Riding A Wild Mustang - part 2 of 1 2 3

by Kevin Kubota Published 01/08/2008


Here are some camera settings to try and their potential effects:

1) Medium ISO, Shutter Priority at 1/8-1/30th sec., no flash. This is what was used to create this image. A shutter speed of about 1/8th to 1/30th will create motion blur and a very natural, spontaneous feeling. You can expect some subject blur as well, but I feel this is acceptable - even desirable - for this type of image. Shoot several frames in a row to make sure you get the timing and sharpness just right. It helps to bracket your shutter speeds too, unless you know exactly what effect you want. The look of 1/15th of a second will change when the car is moving faster or slower, for example. Keep your finger on that shutter speed dial and adjust it up and down as you shoot to vary the effect. I usually try to capture 3 shots of each image - one each at 1/8th, 1/15th, & 1/30th of a second.
2) Low-Med ISO, Shutter Priority at 1/4-1/15th sec. with slow speed sync flash. Set the exposure compensation to -2/3 or 1 stop. This gives the effect of a blurred background and a subject frozen by the flash. Some blurring occurs around the edges of your main subject, which is illuminated primarily by the flash, but crisp details are maintained.
3) High ISO, Shutter Priority at 1/30-1/250th sec., with normal flash. Set the flash exposure to -2/3 to -1 stop. This gives a crisp, frozen, fairly normal looking image. This works best when you really want to emphasize detail more than mood or energy.
4) Med ISO, Shutter Priority at 1/15-1/30th sec. with slow speed sync flash for fill only. Set the flash to -1 to -1 1/3 stop. This will give a good balance between nice motion blurring and good subject detail without looking too "fake", which tends to happen when flash is very obvious in the photo.

2 Buckle Up For Safety.

As mentioned before, all of this is theoretical as I am surely not recommending you do this without proper safety precautions. To get the right angle of view of the couple and enough of the road rushing by, I used a 14mm f4 lens (equivalent of 21mm on standard format). I sat up on the rear seat of the convertible, with the seat belts cinched down tight over my feet to attempt to keep me in one place. Select a very quiet, low to no traffic road with great scenery. Low lit scenes are better for drama and to allow the slow shutter speed for your blur effect.

Give specific instructions to your driver before you embark, and remind him not to burn out or slam on the brakes. Sometimes they get excited and forget you are clinging for dear life by the integrity of your shoes.

Buckle up for safety!


How this image was created:

In this image, I used ISO 400, F2.8, 1/8th sec., a 14mm lens (21mm with multiplication factor), and no flash on a D1x. In Photoshop, I used my Smokeless burn action (from Kubota Artistic Tools vol. 2) to darken the edges and the distracting objects behind the seat. I then used Digital Fill Flash (from the same Action set) to open up some of the shadows around the face and draw attention to the subjects. I then used my Hollywood Intensity action (from Artistic Tools vol. 1) and reduced the opacity of the action layer to 50%. Finally, I added a simple keyline and border (from Production Tools vol. 1).

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1st Published 01/08/2008
last update 07/04/2022 09:18:20

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