I love slice-of-time photography. I am trying to get better at it. Having a camera that can shutter at a remarkable 1/8000 of a second (matching Nikon’s flagship D3x and Canon’s flagship 1d mark III) means I can really stop time.
So I have this time stopping power, what good is it? My brain has always wondered how and why. I became a technical director as a result of asking those two questions. The human eye can see at about 1/50th of a second. There is some dispute out there that it is over 1/120th, but since our brains cannot be plugged in, they are having a hard time quantifying the results. Anyway, using very fast shutter speeds you can capture a moment in time that the human brain otherwise would not see. Our vision just averages what we see into fluid motion.
This is the beauty of, and why video has not replaced, photography. There is something majestic about stopping time and allowing your mind to take you back to that moment of the image, or seeing an image and being able to see the detail and complexity of it. Something not possible with moving video.
Todays image shows a fall back of super fast shutters. I don’t have enough light handy to use it. At 1/8000 of a second, even with my 1.8 50mm prime lens, I still cannot get a great shot using lights I have near me. Today I wanted to see how fast I can get my flash to allow me to reach.
The barrier that I hit with super-fast flash speeds has to do with the mechanical shutter found on DSLR cameras (with few exceptions like the retired Nikon D70) Past about 1/320ths of a second the flash will have fired before the shutter is open all the way. This means part of the image is more exposed to the light than the other. Nikon’s use a curtian style shutter that moves up, the snaps down. You will see in the image from today I was shooting well past the safe speeds, and as such, the top of my image is darker than the bottom. I actually had more black or partially black pictures than ones that would work.
I read alot tonight learning how the flash and shutters interact. Ken Rockwell is always packed with amazing information, as is the Strobist Blog. Those were my two primary sources for much of my synopsis above. If you like what I have started here, check out this blog post from a UK based fan of strobist photography.
Since I don’t have a macro lens, nor the funds to get a good one, I picked up a set of basic Close-Up filters by Promaster. Today’s image was taken on my Nikkor 1.8 50mm Prime and the Close-Up+4 filter. The subject was our kitchen faucet set to spray. I placed a navy blue towel behind the water stream. The orange you see refracting in the water is our awesome triple-bowl 70’s era kitchen sink.
Nikon D7000 | 1/5000 | ISO 200 | 50mm | f/14 | flash: Promaster 7500EDF