Slow down, you’re going too fast!
Those are the opening words of Simon and Garfunkel’s delightful song, “The 59th Street Bridge”. It might be of value to take their advice this year.
When I drive at 80 kph, my fuel economy is far better than at 120. If I’m in a school zone or passing through a funeral parlour parking lot, that 120 will earn me demerit points and get me an invitation to appear in court.
Some trees are real speed freaks. Stick a row of willow or poplar scions in the ground and jump back: by the time it takes to brew a cup of coffee there’ll be a substantial wind break, a privacy screen big enough to hide a grow op or keep a beaver busy for a week. Unfortunately, willow and poplar are completely unsuitable for furniture making and even as firewood.
On the other hand, if you intend to have a forest of oaks to supply your cabinetry factory, the acorns would have to be planted by your grandfather when he was still too young to get a driver’s licence.
Slow cooking is the way to go if you’re dealing with a tough cut of meat. Before you leave for work in the morning, plunk it in a slow cooker. Let it simmer all day. When your daily commute is over, the aroma of a tender cut will greet you at the door. There’s no such thing as instant home- made soup, stew or spaghetti sauce.
When photographing a Chinook helicopter in flight, use a relatively slow shutter speed, such as 1/60th of a second. Its massive, slow moving rotor blades will be nicely blurred. A fast shutter speed, 1/1000, will ‘freeze’ the rotor blades as if they had stopped spinning. If a helicopter’s rotor blades aren’t turning, gravity immediately takes over: crash!
When photographing car races, try using a slow shutter speed and pan your camera like a hunter’s rifle following a bird in flight. If you do it with skill the Maserati will be sharp, but the cluttered background will be reduced to a line of streaks.
If you want to capture the sense of movement in wind-blown leaves, pounding surf, tumbling waterfalls, a flurry of wind-driven snowflakes, a relaxed shutter speed of 1/8 second will do the trick. But your camera must be as steady as the Rock of Gibraltar.
You should heed grandma or your driving instructor when they beg,“Please! Don’t drive so fast!” On the other hand, flying too slowly is not good. Lift requires the movement of air over the wing. No lift: gravity immediately takes over: crash!
Slow is not always a four-letter word.