WHAT IS MOTION BLUR?
Motion blur is a photographic technique that keeps the shutter open long enough to allow your subject to move. The time that the shutter is open depends really on two factors, the speed of your subject, the amount of light available.
Speed of your subject – When your subject moves quickly, it does not require a shutter to be open for long. There is plenty of movement during the time the shutter is open. Compared to a slow moving animal that requires the shutter to be open for a while.
There is an additional problem of a very slow shutter, that is the movement of the camera. Camera shake is not an appealing effect at all.
Amount of light available – When the light starts to fade your shutter speed naturally starts to decrease. Often at dawn and dusk the shutter speeds are so slow that its impossible to take a conventional photograph with out using very high ISO settings. Often in these situations I find is rather to work with it than try and fight it, motion blur is the perfect way to do this.
In bright light this technique is not always possible. The amount of light is so much that even at the widest apertures and lowest ISO. Shutter speeds are still to high to blur any movement. In such situations a using a UV filter could slow the shutter down by 1 or two stops.
USEFUL SLOW SHUTTER SPEEDS
- 1/30sec – static subjects may seem impossible to photograph using a slow shutter to depict movement, but zoom it and photograph a flick of a tail, ear or a shake of the head. Even though the subject is not moving. That body part can move relatively quickly.
- 1 sec – ideal for slow-moving animals (walking) focus and pan with the head of the animal. Any slower shutter speed and camera shake will influence your photograph. Surprisingly if you pan quickly, there is less up and down movement of the lens which translates into less camera shake. However, this may be too slow for the faster moving animal. You will have to play around with your settings.
- 1/50sec – fast moving subjects are tricky to photograph, and you will shoot a thousand images till you capture a keeper, but it is fun trying, and there are tricks to increase your chances. Focus and pan on the bulk of the animal (body) since the head will be bobbing up and down as it is running, and it may be a too small an area to focus. Fire a multiple burst of photographs to increase your image rate and in so doing, increase your keeper rate.
Things to Practice …
The biggest skill is being able to follow you subject at the same speed as the running/moving animal. It not that easy, I have found the longer I practice in a sighting the better my results get.