Slow shutter speed with flash (London and Toronto)

Both photographs were taken using slow shutter speeds (about 0.25 seconds) with flash. This technique gives a great sense of movement.

Panning during the exposure gives the streaks and the short flash duration of the flash stops the action. When using this technique, it’s important to pan in the opposite direction of the moving object, otherwise the “streaks” will appear to be going forward (in front of the subject’s direction of movement), rather than backwards, which will make the subject look like it’s reversing.


Toronto 1984


Piccadilly Circus, London 1982

The Bus photo was also take with a gradated red filter. Back in the early 80’s Cokin gradated filters were the “new thing” in photography. One doesn’t see gradated filters being used so much now-a-days, except in TV commercials, where they are used to colour in dull overcast skies. You can usually tell when they are being used because the bottom half of the photo doesn’t have the same colour in its reflections as the predominant colour of the sky as would happen naturally.

5 thoughts on “Slow shutter speed with flash (London and Toronto)”

  1. I love the cab photo. In order to do that, do you need to set your camera to set off the flash at the end of the exposure? Or is that why you pan the opposite way, because the flash is at the beginning of the exposure? I’ve always wanted to try that with my climbing photography.

  2. Just plug in the flash (or the flash sync cord) into your camera and shoot (the camera sets off the flash when you push the exposure button) whilst panning in the opposite direction of the subject movement.

    Good luck.

  3. Hey…I took a lucky, random stumble to your site!
    Was looking for some slow shutter & flash shots. Your Toronto pic is incredible, you captured the cop brilliantly. It looks as if he’s being whipped into a Ghostbusters-style melee!

    I’m just beginning to mess with the flash and shutter, you were doing it in 1984…it still looks so fresh :)

    Take it easy, thanks for sharing :)

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