Learning About Shutter Speed

This past weekend I went to a local park with a couple of friends. One friend brought her kids and they went round+round on the carousel. I took that as the perfect opportunity to play with the shutter speed setting on my camera.

Shutter speed refers to the length of time the shutter remains open when you snap a photo. It is measured in seconds or fractions of a second: a shutter speed of 1 (”one second”) would be considered a slow shutter speed, while a shutter speed of 1/1000 (“one one-thousandth of a second’) would be considered a fast shutter speed.

Short shutter speeds (meaning, the camera clicks really fast) are used to freeze fast-moving subjects (the photos come out clear) and long shutter speeds are used to capture motion (the photos come out blurry).

For the following pictures, I set my camera to Tv mode and I tested out several shutter speeds.

Since the carousel wasn't moving too fast to begin with, I didn't have to use a very short shutter speed at all to freeze the action.

A shutter speed of 1/60 did the job.

The picture became a bit blurry when I changed to a longer shutter speed.

At a shutter speed of 1/5, it became very blurred. Most of us don't like blurry pictures, but I actually think this one captured the moment the best!

With the knowledge of aperture and shutter speed under my belt, maybe I will work my way toward going full manual (M) one day. :)


  1. Oh thanks for letting me know! I'm looking for a new camera now, actually. I am SO technogically-challenged, so I was so confused with all the functions on the cameras!

  2. I have no idea how to work my camera. It is the Canon DSLR, Rebel. I love it but really need some lessons:)

  3. oooh, long shutter speeds are cool. but we definitely need to get that manfrotto tripod now.

  4. Whoa...let me off the 1/5th Merry-go-round!

    So as the shutter speed slows, the motion "becomes faster"...did the music seem to speed up too? :) Just kidding.

  5. @ intense guy: Silly :)

    And you have such a simple way of explaining things, it's wonderful. I think my undergrad professor just made us more confused when he tried to teach us. Then again, he had this really heavy Russian accent to go along with it.


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