Dragging the Shutter

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Desertbird, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Desertbird

    Desertbird TPF Noob!

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    I have heard this term used before and was wondering what it meant. Is it an old term for having a slow shutter speed? If not, what is it used for and how do you use it?

    I use a Nikon D90
     
  2. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah... also called "a pop and a burn."

    Dragging the shutter is simply a way of describing the use of a longer shutter speed with a flash. It's quite useful when shooting wedding "formals" at the alter, allowing the warm ambient light to fill the background rather than allowing it go black as the flash falls off.

    -Pete
     
  3. Desertbird

    Desertbird TPF Noob!

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    ok, thanks!
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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  5. maxairedale

    maxairedale TPF Noob!

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    I realize that this is an old thread, but I have a question that is related to the topic.



    Is it better to have the flash synced to the first curtain or the second curtain?

    Thanks
     
  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Depends on the effect you want to achieve.
     
  7. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    And a totally different subject, I believe.
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Think of it this way. If you drag the shutter on a car driving past and you use standard front curtain sync the car's blur and headlights will make it look like it was travelling backwards.

    On the flip side when you're taking photos of a chaotic scene if you rear curtain sync you don't know the state your subjects will be in when your flash goes off which could destroy a shot.

    There's reasons to use both, and neither are better, just different.
     
  9. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Because the flash stops the car a soon as the shutter opens and the blur happens as the exposure continues and the car keeps moving before the rear shutter curtain closes, so the blur preceeds the motion. If rear curtain sync is used, the shutter opens, the moving car blurs until the motion is stopped by the flash going off just as the rear curtain starts to close ending the exposure. So, the blur trails the direction of motion.

    The short duration of the flash of light (strobed light) stops the motion instead of the shutter speed, and is one of the big advantages to using strobed light

    Anything moving in the shot when using rear curtain sync would have the blur trailing the direction of motion, regardless the direction that movement is.

    Word!

    Gaining a good understanding of how this all works can really help your understanding of how the camera functions and how a photograph is made.
     
  10. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Straight from the D7000 manual:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Essentially the same illustration is in the OP's D90 user's manual too.

    I just noticed this is an old dug up thread, and that the grave digger, maxairdale, gives no indication what kind of camera they use.
     
  12. maxairedale

    maxairedale TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I realize that I did not provide much info in my question, and that is my error up front. As for the camera, let if be said that my manual has the same diagram as 480sparky posted above. Even though I have a High Tech Camera I do most of my shooting in the Manual mode.

    I understand the blurring of motion results are based on if the flash is synced to the first or second curtain as in the above-mentioned diagram.

    What I’m wondering about is during portrait photography when I’m using an off camera flash to illuminate the subject when the subject is backlit with ambient light. I know that amount of ambient light that reaches the sensor is dependent on both the shutter speed and lens opening.

    As I understand some things that I have read, it is best to measure the ambient light and underexpose that by 1.5 – 2 stops depending on the amount of detail I want in the background while adjusting the flash output in manual or letting ITTL of the flash get the proper exposure for the subject.

    Thanks
    Gary
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2011

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