View of the Drew | Andrew Halpern Photography

Street Shots

Otherworldly Oxford Sign

Headington Park Sign.  Flash Zoom effect done in Camera

1/10s . f/8.0 . ISO 400 . 18 mm, (Headington Hill, Oxford, England)

Photos of signs can be boring.  But not this one!  This zoom effect is one of my favorites to experiment with. The entire effect is done in the camera!  How do you do it?  Well, in yesterday’s post, I discussed the 2nd curtain flash and how it enables you to sort of get two shutter speeds.

In order to get this shot, you’ll need a zoom lens and some kind of SLR.  Here is the setup.  Set the camera to 2nd curtain flash, and use a fairly slow shutter speed (like 1/10th of a second). Zoom in all the way on your lens and center the subject.  Do not press the shutter yet.

Now, here’s where the magic comes in.  You are going to zoom out DURING the shot.  What happens when you do this, is the light from the flash illuminates the subject (here it’s the sign) so that remains clear, however the flash light won’t reach the background and the background will have a zoomed out motion blur. Pretty neat.

Experiment with 2nd curtain flash.  Trust me you’ll like it.

Two Girls, One Cab

Two girls, One Cab (Location Unknown, NYC)

1/30s . f/5.6 . ISO 1600 . 18 mm

Here is a fun shot of two girls in a cab at night.  I was able to get this motion blur by setting my camera for “second curtain flash” using my camera’s on-board flash (look at your camera’s instructions to access this setting).

A good explanation of the mechanics of 2nd curtain flash is found at this article at Digital Photography School.  By using a slower shutter speed AND the 2nd curtain flash, you effectively get two shutter speeds.  The foreground (in this shot, the cab) will be frozen while the background will be blurred.  To get the motion effect, I also used a panning technique here.  A lot of photographers try to avoid the on-board flash like the plague because it usually looks poor, but it CAN be used artistically.

Running through the Met Life Building

Running through the Met Life Building (42nd and Park, NYC)

1/100s . f/8.0 . ISO 200 . 42 mm

Here’s a view you don’t see often: the inside of the Met Life Building.  I was able to get this view because of an NYC summer program called Summer Streets, where Park Avenue is open to only cyclists and pedestrians for 3 weekends each in the summer.  One way to get great shots like this is be on the lookout for opportunities where you can access places that are normally off-limits.

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