Photography News 77 WEB

Camera technique

A blue sky over a rape field was blurred with a 2sec at f/16 exposure on a Nikon D810 with a 50mm lens fitted with a 64x (6EV) ND filter. Once you have worked out the exposure, shoot a couple of dry runs to check the effect you are getting. Are you panning too slowly and not getting much blur or too quickly and running out of scene when the shutter is still open? Is the timing right so the shutter opens as you are moving? Is the result smooth or jerky?What about the horizon – is it level or wavy? Upright or horizontal format – which looks best? Is the shutter speed the right one for the scene? There are lots of things to consider – just as many as taking a normal shot

Generally speaking, long exposures are usually taken with the camera supported on a tripod, so whatever’s static comes out nicely sharp and whatever’s moving is attractively blurred or, in extreme cases, not visible at all. The essence of ICM is that the camera is moving during all or part of the exposure time, and this deliberate blurring gives fascinating, usually abstract, results. It is worth saying that ICM and panning, while similar, are different.With panning, you are trying to track or keep pace with the subject through the lens so it comes out mostly sharp, while using a relatively long shutter speed so the background comes out blurred. It’s an essential technique for sports.With ICM, part of the fun is that the subject might not even be recognisable. Trying ICMwith a shutter speed of one second or longer might need – depending on the lighting – the help of an ND filter, so see the appropriate section for more on those filters. ICM can work for all subjects, although bold colours or defined shapes often help, and there are no rules in terms of how youmove the camera during the exposure. Moving it horizontally or vertically across the scene can work, or youmay decide to go for a diagonal pan or twist the camera around the lens axis. You could spin round in a circle, or move in towards the subject, whether you take a few steps or zoom the lens. If you’re standing away frompeople and have a camera you’re not worried about, you could be random and press the shutter button and throw the camera into the air. How quickly, howmuch and when you start moving the camera will all influence the final result and you need to be prepared to experiment. For example, moving the camera after you have started the exposure means there may be some outline detail, but if you start moving the camera and then press the shutter button, the result will be smoother. With bold-coloured landscapes or seascapes, the more smooth approach can work better, but if you’re tackling buildings or a line of trees, waiting, say, half a second before moving the camera might suit the scene better. There are no rules and the end result justifies the means, so play and if it works, it works. ICM (intentional cameramovement)

ONESECOND ANDBEYOND Most of our photographic lives are spent at shutter speeds of 1/125sec or shorter as we aim to shoot sharp pictures in decent light. Venture down the shutter speed scale to one second and beyond, though, and a world of wonderful picture opportunities await the creative photographer

MOST OF THE TIME, we’re shooting with shutter speeds in the order of 1/125sec or 1/250sec, dipping into the slower speeds when light levels fall. But what about exploring shutter speeds of one second and longer, even when the sun is shining bright? Indeed, look at the most basic modern DSLR or mirrorless camera and you’ll find the shutter speed range extends way beyond one second, often to 30secs or even 60secs, so the opportunity to produce individual and creative images and to capture unique effects simply not possible at faster speeds is there for us all to enjoy.

The holy trinity of exposure are aperture, ISO and shutter speed. When it comes to exposure, these three factors are inexorably linked and if you alter one, to maintain the correct exposure, one or both of the other two settings must be adjusted, too. Exposure is a simple balancing act and knowing how these settings interlink with each other and some understanding of this, together with a few important accessories, will let you explore the realm of long exposures. When shooting with shutter speeds of longer than one second, the conventional advice – despite

the effectiveness of the latest image stabilisers – is to suggest using a camera support, a monopod or, better still, a tripod. But actually, there are support-free techniques to try too if you want to enjoy a more relaxed, free- form approach to your photography. And you might not even need any extra kit, although if you have any neutral density filters, they will be needed if you want to really exploit the longer end of your camera’s shutter speed range. Over these pages, we outline the core long techniques, how to master them and what to try shooting.

Issue 77 | Photography News 11

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