Creating Motion In Images

You can hand-hold modern cameras with crazy-low shutter speeds these days.

My workshop client was excited about the first stop on the itinerary. She wanted to try her hand at a time lapse sequence and get close to the action of people coming and going on the platforms.

It was the first time I've had a request to photograph in a train station specifically, and we spent a good two hours at Churchgate Station in Mumbai, attempting to creatively capture the chaos.

Towards the end of our visit, the inbound trains became packed with people and more in line with what my client wanted to see. With the time lapse option off the table due to a permissions requirement for the higher perspective overlooking the station, I suggested we slow our shutter speeds down drastically in order to blur the action.

For added effect, we focused on subjects in the foreground who were not moving or at least remaining mostly still. We hand-held shutter speeds up to half-a-second, which was what this image was shot at. Zooming in, you will notice that the young woman isn't exactly what you'd call tack sharp. But the aim with this kind of photography, I believe, is to pay homage to Einstein and maintain a "relative" relationship between subject and background. That's to say, the young woman seated is relatively sharp compared to her surroundings.

There's an old rule in photography that needs to be disposed off in the modern era of photography, the so-called reciprocal rule. The basic rule states that your shutter speed should be at minimum the reciprocal of your focal length. So if you were shooting with a 35mm focal length, your shutter speed shouldn't be anything less than 1/35 to help prevent camera shake.

This used to make good sense back in another era. But these days, it's amazing what you can get away by hand-holding shots with exceedingly slower shutter speeds - when you need to create a certain effect. With IBIS and other advances in camera technology coupled with the sharpening and anti-shake effects provided by Photoshop and other plugins, there's a lot that photographers can do these days without the aid of a tripod.

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