Monday, June 28, 2010

Natural slide

This was shot at the Bukit Hijau falls in Kedah. Taking action shots is almost always a crap shoot -- the only way to even get one or two usable shots is to take a LOT of photos. Out of these usable shots, perhaps only one will actually be THE one. For me this is the shot -- there's a teensy bit of cropping at the top and bottom but generally the framing is what I wanted and there's a sense of movement in the motion blur yet the boy is rendered sharp against the blur background. There are a couple of things to keep in mind to increase your chances of a good photo however:

  1. You need to pan the camera to follow the boy as accurately as possible as he slides down. Anticipation is also key -- you need to watch where the kids slide and you need to know when to press the trigger. I don't normally put the camera on continuous burst mode because most of the time, I will miss the critical moment that happens between shots. So instead, I tend to quickly shoot off a shot or two when I see the boy pass the area I've earmarked as the one which is likely to produce a cool action shot.
  2. The other thing to note is that in dim lighting (such as in the canopy of trees in this waterfall area), the shutter speeds tend to be slow and if the speed is TOO slow, more than likely the subject will also have some motion blur even with the best panning technique. Therefore, I increased the ISO to about 320 or so (this is the highest I'm willing to use on my D200) and got shutter speeds that were fast enough to ensure my subject is sharp, yet have a bit of motion blur in the background.
Nikon D200, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR

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