April Homework: On The Move (again, with a prize)

I’ve extended the April homework assignment through the end of May.  Have fun!

The March homework assignment worked out so well that I’m doing it again.

We all know that photos are static representations of the world– a moment frozen in time by the camera’s shutter. However, photos can also be dynamic, and show both split-second and slow changes.

JohnInMotionThis month’s homework assignment is both very simple and much harder than last month’s– capture something in motion. It can be a golf stroke, cars whizzing by, the blur of a bird’s wings, anything you choose, but I want to see some nice motion blur.

Like last month, the idea here is to plan the image before you capture it, not just shoot a bunch and hope you get lucky. You can use aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, or bulb modes at your discretion. Bulb mode isn’t something we’ve talked much about, but it’s really very simple– rather than using a fixed shutter speed, the shutter stays open for as long as you hold the button down. Bulb mode is typically used with a remote shutter release of some sort, so that you don’t shake the camera by pressing the shutter button. It’s most commonly used when you want exposures longer than 30 seconds. You probably won’t need it for this, but you can use it if you want to.

One thing to be aware of is that longer exposures are much easier than shorter ones, since it can be easier to get the timing right.

Upload your photo to a photo sharing site (I recommend Flickr but any one will do). Leave a comment on this message with the settings that you used, a link to your photo, and anything else you want to say about the image.

Colors In MotionAt the end of April 2008, I’ll pick one commenter at random and send them an 8×12 signed print from my flower porn collection. If at least 20 people submit entries, I’ll give away a second print to the submitter of the best image. You can enter more than once, but don’t get carried away.

Have a field day! This one should be fun.

Small print: void where prohibited by law. Anyone who clearly violates the spirit of the rules will be disqualified. Don’t put that in your mouth… you don’t know where it’s been. Please make sure your images are worksafe. You can post more than one photo, but you’ll only get one chance at the drawing. It must be a photo that you took specifically for this assignment, not something pulled out of the archives. Play nice. Judging is at my discretion, and is final. SSA might want to show your image in a future entry, but we don’t want any other rights to it– if we want to use it for anything else, we’ll play nice and ask for your permission first.


Filed under Exposure

12 responses to “April Homework: On The Move (again, with a prize)

  1. Tyler

    While on vacation at Universal Orlando this week, I got these two rollercoaster pictures:

    Dueling Dragons Hulk

    I was excited to see this as the homework assignment, as my first thought was “great, I can get an in-motion picture of Hulk!”

  2. stopshootingauto

    Nice, Tyler! Now tell us what you did to get those shots.

  3. Tyler

    It was pretty easy; I set up the shot by setting the camera to drive mode (where I take a series of pictures by pressing and holding the shutter button), choosing 100 ISO (if I had a slower ISO, I’d have used it!) in shutter priority, prefocusing on the area I was intending to shoot, and choosing the longest shutter I could at that focal length (yeah, I could probably have done the same by setting it to aperture priority and choosing the highest f/stop that I could — smallest aperture — but this is easier), and then pressing the shutter button when I heard the coaster coming. Yeah, I got about 20 pictures for every 1 I posted. I could hear the cars coming several seconds before the right picture, so I pressed early — I might have been able to do better if I’d not had to use the viewfinder to see where I was shooting (I don’t have a tripod, so I was bracing both shots against solid items; a fence in both cases). Still, digital cameras with big memory cards means never having to delete a shot, right?

  4. Erica


    this doesnt really fit the homework subject, but this is a pic that I took following all the lessons I have learned so far! I metered on the outside and shot from the inside, creating the silhouette look. yay me!

  5. Erica

    Here’s my homework!!


    using my new mini tripod ($10 piece of junk)

  6. I’ve been pokey about getting myself a tripod. Possibly because it keeps snowing here, too. I got some motion-blurred guitarist photos this weekend, but they weren’t otherwise acceptable.

    I do have something that might stretch the bounds of things considered photography, since it involves deliberate camera shake, deliberately blowing the hell out of the highlights, and quite a bit of of postwork. But it’s interestingly surreal, at least to me. There are technique comments on the Flickr page.

    And a crop: http://www.flickr.com/photos/timprov/2422564267/sizes/o/in/set-72157604592069080/

    Not quite your typical long-exposure waterfall.

  7. kd40

    Just found your website and really enjoy it. I will look forward to entering in future homework assignments. Here is a link to a motion shot even though it is a little late.

    Starry Night

  8. mockbird

    just found your website … i know i can learn alot hre… i’ve been taking baby steps to get away from auto … i was playing around with different settings so not exactly sure what i was doing at this particular shot

  9. Settings:

    ISO- 100
    Exposure- 16″ at f/5.6
    Focal Length- 55mm
    Exposure Program- Manual

    Came home one night and just looked at the moon and had to have this shot so I set up my tripod and waited for a car to come up the hill and used my remote for the D80 to open the shutter….took me 5 cars to get the exposure just right…stood out in the cold for about 30 min because it was so late there was very little traffic.

  10. http://www.jpgmag.com/photos/679636

    Not as sure to the details because this was film shot with a Canon AE-1…but I’m pretty sure I remember.

    ISO: 400 Kodak TMAX
    Exposure: 1/30″ f/11
    Focal Length: 55mm
    Exposure Program: N/A, manual camera.

    It’s technically a failed shot…because we tried to get the shot with a car in the background since he was manualing down Junipero Serra in SF opposite of traffic down the middle lane (with a lot of caution I assure you) we only did it with sparse traffic but it was hard to get the timing right for some reason…anyways it turned out to be not all that bad.

  11. my homework…

    iso 800
    at 155mm (75-300mm)

    edited on pscs3, only the bw conversion

  12. Working on our night moves

    I only had a little bit of time to take a couple of shots before I had to pick up a friend. I aim to try again to take some more motion shots if the opportunity arises before the end of the contest.

    Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
    Exposure: 1 sec (1)
    Aperture: f/3.5
    Focal Length: 18 mm
    ISO Speed: 100
    Date and Time: 2008:05:15 20:55:21
    Lens Type: EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

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