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In The Practicing Photographer, photographer and teacher Ben Long shares a weekly serving of photographic instruction and inspiration. Each installment focuses on a photographic shooting scenario, a piece of gear, or a software technique. Each installment concludes with a call to action designed to inspire you to pick up your camera (or your mouse or smartphone) to try the technique for yourself.
As photographers we're always worried about seeing and learning to see better and learning to see the world around us and we move through the world trying to see photos wherever we can. This week on The Practicing Photographer we're going to look at how your ear can play a very valuable part in getting better pictures. I've been stomping around out here in the woods shooting fallen logs and kind of landscapey kind of stuff. And because of what I've been shooting I've been in a mode of knowing that I want deep depth of field in most of my shots. So I've got my camera in Aperture Priority mode set it F8. This is a APSIC sensor so F8 is a good balance of, it's going to give me deep depth of field.
And it's not going to be such a small aperture that I get a softening in my image from diffraction artifacts. So I just spotted this moss covered fallen tree with some snow on it and a bright red end here. And I, I've just been so excited to find some color in this otherwise snow covered landscape that I came up here to get a shot of it. So, I've been so shooting with this particular exposure situation that I'm just not even thinking about exposure. And I, I came up and I focused my shot and I took it and I heard this.
Did you hear that? It was a slow shutter sound. Let me play it for you again. That is not the sound of a nice speedy camera shake reducing shutter. Now this lens is stabilized so I'm probably okay, but I've also got so much exposure latitude in here there's no reason to shoot with that slow of a shutter speed. I still want F8 but what my ear is telling me is I need to turn up my ISO. Because right now I'm at ISO 100 because I was out shooting in the sun.
So I'm just going to bump up to 400. That slow shot you just heard was a fifteenth of a second. If I go up two stops that gets me up to a sixtieth of a second. A fifteenth to a thirtieth to a sixtieth. Remember every stop is a doubling. And now I get that sound. Really all I'm worried about here is preventing camera shake. So it's a good idea to pay attention to your shutter sound when you're out shooting. Yes I should've come up here and as soon as I framed the shot taking a look at my shutter speed. That's a habit I'm supposed to have. That's what I'm supposed to be doing all the time but I forget to do that sometimes. So it's nice that I heard. Uh-oh, slow shutter.
I make a small ISO bump. Now my shutter speed is back up. I really don't need to worry about camera shake and I can get my shot.
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