Minimum Shutter Speed for Wind?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by apconan, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. apconan

    apconan Member

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    Anybody have any ideas for this? I know I can just trial and error, but it'd be nice to hear if anyone has any guidelines for this, say 20-30 km/h wind? What shutter speed would you use?
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Clearly you should shoot f/8 at 1/1000 sec at ISO 400.

    Just kidding.

    Please clarify. Do you mean, what shutter speed is required to prevent blur from wind? If so, that depends very much on how gusty the wind is, on the type of gear (bellows nor not), and how stable the camera/tripod coupling is.
     
  3. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Handheld I would keep the s/s at least double your focal length. If you can anchor your tripod and your coupler is snug and secure then I wouldn't worry about that too much. Unless the wind catches enough of your camera to ruin your day.
     
  4. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I'll second Chris's advice to anchor the tripod. Last thing you want is to have the entire shot blurred because the camera moved.

    Then use a high shutter speed - or wait for a break in the wind - or enjoy the soft blur effect on trees and shrubs.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    One of the shots I used in the current Blind Print Exchange was actually a near macro close-up - the 90mm lens on my RB67 was just about at it's closest focus.

    The shot is of a bowline hanging from a kayak stored on a rack.

    There was a gentle breeze when I shot it. Even though the camera was tripod mounted, I had to take three shots to get one sharp enough to use. This was due to the fact that the gentle breeze caused all sorts of problems with subject movement.

    I bring this up to point out that wind can cause all sorts of different problems, and as a result it is very difficult to give the OP a good answer to the question.
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    The minimum SS is also going to vary with the distance between camera & subject. The closer you are, the more noticeable it will be.
     
  7. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Read this as magnification as well. I recall as a kid, had a pocket magnifier shaped somewhat like a pen. I don't recall the exact magnification, but I was intrigued by the fact that looking at the minute hand on a watch with it, you could actually see it move.
     
  8. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Using sports shooting as a guide I'd say you would want at least 1/500th, maybe even 1/1000th or higher to prevent blur. I usually like at least a little bit of motion blur to show that the picture wasn't taken on the moon.
     
  9. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Depends on the lens/equipment being used really, and how variable/turbulent the wind is.

    If composition allows, use your head/body to block the wind. I have shot out the radio room roof hatch in a b17 bomber which would be 170mph wind, and my body allowed me to get crisp photos from a normal sized 35mm camera with wide angle lens without the buffeting. If I was using a long lens, I probably would not have gotten sharp photos with the camera in the wind. I have shot from open cockpit planes with 105mm lens on 35mm bodies at 1/250th and up, and that's probably 75mph in the wind, and a little slower where I'd sit. On the ground though, wind is a lot more variable and turbulent and has it's own challenges.

    If you can use a tripod that will not only steady the camera, but it will allow you to block the wind with your body. (Stand upwind of the camera/tripod). A building is nice too. If timing isn't critical, you can be prepared and actually do the exposure between wind gusts, sort of like being in tune with your breathing when using handheld telephoto (or rifles).
     
  10. apconan

    apconan Member

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    Ah, sorry I didn't make it clear, I meant subject blur...
    I always use a tripod. But to get the depth of field I want on the grey days I am shooting, my meter often tells me to shoot at f/16, 1/30th, 400 ISO. Which I feel is limiting because I think there will be blur in the bushes, etc.
     
  11. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Ah, let's give you an answer to your question then :smile:

    Short answer, it depends, so shoot the fastest shutter speed you can.

    Elaboration: A little breeze will move things slowly, and the movements will be small. A gale will move things very fast over a large area (read, entire branches and tree tops moving...). The more wind, the faster shutter speed you are going to need.

    Compound this with focal length and subject-to-lens distance (read, magnification). Shorter focal lengths and greater distances will minimize the effect of movement (by everything, not just the wind). Longer focal lengths will do the opposite.

    My approach is to optimize shutter speed by a) using camera movements to adjust the plane of focus and allow a larger aperture to be used (I shoot LF), and b) use a faster film (ISO 400 is my outdoor standard).

    After that, there are some things you can do to improve your chances when the wind is moving your subject around. a) keep your distance and use a shorter focal length lens (as above), b) be patient and wait for lulls in the wind. Often, even on a quite windy day, there will be short periods where the wind dies down for a second or two. I've waited hours at times, both successfully and unsuccessfully, for the wind to die down enough to get a shot. c) If there are only one or two things moving around in the composition (and assuming you have "recomposed" to eliminate as many moving objects as possible) you can try to catch the movement at the apex, i.e., the point where the direction changes and the moving object is motionless. This can work, but you can also burn a lot of film trying... It depends on how important the shot is to you.

    Lastly, you can use the blur; use a slower shutter speed and incorporate the blur, if you can adjust your vision to that. Or, come back another day.

    Hope this helps a bit,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  12. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Subject movement is commonly discussed in sports photography. You basically need to know how far things will move on the film during the exposure. This is basically given by three things: the speed and direction of your subject, the distance to your subject, and the angular coverage of the lens. If you are close then the movement will be magnified, same goes for narrower angular coverage (longer focal length) magnifying movement. If you are using a wide angle lens from far away then you may be able to get away with a 1/30th shutter without showing much movement but if you are close by to exaggerate a foreground tree then its leaves and branches may move very fast across the film and you may need 1/500 or faster to freeze them. Modern cameras with 1/8000th shutter speed can freeze it with fast enough film on grey days, I know I'm shooting more Delta 3200 rather than 400 these days as it is so grey up here too.

    I still ask why must you freeze the motion entirely? I suppose you are wishing that it were NOT a windy day and you are trying to take a picture as if it were not windy. I like to photograph things as they are in which case some motion blur records the facts of the situation.