365

Hello IggleBugs! The 3 karma 100 days achievement code is now live, so if you’ve taken photos for 100 days in a row, message me and I’ll give you the code! The following milestones will be 150, 200, 250, 300, then 365. Each one will be worth one more karma than the one preceding it.

Tweet @IggleBugs for the 7, 30, and 60 day, and 100 day achievement codes if you need them! You don’t have to upload the pics in a row, but at least make sure you’re taking one every day.  You’ll also find another code in the forums.

For anyone who doesn’t know what’s going on here, if you haven’t checked out the IggleBugs lately, you should swing by and have a look at our Photo 365 Challenge thread in the IggleBugs Forum! Join us if you’re looking for a fun photographic challenge for 2014! You don’t need a fancy camera or anything, just a passion for taking pictures! Upload and share however you want, if you want. It’s entirely up to you! The best part about it is you can make your day one whenever you want! So feel free to jump in late, we won’t bite!

I will post seven themes and ideas a week as we go through the year. They won’t be strict assignments, just helpful ideas to get you through the week if you get stuck or feel like you need some inspiration.

Here is the list of helpful ideas for week twenty!

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Now it’s time for part two of our little IggleBugs Photography 101 class. This week I’m going to discuss shutter speed. This post won’t be as lengthy as last week’s on Aperture, because there’s really not too much to it. But it IS an important subject and knowing a little bit about your shutter speed can help you take some fun photos.

First, if your camera has some manual controls, you might notice a mode called Tv. Switch your camera to this mode. This Tv stands for “Time Value.” This mode, like Av mode, allows you to change a certain setting while letting the camera figure out all the other stuff. In Tv mode, you can set the shutter speed, or, the amount of time the shutter will remain open, and the camera will figure out the proper aperture and ISO to make your photo turn out properly exposed. You’ll really only be using this mode when you want a specific shutter speed or effect.

Shutter speed is shown in seconds. And often times, fractions. Yay, more math! The smaller the number is, the shorter the  shutter speed is. So if you set your shutter speed to 1/20 sec, that means your shutter is open for one-twentieth of a second, and if you set it to 1/8, it’s open for one eighth of a second. Now, think back to fractions. 1/20 is smaller than 1/8. Yeah, if you’re not in a mathy mindset, you might pause for second. When it’s less than a second, your shutter speed will always be 1/something, so the larger that number is on the bottom of the fraction, the faster your shutter speed is. Your camera is allowing light in to hit the sensor for only that set amount of time, and that’s it. The longer it’s open, the more light that gets let in. But, the longer the shutter is open, the harder it is to get a nice, crisp photo. If you open your shutter for one second, there’s no way you’re going to be able to hold it steady in your hands to get a photo with no shake, and if you’re photographing a moving subject, they’ll just be a blur in the picture. The longer shutter speeds are usually only ideal if you’re using a tripod. Often, you’ll want to use the quickest shutter speed you can use to still get a proper exposure, unless you’re trying to achieve a certain effect.

Some cameras have a “sport” mode, which is usually shown as a little man running. In this mode, the camera will choose the fastest shutter speed it can (depending on the conditions of the scene you’re shooting) automatically. It’s great if you’re photographing fast moving objects like kids or dogs.

So let’s look at some visual comparisons on how just a fraction of a second can make a difference. Look at the water in the two photos below. In the first one, shot at 1/200th of a second, You can see the water coming down the dam, but it’s frozen in time. It’s not really showing movement.

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But in the next picture, shot at 1/8th of a second, the water seems to be moving, flowing. The longer shutter speed, just a little bit longer, allows the water to blur in the photo, smoothing the flow but also giving us the sense of movement. This is great to use when you have a waterfall like this and you want the water to be flowing in the image. I did have trouble properly exposing the image, though. On a bright and sunny day, leaving the shutter speed open for longer periods of time (even at the narrowest aperture possible) will overexpose the image.

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In the next example, I was shooting portraits and there was another waterfall. In the first shot, at 1/80th of a second, the water isn’t smooth enough for my liking. I felt it was too distracting and I wanted the photo to be prettier, so I lengthened the shutter speed as much as I could, but I was reaching my limit without a tripod.

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1/20th of a second really smoothed out the waterfall and made it less distracting and prettier.

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What happens if you want to take a picture of a nice, smooth lake or river but it’s less than smooth? Try increasing the shutter speed. This particular river was flowing pretty quickly, and at 1/5th of a second, it still wasn’t smooth enough for what I had in mind.

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Luckily, I took this photo at dusk, so I didn’t have much to worry about the sun being too bright. At four seconds, the water was beautiful. Of course, you won’t get a reflection like you would in a glassy lake, but it’s still pretty.

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Last, I’m going to show you something that I really enjoy doing. Taking photos of lightning! This same concept also applies to taking pictures of fireworks, but I’m going to cover that more in-depth closer to the Fourth of July. Tv mode is great for capturing photos of lightning, but you will need a tripod and either remote shutter release or you can set a timer on your camera to take a picture after a few seconds. Basically, you don’t want to touch the camera once the shutter is open. You also need a really good thunderstorm and minimal rain. You’re leaving your shutter open for many seconds, you want as little blur as possible. It takes a lot of trial and error, but it can be worth it. Set your camera to an amount of time you want to capture multiple lightning strikes, and shoot until you get tired or the storm moves on. Remember to check your photos as you go along to make sure they’re properly exposed.

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I hope you’ve learned something today! Next week we’ll discuss ISO! Now, I’m not a certified expert on this stuff, so if you notice a mistake, or if something is confusing and needs clarification, let me know and I will fix it or answer any extra questions! If you have any suggestions, questions, or ideas for future tips, tricks, or tutorials, comment or tweet at me and I’ll address them in future posts!

Have a good week and don’t forget to follow @IggleBugs for updates and encouragement! If you use the hashtag #IggleBugs365, I will try to retweet a few photos every day!

Also, if you want to nominate someone for IggleBug of the Week, tweet @IggleBugs with your nomination!