Archive: ‘Shutter Speed’

Our Front Yard in the Summer!

Monday, August 15th, 2011


Remember the hot summers when you were growing up and your mom made you stay outside all day because that is what kids did back then? You grabbed the hose when you were thirsty and made mud pies and rode your bike to the drug store to get candy with your allowance. That is what my brother and I did when we were little! So you can imagine my surprise when my kids were playing outside in the heat this week and asked me for drinks and I said “Get the hose” and they had no idea what I was talking about! I had to show them how to get water out of the hose in the front yard! Then they said that the water taste funny! Could it be that my kids got this far being kids not knowing what hose water taste like?!



(keep the shutter speed really fast to get the water to freeze this shot was 1/660)

Our dog gets hot too so she hides in the ivy to cool off:


My photo-stories these days are all about playing in the front yard…


Baseball is ‘the game’ at our house – -  Finding last year’s lost ball in the bushes is always like finding a treasure!


….the dog likes finding  baseballs too!


The boys can’t get enough of it!


Photo Tips for Front Yard Summer Fun!

  1. You won’t get any outside shots you leave your camera inside on the kitchen counter! Don’t forget to take it outside!
  2. Look for the everyday stuff that seem like little things – -one day they will be the big memories.
  3. Don’t forget to photograph your pets too.
  4. Get the action shots not just the mug ‘say cheese’ shots.
  5. Set your camera on the sports setting if your kids are moving fast.
  6. Don’t make it real obvious that you have your camera –  just start shooting and they will act natural.
  7. Watch your backgrounds and get down on their level.
  8. Try different angles. Get lower than their level for some shots. I had to shoot ‘up’ for the ‘hose’ shots above to avoid the neighbors car in the background.
  9. Don’t stress!
  10. Don’t forget to bring your camera back in! It is easy to forget it and leave it outside on these long lazy summer nights.

Your ISO Is Your Friend At Christmas

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Learn how to make your ISO work for you this ‘low light’ holiday season… these indoor shots would be harder with a low ISO. Even though it is a tad bit grainy, it is not a bad trade off.  Remember to practice and get your settings figured out before the ‘moment’ happens… The fast shutter speed was made possible by the high ISO which allowed these ‘low light’ shots to be in focus.


both pictures ss 1/200, F stop 2.8, ISO 3200

If your ISO only goes to 1600 or your F stop doesn’t go to 2.8: get the ISO as high as you can and the f stop as low as you can and play with the shutter speed.  Try to get it in focus. It is OK if it is a tad dark, you can lighten it up a bit post editing. but you can’t get the focus post edit.  Don’t forget that you can shoot Christmas lights during the day too so the overall light will be better.

Also, the best ‘bang-for-your-buck- great-for-a- mom lens is  the 50mm fixed 1.4 or 1.8.  Put it on your list for Santa, you will be able to get wonderful shots of your kids! It is a very inexpensive way to get hold of that wonderful low f stop setting!


A lesson on Shutter Speed

Sunday, November 7th, 2010
Understanding shutter speed comes in very handy when you have FAST kids. If you are photographing flowers or other things that don’t move, it isn’t as important. My kids move so fast, I had to learn this lesson early!
These photos show the shutter speed lesson so clear. I set the speed really fast to 1/2500 to try to ‘freeze’ the action and the water. The water drops are frozen and the subject is in focus. This is so important when you are in action situations like sports and other ‘life’ activities with kiddos running around!
One really cool way to learn this concept is to ask your husband if you and 3 girlfriends can plan a trip to Cancun (without him or the kids) so you can learn how to use the shutter speed button on your camera. Tell him that all you will need is a week away and some spending money! If he says ‘go right ahead sweetie, you deserve some time with your friends’, then call me and I will meet you there. If he gives you a different answer…then….go to plan b and turn on your kitchen sink faucet (kinda slow) and take a photo of the water running to experiment with your shutter speeds. Look at the difference in your photos between the fast and the slow settings. The best time to learn this is when your mind is somewhat clear and you don’t have kids at your feet and are not trying to get the perfect shot on the soccer field with all the distractions…humm…maybe 3am?!  It will be totally worth it to nail this concept so get to work and give it a try!
I liked the ‘wall of water’ here…
camera settings:
1/2500, F 3.0, ISO 100
Canon 50D

Your F Stop helps you tell the story.

Saturday, November 6th, 2010
It is so much easier to tell your story when you understand f stop and blur. Our eyes will naturally focus on what is in focus in the photo. If both the leaves and Evan were in focus in this photo, your brain would have a hard time determining what was important: what the story was. So, by lowering the f stop (making the opening let in more light) and focusing on Evan you begin telling the story. The rest of the story comes when you get that expression of joy and accomplishment with the successful catch of the football. But you have to be quick…these moments happen in a split second so click – click – click – click. With a little practice you will end up with what you are looking for: that look on his face that tells the story.

In the photo below I focused on his hands. I just love the way he is holding his hands waiting for the football so I cropped the photo in a way that would allow your eye to focus on his hands. It is such a cute detail. You can’t ask for it but you can sure look for it. You will be so happy you did!


F 5, 1/640, ISO 800
if the shutter speed was slower, he may not have been in focus because he was moving fast. Remember that when there is a lot of action you need to have a higher number on your shutter speed to catch it. If your subject is standing still it can be a little slower.

Tell the story from a different angle.

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

I always get a lot of feet and the bottom of the swing when I try to take pictures of the kids on the swing set. Tip: If you are not getting what you want try something different, don’t keep trying the same thing if it isn’t working. I’m not sure what made me get this shot but I am glad I thought to stand behind him and get it. Try to get the feet included, I almost didn’t and it may not tell the same story if you don’t have the feet! You should be able to duplicate this one pretty easy and it is so fun!
F 5.6, 1/1000, 6\ISO 640 no flash 6pm
notice very fast shutter speed – – he was going fast and I wanted it to be in focus…


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