Camera Shake. What Is It and How Do I Prevent It?

As I sat gripping my camera waiting for the Cardinal to land. The rush I got from seeing the Cardinal made my hands shake. This had happened before. So it made me wonder, “how does the camera and lens prevent camera shake”. So I did some research.

3Nikon D7500 200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 iso 1250 1000mm 1/250s f/11

Have you ever been so frustrated with yourself and your camera because your images are slightly blurred and you don’t remember shaking? I have felt like that, so I did more research on ”camera shake” and how to prevent it. Here is what I found.

Nikon D7500 200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 iso 1600 1000mm 1/160s f/11

While I was researching “camera shake,” I found that camera manufacturers have developed lens-based and in-body based image stabilization technology that may help with this.

What is Camera Shake?

So what is camera shake? After my research, I understand it to mean this, ”camera shake” is a phrase used in photography to define when the photographer accidentally shakes the camera while taking a picture due to unsteady hands, this can cause unwanted blurry images.

Before I jump into available camera technologies that may help you resolve the issue of camera shake, I would like to change your focus to blurry photos.

What are Three Types of Common Blurs?

I wrote a brief explanation of the three types of blurry photos.

Background Blur

Nikon D7500 AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED iso 100 210mm 1/50s f/6
Day Lily

Background Blur is a type of BOKEH, the most popular among photographers. BOKEH  (Bo-Kay) is derived from the Japanese word BOKE which means blur or haze and out of focus.

Blur does not have to be in the background to be BOKEH, the blur can be found anywhere on the image where you concentrate on your subject, while blurring the rest of the image.

This is created by the shallow depth of field, the more out of focus your background will be.

The topic of BOKEH is a little bit off scope for this blog post, but definitely worth reading further information on it.

Nikon D5300
Motion Blur
Nikon D7500 200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 iso 400 460mm 1/200s f/8
American Yellow Finch

Motion Blur occurs when the cameras shutter stays open for long periods of time. During the period in which the shutter is open to the time it closes, this sensor will record all movement.

Movement that is recorded on the camera’s Sensor which will show as a blurred motion streaks or trails of light in your image, this is called the ”ghosting” effect.

I continue to work on my motion blur, I like to use the birds and wildlife in my backyard as my artist canvas.

Learning the concept of Motion Blur is hard, I am still learning. There is a lot of interesting information on Motion Blur, perhaps too much for this blog post.

Motion blur should not be confused with camera shake.

Nikon D5300
Water Splashing from Rain
Camera Shake
Nikon D5300 200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 iso 100 1000mm 1/80s f/11
American Yellow Gold Finch

“Camera shake” is a phrase used in photography to define when the photographer accidentally shakes the camera while taking a picture due to unsteady hands, this can cause unwanted blurry images.

“Camera Shake” can happen to photographers without realizing it until he/she glimpses at the final image on the LCD screen.

You might be able to hold the camera very steady, but it is natural to involuntarily shake the camera. The length of time you are able to hold the camera or the shutter speed matches the Effective Focal Length determines the time you have before “camera shake“ happens.

Knowing the Effective Focal Length (EFL) of your lens should help you to avoid ”camera shake.” This means Focal Length (as marked on your lens) multiplied by the crop factor (sensor value) equals Effective Focal Length (see example below.)

100 mm x 1.6 (asp-c) =

EFL = 160mm

-> 1/160th shutter speed

The above answer represents the shutter speed at which ”camera shake” should not occur.

Three Ideas You Can Do To Prevent Camera Shake

  • To help with “camera shake” use a tripod. If you do not own one, it is worth the investment to buy one.

Nikon D7500 70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 iso 160 230mm 1/60s f/5.6
Female Cardinal

When I do not have my tripod near me and I want to capture a specific image, I will do one of the following:

  • If I am standing, I will hold my camera with both hands. Then, I’ll bend my elbows while raising the camera to my eyes. Next, squeezing my elbows together (resembling an upside-down tripod), focus on the subject in view, and finally, I will click the shutter button.
Nikon D5300 200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 iso 5600 1000mm 1/250s f/11
Blue Birds
  • If I’m sitting, I will hold my camera with two hands and bent knees. I place my elbows on my knees then raise the camera to my eyes (in the form of a tripod.) I then focus on my subject in view and click on the shutter to create my final image.
Nikon D7500 AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED iso 6400 210mm 1/5000s f/6

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization is the way camera manufacturing help photographers create clear images. They add technology to camera lenses and camera body to help with ”camera shake.”

Optical Image Stabilizer

Optical Image Stabilizer is found only on camera lens. The Optical Image Stabilizer or also known by the abbreviation of OIS are manufactured right in the lens. This is a type of technology that exists in camera lenses to help with ”camera shake.” This technology helps with the motion of the camera and lens to produce sharper, clearer photos.

Nikon D7500 200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 iso 4500 400mm 1/2500s f/11
House Finches

Companies have different names for their own Optical Image Stabilization System (OIS).

Examples include are:

  • Nikon – VR – Vibration Reduction
  • Canon – IS – Image Stabilizer
  • Sony – OSS – Optical SteadyShot
  • Minolta – AS – Anti-Shake

Those companies listed above are only a few examples of camera manufactures that have technology that will help you with “camera shake,“ but does not help with Motion Blur.

Nikon D5300 105.0 mm f/2.8 iso 12800 105mm 1/4000s f/5.6
Water Ripples

Optical Image Stabilizer technology by counteracting ”camera shake” to create a sharper image. The technology in the lens has two tiny gyros (short for gyroscope).

These tiny gyros works with the camera movements which send a signal to the lens element to move direction. This process illuminates “camera shake”.

Optical Image Stabilizer Lens, although they are costly, they are invaluable and worth the money.

Nikon D5300 200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 iso 360 1000mm 1/500s f/11
Day Moon

In-Body Imagine Stabilization

In-Body Image Stabilization also known as I.B.I.S. and in-camera stabilizer has a type of technology in the camera body to help with ”camera shake”. This technology helps with the motion of the camera to produce sharper, clearer photos.

The technology that is used in I.B.I.S. is similar to the same technology used in lens-based lenses, except in this case it uses an actual cameras sensor.

The camera’s sensor rotates with the movement of the camera. It rotates with the help from the mechanism for the gyroscope.

In-Body Image Stabilizer works best with a shorter focal length lens. The longer focal length lens , a telephoto lens, the sensor has a tendency not move sufficiently enough to overcome the magnified ”camera shake.”
Fortunately, all lenses that are capable of sending the focal length and the focal distance lens will work with In-Body Image Stabilizer camera,


  • Older lens
  • Third-Party lens
  • Optical Image Stabilizer lens
  • Non-Optical Image Stabilizer lens
Nikon D5300 200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 iso 400 900mm 1/80s f/11

In-Body Image Stabilizer cameras are expensive, but you can use the above listed lenses and it is a one time expense. You will gain the advantage of Optical Image Stabilizer lens without having to buy multiple lenses.


My research into ”how does a camera and lens prevent camera shake” revealed a plethora of information and I certainly learned plenty.

Nikon D7500 200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6 iso 280 400mm 1/100s f/11

Backyard Photography – Flowers – Macro

As the birds are chirping above me, I am reminded of how my journey of photography began, MACRO Photography.
By giving the photo a youthful perspective, I have given you a new way to see the world.


Coneflower Nikon D7500

You can see the ’pistils’ as a child would while playing ”he loves me, he loves me not.”

Macro lily Nikon D7500

Tiger lily D7500

Lily Nikon D7500

Queen Anne’s Lace (below) is considered a weed, but I find it a lovely example of our planets incredible beauty even amongst the smallest and often overlooked corners of nature.

Queen Anne’s Lace Nikon D7500

Backyard Photography – Bird Personalities Captured

Photo by Tylor J Birmingham
Baby bird : ”but mooooommm!” Momma Bird : ”…”

After my work week is over, I grab my camera and head to the backyard, more than ready to unwind. There is something about listening to the bird’s singing I find most relaxing and wholly comforting.

Photo by Tylor J Birmingham
“Look at me!” Male bluebird seeking the attentions of a female
“What’s a guy gotta do!?”
Photo by tylor J Birmingham
”She sees me she sees me! Wait.. now what?”

As I watch and listen contentedly, I’ve learned that the singing and chirping of the birds, which brings me such peace, reflects the birds personalities. There are whole conversations I can be privy to if I am patient enough to pay attention. These can be a feisty child and their mom, as you saw previously, to a young man trying to find the right mate and getting ignored, or a gossipy bunch of ”hens in the hen house” or rather, birds in the bird bath.

Photo by Tylor J Birmingham
“Splash pad!”


“ A picture is worth 1000 words.“

Photo by Tylor J Birmingham

What is Shutter Speed in Photography?

What is Shutter Speed?

There is a button on top of the camera called the ”shutter release.” By pressing the the button you are releasing the shutter to take the image..

Exposure time is your Shutter Speed. It is the amount of time the light is exposed to the camera’s digital sensor.

Learning how to use the different camera modes of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, along with your patience, you can create your own beautiful images.

Shutter Speed Camera Modes

Cameras usually have three shutter speed modes to choose from: auto, shutter priority, and manual mode. (Description of the modes below)

  • Auto Mode (green rectangle) known as the ”point and shoot” mode. This mode configures the aperture and shutter speed. ISO is set to AUTO or MANUAL ISO.
  • Shutter Priority Mode (S or Tv) Photographer chooses
    shutter speed, camera configures aperture. User chooses AUTO or MANUAL ISO.
  • Manual Mode (M) Photographer controls the Aperture and Shutter Speed. User then chooses between the AUTO or MANUAL ISO.
Measuring Shutter Speed
  • Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second
    • For example, the shutter speed is 1/80 means that the shutter speed is one-eightieth of a second of the light exposure to the sensor.
  • A majority of the cameras can regulate up to 1/4000 seconds shutter speed, some cameras as quick as 1/8000 of a second.
  • In bulb mode, depending on the length of time the shutter button is pressed, the shutter speed can be up to 30 seconds.

Below is an example of an LCD screen showing the shutter speed.

Fast Shutter Speeds vs Slow Shutter Speeds –
  • Fast Shutter Speeds
    • < 1\1000 per second
    • shorter exposure time to the cameras digital sensor
    • allows less light into the cameras digital sensor
    • everything is in focus
    • FREEZES the Action in wildlife, sports, and raindrops
  • Slow Shutter Speeds
    • longer the exposure of light to the cameras digital sensor
    • allows more light into the cameras digital sensor
Motion Blur
  • Motion Blur
    • Motion Blur occurs when the subject or subjects are moving and the photo is taken at a slow shutter speed.
    • When the subject or subjects move when the shutter button is opened.
    • Sometimes photographers intentionally use motion blur as a creative way of expressing their work.
    • Motion blur similarly gives the impression that the subject is moving.
Camera Blur
  • Camera Blur occurs when the user accidentally moves the camera and causes the blur in the photo.

As an amateur photographer, I enjoy learning as much as I can about my Nikon Camera, while using my yard as my inspiration. I am inspired and enjoy capturing images of nature.


Mind’s Eye View Photo

As I patientły wait for the bird to land on a specific branch, I remember the simple mantra, ”Mind’s eye view”

”Mind’s Eye” according to Merriam Webster, is defined as the mental faculty of conceiving imaginary scene. ”View” is to survey or examine mentally. Together, ”Mind’s Eye View” is an idea that through the mind’s eye we can create a beautiful visual and bring it to life through photography.

When you imagine visualize create you’re in a zone I call, ”Mind’s Eye View.”

Behind every photo of mine is an example of ”Minds Eye View” Photo.

Imagine, Visualize, Create


”to form a mental image”

Before I take a photo I imagine what the outcome if the photo will be.


”To form an image through the eye” 

I visualize the outcome of the picture


”to bring something into existence” 

Finally, I capture the photo and create a mind’s eye view photo.

The the notion of ”Mind’s Eye View” Photo can easily be applied to any other active imagination.