Roll #11 — Blurred Action

Why you are doing this assignment

Cameras with manual adjustments allow us to set aperture and shutter speed, giving us tools to create unusual, striking images. Most of the time, you select a shutter speed at 1/125th second or higher, in order to avoid camera shake. However, once in a while, you want to create images with blurred action. Those images show movement as a blur surrounded by clear, sharp details in the background. Think of a basketball game at Kekuhaupiʻo. The players will be blurred but the bleachers and spectators behind them will be in sharp focus.

How to do this assignment

Your assignment is to locate the “sweet point” in your shutter speed setting when the moving object begins to blur. It is that blurring that creates the impression of action, of something moving fast. Distance affects blur. If you are close to your subject, 125th second might work, but if you are far away, you will need to lower your shutter speed to 1/60th or 1/30th. At those shutter speeds, DO NOT try to handhold your camera. Put it on something, like a railing, and then press the shutter release carefully, so that the camera doesn’t jerk right at that moment. Remember that the blur you record only seems blurry if everything else is sharp. Pay LOTS of attention to avoiding camera shake.

When you photograph a moving body or object, remember to allow for more room in front of the object than behind it. The space in front is called “live space” because the person or object is moving into it. The space behind a moving object is called “dead space.” Try to minimize dead space.

What to shoot

This assignment really requires you to make the effort to go to a sporting event, one with moving bodies, swinging bats or balls dropping through hoops. Even sweating bodies on a wrestling mat would work well. Avoid boring shots of your friends running on Konia Field. Please, no moving cars — that is way too boring.

What to turn in

  • A contact sheet of 16 images on medium-format film
  • Two 8X10 prints
  • An analysis of your best print. Be sure to fill out the last section of the analysis fully.

What your assignment should look like

At this point in the semester, your prints should contain a full range of values (tones) from deep black to light, light gray. Pay lots of attention to your two test strips and make an effort to hit the right combination of exposure and filter #.

Also — try to set your easel blades to give you a thin, even border around your image.