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Top 3 Shutter Speed Secrets

Learn the top three shutter speed secrets from professional photographer Luke Ballard in this Howcast video.


So we all know that we can use our shutter speed really fast to freeze motion and action, to capture that moment in time, and generally we know that when we're shooting at nighttime, we can use a slow shutter speed to let in more light and get these beautiful reflections coming down here under the Sydney Harbour Bridge - my hometown. Every time we use a slow shutter speed, whatever's not moving really really fast is going to become beautifully reflective, going to become like a mirror, and it's going to bring all this light down from the buildings, including this crisscross pattern from the bridge, down onto our water source. Probably the biggest secret with slow shutter speed is it can be done during the day.

There is a fantastic filter called a variable ND and by rotating the filter slightly, I can make it completely see-through or completely dark, controlling how much light is entering my camera at whatever time of day I want. This is really fantastic for things like waterfalls. When we have water that's running, rather than becoming a reflective, mirror-like surface, it's going to become misty and almost cloud-like. By using a variable ND filer during the day, we can control our shutter speed to the point where that water is doing fantastic things in what would typically be a nighttime environment. One of the greatest, greatest uses for the ND filter, and using it during the day, is to eliminate tourists from our photographs.

Everyone's been to a national landmark like Machu Picchu or the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty with thousands of tourists crowding the photograph. It's probably the most annoying thing about being on vacation. Using a slow shutter speed through the variable ND filter, I can eliminate hundreds of tourists from the photograph. The biggest secret is anything moving faster than your shutter speed is going to ghost or eventually vanish from the photograph. By having that slow shutter speed during the day, we can't see any of the hundreds of tourists that were there at the same time as I was. So the slower the shutter speed, generally the better your landscape photograph.

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