GLOBAL – The world today moves fast and doesn’t stop for anyone – least of all for photographers. And yet, in the bustle of everyday life, photography opportunities come along thick and fast. Learning how to take good action shots comes in handy, especially when you’re a quick draw with your camera phone.
The ability to stop motion is one of the most exciting things about being a photographer: your neighbour’s kid leaping into a puddle after a rain-fall, a colleague showing off a new snowboarding trick, or your cat pouncing at a squirrel by the bird-feeder. You can predict that it’s going to happen, but can you photograph it?
Action photography is not at all difficult, but you need to know your equipment, and you need to develop a sixth sense about what’s going to happen.
To get ready for an action photo, it helps if you are familiar with what you are photographing. It would be difficult to take good photos of a basketball game, for example, if you hadn’t seen the game before. Players move in predictable patterns. A player grabbing the ball with both hands, for example, is going to pass it to a team mate, or shoot at the basket. These are little hints you can use to give you a heads-up about what’s going to happen next, so you can be ready when the perfect shot comes along.
This readiness doesn’t work just for basketball games, of course: Your dog leaping for a frisbee, the way rally cars come flying over a hilltop and the way a water balloon explodes when it hits the pavement are all things you can study – and once you know the sequence of events, you can photograph it.
Next, the camera work. All cameras have to do a few things before they are ready to take a photo. The first thing they do is to measure the light and calculate an exposure (the combination if ISO, Shutter speed and Aperture to ensure your photograph comes out with the correct brightness). Next, the camera lens will focus on your subject. Finally, it’ll release the shutter, and the photo is taken. These things happen nearly instantaneously – but when you’re taking photos of true action, you’re going to have to be ready, and every millisecond counts.
To get perfect control of when a photo is taken, you can pre-focus and ensure that the exposure calculations are already out of the way. Do this by half-pressing your shutter button on the side of your Nokia N8. You’ll see a green rectangle on your screen when your camera is ready. Now, all you need to do is to press the button all the way. As your camera has made all the calculations already, it’ll take the photo immediately.
Combine these two tips to get action shots that’ll truly rock your world. Use the pre-focus trick to ensure that the camera phone is ready to go. Now, use your knowledge of what is about to happen to be ready for the shot. Just as the neighbour’s boy’s rubber boots hit the water puddle, press the shutter button all the way down, and enjoy the perfect action shot, with water flying everywhere, and the inevitable grin on the kid’s face captured perfectly. A photo to cherish for years to come.