Here’s a little trick I came up with to take photos hand held at low shutter speeds.
Most people can’t hand hold a camera and take sharp pictures at less than 1/30 sec. Even a 30th is pushing it for many people and they’ll stay at a 60th or faster. Because I find tripods cumbersone and annoying I wanted to find a solution to situation where I needed just a little more “stop”. Yes, with today’s cameras we can push the ISO much higher than ever before, which helps, but of course nothing looks as good at ISO 1250 as it does at ISO 400. So what to do? Simply set your camera to rapid fire when holding the shutter release button and take five or six shots. This way at least one of them will be in focus. A great way to cheat another stop or two out of your camera.
Speed blur, Auto-Focus, and Tripods
Over the years, and particularly with the switch to all digital, I’ve become completely dependent on auto-focus. I’ve used it for so long I simply don’t trust my focusing skills anymore. So what to do if I want a crisp night shot at a 30th or well below, and I’m photographing a speeding object?
For this example I’ll use an oncoming train. With the camera on the tripod, and my zoom length set, I use the ball head to swivel around so that I can use one of the focusing points to lock the lens. Though the camera’s auto-focus struggles in near dark, I can pick something shiny, the light reflecting off the track, and focus there. Once my focus is set I put the lens back in manual mode, and not touching the zoom, recompose my shot. Then, using the trick in the article above , I put the camera on fast frame mode, and when the train comes, fire away. The train is captured in a blur of light, and the surrounding image stays crisp.