Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

This is one of the oldest photos in my collection that I haven’t yet published. I think I decided I didn’t really like it all that much. But there is a story that goes with it.

I was hanging around at the local mall, waiting for the sun to go down and casting around for something to do in the meantime. So I stuck the camera on the lip of a fountain and took some shots with a long shutter time, which produces that soft, blurry look from running water. This one used a shutter time of 1 second, but I wanted to try something even longer.

I couldn’t. My camera flatly wouldn’t let me set anything longer than 1 second no matter what I tried. When I got home I tried again to figure out what was going on. No luck. Then I started paging through the manual. But what should I even look for? I paged and paged and paged and found nothing.

The next day I tried again, and finally I cracked it. It turns out that the previous day I had put the camera in silent mode, which turns off the fake shutter-click noise. But in silent mode, the longest allowable shutter speed is 1 second. WTF? What’s the reason for this? And how would anyone figure it out? It took me a good half hour searching through the PDF of the manual before I finally found a little footnote about it. And I still have no idea why Panasonic did this. Is it a “safety” feature, so you know when the exposure is finished? Beats me. Anyone have a better suggestion?

THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

payment methods

THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate