Free Syria II

Here are three more shots from the Free Syria rally I came upon a month back. I hope the day will come that the turbulent times these photos reflect will be nothing but history. The day will come and Syria will be free. I suspect the entire Middle East will one day be free. And these photos will hopefully represent a part of that dark history, never to be repeated.

I was reading one of Scott Kelby’s books on photography at the bookstore on my lunch hour the other day, and I learned a tip that would have been very useful for this type of photography.

The above photos were captured at 1/60th to 1/200th of a second. That’s fast enough, usually, but my subjects were marching down the street in constant movement. I ended up with a handful of shots that were a tad blurry, due to movement. All three shots above were taken at ISO 100 and at F5.6.

Now watch this: Had I increased my ISO by two stops to 400, my shutter speed would have doubled, twice! So, my one shot taken at 1/60th of a second would have doubled once to 1/120th of a second (by moving the ISO up a stop to 200), then again to 1/240th of a second (by moving the ISO up another stop to 400). Moving my ISO up again by a stop to 800 would have given me a shutter speed of approximately 1/500th of a second, ensuring my shots were nice and sharp. Now, I could have widened my aperture but I was already shooting at F5.6 and didn’t want to narrow the depth of field (the amount of the scene that remains in focus).

Just to be clear: The ISO affects the sensor’s sensitivity to light, meaning that the higher the ISO setting, the less light is needed to achieve proper exposure. Full stops of ISO are: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400… Each time you increase your ISO a stop, your camera needs that much less light to achieve proper exposure.

In “Aperture Priority” (which locks the aperture — mine was set to F5.6) the camera compensates for the increased sensitivity due to a higher ISO setting by increasing the speed of the shutter (which, by doing so, lets less light in). Shutter speeds are also counted by stops, such as: 1/2 second, 1/4 second, 1/8th second, 1/15th, 1/30th, 1/60th, 1/125th, 1/250th, 1/500, 1/1000 and so on…

For each stop you increase your ISO, your camera will increase the shutter speed by a stop, assuming the aperture is locked. This is valuable to know since when it comes to getting sharp shots, it’s all about the shutter speed.

Shutter speed: Typically, anything under 1/30th of a second makes it difficult to hold the camera steady enough to get a sharp shot. I can get a sharp shot at as low as 1/15th of a second, but it’s hit and miss. At 1/60th of a second, you’ll still see movement in the legs of people walking through your shot. Cyclists will be blurry. If you wish to freeze walking people entirely, you should be shooting above 1/120th of a second, maybe as high as 1/160th of a second. If you wish to freeze a cyclist riding through your shot, increase your shutter speed to something in the 1/250th range. Once you begin to think about shutter speeds, you’ll find yourself thinking about upping the ISO or widening your aperture (wider aperture = more light, which = faster shutter speeds).

Anyway, thought I’d throw that out there. If I’ve gotten anything wrong, feel free to jump in and correct me. If you have any questions, ask away.

This entry was posted in Black & White Photography, Street Photography, Toronto, Urban Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Free Syria II

  1. Scott Kelby’s books are great. Fortunately, I’m married to a Barnes & Noble store manager, so I get real nice discounts on real books that I can hold in my hands. lol

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