Shutter Priority Mode

May 02, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

The first post was about aperture and depth of field.  This time we will venture into the shutter speed.
 

On your camera, you will have a selection called Tv:
Tv = Time Value   This mode is a "shutter priority" setting.  You pick the shutter speed desired and it will automatically set the aperture (or F-stop) for you.  
 

Using a shutter preferred automatic mode is great for action.  You may want a high shutter speed to stop action (such as 1/500) or a lower one to slow things down.
 

Here is an example of two airplanes.  This one was shot at 1/2000 second (sec) shutter speed:

P51-stopped prop You can see the propeller is stopped which makes the plane appear unnatural.  As a pilot, the last thing I want to see is a stopped propeller out in front of me. 

So to make it more natural and have the plane appear to be flying, lower the shutter speed to no higher than 1/250 sec.  This next shot was done at 1/125 sec:

Notice the motion in the propellers.  Keep in mind what you want to shoot, what you need in focus and what you might want blurred.
 

To use the Tv mode in a different way, here is another situation where I'm shooting a waterfall.  The shutter speed was set at 1/125 sec. and you can see the water as it appeared to the eye.

waterfall, slow shutter, fast shutter I then set the shutter speed to 0.3 seconds.  This allows the shutter to be open longer catching more of the water which causes the soft flowing effect.  I always get a kick out of people who say it's "airbrushed".  No, these are right out of the camera.  It's something any photographer can do...including you! 

waterfall, slow shutter

I don't recommend using a shutter speed of less than 1/60 if you are hand-holding the camera.  For slow shutter speeds, you will want the camera on a tripod.  To shoot the slow shutters like the image above, you will also want to have a cable release or a remote to activate your shutter.  Even though your camera is on a tripod, when you manually click the shutter button to take the picture, you will be creating motion in the tripod. 

 

Here is one last example of deciding what you want in focus and what can be blurred:

horse racing, morning workout

You can see here where the horse and rider are in focus yet the legs and the background are blurred, indicating motion.  This one was also shot at 1/125 sec. 


So experiment with the Tv setting.  Pick different shutter speeds and see what happens. 

 

If you wish to share an image or receive critique, email your image to mjbuckely@yahoo.com.

Good luck - and Let's Practice!


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