Category Archives: Ex 3.3

Exercise 3.3

The Brief

1. What do the timeframes of the camera actually look like? If you have a manual
film camera, open the camera back (make sure there’s no film in the camera
first!) and look through the shutter as you press the shutter release. What is the
shortest duration in which your eyes can perceive a recognisable image in bright
daylight? Describe the experiment in your learning log.
2. Find a good viewpoint, perhaps fairly high up (an upstairs window might do)
where you can see a wide view or panorama. Start by looking at the things
closest to you in the foreground. Then pay attention to the details in the middle
distance and, finally, the things towards the horizon. Now try and see the whole
landscape together, from the foreground to horizon (you can move your eyes).
Include the sky in your observation and try to see the whole visual field together,
all in movement (there is always some movement). When you’ve got it, raise your
camera and take a picture. Add the picture and a description of the process to
your learning log.

Without access to a film camera I haven’t been able to check this out, but thinking about the duration of short illuminating flashes – electronic or as lightening – I expected the minimum to be pretty short. I have done some Googling and as often seems to be the case with human senses… it’s complicated.  The general view seems to be that the eye/brain can register exposure to a scene provided the event is longer than 13 milliseconds, (13/1000s) so in camera terms about 1/80th of a second.  Lots of other factors are involved – the intensity, whether the event involves movement, where the event occurs in the field of view.  So for simplicity and without the means to check it I shall settle on 1/80th.


Here’s the photograph I made for the second part. It’s difficult to see the entire field ‘live’ because it requires some eye movement.  By concentrating on the mid-ground buildings I could maintain an awareness of the foreground roof and the sky but I wasn’t actually looking at it, just conscious of the extremes in my peripheral vision.  The camera sees the whole lot though, and looking at the resultant image it is possible to see the entire scene in one.