Shooting action photography

Select activities of importance to you. Think about and research the action that is likely to occur. Visualize where and when the action will be at its peak .. a pole vaulter at the apex of the jump, for instance. Decide how to frame the action to fill the picture, then choose your viewpoint. That choice can be to move yourself closer to the action or to pull the action close to you with a zoom or telephoto lens.

Before the activity starts, practice framing the areas of likely peak action in your camera’s viewfinder. Then wait for the expected action, and fine focus just before shooting. This technique frees your mind to concentrate on the subject’s action. Shooting fast action outdoors If you are using an adjustable camera outdoors, first measure the light. Then set your camera’s shutter speed at no less than 1/250 of a second in order to “stop” such action as a person or an animal running. A programmed camera that cannot be adjusted will probably deliver 1/125 of a second under most automated exposure programs.

Normal shutter speeds-1/60 or 1/125-will capture normal action, such as a person walking. Photographing indoor action Indoors, an electronic flash, which generally gives a burst of light lasting 1/500 of a second or less, will freeze action within 12 feet of the camera.

You can sometimes control the action. At a child’s birthday party, for example, say, “3-2-1-blow,” and click to catch the flicker of candles on the cake. The same trick works to set off a water fight between siblings in the bathtub: say, “3-2-1-splash.”

Action can be captured with slower than normal shutter speeds in a technique called panning. Follow the moving subject with your camera, trying to synchronize your movement with the action. The background will look blurred, but the subject should be reasonably sharp.