Creative use of your shutter
Taking good pictures doesn't always mean taking sharp
pictures. Sometimes, a blur in the right place helps ad excitement
to a picture. When you take a picture, your exposure is a
combination of ISO speed, light, shutter and aperture. You can't often change
the light. So that is somewhat of a "given". Your control is
with your ISO speed, aperture and shutter. If you decide that depth of field
is important in an image, then you'll want to control your aperture.
But if you decide that motion is important in an image, you'll
want to control your shutter.
When photographing a moving object, it's sometimes nice
for something in the picture to be blurred so as to show that there is
movement in the final picture. This can be a difficult technique
to master, and quite frankly, nobody has mastered it where they get a
good picture every time. The idea is to set your shutter speed
slow enough where some motion will be captured.
The best application of this technique is in "waterfall"
photography. By putting your camera on a tripod and using a very
slow shutter speed (1/2 second or slower) the tripod will help assure
that the picture is sharp but the slow shutter speed will assure that
the falling water is blurred. The water takes on a soft ethereal
look which can be very pleasing.
Very often, there is too much light to use such a slow
shutter speed. The solution to that is to use a neutral density
filter. Neutral Density filters are dark gray and don't influence
the colors of a picture, but can substantially reduce the amount of
light that reaches the sensor. If your exposure is f16 at 1/30
second, a 3-stop neutral density filter will allow you to take the
picture at f16 at 1/4 second. Enough to blur the water.
Just remember, that sometimes, blurring can be a good
thing in a picture!