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Photography tips

A journey in Photography and sharing of how I go about taking various types of photos. Discussions include software and camera equipment and how to make the most of your equipment in a given situation.


01/24/2008 03:14

Taking a photograph that implies something is moving can be a bit of a challenge. There are few ways of actually doing it and from some photos I took a few days ago of the Adelaide Classic bkie race - a pre-cursor of the Tour down under, I will demonstrate 2 different techniques that imply motion.

The Bike race was a great opportunity not only to see some of the best cyclists in the world go head to head in 25 laps on the street circuit but to grab a camera and take some photos of the event as well!

Now, the 2 techniques of implying motion are very different and almost completely opposite.  The 2 techniques do have 1 thing in common and that is the use of fairly slow shutter speeds in the range of 1/20sec to 1/100 sec depending on the subject etc.

In our case, I used 1/30sec and 1/60sec for both techniques.

Firstly, there is panning - that is following the action with your camera and taking a photo. By following your subject they are sharp and the background is blurred.

Secondly, (and easier) you simply shoot at a slow speed whilst your subject moves thru the frame.

I have actually talked a bit about panning in previous posts, but here is a bit of a recap on the technique. 

Set your camera to manual, choose an appropriate shutter speed - a good place to start is probably around 1/60sec. Set a medium aperture in the range of f4-f8, then set the ISO as required depending on the light. Focus on a position square from you.

You will probably want to get reasonably close to the action and choose an appropriate focal length so that the subject will fill the frame - a short tele lens in the range of 50-100mm (35mm equiv) is ideal. 

Once you are ready, simply watch the riders (in this case) and follow them with your camera - moving to keep them in the frame.  When they are directly square of you where you previously focussed, trip the shutter and capture the photo. The most important part here is to keep following the moving object and don't stop just because you press the shutter!

You will take a lot of duds before you master the technique so don't be dissapointed if on your first try you only get 1 or 2 out of a hunderd or more photos that you are happy with.

The second technique is much easier! simply foucs where the action will take place, use a slow shutter speed and wait for the riders to move thru your field of view and capture the shot.

Enough of me going on - lets look at a few pictures that demonstrate both methods of capturing motion.



This (Above) is obviously a panned shot, I tracked the rider who is sharp, and the background is blurred because I was following the Rider. 

Below, I simply waited for the Riders to "ride thru" the scene - there is little detail of the riders.

Both of these 2 photos used exactly the same camera settings - ISO125 f5.6 1/60sec at 54mm (108mm equiv 53mm)

Above, I was concentrating on the rider in white on this paned shot. The background has almost no detail and nearly all the other riders are blurred as well - this is a combination of the shallow DOF (medium to large aperture) and the fact that they were moving at a slightly different speed to the rider I was concentrating on.

Below, is another shot where I kept the camera still. As the riders were spread out and coming towards me. the closer riders appear to be moving faster than the more distant ones.

Once agin this pair of photos used the same camera settings - ISO200 f5.6 1/30sec at 54mm

The 4 photos capture a sense of speed, yet all are just a single frame.  They use different techniques and camera settings to acheive the objective of capturing motion.

I could have just cranked up the shutter speed and captured the riders in great detail, but I would have lost all sense of speed and the fact that they were wizzing past at around 50km/h!

so, next time you are out and you want to try and capture a sense of motion or speed give these 2 techniques a try and see what comes of it! 

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