1/8000 of a second, What are you, crazy?

I vaguely remember when the fastest shutter speed in a camera was 1/500 of a second. Electronic flash would sync at a 1/60 of a second, and the press 25 synched at a 1/30 of a second. Then one day, up popped 1/500th of a second, 1/1000, 1/2000, 1/4000, and now 1/8000. If there’s one thing I do pretty well,  I’m like the Rock of Gibraltar when hand-holding a camera. In the day, I could hand hold a 500mm at a 1/500 of a second and make a reasonably sharp photograph. So why would you need 1/8000 of a second? On a recent trip to Mexico, I ran into a young man from Romania. He was the photographer for the resort we were staying in. He knew my work and asked me to look at his portfolio, which I did. Much to my pleasant surprise, his work was great. I mean damn great. Invariably, the subject of what camera he used and what lens came up. Not that I care about the brand or the focal length, but I was impressed when he told me he had one camera and one lens. Then I thought about it for a while. Why should that surprise me? I’d been telling my students one camera, one lens, 2 batteries, 2 cards, and kiss (keep it simple stupid.) This young man did it to perfection. He photographed his action sequences at 1/8000 of a second, and they were to die for. So I smiled, took a walk, moved my camera from ISO 200 to ISO 800, put it on 1/8000 of a second, and had a little bit of fun. I was surprised. There is a whole other world of high shutter speeds that I’ve never experienced. So for the next little while, I’d go from 1/8000 of a second to my normal shutter speed, which would be a quarter of a second. I guess I will never be too old to learn a valuable tip from a very young, and very good photographer. Thank you, Gabriel.

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