Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One of my (photography) successes from yesterday :: and a lesson on panning

I follow "How to Photograph Your Baby" on facebook. On Monday, a picture was posted and we were asked to guess the exposure: shutter speed and aperture (f stop). It was a panning pic of someone's baby in a swing; the baby was sharp in focus, and everything else was a blur.

I had done this before!! So I took a good look at the pic and I left my guess in the comments. Then yesterday I checked back and saw this: (Yes, it is a bit long, but skim through to the BOLDED LETTERS if you aren't a hobby photographer, & read the whole thing if you are, for there is good info in it)

Welcome back to GUESS THE EXPOSURE!

Yesterday we all made our best guess at what shutter speed and f-stop Stephanie used to shoot this sweet swinging picture.

The good news is someone got it 100% right! The bad news is that some of the answers were so bad many of you are now banned from the site for 24 hours. :)

If you said the shutter speed was 500th of a second or faster (like a 500th or 800th or 1000th or 1200th and you know who you are!) you have to go outside and put your camera on one of those speeds and wave it around like you're panning a kid on a swing. Can you blur the background like in Stephanie's picture? No! It's difficult to get camera MOTION blur at a 1/1000th of a second. Try it . This will be a good exercise for those of you who haven't been paying attention. The rest of us will stay here in the warm classroom and have cupcakes while we celebrate with our winner:

MELODY (and my last name)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!

Melody's winning answer was 1/60th of a second at f8.

Let's take another look at Stephanie's picture. Yes, she panned. That means as the swing went back and forth she moved her camera back and forth at the same rate. That's why Stephanie's child is perfectly sharp but the background is blurred. She did a perfect job of panning.

If she had panned at 1/1000th of a second there would be no motion blur effect and the motion blur is what makes this picture work so well. Everything would be frozen and a little boring in my opinion.

If she had used, say, 1/8th of a second everything—including the child on the swing— would have been out of focus mush and we wouldn't be here today talking about this picture

F8 was a good safe guess for the f-stop. The f-stop affects depth-of-field. If she had used f2 the background would be very blurry. If she had used f22 the background would appear sharper—if the shutter was the same, that is. I know that's a little convoluted but work with me on this one.

So f8 is a medium f-stop and the background appears to be medium sharp so that makes it a good safe guess. Did Melody guess? Yes. Was she a little bit lucky? Well, yes, but all good photographers are lucky.There's really no way for a viewer to know for sure what the f-stop would be in this picture, but Melody's answer was an educated lucky guess.

Thanks to all of the contestants! (I was kidding! There's cupcakes for everyone! Come back in to the classroom! Oh my goodness, it was colder outside than I thought! You're blue and shaking! But look at it this way—nobody said a 10,000th of a second! That's progress!)

So see you next time on

By: How to Photograph Your Baby

I may not win photography contests, but at least I know my exposures! ;)

Today will be the last day with my brother Bill's daughter & her husband. They came into town on Monday, and it has been a lot of fun to visit with them. I wish they lived closer! I will miss them greatly.

To all of you, I wish you a Happy Day filled with all of the goodness it can hold.

No comments:

Post a Comment