The idea behind this exercise is to show how varying the shutter speed can allow one to show movement either as frozen in time or as a blur, and to enable you to think about which is best for a given situation. It may be more interesting to either show the point of interest sharply or to have a motion blur to emphasise the excitement of a situation. Either effect can be successful and therefore the shutter speed needs to be considered when choosing the camera settings.
I was thinking about this and considering various options such as going down to the burn or asking my son to spin his bicycle wheel, when I came across this example purely by chance. The light was poor and the sky completely white but I thought the outline of the building was interestingTaken at 1/200 sec the flags are showing clear and sharp so it is easy to see which ones they are.
Taken at 1/60 sec – there is a slight blur showing. You can still identify the flags, but they are clearly moving in the wind.
Taken at 1/30 sec. Here the flags are very blurred, showing a lot of movement but it is difficult to identify them.
All the options have positive points, but I feel the shot taken at 1/60 sec has a good compromise between showing the movement and still being able to clearly identify the national flags on the Town Hall.
Some time ago I was attempting to take pictures of doves flying in and out of their cliff face home. It was interesting to see how fast a shutter speed was needed to ‘freeze’ the wing motion.
Shutter speed 1/1000 and wings still blurred
Shutter speed 1/1250 – wings now just frozen
While the second photograph has the dove in a better place and has a better exposure (you are able to see more detail on the dove’s body) the first is a more interesting shot as it gives a vivid impression of the speed of movement of the wings even when so near to the cliff face. Both pictures were taken hand held, ISO 640, focal length 166m (equivalent to 332mm).