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[Part 3] Blurring Moving People for More Dynamic Street Shots

Long exposure photography is often used in shooting landscapes, but you can also use it to express the dynamism of a street. In the 3rd article of the series, I would like to introduce a long exposure technique that you can use in street photography during the day. (Reported by: Issaque Foujita)

0.3 sec

EOS 5D Mark III/ EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM/ FL: 70mm/ Shutter-priority AE (f/22, 0.3 sec, EV+0.7)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto

I shot this intersection on a rainy day with a shutter speed of 0.3 sec. A sense of rhythm is reproduced by blurring the movements of the people to express the dynamism of the city. I also brightened the exposure to produce a sense of agility.

Look for the right degree of blurring that allows the shape of the subjects to be distinguished

In this situation, a long exposure is used to express the ambience and dynamism of the streets by capturing a sense of rhythm and motion in people and vehicles that cannot be conveyed in a static picture. When taking a long exposure shot of a street during the day, aim to create a contrast between moving and stationary objects. In other words, combine the people and vehicles with buildings and trees by the road, etc.

Let me explain how to take such a shot. Set the shooting mode to “Shutter-priority AE”. First, try out a shutter speed of about 0.25 sec and then slow it down gradually. If it is too slow, the shapes of the people and vehicles will blur too much, so look for a shutter speed that will allow the shapes to be distinguished to a certain extent. I managed to get an adequate level of shake with a shutter speed of 0.3 sec when taking the title picture above.

EOS 5D Mark III/ EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM/ FL: 70mm/ Shutter-priority AE (f/3.5, 1/125 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto

As this example illustrates, it is difficult to feel a sense of motion, rhythm and agility from an image in which the movements of the people are static. Look for a shutter speed that allows the figures of the people to be discerned even when blurred.

If the shooting location is bright, you might not be able to get a suitable aperture value even at a shutter speed of 0.25 sec (because the lens used may not be able to handle the aperture calculated by the camera), and a blowout warning display may appear. In this case, you will need to lower the ISO speed or take other measures to reduce the light intensity, such as by using an ND filter. An ND filter is also often required when shooting with a wide aperture in order to produce a bokeh or high-key effect. If a single ND filter is insufficient, you can consider using several filters at once.

Use a tripod mount when shooting with a shutter speed longer than 0.25 sec. Otherwise, the background will also be blurred, turning the shot simply into one with camera shake. Using the self-timer function is another technique that is often used in long exposure photography to prevent camera shake.

A tripod mount is used for a shutter speed slower than 0.25 sec. It is necessary even when using a wide-angle lens, although such lenses tend not to have conspicuous camera shake.

If the shutter timing is not particularly important for the street scene you are shooting, you can suppress camera shake when releasing the shutter by using the self-timer even if you do not have a remote controller or release. On this occasion, I took the shot with the self-timer set to 2 sec.

Issaque Foujita

Born in Tokyo, he is a freelance, non-genre photographer with a laid-back, natural style who is also known as a whimsical cameraman.

Digital Camera Magazine

A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.

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