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A Beginner's Guide to Capturing Motion
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A Beginner's Guide to Capturing Motion


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  • 2. Reasons to Capture Motion Sometimes, there is a need to blur certain elements in the image while focusing sharply on a few subjects in the foreground. Other times, you may want to freeze or blur everything. The direction you take depends upon your objective for your photograph. A lot of photographers capture motion simply to convey that an object is moving. But, there are other reasons to so. Movement can communicate mood. Trees rustling in the wind suggest serenity while throngs of people on a busy city block imply harried activity. You can also use motion to eliminate elements in a scene that may serve as distractions to the viewer. For example, you may want to photograph a person standing on a sidewalk corner as cars move behind him. By blurring everything but your primary subject, you can eliminate potential distractions and focus the viewer‟s attention.
  • 3. Capturing Motion Using Shutter Speed Shutter speed is „the amount of time that the shutter is open‟ Shutter speed is measured in seconds – or in most cases fractions of seconds. The bigger the denominator the faster the speed (ie 1/1000 is much faster than 1/30). There are two things to remember  The faster the shutter speed, the sharper the focus on your subject.  A slower shutter speed will blur a moving object.
  • 4. To capture thispicture, you would placethe camera on the tripodand take a picture withlong exposure. (In otherwords, a slow shutterspeed.) Blurred subject with the background in focus
  • 5. Using Blur to Portray Movement The following shots are all of moving subjects where the photographer has made the choice to set their camera to capture the movement as blur rather than freezing it. This is in all cases by choosing (or letting the camera choose) a ‟slow‟ shutter speed
  • 6. “Most beginningphotographers are trainedto “secure” their cameras.That is, your camerashould remain as still aspossible for certain typesof shots. Bycontrast, panning requiresthat you move yourcamera with your subject.Specifically, you‟ll bematching your subject‟srate of movement and thedirection in which it istraveling.The best results occurwhen you have a clearview of the moving objectand ample room to swivel Panning with the subjectyour camera along aparallel axis to it.”
  • 7. “Freezing the entirescene can give yourphotographs a uniquelook, especially if theobjects strongly implymovement. Forexample, consider a birdthat is flying in front of awaterfall. Both implymotion to the viewer.Freezing the entire scenecaptures that motion ina single moment and canproduce a breathtakingimage. You should use ashutter speed of at least1/1000th of a second forthis type of shot.” Freezing the frame with fast shutter speed
  • 8. “Using the continuousshooting feature on yourcamera, you can capturea series of shots and jointhem together in thepost processing stage tocreate the effect shownabove. A tripod isessential whenattempting to shootmotion using thismethod.” Digitally merging photographs
  • 9. Tips for Capturing Motion
  • 10. Determine the Proper Shutter Speed To identify the right shutter speed, you‟ll need to ask yourself a few questions:  How fast is your subject moving?  How much distance exists between the camera and the subject?  How much motion do you want your photograph to convey to the viewer? The faster the shutter speed, the more frozen and crisply-defined your subject will be. You‟ll need to experiment with different shutter speeds in a variety of situations.
  • 11. Potential Issue – Excess Light When you slow your shutter speed to blur elements in your image, there‟s a chance that too much light will enter and impact your photograph. It‟s a common problem, but there are a couple of ways to resolve it.  First, check the aperture on your camera. The larger it is, the more likely excess light will enter. Try adjusting the settings to reduce its size.  Second, review the setting of your ISO. When it is set high, the image sensor in your camera may be overly-sensitive to light. This can create unwanted noise in your image.