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shutter speed calculator

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Skiing presents a unique challenge for photography, in that the subject is often moving at a very fast speed.  This is especially true when attempting to capture racing images.  Here's an article on how to select the appropriate shutter speed for freezing motion.  It contains a handy little calculator for figuring what's needed for various shooting situations.  Thought I'd share it with you all.

 

http://www.brisk.org.uk/photog/subblur.html

 

The challenge then comes in how to get enough light to expose properly at the shutter speeds the calculator recommends.  I just went through that at Beaver Creek, while shooting the World Cup races.  I got decent results, but did have to make some sacrifices in ISO to get the depth of field I desired.  

 

post #2 of 12

If you work on panning smoothly you might be suprised what you get being wrong too. Thanks for posting interesting idea.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

pdxammo, I was hoping you'd chime in.  Yeah, I've been working on that, good suggestion.  At Beaver Creek, I was unfortunately not able to utilize that technique.  I was using a tripod, in burst mode, shooting for eventual montages. It was a real crap light day, with thick overcast, and flakes in the air.  Bit of a challenge, especially in trying to keep the amount of depth of field I desired.   

post #4 of 12

Be sure to post up some of what you create, I wish we had some top level competitions around here.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Here are a couple from my shoot, a single image, and a montage.

 

Hirscher,DriveIH,Web.jpg

 

 

Moelgg,Montage,Web.jpg

 

I have over 60 images from my shoots over the last couple weeks published on my website.  You can see the rest of them here:

http://www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/Ski_Racing_Photo_Album.html

 

post #6 of 12

Awesome! Color looks a little off on the bottom shot? What are you processing in?

post #7 of 12

A year or two ago I wrote a short Matlab program to automatically create photo montages from a series of digital photos. Matlab is matrix math/array scientific analysis program. My program works by analyzing the difference between photos and creates masks that isolate the differences then adds all the difference images back to the base image. I was not not striving for visual excellence but rather as a tool for quickly analyzing shots from race training. Since I don't have test photos of racing I was only able to try it out on some images of my arm waving. If you or anyone has a few photos they would be willing to share I would like to try it out on some real race images. I am willing to share the source code. You need the image processing toolbox for Matlab also. I think I posted an early version of the code somewhere on Epicski under photo montages.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

pdxammo, the light was brutally bad that day.  Heavily overcast and light snow.  I'm processing in photoshop, and did what I had to to get the contrast I wanted of skier to snow, for the technical evaluation purposes these photos were created for.  In the process the snow came out quite featureless.   Compare that to the week before at the NorAms, where I had a brilliantly sunny day to shoot in.  

 

HirscherSL,Pivot,Montage,Web.jpg

post #9 of 12

Mmm, I don't get what the issue is?  

 

1.Use a test shot or two (or three) to figure out what your minimum shutter speed should be.

2.Put your camera into shutter priority mode (or manual)

3.Adjust your other settings as your normally would without lowering the shutter speed.

 

 

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Tarzanman, shutter speed is only one element in the exposure triangle.  The other two are ISO and aperture.  Adjust one, and the others have to be adjusted too, to compensate.  Speed the shutter, and you necessarily lose some depth of field (via bigger aperture), or image quality (via higher ISO), or both.  Depending on the shooting situation, choices have to be made as to where the sacrifices can be most tolerated.  Pdxammo made a good suggestion about using panning to allow for slower shutter speeds, but again, that can involve sacrifices too, if a blurred background is not what you want in your photo.  

 

My current thinking is that the improvements in image quality at higher ISO settings that keep coming in new technology cameras will provide an important tool for minimizing the sacrifices in low light and high shutter speed shooting situations.  Big lenses with large max apertures is another way of addressing the problem, but then you potentially get into depth of field sacrifices.  ISO adjustments allow depth of field objectives to still be achieved.  

 

It would be great if we could just set the shutter speed we need, keep the ISO at it's lowest setting to get the best possible image quality, and adjust the aperture to achieve the precise amount of depth of field we desire to achieve the effect we're after.  Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way.  We often need to decide what aspect of the shot is most important to us, and then balance that with the sacrifices we must make in other areas to achieve it.  I'm finding the whole thing to be a fascinating exercise of give and take.  


Edited by Rick - 12/28/10 at 9:38am
post #11 of 12

Rick,  I am familiar with using the f-stop and the ISO (and shutter speed, of course) to adjust/maintain exposure.   I intended my comment to mean that calculators and the like are largely unnecessary for the type of shooting described since digital cameras let you review photos immediately after you take them.

 

This is what I would do

• Choose an ISO based on available light/conditions

• Select a shutter speed (in manual or shutter speed priority) and take a test photo. 

• Review the photo and take more test shots as needed until you find a minimum speed that won't cause undesired blur.

• Aim the camera at some light subjects and some dark subjects to determine the approximate aperture range (if in shutter priority) the camera's computer is selecting -or- (if in manual) to see how many stops to the left or right shooting at my 'favorite' aperture will give me.

 

DOF is usually not an issue for me at organized, spectator events because:

1. I am usually not close enough for the DOF to be very small in relation to the subject

2. I am more than likely using a 70-200 with a max aperture of f/2.8 (stopped down to 5 or 6 for a sharper photo, or because i'm using a 1.4x TC).

 

 

The one thing I would recommend for ski photos is avoiding shooting wide open with fast primes because snow + sun = lots of purple fringing.   That being said, I often snowboard with an 85mm f/1.8 (1.6 crop sensor).  No zoom = less moving parts to get snow in; it is fast enough for overcast days, and the focal range is perfect for being far enough away from the action to get the shot (and not get plowed into).

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #12 of 12


Not if you have to have shots of the first bid number. As a professional I don't need a calculator, i just know, but that doesn't mean it isn't useful for others. BTW I never use shutter priority, I prefer the creative control of aperture priority and find it much more useful. I may use manual for some situations though. Always manual for flash photography to. Also DOF becomes more of an issue when using telephoto/fast lenses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarzanman View Post

Rick,  I am familiar with using the f-stop and the ISO (and shutter speed, of course) to adjust/maintain exposure.   I intended my comment to mean that calculators and the like are largely unnecessary for the type of shooting described since digital cameras let you review photos immediately after you take them.

 

This is what I would do

• Choose an ISO based on available light/conditions

• Select a shutter speed (in manual or shutter speed priority) and take a test photo. 

• Review the photo and take more test shots as needed until you find a minimum speed that won't cause undesired blur.

• Aim the camera at some light subjects and some dark subjects to determine the approximate aperture range (if in shutter priority) the camera's computer is selecting -or- (if in manual) to see how many stops to the left or right shooting at my 'favorite' aperture will give me.

 

DOF is usually not an issue for me at organized, spectator events because:

1. I am usually not close enough for the DOF to be very small in relation to the subject

2. I am more than likely using a 70-200 with a max aperture of f/2.8 (stopped down to 5 or 6 for a sharper photo, or because i'm using a 1.4x TC).

 

 

The one thing I would recommend for ski photos is avoiding shooting wide open with fast primes because snow + sun = lots of purple fringing.   That being said, I often snowboard with an 85mm f/1.8 (1.6 crop sensor).  No zoom = less moving parts to get snow in; it is fast enough for overcast days, and the focal range is perfect for being far enough away from the action to get the shot (and not get plowed into).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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