Catching that moment in time, something is that is there only for a split second, and then the moment has gone, can produce some really exciting images. One of the first photographers who achieved this, was Harold Edgerton, in 1957 with the ‘Milk Drop Coronet’ seen on the right. I tried to emulate this, using the kitchen sink, dripping water and a glass bowl, with some success seen below.
In order to produce this frozen moment in time, a fast shutter speed is required. If we are using a fast shutter speed, light is only let in for a short time, as the curtain swings across the aperture. Therefore the aperture must be wide enough to allow the right amount of light to hit the cameras light sensor, so that the exposure is correct.
For example, the photograph on the right taken recently at a race meeting, I had the camera on shutter priority, and the settings at; f/7.1 1/320th of a second and ISO at 200, with continuous shooting.
If the shutter speed was any slower, the resulting image would have been blurred. Thinking about water falls/drops, there are two mediums of thought taking the shots, having the water blurred showing movement, or sharp, showing the droplets in a moment in time. When taking ‘moment in time’ shots, its good to use the continuous shot setting on the camera, as it will capture the sequence of movement and will capture the exact moment that was planned.
I let the tap drip into the sink and took the shots as the drips landed. Most of todays modern digital cameras, now have pre-set settings that take into account the type of shot you want to take and the environment you want to take it in.
This can be a help, if you only have one camera and the action you are capturing is quick, and there is need to change from one type of shot, (sharp or with motion blur) to another. For example, if one image is to capture the cyclist up in the air, and another to capture the (motion blur) speed the cyclist is moving at, then the camera needs to be reset. So perhaps using the shutter priority setting for one scene, and then just flicking the dial for the other, makes sense. Some camera has custom settings, were the camera has custom pre-set facility, and can be ready to use for specific shots.