Archive for low light photography

Wildlife Photography Workshop: Slow It Down

Posted in Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by photoafrica

If you follow my blog, you will have seen this image.

Motion Blur Zebra © Gerry van der Walt

(Nikon D300, Nikon 80-400 @ 320mm, 1/5 sec, f/11, ISO 320)

I have had quite a few requests, from people wanting to try this techinque, asking… How?

So here goes…

First off, in order to get a sharp image you need to make sure that your shutter speed is as least 1/your focal length.  This means that at  focal length (zoom) of 50mm you should have a shutter speed of at least 1/50 sec and at a focal length of 200 you should have a shutter speed of at least 1/200 sec.

Got it?  Good.

Now in order to create motion blur images, like the one above, you need to break that rule and select a shutter speed that is way slower than you would normally use.  As a guideline, you can start with a shutter speed of 1/10 and then slow it down from there if necessary.

With shots like this, your aperture is not important as your background, which will normally be affected by the aperture, is going to be blurred anyway.

Now, once you have your slow shutter speed you are ready to start.  The idea, and ultimate goal, is to focus on your moving subject, click the shutter and follow along with their movement.  Objects moving from one side to the other in front of you will give you the best results.

To get the image above I had to give it a few goes, as I never quite got the zebra’s head sharp.  By doing this you will give your viewer a starting point in the image, as our eyes will always start on the sharpest point, and then the motion blur will tell the story of your moving subject.

The slower your shutter speed the more dramatic your background will be but the more difficult it is to get the subject’s head (and shoulders) in focus.

Go and give it a bash this weekend!  Motion blur images are great fun and will add a whole new dimension to your low light photography.  Then, when you are done, add a few of then to the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day site to share with all of us!

If you have any questions please leave a comment on this post and I will get back to you!

See you next week!

Gerry van der Walt


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