Pressing the shutter.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by cliveh, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    One of the general tips I give my students is how to press the shutter, which is a bit like rifle shooting. Stand quite still and try to supress breathing and squeeze the shutter. Don’t jab it, while devoid of any thought.
     
  2. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I'm with you.. right up to the "devoid of thought" part. (even though some might argue that describes me at any given moment)
    When I press the shutter, my mind inhabits the scene I have composed, exploring and asking questions. While that may sound like a lot of hooey, it simply means that I try to be aware of what my negative and print will show, what it will conceal, what it will suggest, etc. When I take a photograph without this awareness, it invariably shows in the resulting print, whether the shutter was well pressed or not.
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Try to blank your mind of any thought.
     
  4. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Why? There must be something which whispers "now", rather than a moment before or later. How can that be without thought? It is my consciousness which gives the photograph meaning. If it does not have meaning to me, how can I expect it to have meaning to my audience?
     
  5. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Listen to it.
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    If you're firing a Pentax 67, it is very much like a rifle recoil! Or at least the sound of it is something that will disperse loitering stickybeaks quick smart.
    BTW, there is no right or wrong way to press the shutter: individuals have their own preferences and procedures and when at which moment (of many, many moments) they will commit a scene to celluloid.
     
  7. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I think the phrase we're trying to find that is the same as a gun is "squeeze the..."
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    You experience is similar to mine. Sometimes as I am pressing the shutter, I realize that something is not quite the way I want it and stop. When that happens the final result is always better. If I am not going to think when I am taking a photograph I might as well go digital and machine gun the camera while a spray the area with photographs ... and the results will be worse.
     
  9. pen s

    pen s Member

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    With my cameras I always use the ball of my finger and also take up the free travel of the release. If you watch me release the shutter from 3 feet away it is unlikely you would see my finger move at the moment of release. As an aside I have never liked a "soft release", most shutter buttons are fine the way they are. Even the long travel used in "trapped needle" auto exposure systems can be smooth after some practice.
     
  10. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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  11. dehk

    dehk Member

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    I hold my breath when its slower than 1/30! :D
     
  12. MikeTime

    MikeTime Member

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    I think the operative term is "press the shutter, not the camera" :cool:
     
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I would encourage your students to press the shutter release, not the "shutter", it will damage it :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2012
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  15. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    +1
     
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Rubberband or tape a laser pointer to the camera, this when pointed at a wall a few yards away will show you if you are jiggling the camera as you press the shutter release.
     
  17. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Use a cable release!
     
  18. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

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    Holding breath can actually, even if it is not noticed, cause a general tensioning of all the body.
    My strategy is: begin expiring. While expiring, stop a moment, take picture, go on expiring. The movement of the finger on the shutter release is like a "continuation" of the expiration movement.
     
  19. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    Does anyone else find it harder to gauge the tripping point with some electronic shutter releases?

    I assume that most of them have two push switches. The first wakes the meter up then the second trips the shutter. I usually end up gradually increasing pressure while hoping that I stop after hitting the first but before the second! Worst offenders seem to be motor winders - the three I have (Winder ME, ME II and MX) have no "feel" for the point where activating the meter turns to triggering the shutter.

    The older designs with a mechanical linkage have a far more noticeable "step" when you hit the meter activation point in their travel. The button on the ME body is a better shutter release, but I like using the winder for the extra grip it brings.
     
  20. MikeTime

    MikeTime Member

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    That's very clever. You're addressing the OP?
     
  21. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Don't get me started, as with some digital cameras there is almost a second delay in pressing and taking.
     
  22. John cox

    John cox Member

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    Once a year I shoot street scenes at night in the middle of winter (in canada). I've worked out how to do this very well.
    step 1) frame up
    step 2) focus (on af cameras half press the release)
    step 3) inhale deeply
    step 4) begin to exhale
    step 5) slowly press the shutter release the rest of the way as you exhale and fire a shot.
    step 6) hold down the release and fire a second time as you finish exhaling. (motor drive)

    This works best when the camera is at chest level, and your hands are both supporting it. Your centre of gravity is fairly precarious when the camera (not to mention all of your weight) is dependant on the top of your body such as when you have the camera at eye level. Keeping your head clear does help, as it keeps you calmer and thus less fidgety.
    I should point out, continuous AF is terrible for this because the camera might see a bird or random object and decide to refocus mid shot.

    The process takes about 4 seconds and yields two shots usually one perfectly sharp at slow speeds. I once pulled off a sharp image at 1/1.5's (2/3's)of a second on my nikon F80 when I was really in a zen space.
     
  23. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Elbows tucked in, push camera against face, inhale, exhale and push release gently til you feel the break
    I prefer the electronic release to a heavy mechanical shutter release anyday
     
  24. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    This reminds me of the perennial article in gun magazines about how to pull the trigger. It shows up once a year, just before or just after the article discussing whether or not the .30/.30 is adequate for whitetails.
     
  25. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    A discussion about how to press to shutter may seem very trivial to some, but it is a very important action in photography and I have seen so many people jab it, thus moving the camera at the same time.
     
  26. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I realise that, see my hint about attaching a laser pointer to the camera and projecting it on a wall to see if you're jiggling the camera.