I shot this at a county fair when I lived in Naples, Fl back in 2006. It’s of one of those spinning swing sets that gets disassembled and reassembled at every stop across the country by semi-disgruntled carnival folk.
How: Put it on a tripod (or other stable device. I often set my camera on the ground and use a combination of my wallet and cell phone to prop up the lens. You are taking photos, I hereby give you artistic license to be creative in your tripod substitutes! ) Next, set your exposure for a few seconds or more. Most cameras go up to 30 seconds before you must use the “bulb” feature. Or just put the camera on the shutter priority setting which is Tv for Canon and S for Nikon.
Tech spec’s:Canon 1D Mark II. ISO: 50. Aperture: 22. Shutter: 5 seconds.
Level of difficulty 5 (on a scale of 1 – 10)
I shot this earlier this year at Nate and Samantha’s wedding in Cabo San Lucas and I love this moment. It forces you to stop and feel Samantha’s joy.
How: Set your shutter speed slow enough to catch movement but not too slow that everything blurs. Your ideal shutter speed is directly related to the speed of your subject. If you’re shooting motor sports you might get some nice motion blur in the background and your subject sharp as high as 1/80th of a second. If you want to do the same for a slug in your garden, well, lets just say that would be a much much slower (longer) shutter to show motion. Like over one or two seconds which would be almost impossible to hand hold. In general, you can set your camera around 1/20th for people walking to get this motion blur. Then just pan with the subject as steadily as possible and take a few frames. There is a lower probability that you will get anything sharp so take a few in the moment.
Tech spec’s:Canon 5D Mark II. ISO: 160. Aperture: 13. Shutter: 1/13 of a second.
3. The pan shutter drag + flash
Level of difficulty 8 (on a scale of 1 – 10)
This is the most advanced of the three. It takes the steadiness of the pan shutter drag and then adds the technical know-how of great flash photography. Mr. Miyagi had me doing a lot of wax-on and wax-offs to master this one.
How: Set the shutter speed to around 1/4-1/20 of a second with your camera’s shutter priority mode. Next, make sure your exposure without the flash is more than 1 1/3 stops underexposed around your subjects (use your exposure compensation button). This way your flash freezes the action and keeps your subjects sharp while allowing the background to blur. Then set your flash on second-curtain and set its exposure compensation based on the brightness of the ambient light. I do all of this with my flash on TTL. In this photo my flash was on my camera and pointed at the ceiling with my fill card extended. For the above photo I knew the foreground/background was dark so I set my exposure compensation for -1 1/3 stops. Then I told my flash to expose for about -1/3 or -2/3 because a camera will try and light up the whole room thus overexposing the subjects in the foreground. Like I said, this one isn’t quite as easy and just takes some practice.
Canon 5D. ISO 1600. Aperture: 2.8. Shutter 1/10 of a second