Peter A. Calvin - Professor - Collin College Photography

Time and Motion

In this assignment you'll consciously and deliberately use your shutter speed to blur motion and give the illusion of the passing of time, and to stop action to seemingly freeze time. Review the readings in your book on shutter speed and its effect on blurring motion.


You can also introduce another light source, such as a flashlight, during a long exposure. Here you would start with a location that has extremely low light levels (a darkened room, outdoors at night w/out bright street lamps) and add lighting (such as a mini maglite).


You will make three images for this part of the assignment:


1.Stop Action: Use the faster shutter speeds (1/500 or higher) to freeze time when photographing fast moving subjects. This need not be sports or automobiles.


2. Panning the camera: Use the slower shutter speeds (1/8, 1/15,1/30) while following moving subjects with the camera. There will be relative sharpness in the moving subject while the background blurs out.


3.Camera locked down - Virtual Volume - Use slow shutter speeds and a camera support like a tripod, table top or car roof while photographing moving subjects. The subject will be rendered a blur while the background will remain sharp. As with panning, photograph in low light. Use a

cable release, electric or infrared release, or the camera’s self-timer. Here you want to adjust your shutter speed to slower speeds (1/30 and slower) to streak or blur a moving object(s). You will need a tripod to do this, A cable release would help, too.


Think about the conditions you may need to accomplish motion blur:

- shutter speed (too fast and subject won't blur, too slow and it might blur too much and not show up!).


- existing light level (if it's too bright you won't be able to use slow shutter speeds)

- background (blurs show up more dramatically against darker backgrounds)

- proximity to the subject (the closer the subject is, the more it will blur)

- the direction the subject is traveling—subjects will blur more when moving laterally.


You can create different effects (from a slight blur to a complete blur to a ghost-like effect) simply by varying your shutter speed or the speed that your subject moves. Take good notes on your shutter speeds for each frame. You'll want to experiment with different shutter speeds for the same subject and be able to refer to your contact sheets to determine which speeds are optimal for creating certain effects. You can use a lower ISO setting to prolong your exposures-- a 100 ISO will be 4X slower than a 400 ISO (2 stops). Or you may use neutral density or other filters, if you wish, to lengthen exposures.


Be sure to bracket your exposures and try a variety of shutter speeds.


With each of these techniques, use them for a specific, creative purpose.


You will print the two best images for critique, Tues.-Thurs. class due 10/13  Wed, class due 10/12

Assignment 3 - Time and Motion