity with the shape. Wheels can just about be seen. The front of the bus merges with the background. The reflections of the tree in the windows, however, are in focus. The ultra-smooth look that the shutter speed lends to the windows accentuates this. Probably my favourite of the series as the colours are very pleasing. The high f-stop enables a good focus.

ISO200, f/16, 1/13, 21mm

1/13 sec. Still a large blur although the wheels are more discernible.

ISO200, f/13, 1/20, 21mm

1/20 sec. Gradually the blur is easing. It now looks like an image that was gained by bad photography rather than intentionally. Details are starting to become easily recognisable.

ISO200, f/9, 1/40, 21mm

1/40 sec. Although taken at double the speed of the previous exposure, the image is still very blurred. Text is still not readable and the wheels have a lot of movement in them. Reflections in windows look crisper than in the first image though.

ISO200, f/7.1, 1/60, 21mm

1/60 sec. With a third more exposure time the details suddenly become much clearer. I am unclear whether this is entirely due to shutter speed or whether the bus may have been travelling more slowly than the others as I wouldn’t expect this much detail increase when compared to the incremental differences seen thus far in preceding images.

ISO200, f6.3, 1/125, 21mm

1/125 sec. At twice the speed of the previous shot I see a marked difference in image steadiness. The bold diagonal lines on the bus are straight with barely any blur. The lettering is still slightly blurred. The wheels are now almost frozen. The vertical line of the doors still has some ‘fuzzing’ at the edges. Starting to see reflections on the paintwork of the bus.

ISO200, f6.3, 1/160, 21mm

1/160 sec. Text looks marginally more in focus. Less blurring on the vertical lines of the doors.

ISO200, f/4.5, 1/200, 21mm

1/200 sec. At first glance this image looks in focus. Because everything is readable, the colours don’t merge. Blurring is not discernible. However, on closer inspection, everything has a slight blur around it causing the image to look soft. The brain merely tells the viewer everything is OK because it can make complete sense of the image. Still marginal blur on the wheels.

ISO200, f/4, 1/400, 21mm

1/400 sec. Twice the shutter speed of the last image and I can clearly see the difference in picture quality. In comparison to the previous shot everything looks very crisp and in focus. Viewed at large size I can still see movement blur on the lettering. I think though, if you saw the two previous images separately then you would be hard pushed to tell the difference.

ISO200, f/4, 1/500, 21mm

1/500 sec. This is when I can tell that my focus is not quite on the money. The movement blur has gone but viewed as a large image I can see that my actual focusing is not quite right. Still, the small text on the bus side is clearly readable and if my focus had been spot on then this image would have been completely crisp.

Once again, manual focussing is a skill I need to practise as it (I think) has thrown out the results of the last image. At 1/500 I would expect the image of the bus (which is travelling fairly slowly) to be pin sharp. Through the rest of the images it is fairly impossible to tell if I have good focus or not.


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