Look at the first and second shots with this week’s column. The first is of a bongo drummer photographed at a function. It is a pleasant enough sharp shot of a happy drummer, but the second shot has all the movement of the frenzied drummer beating the bongos, and the motion is all there to be seen (and the emotion). This second shot is not pin-sharp, but it does not need to be. The photograph shows the subject is alive.
You do not get these kinds of emotive photographs by setting your DSLR on a shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second. Sure that shutter speed will stop an express train, but you don’t want stopped action, you want motion, and you get that with a slower speed. The photograph was taken at 1/15th of a second and this was fast enough to capture the drummer, but not fast enough to capture the hands, which is what gives this shot appeal.
Photography has been described as ‘painting with light’ and somebody then added that the camera tells no lies, and both of these are just so much nonsense. It would be much closer to the truth to say that photography is all about ‘manipulating’ the light, and secondly, the camera tells as many lies as you want it to!
You will also find that there are some rather weird effects that you can find when manipulating that light. Many of these effects are just accidental, but by working out how they happened, you can then reproduce them when needed. Many of them are also very suitable for wall art, as because they are different, they are then eye-catching.
Look at the 3rd picture with this week’s column. What is it? Is it some weird kind of electrical storm? No, it was produced by a mistake on my part, but one I can now reproduce.
What happened was I had set the camera up to bracket the exposure with three shots. The shutter speed was about one second and I depressed the shutter to start the bracketing. I thought I had completed all three exposures, but I had not, and after two exposures moved the camera away.
Since the shutter was still open, I got this light trail effect, which you can produce yourself by putting the camera shutter speed on say two seconds and then moving the camera around. Bright light sources are good for this type of effect. Practice waving the camera at different speeds and see what you get. It could be brilliant.
Drummer in action.