Photo Assignment #1: Shutter Speed Test

Well, it’s time to share my first assignment from the 31 days to a better photo project.

We just learned about shutter speed and how it can affect the exposure of your photo when all other settings remain constant. To recap, and to see if I understand correctly (but feel free to correct me in the comments below), shutter speed is the length of time that the camera shutter remains open to let in light to expose the photo (either on film or memory card). Left open too long, the photo will be too bright and will be over exposed; not left open long enough, the photo will be too dark and will be under exposed. How’d I do?

Now for the assignment and test photos…

  1. Set camera to manual mode
  2. Set ISO and aperture, and keep them the same for each shot
  3. Change the shutter speed one stop for each photo

Things to note:

  1. How the amount of light affects each photo
  2. How motion is showed or frozen

For the exercise, I used a constant ISO of 200 an aperture of f4, and the historic Royal Alexandra Theater in downtown Toronto. And, presto bango, here are the results…

1/125…

Image

1/250…

Image

1/500…

Image

1/1000…

Image

1/2000…

Image

1/4000…

Image

Final Thoughts

At the slower shutter speeds of 1/125 and 1/250, the image is virtually washed out. As it was a bright sunny winter day, it was interesting to see how the slower shutter speeds were not appropriate for the conditions and therefore let in too much light.

My camera maxes out at 1/4000, and though the last image shows more detail and colour than any of the other photos, I don’t think it was quite enough. I guess I’d have to check the histogram. On reflection, I would probably move to a smaller f-stop in an attempt to gain more detail in the image. As Darcy says, the ISO is the last thing you want to change in your settings so you have the best chance to get a crisp image.

I’d love to hear what you would have done in this situation. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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2 comments

  1. Good job! However shooting at f4 is not really good as the image is not as sharp as it could have been. I would suggest f8 or f11 for this situation. Because you were shooting on a sunny day, the shutter needed to be fast to properly expose the image. I would shoot outdoors all of the time with ISO of 100 or less. But that is just me 🙂

    Best of luck!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog…much appreciated!

    1. Hi Craig, thanks for the tips! The basic premise of this exercise was to only focus on the shutter speed and learn how the image is affected as I changed the shutter speed. Considering your advice, maybe I should do the exercise again, but use a higher f-stop as you suggested. Thanks again, and I’ll be sure to continue visiting your blog.

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