Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Day Four … S is for Shutter Priority

The S mode (Shutter Priority, TX on Canon cameras). Its very simple to use you set the shutter speed and ISO and the camera chooses the best aperture for you.

There is a lot of advice out on the net and in how to books about the importance of keeping shutter speeds fast enough to avoid camera shake. So setting the shutter speed sounds like a good option. It is also helpful if you need to you can “freeze” action by using and ultra fast shutter speed (like 1/2000th of a second), faster infact than a blink of an eye. While I did use this mode on older film cameras, I have seldom used this setting on any of my digital cameras (I’ll explain later below in this post). Like most cameras  my new Olympus OMD E M10iii does have an S mode and I was trying to think where I might use it and I settled on birds in flight (be warned that is a challenging subject to try yourself especially starting out, kids on a bike would be a better choice)

That was a bit easier said than done, It was a cold dull overcast morning that Melbourne gets a bad reputation for but aren’t really all that common. So there where not many birds out and about. I figured ducks would still be out, supposed this is the weather they like, so it was down to the lake.

Slow speed - stationary duckSlow speed moving duck -> blur
Fast speed flying duck -> sharpFast speed landing duck -> sharp

Despite starting to drizzle the duck did perform for me. He was sitting on the wooden rail on a small pier as I approached and a photo with the shutter speed set to a 50th of a second was almost ok (the image has a slight blur but the duck is recognizable despite the low light and slow speed). However as he took off, the next photo, also at 1/50th second is just a blur of feathers. He circled around which gave me time to change the shutter speed and catch him flying in and about to land at 1/2000th. of a second. Now most of the duck is in sharp focus (perhaps expect for him trimming his wing tip feathers). So Shutter Priority mainly helps in deciding weather you want blur or sharpness when you subject is moving. I probably won’t be using this mode to often, but it will help is some situation (if I have enough time to change the mode dial and the shutter speed before my subject has disappeared into the distance. Which it generally has.)  Thus you need to plan when using this mode before the action starts.

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