So here we are, the summer solstice has been and gone and I didn’t even notice since the sun never really came up. Roll on winter when we can probably expect some half decent weather.
There are lots of large events and particularly sporting events at this time of year, not least of all the Olympics. I guess a number of you will have tickets and will be hoping to get some cracking shots. I for one will shortly be going to the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Photography tips for fast moving action
So what’s the key to getting good shots of these fast moving action events. The main thing will be shutter speeds. If you have the ability to switch your camera’s auto mode off and set the camera to a shutter priority then do so. I will be shooting the Grand Prix at anything from 1/30 of a second to 1/2000 of a second. The slower shutter speed (1/30) will allow lots of movement for very intentionally blurred shots although I will have to pan very carefully with the cars, whilst the faster speed (1/2000) will freeze the movement giving me very crisp shots with an out of focus background. By switching to a shutter priority, the photographer can control the look and feel of the type of shots.
If you are lucky enough to have obtained tickets to the opening or closing ceremonies of the Olympics and you are armed with your iPhone or pocket camera, remember to turn the flash off. Whist you may think the flash is very bright, it has no effect whatsoever beyond about 8 feet indoors, less outdoors and will just run your batteries down twice as fast. It does however provide for a nice glittery backdrop for the TV cameras. For night-time photography, most compact cameras will have a dusk or night program setting. This will give better results with hand-held pictures after dark. Fireworks settings on these cameras require the use of some stabilisation such as a tripod.
If you are zooming in to the action your camera movements will be more exaggerated and blurred or out of focus images are more likely. Remember to use your camera with a faster shutter speed to counteract this for sharper pictures. Most automatic cameras will have a sports mode which will have a similar affect. Phone cameras will not offer these options and whilst pretty good at capturing an overall view, they are next to useless when it comes to anything more as I frequently discover whenever I pull my phone from my pocket.
Happy shooting this summer.
Simon Lane LBIPP, Photographer, Hertfordshire