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”

Evening Colors

Blue Hour
Blue Hour | Berlin | 2018

We’re back in Nuremberg after a great weekend in Berlin where we visited close friends. Besides spending real quality time together I also got some street shooting done when we headed into city center after we did a fun tour riding a rail trolley (Draisine) in the afternoon.

This street photo I took during the blue hour near the Alexanderplatz. I loved the color contrast between the blue light outside in the street and the yellow light in the shop window. Then I merely waited a few seconds until a subject arrived on the scene (didn’t have more, as the others in the party, already starved, where rushing towards a nearby Vietnamese restaurant that we always visit when in Berlin).

The photo was taken with the PEN-F and the 12mm F/2. Image specs are 1/250 sec @ f/4 and ISO 1600. When shooting people in the blue hour, don’t even try to get the white balance right in order to get correct skin tones. That’s why it is called blue hour 😉

Monsieur Vuong | Berlin | 2018
Monsieur Vuong | Berlin | 2018

That’s “Monsieur Vuong”. Same camera/lens combo, specs 1/20 sec @ f/4.5 and ISO 1600. As I’ve written many times on this blog, instead of complaining about cars parked in the wrong place in front of your subject, use them to your advantage. Have I mentioned I love reflections?

There is more to come from our Berlin weekend, stay tuned!

Wish you a great Sunday!

Marcus

Related Posts:

House of Blue and Gold

Willamette Blue Hour

StoNur on the Road – One Night in Budapest

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting

Mysterious New York City

Empire State Building
Empire State Building

I’m in a bit of a gloomy mood today, not only for yesterday’s depressing World Cup loss of Team Germany, that was well deserved and does not leave much room for any hope of going very far in this tournament.

I had this post on my launchpad for quite some time now. Trying to look at New York City in a very different way, I took a creative approach in post-processing. After monochrome conversion of my Olympus RAW files in Lightroom Classic CC, I played with selective blurring and darkening to create this moody series about some ironing NYC sites. To see them all continue after the jump…. Continue reading “Mysterious New York City”

Instant Inspiration (22) – Variations on a Billboard

Illusion
Illusion | Portland | 2018

During my last transatlantic flight I watched “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”, a quite impressive movie, for which Frances McDormand deservedly won the Academy Award in the category Best Actress in a Leading Role.

“Variations on a Billboard” is the title of the 22nd episode of my “Instant Inspirations”, my series for you if you feel you suffer from “Photographer’s Block”  or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried. Or at least not recently (you can find all previous episodes in my  Learning Center“).

I saw this huge advertisement on the side of high-rise building in downtown Portland. It caught my eye in more than one aspect. Even though it is obvious, I honestly saw it only when I processed the photographs on my computer. They eye wants to see what the eye expects to see.

Then, I started to work the scene trying to capture more variants of this big billboard advertisement. My other favorites and links to previous episodes of “Instant Inspirations” you can find after the jump…. Continue reading “Instant Inspiration (22) – Variations on a Billboard”

Instant Inspiration (21) – Shoot what attracts your eye

Hands
Hands | Portland | 2017

In time for the weekend here is episode 21 of my “Instant Inspirations”, 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.

Not every photo you take needs to make perfect sense. That is, making perfect sense to the outside world. It only needs to please you, make you happy. If someone else likes it, that’s a bonus.

That said, you are not limited to taking “conventional” photos of people, landscape, architecture etc…shoot it all! Whatever visually stimulates you, take a photo of it. Don’t be shy, the limit is only defined by your own taste. Try things out! Let interesting colors, shapes, textures and juxtapositions that catch your eye get your creative juices flowing. Be a visual artist. Go out and experiment and have fun! You only need to please yourself!

The “Hands” shot above I took last night with my iPhone while at dinner with two of my awesome colleagues here in Portland. We were enjoying a fab dinner in a Peruvian restaurant (Andina) in the Pearl District. We were sitting at a copper plated table, and while enjoying wine and great talks I observed my friend Anton lay out the shape of his hand with the chips of the cork from our wine bottle. The mixture of colors, shapes and textures really triggered the desire to take out my iPhone and capture that for my eyes visually appealing scene. Just for myself. And this is what I did. It was my creative moment on an otherwise quite unnerving day of project work, and it made me happy. And this is exactly what photography does for me.

For some more examples of random creativity and links to previous episodes of “Instant Inspirations” continue after the jump….. Continue reading “Instant Inspiration (21) – Shoot what attracts your eye”

Be creative today

Creative
Creative | Portland | 2017

It’s the start of of a new week, albeit a short one here in Germany, as we’re looking forward to two bank holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday, to which I’ll be adding two days of much needed vacation. Throw in Halloween tomorrow, and there will be plenty of opportunity for photography the next days.

November is coming up, in Central Europe commonly dubbed as the most dreary, grey and dullest month of the year. To bridge the time until the start of the festive season, why don’t you take on some creative projects during November, whether it is taking your camera and go shooting some things you haven’t before (find ideas in my Instant Inspiration series in my Learning Center), improve your post processing skills, compile a photo book of your work, or try something completely different like sketching or sculpturing. Brighten up your November by doing something creative.

For some more “creative” Street Photo impressions from Portland’s Saturday Market continue after the jump… Continue reading “Be creative today”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Elemental

Fire Seat
Fire Seat | 2017
Elemental” is the current theme of the weekly photo challenge (WPC) from Word Press’ “The Daily Post”. So I share four long exposure photographs representing the elements “fire”, “water”, “earth” and “air”. Anyone remembering the movie “Angels & Demons” ? First comes fire, where I experimented with long exposures to create the streaks. Image was taken with the Olympus PEN-F, specs are 1,6 sec @ f/2.8 ISO 80 (which is ISO Low on the Oly) and 30mm focal length. The rest of the elements you find after the jump…. Continue reading “Weekly Photo Challenge: Elemental”

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