If you are new to the world of photography, you might be wondering where in the world the bulb shutter function got its name. After all, wouldn't it make more sense to call it the Manual Shutter setting? It probably would, but this is one of those terms that harkens back to the origins of photography. Way back when, the shutter was actually opened through the use of a bulb-shaped device that forced air through a tube, which, in turn, pushed a plunger down, activating the camera shutter. When the bulb was released, it pulled the plunger back, letting the shutter close, and ending the exposure.
The same can be said for photographing a lightning storm. I have a friend who loves electrical storms, and he has some amazing shots that he captured using the Bulb setting. Lightning can be very tricky to capture, and using the Bulb setting to open and then close the shutter at will allows for more creativity, as well as more opportunity to get the shot.
If you want to make a change to the aperture, hold in the Av button on the back of the camera while turning the Main dial.
When you're using the Bulb setting, the shutter will only stay open for the duration that you are holding down the shutter button. You will also see a counter on the lower-right portion of the LCD screen that will count off the seconds that the shutter is open. You can use this counter to either add or subtract time for your next shot. You should also be using a sturdy tripod or shooting surface to eliminate any self-induced vibration. The Bulb setting can be used in conjunction with the Mirror Lockup feature for improved image sharpness.
I want to point out that using your finger on the shutter button for a bulb exposure will definitely increase the chances of getting some camera shake in your images. To get the most benefit from the bulb setting, I suggest using a remote cord such as the Canon RS-60E3 Remote Switch or the RC-6 wireless remote (see the bonus chapter for more details). You'll also want to turn on the Long Exposure Noise Reduction, as covered in Chapter 7.
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Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.