DRAGGING THE SHUTTER

 

This is where things get funky. Weird light things are among my favorite things to capture because they are always completely unique. Technically, a lot of the little tricks that I use create imperfections (lens flare, blurs, etc) but those imperfections create the human element that I love. For those of you who don’t know what a “dragged shutter” is, it’s when your flash goes off, and then you leave the shutter open for a bit to create a bit of weird light blurs. Essentially, it is a long exposure with the flash going off at the beginning or end. When the flash goes off, it freezes the motion of the subject, after that, the shutter states open for a second or so which captures plenty of stray light and leaves you with painted color washes over your images. It works great for dance floor shots and anything that you want to get weird with!

5D II + 35L

My typical settings for a dragged shutter look are: f/9, 1 sec shutter, 320 ISO. Once I fire the shot and the flash freezes the subject, I move around the lens so the extra blurred lights move around the frame and/or cover part of the lens with open fingers so the light is only painted on certain areas. With these frames, I left the shutter open for about 3 seconds and used a flashlight (softened with a piece of paper over the top) to paint on my hand which was close to the camera. When I painted the light onto my hand, it left a soft orange glow and tons of weirdness.