Motion Madness

Digital Photography Homework Due 2/3/17

It’s time to snuzzle up and get comfy with the manual controls on your camera, Digital Photographers! The first setting we’re giving some much deserved love and attention is shutter speed.

By the beginning of next class, please shoot a minimum of 36 exposures exploring shutter speed and movement.

Jumping into Details

So what is movement in a still photograph? That’s your question for the week. Worlds worst spoiler alert: shutter speed provides at least part of the answer. In fact, movement can be interpreted through shutter speed in two main ways.

First, it can be conceived as a blur or other transition through the image frame.


This type of effect is created with a slow shutter speed: usually less than 1/30 of a second.  Pro tip: any shutter speed slower than 1/30 should be shot using your tripod and the the self-timer on your camera. Otherwise you will get hand shake in addition to motion blur.

Movement can also be interpreted as capturing a point of action using a fast shutter speed. Except for extremely rapid movement, any setting 1/125 or faster is likely to be a FREEZE FRAME.


Within those two broad categories of shutter speed-based movement, feel free to explore a variety of subject matters and approaches. In fact… get downright wacky with it! The more you ask yourself, “What would happen if I did this?”, the better you’ll do on this assignment! Well, as long as the “What would happen…” doesn’t end with “…if I dropped this camera off the Empire State Building?”

important The images you bring to class next week should reflect movement, but they also need be correctly exposed.  When getting ready to take a photograph for this assignment, I recommend first determining what shutter speed you need for the movement you want to express. Set the dial accordingly, and then adjust aperture and/or ISO as needed. Keep in mind that lower ISOs are usually desirable (if not always possible).

Spinning a Few Additional Hints

fast_slow_shutterIf you’re not sure where to start with this assignment, I suggest experimenting with photographing  the same composition twice: once with a slow shutter speed and once with a fast one. Doing this a few times can quickly illustrate what’s possible.

Also, do yourself a HUGENORMOUS favor and check to make sure your basic camera settings are where they need to be before you walk uphill both ways in the snow to get the perfect image.

  1. Turn mode dial to manual (mandatory for this assignment).

  2. Turn Autofocus ON and Image Stabilization OFF.


  3. Set white balance to AWB or a setting appropriate to the light source (like we did in class).

  4. Turn off the timer via the timer_button button on the left side of the dial (unless you want it on for a tripod shoot)

Running Atcha with a Mega Ultra Bonus Challenge!

I will award up to 10% extra credit on this assignment to anyone who shoots at least one successful example of panning. Wait… what’s panning? You’ll have to figure that out if you want the bonus. 🙂


Walking Through What’s Due

Have your images ready on your memory card at the beginning of class next week. We will uploading both the movement assignment and this past week’s light assignment to Dropbox as part of our lesson, so come on time and prepared with camera, accessories and hard drive. FYI: if you’re late, your homework is late, and you know how I feel about late work….

P.S. If you didn’t read Chapter 1: Camera from “A Short Course in Digital Photography” last week, better get on that. *Ahem* Just… uh… just sayin’.




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