Instant Inspiration (28) – Handholding slow shutter speeds

1.3 sec - f/5.6 - ISO 200 - 12mm
1.3 sec – f/5.6 – ISO 200 – 12mm

“Instant Inspirations” is my series for you if you look for something to overcome “Photographer’s Block”  or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried, or at least not recently. Episode 28 is for you, if you think you have those really steady photographers hands.

Last night I grabbed my camera and headed into town, using a short window where the rain of the last days actually stopped – here in Nuremberg we can still dream of a White Christmas, but it won’t happen. Forecasts call for a real wash-out. Global warming?

The Christkindlesmarkt in the Old Town was packed with visitors, as everybody used the opportunity for Glühwein and Bratwurst without getting soaked.

While I did have Glühwein and Bratwurst, my real goal was to experiment with slow shutter speeds, and doing this handheld. And I mean reeeally slow shutter speeds, as in one and a half seconds. I wanted to capture the motion blurred movement of the strolling visitors, while keeping the stationary background sharp.

1.6 sec - f/7.1 - ISO 200 - 66mm
1.6 sec – f/7.1 – ISO 200 – 66mm

I was shooting with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with my trusted all-round 12-100mm F/4. This lens has actually built-in image stabilization, that can be combined with the camera’s internal 5-axis image stabilization. With this cam-lens combo I frequently do shoot 1/5 sec and know that I can get real sharp results. But 1/5 sec is not enough to capture the motion blur I was after. So I was doing trial and error shooting while slowing down the shutter speed even more. Isn’t that creative, experimental approach something that makes photography even more fun? I feel like a little child doing playing in my photographic sandbox. In the end I found that dialing in a 1.6 second shutter speed gave me the best results. One point six seconds. Count slowly “Twenty-one, twenty…”. And this while holding the camera above my head using the foldable back screen to compose.

I was totally amazed that the wooden stalls and the buildings in the background actually came out pretty sharp. I know I have steady hands when photographing, but would never have thought I can get away with shooting one and one half second and get a sharp background. But see yourself. Amazing technology.

1.6 sec - f/8 - ISO 200 - 50mm
1.6 sec – f/8 – ISO 200 – 50mm

The above photograph I had in mind taking when heading into town. I knew that on the Children’s Christmas Market was a carousel and a little ferris wheel, I wanted to combine the vertical and horizontal motions into one motion blurred image. Also this one I shot holding the cam above my head.

I was quite happy with the results, although using this technique is a lot of hit and miss. But hey, that’s why we shoot digital.

Obviously, you can use a tripod to achieve the same effect, probably with better and much more consistent results. But in certain situations, like on a packed Christmas Market, there is no way to set up a tripod, so this technique comes in quite handy.

All photos post processed in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC

If you feel inspired to take your camera and experiment with handheld shooting at very slow shutter speeds, post the links to the results in the comments below.

A lot of other tips and all previous episodes of my Instant Inspirations around photography you can find in my free Learning Center.

Wish you a great start into a creative weekend!

Marcus

Related Posts:

Instant Inspiration (2) – Motion Blur

Instant Inspiration (9) – Concert Photography

Instant Inspiration (25) – Foodporn

Street Photography Quick Tip 3 – Practice shooting “blind”

Start of the festive season

Christmas
Christmas Season below Nuremberg’s Imperial Castle

Sitting in my office in far away Oregon, I swiped though my Instagram feed during lunch break. Somehow I was surprised to see all those images from the grand opening of the historic Nuremberg Christmas market. Being fully engulfed in my work on the other side of the world,  it completely dropped off my radar that this weekend is the start of Advent season, the four weekends prior to Christmas. And traditionally, on Friday night before the First Advent, is the festive opening of Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt, as it is called locally. And with that, the historic old town below the Imperial Castle turns on the lights of all the festive street decorations. Seeing the Instagram photos I’m feeling a bit homesick, but that comes with the job that pays the bills. At least I get to spend two days at the coast of the great Pacific Ocean, albeit with plenty of Oregon liquid sunshine forecasted, but I will make the best of it.

The photograph was taken with my Olympus PEN-F and the 12mm F/2 prime lens, image specs 1/60 sec @ f/2 and ISO 1600.

If you want to pick up your camera on the weekend and are looking for tips and inspirations around photography, visit my free Learning Center  .

Wish you a great weekend and a peaceful Christmas season.

Marcus

Related Posts:

Have a great Festive Season !

StoNur on the Road – Innsbruck Christmas Markets

Music raising to the skies

My little Portland Christmas miracle

Friday Night on the Market

1/100 sec @ F/2.5 and ISO 200
1/100 sec @ F/2.5 and ISO 200

After a long and tiring week that saw the return from my last business trip of the year, we headed into Nuremberg’s historic center for an evening visit of our famous Christmas market, or Christkindlesmarkt, as it is called by the locals. It takes place in the weeks leading up to Christmas (Adventszeit) on the main market square. The roots of the christmas market can be traced back to the 17th century, and its one of the biggest in the country, with about 2 million visitors annually.

Typically we would avoid the market on a Friday evening, as it is totally packed with visitors, but as we combined it with other commitments we bit the bullet in order to treat ourselves to some mulled wine (Glühwein) and Bratwurst and a stroll along the wooden stalls with all kinds of seasonal merchandize. I brought along my Olympus PEN-F with the 12mm F/2 and 25mm F/1.8 prime lenses, great choices for some low light street shooting. For some more images of the market in front  of the Church of Our Lady (built in the 14th century) continue after the jump… Continue reading “Friday Night on the Market”

Open for Business

Christkindlesmarkt
Christkindlesmarkt | Nuremberg | 2017

Yesterday, a first blanket of snow covered our city, gone again today. But a clear sign of the coming winter, and just in time to the starting festive season.

Today is the traditional opening of Nuremberg’s famous christmas market, or Christkindlesmarkt, as it is called by the locals. It takes place in the weeks leading up to Christmas (Adventszeit) on the main market square in front of the famous Frauenkirche (built in the 14th century), the wooden stalls covered by roofs of red and white cloths.

For some more impressions continue after the jump… Continue reading “Open for Business”

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: