Introspectives #24

After the imperfections of Polaroid, many street photographers have continued to capture that instantaneous sense of moment and movement with some disregard to finer technicalities. I snapped this mother’s tender touch on her boy just as it happened and the slight blur adds privacy to the moment.mother and son at the museum - monochrome

For an amateur like me, the tremendous footfall of visitors to the British Museum makes it hard to frame, calculate and set speeds quickly (especially since the LCD screen stopped functioning – see footnote). However, there is no better place to learn about movement and low light.  To blur or not to blur – that is the question.

Obviously moving subjects appear blurred at slow shutter speeds but I went slower still for the above right capture.  The 30mm lens at 1/15seconds is evidently below the recommended hand-held shutter speed to lens ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 on a four thirds DSLR. Even with inbuilt lens stability there will be blur at lower ratios but yet the mistake still worked quite well as freeze frame is not always best…though it is just right for the smaller, stiller details….

bronze hare sculpture - Greek gallery - British museum
f2.8; 1/60; ISO 320

Of course, clarity is important and in the very low light conditions of the Greek galleries I did rely more on auto mode. However, this zapped the ISO up to 1600 and at these higher settings “the camera uses noise reduction processes to reduce the appearance of noise, and these erode fine detail”.*

With so much silhouetting, slight blurring is not only acceptable but quite desirable. I like the atmospheric lighting but yet these photos have that museum look of detachment – that historical and visual divide between viewed and viewers.

blurring the subject-object divide as well as the focus

In an attempt to overcome this divide, I kept the camera on manual focus and instead of trying to get round the complexity of glass and interior lights, I integrated them, often switching focus to reflections, shadow or background.   Blurring the lines between then and now, the image becomes more complex and sometimes, more interesting. Watch this space!

Coming Soon: Tomorrow I am Freeing Up Fridays with some ICM!

Footnote: since the LCD screen stopped functioning – see Water in the Hold, I’ve had to rely solely on the electronic eye-piece and have become a short-sighted fumbler. I should use shutter priority mode for street photography and people shots  rather than manual or auto.

Useful Links:
10 reasons your photo are blurry…

Thinking out loud with an aim to improve and learn more about photography. Hence the images are not always for show – feedback is welcome.


5 thoughts on “Introspectives #24

  1. I like slightly blurred people moving – it gives more life to the picture. “…these photos have that museum look of detachment – that historical and visual divide between viewed and viewers.” Nicely put – and I agree. But I think it would be very difficult to shoot without the LCD.

    1. i think the focus on visitors makes for a greater sense of detachment so I experimented with ways to try and integrate more – see next week’s photos.
      PS I got so used to the touch screen am having to learn knobs & switches instead – its slowing my reactions to scenes down but that should improve

  2. I like both the sharply focused and the blurred one. I have yet to experiment with motion blur, every time I’ve tried, I lost patience… maybe something to try out during the Xmas holidays – motion blur and bokeh together is something I’d like to try

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