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Take a deep breath. Now let it out slowly.
We’re not in a yoga class, but a nice slow breath and steady shutter release finger will allow you to take your shutter speed to a new low. And by low, I mean slow; 1/20th of a second, for instance. While it is not the slowest shutter speed out there, 1/20th of a second can lead to some interesting effects; from causing intentional blur in waterfalls to allowing for available light shooting situations and increasing depth of field. Then throw in a tripod or solid surface and more options appear.
It’s not a popular shutter speed. You might not even rank it up there in your top ten, if you were forced to rank shutter speed preferences. Yet 1/20th is a fine place to start experimenting, and that’s one reason I like it so. It’s not always about using just 1/20th, but finding a sweet spot around it to capture the mood of a shot. It’s most easily accessed in Shutter Priority Mode (or Time Value Mode) which will allow the camera to choose the appropriate aperture for you, freeing your creative spirit to being playing with light in different ways.
Using Photoshop Lightroom recently I decided to sort by shutter speed (accessed by pressing \ and then choosing Metadata then changing a column to list out shutter speeds) and found I had a decent amount of shots grouped around this shutter speed. A surprising amount. Below are quick tips followed by some of my own shots to help inspire some experimenting on your part with this often ignored shutter speed.
[Click on images for larger version]