Shutter Speed: Photographing Lightning, Stars, and Water | Tabitha Park | Skillshare

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Shutter Speed: Photographing Lightning, Stars, and Water

teacher avatar Tabitha Park, Product & Food Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed


    • 3.

      The Mechanics of "the click"


    • 4.

      Equivalent Exposure


    • 5.

      Photographing Lightning


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Light Painting


    • 8.

      Freezing Action


    • 9.

      Slow Shutter Cam App


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

In this class I'll be talking in depth about Shutter Speed! I'll go over the mechanics behind how your camera takes a picture and how Shutter Speed affects your photographs.

We'll go over Long Exposure photography and I'll guide you through photographing lightning and stars!
Then we'll talk about high speed photography and I'll walk you through a setup for photographing water splashing in your kitchen at home.

This class is great for beginner photographers who want a better understanding of how their camera works as well as seasoned professionals who want to hone their long exposure and high speed photography skills.

Meet Your Teacher

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Tabitha Park

Product & Food Photographer

Top Teacher

Hi! I'm Tabitha and I teach photography classes. I'm a lifestyle, product, and food photographer living in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, our 17 gorgeous chickens, and Smallcat! I love plants and coffee and naps. In my spare time I'm a reckless gardener (irl and in Stardew Valley), and unapologetic hobby starter. Currently hyperfixating on crochet, embroidery, and spoon carving!

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1. Introduction: Hey, in this class we're going to talk, shutter speed. I'll go over aperture and ISO as well, because they are equally important to making a good picture, and then we're just going to talk shutter speed until it clicks. I'm super excited to show you all the rad pictures that you can make just by pushing your shutter speed. We're going to talk about high-speed photos, long exposure. I'll show you how to take pictures of lightning, stars, light painting, water splashing. If the idea of manual mode is terrifying to you or you have a really good understanding of your camera, and you just want to take your photography further, this class is for you. I'm going to tell you all about lenses, tripods, remote triggers, neutral density filters. I'll show you my before and afters, and all the settings that I use to get great results. It's going to be fun. If you don't have a DSLR yet, I will show you an app that you can use to do long exposure effects with your iPhone. So yeah, my name is Sabatha and I'm a photographer, professionally and for fun, and I'm super excited to teach this class. So grab a pen, let's do this. 2. Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed: Starting at the top, photography is the documentation of light. That's it. Without light, you can't make a picture, which is why you should never get married in a cave. I said it. A properly exposed photograph is like a recipe and the three main ingredients are aperture, ISO and shutter speed. Aperture. Aperture is the size of the opening on your lens. This is a wide aperture because the hole is really big, lets lots of light in. This is a narrow aperture. It lets less light in as quickly, but it's great for if you want everything in your picture to be in focus, like if you're doing landscape photography. Conversely, a really wide aperture, less of your picture is going to be in focus. So maybe for portraiture, if you were taking a picture of me, my face would be in focus but behind me would be blurry. The wider your aperture is, the more blurry the background is. Some specialty lenses have apertures that go down to 1.4, which is really big. Trust me, 1.4, and so those have a super shallow depth of field. Maybe the tip of my nose or my eyes are in focus and the rest just gets creamier and creamier as it gets further or closer to the lens. That is aperture. ISO. ISO measures how sensitive your camera sensor or film is to the light that's going inside the camera. So the higher the number, the higher your ISO is, the easier it will be to capture that light. The easier it will be it for the sensor to see the light quicker. But it comes at the cost of a grainy or noisy photograph. So it's usually best to set your ISO to as low as you can, typically that's 100 ISO, at least that's on my camera, both of my Nikons. The lowest ISO I can have is a 100. So I usually like to stay at 100, and then if I'm shooting in a scene where I still need more light and I don't want to open up my aperture anymore or take a slower photo, I would just crank up my ISO till it gives me enough light. So it's best for a sharp image quality or for the highest image quality that you can, it is best to set your ISO to the lowest possible. But obviously, if you need more light crank it up, that's what it's for. There's a lot of post-processing that you can do to reduce the amount of noise in the picture, but definitely don't rely on post-processing. Try and get as good of a quality image as you can in camera, and then fix it if you need to. Then, because I know you're dying to know, ISO stands for International Standards Organization. Of course, that makes sense, right? I don't know what it means either. But we're talking shutter speed in this class, so we don't need to know. Which brings us to shutter speed, naturally. Shutter speed is the length of time that your sensor is being exposed to the light of the scene. The keyword here is time. The more time the shutter curtain is open, letting light hit the sensor or film, the more bright your photo is going to be basically. So shutter speeds typically range from one-eight thousandth of a second. Faster than that. Faster than that. Way fast for high-speed photos, all the way down to forever. I think the longest I've ever taken a photo is 30 minutes. So my camera has been open for 30 minutes, exposing a picture in that time. Obviously, it was pitch black outside and I was doing pictures of stars. We'll get into star photography, it's really amazing. Then somewhere in the middle is where you would do your everyday pictures, portraits, travel photos, that kind of stuff. 3. The Mechanics of "the click": Let's talk a little bit about how a shutter even works. There's a lot of words. A shutter-release. That's the button, the trigger on your camera to take the picture, shutter-release. Then, a shutter curtain is what actually opens and closes inside your camera. This is an old film camera. Don't judge me for hanging out with a camera without a lens on it. I feel like this is impolite, this is like wearing no pants. The reason you want to make sure that you have a lens on your camera all the time is to help keep everything inside here clean. Dust can get in and it can scratch your sensor. If you have a DSLR, it could scratch your film, it can ruin things. Pretty much keep your lens on your camera at all times. But for this demonstration, I took it off so you could see what's happening. A DSLR, that stands for digital single-lens reflex. This is an SLR, so it's just a single-lens reflex. It's not digital, it's manual. What we have in here is a mirror. The mirror is helpful so that when we look through our viewfinder, what we see is what we get. Old camera are like little point-and-shoot like scratch, scratch, scratch, little point-and-shoot cameras that you just mail in and then they give you your pictures back. They have a separate viewfinder that's higher than where the actual picture is being taken, and so you have to compensate for that. These are awesome because with the mirror, you can set up the exact composition of your scene, and you know that what you're seeing is exactly what's going to happen on your exposure. So the mirror is in the way of the film or of the sensor. What happens when you take a picture is the mirror goes up and out of the way, and then now light can touch your film or your sensor. When the picture's done, the mirror goes back down. This happens so fast. This is one second. Taking the picture and not taking the picture anymore. This is one-thirtieth of a second. All of that happened in one-thirtieth of a second. Mirror up, there's two curtains. They're called curtains. They're just a series of metal blades that work together to be smaller or bigger. The two curtains are up like this, and your picture is here. Two curtains up here. You take the picture, the first curtain goes down, the second currying follows. If you have one second, it's like one, and that's your picture. If you have one-thirtieth of a second, it only has a slit. It starts at the top, and it just goes, and the slit, they just follow each other, one-one thousandth of a second. The slit is so tiny and it just zips down the image. The top of the picture is being exposed first, and then it goes down to the bottom of the picture. The reason that the shutter curtains don't work like this is because the middle of the picture sees more light than the top and bottom edges. Because it's like middle, middle, middle, middle, middle, middle, top and bottom edge for a second, and then more of the middle, so much of the middle. The middle would be so bright, and the top and the bottom would be really dark. This doesn't work unless it's so fast that your camera wouldn't notice it. But we have a technology where the whole picture can be exposed at equal amount of time. We have our little sliver of light, and then the mirror goes back down. All of that happens in that tiny amount of time. The Slow Mo Guys put out a video on YouTube that shows exactly what's happening in super slow motion so you can see what it looks like with different shutter speeds. I totally recommend looking that video because it was so cool to see exactly what's happening in the camera. I used to think that it was the aperture, like a picture. It's like picture done. No, this doesn't move. This stays exactly where it is, and then the shutter curtain is what happens inside the camera. These are independent of each other, but they work as a team basically. So yeah, this is one-one thousandth of a second. All of that happened already. Mirror up, shutters down, shutters back mirror down, all of that happened in that click, that one click. Then, this is one-quarter of a second, this is a whole second. Picture, no more picture. Bulb mode. Let's talk bulb mode for a second. This is where you just have your camera open for as long as you want. It works by depressing the shutter, and it's open. Right now, it would be taking a picture this whole time. It's still taking a picture because the mirror is out of the way, light is pouring into the camera, exposing the film or the sensor. Digital cameras don't work quite the same, so this, if I let go, it's done, end of the picture. I can set my own shutter speed. It doesn't work quite the same on digital cameras. Digital cameras, what you have to do is you depress the shutter and then it opens, and then you just walk away, do whatever you want, come back, depress the shutter again, and it closes. You can use a remote trigger for this. This is a remote trigger. If I click it, it'll stop my video, so I'm not going to click it. But it's just this little tiny remote that lets off an infrared that talks to the front of the camera. Another important thing to note: if you're clicking at the back of a camera, it's not going to see it. There has to be a straight line, a beam of light. If your hand is covering it, it's not going to work. You have to make sure that you click to the front of the camera, and it will click basically. If you're setting your camera on a tripod out in the desert, and you're taking pictures of stars, and you don't want the camera shake, use your remote, and then it will open up the camera, and then just walk away, go have s'more. Come back half an hour later, it'll close, it takes a minute to process, and then it'll show you your picture, and it's like, "Wow, I didn't have to stand here holding down the shutter the whole time." With film cameras, there's obviously tools that you can use to plug in and it simplifies it more. It's not as old school is that, but just keeping that in mind. That is how a shutter works, and it's amazing, and I definitely recommend that you check out that video because it is mind-blowing. Somebody made this video so that we could see exactly what happens and take advantage of it because it's super cool. 4. Equivalent Exposure: Let's talk equivalent exposure for a second. This topic is pretty heavy, but you can handle it. If you want to use a fast shutter speeds, so anything above 160th of a second fast enough that you don't need a tripod, you have to make sure that your aperture and your ISO can keep up. If your speed goes up, less light's getting into your camera, so you need to compensate by letting more light in through your lens or by making sure your sensor or film more sensitive. If you're shooting film, you're not going to take out a roll of film and put it in a new roll of film. Basically your ISO is set to whatever film speed that you choose, but with digital we can adjust it, we can switch between pictures or ISO. So if you're aperture is as wide as you can go or as wide as you want to go, then obviously your shutter speed is set, your aperture is set, the ISO is what needs to change. If the increments are balanced, they're referred to as stops. At each click is one-stop and it doubles or halves. So if you go from 130th of a second to 160th of a second, that is twice as fast, so it lets in half as much light. So the opposite, if you're going from 160th of a second down to 130th of a second, that's twice as long of a picture, so it lets in twice as much light. SLR cameras, every click is one-stop, DSLR cameras or digital cameras have a lot more options. So these instead of set to stops, are set to third stops. So one-click, will take you from 130th of a second, not to 160th, but 140th and then to 150th and then to 160th. So going from 130th to 160th is one click on this camera and three clicks on this camera. It's a more graduated progression. If you're out taking pictures and someone's like your picture is dark, you need to go one stop brighter. On a film camera that's one-click slower of your shutter speed, one-click wider of your aperture, or one-click more sensitive of your ISO. But you can't change that with a film camera, so you're stuck with aperture or shutter speed. A digital camera, you've got more choices. You could do three clicks slower, three clicks wider, or three clicks higher shutter speed or higher ISO, or you could do one-click slower shutter speed and two clicks wider aperture. There's a combination of clicking that you can do. The nice thing about a digital camera is you can take a picture and look at it and see if it's bright enough and then do maybe one click more. This is the big idea behind equivalent exposure, is that there's a lot of different ways to get a positive result essentially. Here's a picture showing four different shots I took with completely different settings. It ranges anywhere from 640 ISO all the way to 5,000 ISO. I've got short shutter speeds, fast shutter speeds. You can see in the background what's physically changing is my little twinkle lights are going from really small and you can see the wire to the picture where they're just blurt out of their minds. There's different ways that you can achieve and expose photo. So you have options; you can switch between your settings and you can get effective pictures many different ways. There's not just one correct answer, there's not one solution to a properly exposed photo. There is a meter inside your camera that will help you see how the picture is going to turn out based on what it sees. It can see a scene and it can say, "Oh, it's a little dark with your current settings and so your meter will be far on one side versus the other side." Getting your meter as close to the center as possible will help you get really close to a properly exposed photo. Then obviously if you're going for a really high key, a really bright photo, or low key a dark photo, your meter is going to tell you that you need to be closer to the center, but you will know that because the scene you're trying to capture you go a little bit less or whatever. Anyway, let's go back to tripods for a second. I said 160th of a second, One over 60 is the slowest that you can set your shutter speed to without needing a tripod. Keep in mind, this is a general suggestion, and this is slower than I like to go at a portrait session. At a portrait session, I typically don't want to go any slower than 100th of a second because I know I might be moving, my people might be moving or a combination of both and I don't like to risk getting just a blurry photo basically. If you want to shoot with 160th of a second without a tripod, there's a couple of things that you can do to help. If you brace yourself against a wall or a car, a post, that will help you hold still. You can hold your arms really close to your body and just tuck them in really tight so that your arms aren't like noodling around, that helps. Then lastly, if you click your shutter release at the end of an exhale, so you're like, click and then you breathe again. Those are things that are going to help if you don't have a tripod. If you don't want to carry around a tripod, but you need a really slow shutter speed, you can set your camera on things and then just be really careful to not touch it a lot, that helps. But again, a tripod is just simpler. But sometimes you don't want to carry a tripod up a mountain and I get that, that's totally fine. Shutter speeds for everyday photography are going to range from 160th of a second to 1 500th of a second. You can go faster, but that starts to get into high-speed photography and you're going to need a really bright scene like midday soccer tournament bright. There for capturing sports, people are mid air, their hairs like frozen in time. Those are your fast shutter speeds. Now that I've thrown all of that at you, let's talk some practical applications. 5. Photographing Lightning: Photographing lightning seems insanely difficult. Most people imagine that you're like on the edge of your seat, waiting for the bolt to happen, then you hurry and click the picture right as the lightning happens, and you have cat-like reflexes, and it's amazing. But truth is most photographers use long exposures to take pictures of lightning. Basically, you get your tripod, you get your camera, you set it up, it's a dark and stormy night. You get your settings all right so that you're focused on the storm, and your ISO is as low as possible so that it's as least sensitive to the light. Then you open up your shutter speed, you use bulb mode. You open it up and it's open and you're just waiting, hoping that you get lucky, hoping that lightening strikes while your camera is open, accepting the light. Here, we have bulb mode. We set it up, we're like "Please lightning. Please lightning. Strike, strike, strike," while this is open accepting the light, basically. It's so dark outside that not much is going to show up on your picture until you get a strike of lightning, and then it will just paint the picture. At that point, turn bulb mode off, you got a lightening strike and then do it again. Open your camera and hope more lightening strikes. Sometimes, you'll get a couple bolts in one picture, and sometimes, you'll get a picture of nothing and it'll all just be black and you'll be like, "Oh, that's sad." I like to shoot in bursts of 30 seconds to a minute. This is helpful because it takes a second for your camera to process a picture. If you have your camera open for 30 minutes, it takes like a minute, two minutes, for the camera to process the photo after it's taken it. So in that minute or two minutes, you're missing shots. Having your pictures come down to 30 seconds to a minute, it's processing for 10 seconds, basically. This can be adjusted if you have a really fast write speed on your memory card. If you have a class 10 memory card with a high write speed, this is going to be reduced. If you ever really cheap memory card that's off-brand and it's not very good high-quality memory card that you could be using, It's going to take longer for your picture process. So make sure you have high-quality memory cards, it actually makes a difference. When your shutter speed is open, it's catching the lightning, it closes your cameras processing, and you're like, "Please don't lightning. Please don't lightning," because you want to hurry and set up another picture so you can take more pictures and get as much lightning as you can in the picture. Then if you really want to be tricky in post-processing, you can blend your lightning photos together so it looks like you caught this intense storm. You just layer your pictures on top of each other and use Photoshop to make it look like they all happen at once. Photographers do this, it's very common. Now, you're probably thinking, "Well, what if it's not pitch black outside, and my pictures are coming out to bright and the lightning is way overexposed?" If you've closed your aperture as small as you can get it, and your shutter speeds are just getting to short it like five seconds or 10 seconds so it's not long enough to capture a lightening storm with ease, you can use a neutral density filter, that's what these are for. This is a thin tinted piece of glass that screws on to the front of your lens, and it takes your picture down a few stops, so that you can have your camera open longer and it's darker, it adds night to your picture. It's important to note that when you're buying a neutral density filter, they come in different sizes. This one is a 52 millimeter. It is perfect for the lens that is on my camera right now, taking this video. This film lens is a 55 millimeter, so this is just barely too small for it. So I would need to make sure that I get one that's exactly 55, like this one that is normally on it. It just screws right on and you're ready to go. They come in a ton of different sizes, so make sure you're paying attention if you're ordering this on Amazon. This is a 67 millimeter filter. It's huge. This would not work for that. If you're trying to do this on the cheap, you can get a pair of sunglasses and rig it to the front of your lens and use the sunglasses as a mock neutral density filter. But just know that your sunglasses might not be as perfectly clean or high-quality glass that you would get on an actual filter, but feel free to play around with it anyway. Note that they come in different sizes, but they also come in different densities. So just like tinted sunglasses, some are really black and you can't see their eyes, or they're just barely tinted and you can see their eyes. You can get some that are a third of a stop or a whole stop, four stops. This says neutral density 8. I don't know what that means in this brand, I'd have to look it up, but I'm guessing this is probably four stops. I don't think it's eight stops. It might be. I don't know. Look it up, figure out exactly what you're getting so that you know what you can set your settings to. While we're on the subject of long exposures, let's get into star photography. 6. Stars: I live in Salt Lake City, so I've got a desert playground just three hours away. Anytime we go down to the national parks in Utah, I bring my star photographing gear. Something that's super important is your lens. The first time I went to take pictures of stars, I brought my 35 millimeter lens and I was like, "This is going to be great. This is my favorite lens. I use it for portraiture, I'm using it now. I love this lens." I realized very quickly that this is not the lens that you need for this. This gave me like a postage stamp of the sky, a portion of the Milky Way and I was like, "No, I want to see it all. I want to see all of space." Luckily, I had my kit lens, my 18-55 millimeter cheap, whatever zoom lens that came with my first DSLR that I got when I was 16. Luckily I had that. I set it to 80 millimeters, which was as wide as I could possibly set it to and that's what I used to take these star pictures. I was so grateful that I had this. Next time I go, I'm taking my actual wide-angle, which is a 10-20 millimeter lens, so I can get even more space in the picture. It's important to have good lenses. You need to have fully charged batteries. Batteries plural. Bring multiple. I have three batteries, and I bring all of them and I make sure they're all charged. They take up so little space in your bag, just bring them all, bring them fully charged. Probably the most important thing that you need aside from your camera, is a tripod. Don't try to take star pictures without a tripod. It is not easy. When you're using your tripod, you want to set it up really close to the ground. Have it as short of the legs as possible and spread it out so that it's really close to the ground. This helps anchor it, so it's really sturdy especially if there's a little bit of wind. You can put heavy stuff on it. You can anchor it to the ground. You don't want the wind to shake your camera or push it over. Again, that's another nice thing. If it's close to the ground, it's less likely to tip all the way over. If it does tip over it, it just fell a foot instead of six feet. You need to set it up really short. If you have to like lay on the ground to see your settings and stuff, that's fine. You're camping, your hair is going to get dirty, it's all fine. A tripod. Something that is helpful but not necessary is an infrared remote trigger. This is nice because then you don't have to touch your camera to expose your photo. You can just click it. If you don't have an infrared remote trigger, this thing costs like 15 bucks, you should just buy one. But if you don't have one, you can use the self timer delay like what you would use if you're trying to take a group photo and you want to be in the group photo. Set it for 10 seconds, push the button, run into the photo, get in, take the picture, run back. You can set it to like one-second or two-second delay. You push the button, then the camera starts to take the picture. Lastly, you need darkness. That seems obvious because the stars are not out during the day. You need darkness, and I'm talking like watch out for your campfire, watch out for your flashlight, the backlight on your phone. These are all amazing ways to ruin your picture. Be so careful about any existing light that's around you. We were lucky when we went camping because we were able to still have our fire going while I was taking these pictures because the fire was up a hill and then down in this little alcove, and I was over here behind the car taking my pictures. I didn't get the glow from the fire in any of my pictures, except this one where you can see it glowing on the edge of the tree, which was a super happy accident. I love the way that looks, and so that actually worked out for me. If your camera is out there in the middle of nowhere, let's say you're doing a 30-minute exposure because you want to see the star spirals, you set your camera up and then you're like, "I don't want to sit here for half an hour, so I'm just going to go back to camp and have a s'more." Finding your camera in the dark can be daunting. I'm lucky my tripod is white so I can see it in the darkness as I get closer to it. Some things that you can do that help is to count your steps. When you get your picture ready, you take your picture and then count your steps back to where your camp is, and then you know it's about 50 paces from camp and then you can find it more easily so you're not stumbling over it or knocking it over and having a problem. Another thing that's important to do when you get your picture taken, if you are taking one of these really long 30-minute exposures to get the star trails, set a timer. Set up your camera run away, set your timer for 30 minutes on your phone, when it goes off, run back to the camera, and then turn off your exposure so that you get your 30-minute exposure because you've got to set it to bold mode for that. Most star pictures if you're just trying to get the stars still in the sky, you want your shutter speed to be 30 seconds or faster. Any longer than 30 seconds and you're going to start to see the earth's rotation. You start to see the stars get a little bit blurry. If you want to avoid that getting sharp stars, you need to have 30 seconds or faster. With that, you might need to crank your ISO up to 2500. That's what I had to do for these pictures. My ISO was 2500, my shutter speed was 15 seconds or 30 seconds, and then I was just using F3.5. When you're getting pictures of the stars, it can be a little bit hard to know where you're supposed to focus because your camera just sees nothing because the light takes a little bit of time to expose. Set it to manual focus, and then twist your camera. Take a couple of pictures and see "Wow, my stars are big, blurry blobs. I obviously need to go all the way the other direction." If your exposures are 15 seconds or 30 seconds long, that's not that long to wait to see if your exposure is going to be perfect. You do not want to set a 30-minute exposure if you're not absolutely sure your stars are going to be in focus because that sucks coming back to it and finding this is blurry swirl picture that could be anything. This amorphous blob basically. Anyway, something else that you can do for reference is to include the horizon in your photo. If the sun set like half an hour ago, and then you shoot where the sun was, you can start to see some of the residual light coming off of the edge of the earth from the sun, and so that can help give a little bit of color to your picture. Anyway, avoid the city glow, get out in the middle of nowhere to get your star pictures and don't let the glow of the campfire ruin it for you. 7. Light Painting: I went to Rome in October and we rode around on the metro a lot. I wanted to get a picture of the metro or the train because it's just covered in graffiti. I'd never seen this before and it just looked so grungy, and cool, and like city life. I was like, "This is a cool picture. Yeah, whatever," but the next day I thought, what if I just take it one step further? So the first picture I took, I had one 100th of a second. I captured the train while it was sitting at the platform before it started to go again. I just caught it sharply in focus. Then the next day, I captured the train moving. Here, I used one-sixth of a second and I shot when the train was whizzing past us. So basically, it just turned into a giant smear. I love the implied motion in this picture, you can see that the train is moving fast, and it just gives that exhilarating like, "Woah, look how fast the train is going," out of a picture. Something else that you can do is called panning. Let's say I wanted the train sharply in focus, but I wanted everything around it to be blurry so that I'm following the train and it just looks like it's zipping by. You do this by moving your camera as you're taking the picture. So you're following the speed of the train as it's going by and then everything else, the background, is what ends up being blurry. Experimenting with panning and with dropping down your shutter speed to get these movements is a really cool way to up your photo game. Something else you can do is photograph traffic at night. Here is the headlights and taillights of cars going by and down a hill. I position myself high so I can see a lot of the valley. You can see there's some weird glowing in the clouds in the distant background. I don't know what that is, but I think it's really cool-looking and I'm pretty happy I got it in this picture. This image took 25 seconds and it was freezing. But it was worth it, right? That's what we tell ourselves. A tripod is absolutely essential for a picture like this. If you were using a tripod, you'd get more artistic-looking photos. This is a picture I took from the passenger seat of my husband's car as we drove underneath a traffic light. This is what happens if you shake your camera like a maniac while you're trying to take a picture like this. You just call it art, right? 8. Freezing Action: For the subject of freezing action, I thought it would be fun to show a little demonstration that you can do at home and try on your own. Here I have a mug sitting on my kitchen table that I'm pouring hot coffee into. Take note of where my light sources. I don't have any lights on in the room. I'm just using this big back door window, which has a really thin curtain on it, and then it's not directly behind my subject, it's off to the side so that that will make the liquid light up essentially. Here I'm pouring the coffee and you can see my shutter speed is one-five hundredth of a second. Like I said earlier, that is where it starts getting the high-speed photography. If you look at some of the lower droplets, you'll see they're a little bit blurry. They are showing that they are in motion. My aperture is F/4. That changes to F/2.8 in the next picture. The background is slowly going to get more and more blurry as this goes on. This is one-thousandth of a second, so it's freezing those droplets just a little more and then as we continue, this is one-two thousandths of a second, so that front drip is just so sharp. Keep in mind though, that the drip that's just barely behind it is starting to get really blurry because it is no longer in focus, because my aperture is F/2. That is so narrow that literally the front half of the stream is in focus and the back half is not. Then lastly, I have a picture, this is one-four thousandths of a second. This is super fast. I like that it's froze all those little tiny droplets around the splash zone and then again, if you will see the pour, the front stream is sharp and the back stream is super blurry. Then here's a picture of all four images together. The aperture is a little hard to tell in this picture, but it is slightly blurrier in the last picture, and then the water drops are just slightly more in focus. Then for fun, I put together this picture because I don't think I've ever used one-eight thousandths of a second. Literally the fastest shutter speed my camera offers. I had to drop all the way down to 1.8, so I'm open on my aperture as wide as it will possibly go. My ISO is 2,000. You can totally see the grain in this picture. Just see how that gray background is starting to introduce some noise. There's some off-colored pixels and everything. It just looks really grainy anyway, but the front stream is just ridiculously sharp. It's just liquid gold, just totally frozen in time. Then my twinkle lights behind, I brought back in so that you could see just how blurry they are too. Then for the next part, while you already have everything out, I thought it would be cool to do a water droplet on the top of the surface of the coffee. Here I'm showing you how to rig up a water bottle. You put holes in the lid and then fill it up with a little bit of milk and then you can use that to just squirt small short drops into your water. This is nice so that you're not pouring a ton of milk in and diluting your coffee. You're just doing little drops at time. The first image I have here, I have a pretty shorter shutter speed for high-speed photos. This is one-two hundredths of a second. You can see the drips that are falling above the coffee mug are long straight lines, and then the water droplets hitting the coffee are blurry. This next picture is one-eight hundredths of a second, so I jumped way up from one-two hundredths. This one, I've captured the droplet pretty sharp, and then I brought those twinkle lights back in so you could just see the difference. The first picture, you could see the wire and now it's starting to get out of focus. The third picture I took was one over 1,600, so one-sixteen hundredths of a second, and it is F/2.2. This picture worked out really well. I'm really happy with this one. Then the last picture that I took is one-eight thousandths of a second. That's the fastest shutter speed my camera offers. My ISO, I had to bring all the way to 5,000. To be honest, I didn't even know it went that high because I'd never use it that high. The grain is strong in this one, but I think it turned out cool. That center droplet is just frozen right there perfectly for us. My aperture is 1.8, so as the droplets go down, they become out-of-focus because they're no longer in that really shallow plane of focus for us. Then last, here is all four pictures together. This, I really wanted to emphasize, the twinkle lights in the background. You can see the first image at F/4, you can see they are on a strand, but the last image, it's way hard to see the strand and the twinkle lights are just big, shiny blobs. If you have seen these Christmas Eve photos with the lights in the background and the tree and everything is just beautiful, big glowy lights that are all blurry, that's how they do it. They have a really wide aperture. Now that you know how to photograph water droplets, here is a practical application for that skill. This is a cute little baby having a bath in the sink. She's splashing, so you can see the water droplets are in mid-air around her. This is only one-two hundredths of a second, so it's not technically in the high-speed yet. You can see the droplets are a little bit blurred. This one is even shorter, this is one-twenty fifths of a second. If you look really close right by that blue bowl in the background, you can see the streaks of water bouncing off of her face and creating these long thin lines just like rain. If you were capturing rain, this is a shutter speed that you would use for that. Then typically, anything higher would be something like this, where I'm capturing her hair in motion. It's sharp enough that the hair is not blurred, but it's just like a tiny bit soft, so it still looks kind of fluid. Then most high-speed photographers use these high shutter speeds for sports. Here is my contribution to the sports category. These skate photos, this was probably the fastest shutter speed I've used in a practical session, which is one-four thousandths of a second, and I think it turned out really well. That is my take on freezing action. 9. Slow Shutter Cam App: Hey. Really quickly, I just thought I would take you through the app up here. In the top left corner, we have the reverse camera. Hello, that's me. We have autofocus, auto exposure. This little eyeball will bring up a tiny picture in the corner which updates as you're taking pictures. This is going to be changing, that will tell you exactly. It's a live view of what's happening. Then down here, that's the flash. That turns on the flash. Then over here, we have a separate set of menus. This is the guts, this is everything. This offers your Self-Timer, your Intervalometer, which is what you would use to do start pictures. You can set how many pictures it'll take and how much time elapses between each picture. If you use the Intervalometer, you need to use the Sleep Timer so your phone doesn't turn off while you're trying to take pictures. Before you get started at shooting, this is super important. Change your Photo Resolution. The default is really, really low, and so I found that the pictures I took early on were super small and not very usable for me. I just cranked it up to the highest it could possibly go, which apparently is 12 megapixels, and I've been really happy with the results since I've changed that. Looking quickly, this is full of so many options that you can use. I would recommend hitting the "Instructions" tab at the very bottom in the Support column. This will go through all of the modes and all the effects that you can do to improve your photos. It's a good read, and make sure that you spend some time figuring out how the app really works so that you can use it to the best of its abilities. Then obviously, this is your shutter button. It looks like this now because I've set my delay to one second and, so it's got a little timer or a stopwatch. Then this gear icon on the bottom, this is where you switch between capture modes. This is going to be where you stick around. We are going to try a motion blur photo to start. I have crammed my blur strength up to maximum, this is just to give me a really smooth picture, then I will show you what happens. Here's my hand, and it is blurring. We have just really soft looking picture in front of the super crisp background because I'm on a tripod. If you were just shooting hand holding, the whole scene would be blurry. You can get an artsy feel with that. Then, if you don't love the picture, you can just clear it and start over, or you can go into the Edit section, and this is where you really can fine tune your picture. You can see it took two or three pictures and has blended them middle for me. Let's say I like that blend. I can change the brightness, contrast, saturation, edit the picture here, and then I can save it if I really like it. Or you can just hit "Done," if you don't love it, and "Clear," and yes, it's gone, and it's ready to take another picture. For the next part, we will do a light trail photo. I'm going to run, close off all the windows so it's a little bit darker for our picture so you can really see what's happening. Did that change anything? I don't think it did, but that's okay. Light trail pictures work the best if you have lights that are moving in a dark area, so I'm going to move my phone around as we take this picture. Awesome. I have these cool little swirly hooks that I made because of the lights on my tree in the background. If I love the way this looks, again, I can save it, I can edit it. That's the Light Trail setting. The Low Light setting is good for if you're trying to photograph something dark. If you're not getting enough light, you can just set it up on a tripod and it will capture light over time. I've only had the app for a few days, so I feel like I haven't really had a lot of time to get really good it. My pictures that I'm showing you here are all right, but I definitely have room to improve. The Slow Shutter Cam app, it's $0.99 on the App Store, and it can give you a long exposure effect without having a DSLR. 10. Final Thoughts: Thank you for taking my class. I appreciate it so much. It means so much to me when you come by and say, "Hey thanks for the class, I learned so much". I want to see the pictures that you take. I want to see you pushing your photography to the next level. I want to see you really just taking full advantage of manual mode and getting a better understanding of how your camera works. Definitely share your pictures. I want to see what you do, what you create, and if you have any questions or comments or anything, throw those in the discussion section and I will totally respond and help you with anything that you need. Thanks again.