Stephen Mid-Air

One of the main things people try to do when taking action shots is to “stop time.” They try to take a shot that displays no motion blur whatsoever. This is a commonplace technique used in sports photography (or when trying to take a picture of people playing/splashing in water, for example). I did the best I could with these shots, but I did not have enough light necessary to use the fast shutter speeds that are necessary.

This shot uses a flash that bounces off the ceiling and a 1/200s exposure time. Since Stephen is mid-air, these shots have a lot of motion but you can barely tell because of the 1/200s exposure time. Normally when you use the flash, your camera defaults to a 1/60s exposure time. I had to switch to shutter priority mode (labeled Tv on most Canon cameras) and adjust the shutter speed to 1/200s myself. I wasn’t getting enough light at ISO 100 so I kept bumping it up until I had an acceptable amount of light. In this case that was ISO 320.

The general rule of thumb is this: if the action is moving towards you, you can get away with 1/200s exposure time. If the action is moving side-to-side then you need to use either 1/500s or 1/1000s exposure times. That is it; no need to complicate things. If there is enough light for 1/1000s with your camera’s lowest ISO setting, then you are all set.

May 26, 2011

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