Lesson 90: Slow Shutter

In Lesson 83, I showed you how to look at the shutter speed used when you took a photo by looking at the metadata in iPhoto iOS.  But, we didn’t have any choice about what shutter speed was used; it was picked by the camera app we used.  Today, I want to introduce you to an app that allows you to choose slow shutter speeds for fun effects.  It’s called SlowShutter and it’s available in the app store for $.99.

Using a slow shutter speed allows you to create interesting effects like light trails when cars drive by or to pan with a subject in motion, allowing the background to blur behind your subject.  For today’s example, I thought I’d start with something fun–drawing with a light source.

To do this, you need a light of some kind in darkness.  I have two examples.  For one, I found a healthy use for a lit cigarette–use it as your light source for a light trail.  For the other, I used a small light for a bicycle and handheld it.  In both cases, I set the SlowShutter app to a shutter speed of 8 seconds and then drew a heart shape in front of the camera.  I propped the camera on a steady base for both images, although a tripod would have been better–my hearts are a little shaky!

Because the light source is so much brighter than the rest of the scene, it registers in the image while the rest of the scene remains dark.  To change the shutter speed setting, tap the lens icon in the lower left corner of the SlowShutter app and then select the shutter speed you want.  I started with the “light trails” category to get to the 8 second shutter speed.

photo

Your Assignment:  Try downloading the SlowShutter app and then using a flashlight or other light source to see if you can capture words drawn with light.  Hint:  you’ll need a second person to draw the words or operation the camera so you can get enough distance between you and the light source to fit a word in the frame.

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