Dragging the shutter

In photography you will often read or hear about “dragging the shutter” – what does this mean?

This expression generally refers to using a slower shutter speed than what normally be the case.


For instance, when shooting fast moving action such as a person running you might generally use a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second to freeze the action, thereby avoiding motion blur.arterres.fr, However if you reduce the shutter speed to something like 1/60th of a second you will most certainly see some blur in your image.

However a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second is perfectly suitable for preventing motion blur when photographing a snail, but if you slow the shutter to 2 seconds or more you will once again introduce motion blur.

Dragging the shutter therefore does not refer to a specific shutter speed, but to a deliberate shutter speed reduction which will introduce some kind of motion blur. www.purityherbs-islande.fr,Doing this might introduce some dramatic effects if used with care and is often used to great advantage.


Below are some examples of shutter drag :


8 seconds was slow enough to blur the water. This is a techinique very often used by landscape photographers.


A 4 seconds exposure was all that was needed here to create beautiful blur.


6 seconds exposure.


30 seconds was long enough to capture the moving light without showing the person doing the moving, yet fast enough to keep the static flowers sharp.


Slow revolving lights required 20 seconds to create this blur. Dragging the shutter turned an otherwise somewhat boring image into something more interesting.


Dragging the shutter is not only used to introduce blur in an image, but is also extremely useful when shooting in low light to prevent having to increase the camera’s sensitivity (ISO setting). This curbs the inevitable appearance of noise in an image. With care one can curb the noise and still have little enough blur so as not to spoil the image.

Notice in the image below that noise is very low, yet the people sitting at the restaurant tables are still discernible  and not overly blurred.


A 20 second exposure was fast enough to not completely obliterate people movement, but ensured that the image could be shot at a low camera sensitivity setting,Nike Pas Cher, thereby eliminating most of the noise usually present in low-light photographs.


An 8 second exposure was required here to blur the wheel turning and to prevent the flashing lights on the wheel from appearing only in part.


A 1/125 second exposure was used here to ensure only partial blur. The dancers hands and feet are blurred to maintain the sense of movement, yet the rest of her body still appears stationary.


Stay tuned for some even more dramatic examples of shutter drag!



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