Low Light and Slow Shutter Speeds Equals Blurry Images…But It Doesn’t Have To Be
Late summer evenings can be a magical time to take pictures. Even after the sun drops below the horizon the sky can remain drenched in deeply saturated hues of fiery reds to intoxicating purples. Having a sturdy tripod is always preferred over going the hand-held route…but what if you’re caught without your trusty sticks?
More often than not, my tripod is leaning in the back corner of my closet because it was, “too much trouble” to unbury it. Shame on me, yeah I know, I should practice what I preach, huh?
Overcoming the challenges of the rapidly changing light evening throws at you is well worth the effort. You will be rewarded with a nice collection of dramatic images.
Believe It Or Not – How You Breathe Matters
One of the easiest ways to make a shot blurry is to press the shutter button in the middle of a breath. Holding your breath isn’t much better. I’ve developed a technique that works for me, which is to slow my breathing, when I am ready to shoot, I press the shutter release just after calmly exhaling; and before taking in another breath. Essentially I shoot between breaths, which forces my body to relax.
If I’m standing, I’ll put my left foot in front of my right about shoulder width apart, distributing my weight evenly. My right hand is gripping the camera body, and my left is supporting the lens from underneath. My elbows are tucked into my ribs to form a rigid platform for the camera.
If I’m using a long lens, while gripping the camera with my right hand, reaching across my chest with my left hand, placing it on my right shoulder. When I’m composing the image through the viewfinder, the camera body and lens easily rests on my forearm. This hold is surprisingly stable, and one I use frequently.
Evening Sky Hoop
Using the above shoulder holding technique, I was able to take the shot below. Here are the settings:
- ISO – 800
- Aperture – f5.6
- Shutter Speed – 1/25 sec.
- Lens – 50mm f1.4
So there you have it, a couple of tips for those tricky ever changing low light situations and slow shutter speeds. Oh, one last tip, I tend to shoot in three shot bursts, I almost always use the second image because the first and third ones are too blurry.