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Shooting Pictures with Slow Shutter Speeds
Before we get into shooting with slow shutter speeds let us quickly recap what shutter speeds
do and their implications and applications. The shutter controls the amount of light that falls on
the lens. The longer the shutter is open more the light, conversely shorter the shutter is open
lesser the light. The long shutter speeds are also called the slow shutter speeds and the short
shutter speed as the fast shutter speeds. Historically cameras had an external shutter that
controlled the passage of light. Over time they all got ensconced into one single unit.
By far when one shoots pictures on a day to day basis, there is very little experimentation with
slow shutter speeds. Low light photography is associated with slow shutter speeds. So is
capturing blur and motion, blur though many a times seen as a flaw in picture, is an asset when
one is trying to capture motion and movement. To do so one uses slow shutter speeds. With
extremely slow shutter speeds, photographs shot in the night will appear like a photo shot in the
day. On dark moonlit night if one was to shoot photographs with aperture speeds hovering
between maybe 10 to 30 seconds, thirty would be more appropriate, the resultant image would
seem like it was shot in day and one would be surprised to capture elements in the frame that
the naked eye did not see.
The slow shutter speed allows the camera to soak in light for thirty long seconds and capture a
photograph a lot brighter. The effect that it has on water and water bodies is magnificent.
Waterfalls and fountains shot in low light with slow shutter speed could appear as glass sheets.
There are multiple techniques used, to make a stationary body seem as if in motion. One could
shoot pictures at low shutter speeds of maybe around one tenth of a second and zoom the lens
in and out, giving a blur and a sensation of movement. One can experiment with light around the
subject, or moving the light around a subject with slow shutter speeds giving varying results and
brilliant effects and play of light around the subject.
Shooting moving cars, rather vehicles traveling toward the camera, shoot into the light with slow
shutter speeds and the lines of light have differing results, the cool light trail go on to create
images with varying results, from streaks of light to a snake like appearance of light.
Experimentation with light apart, nature and wildlife photography in the night depends a lot on
slow shutter speeds, to capture the whole landscape and soak in as much of the light in the
darkness of the night.
Among the largest challenges of slow shutter speed photography is the vibrations that create a
shake which ends up having very adverse effects on the photograph. It thus becomes imperative
that one has to use the tripod while shooting images at low shutter speeds, minimising shakes
from the vibrations and giving stable pictures. If one is experimenting with light and zooming the
lens in and out for affect, the hand held shooting works just fine. When shooting with the tripod,
jabbing or how ever soft one is clicking on the camera the shakes are bound to happen, it is
imperative to use a cable release which allows the photographer to remotely from a distance
release the shutter or in simpler terms allows the photographer to click the picture, without
causing any shakes that will otherwise have been caused by the finger on the camera. Some of
the newer cameras today have wireless cable technology, doing away with the length of wire
running from the equipment to the photographer. These two pieces of equipment are essential to
low shutter speed photography. Explore and experiment with different light levels and different
shutter speeds and shoot a bunch of pictures, you are sure to have some amazing photographs
in your portfolio.

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