Friday, August 3, 2012

Playing with Action Photography

I tell ya, a lot happens in our small town.  On the same day that Main Street was shut down to the south for the car show....

it was shut down to the north for the Triathlon.

It was a perfect chance to try out my new Cannon camera. With the road shut down, it was a one mile walk from my house out to the marina where the swim would start.

 I couldn't believe the reservoir was so low and I began to wonder if the whole thing would just turn into a big mud wrestle?

But the athletes managed to find a little water way out there and the swim was off and "running"?

I have to admit, it was a lot of fun watching the swimmers come out of the water and try to find their shoes. 

I may not have a lot in common with these amazing athletes, but rushing around looking for a lost there is something I can relate to.

It was a quick change out of the wet suits and into the bike gear.  

This is where I decided to get a little brave with my camera.  I took a regular "automatic" shot of this biker and then...

....with shaky hands  I turned the dial to "Shutter Priority". (Maybe it should be called shudder priority on my camera.)

Since I honestly don't know what I'm doing with a real camera I just had to experiment.  I wanted a blurry background with an in-focus biker.  So I set the shutter on a slow setting, around 1/30 seemed to work best. Everything else on the camera was set to automatic. 

As the bikers headed my direction I held the shutter button half way down to focus on the bikers face.  I moved the camera with the biker and when they got almost in front of me I snapped the picture.  

I got the effect I was looking for in about half of the pictures I took.  Luckily there were hundreds of bikers to practice on.  I think the blur really gives a sense of speed.  

For the picture above, I used the same slow shutter technique and then applied the posterize effect in Picasa...not bad, eeh? I hope these athletes don't mind being featured on my blog, I think they all look fantastic!

This shot with the thistle had to be my favorite of the day.  For this photo I used the focal black and white effect in Picasa to give only the thistle color.  

Nothing special here I just really liked how the sky looked in this shot.  


Of course the running came at the end of the triathlon.

I tried the same technique with the runners using an,

automatic shutter speed......

...and a slow shutter speed. 

But it was a lot harder to focus on just a knee because it went past a lot faster, but you get the idea.   

SO, you may ask, why would a blogger care about all this shutter speed stuff.  Well, I used the same slow shutter speed technique to demonstrate a little action in my pinwheel steak tutorial.  

I used it in picture #1 to show the action of cutting and in picture #3 to show  pounding.  

It's a little hard to practice these shots in the kitchen.  Where do you find someone willing to pound meat for an hour while you practice?  However, the bikers didn't complain a bit about providing me some action to practice on.  

I'll be looking for more ways to incorporate action photos into my blog posts.  I think it sometimes helps to communicate the story you are trying to tell.

So, have you tried anything new with your blog photography lately?  I'd love to hear what has worked for you...

Say cheese!

Sharing here today....


  1. not yet -- still leaning to understand my canon ebel XTi camera not understanding the shutter speed - how it works..wink!
    But thanks for the info and the yummy steak tutorial.

  2. Very, very neat picture. I love it- xo Diana

  3. Wow, those are some great shots. I finally took my camera off of automatic mode last week and have been experimenting. I don't know why I'm so hesitant and freaked out about experimenting with photos - it's not like I'm paying for film or processing! But still. From automatic, now I seem to be stuck on the A (aperture priority?) I just don't get alot of the stuff and was almost reduced to tears while reading the manual. I think I just need to enroll in a course...

    Thanks for sharing - I think you took some great photos!

  4. How fun to take new kinds of pictures with your camera.

    For years I toted around an expensive camera, bag, lenses,etc..
    I'm in love with my little DSLR, and it wasn't awfully expensive, so if I drop it when I'm getting on the Heber Creeper (like I did one of my expensive cameras) no sweat :)

    Enjoy exploring your new camera options!!

    Looking forward to seeing more great shots!!

  5. Wow, your pictures are amazing...gotta make myself do better with my own photos. THank YOU for stopping by and commenting at Sweetwater Style! I am now following you!

  6. Great photos and how exciting to have a new camera! I need to learn more about shutter speed... :-)