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Tips For Action Photography

Tips For Action Photography

Good naturalists turn more easily into good wildlife photographers than those who know their equipment, but not their subjects. For both, the ability to take full control over a camera’s programme modes is critical. This is vital so you can over-ride the shutter speed and aperture decisions that modern cameras offer in auto-mode for perfectly exposed images. Even if you happen to be in the right spot at the right time, nevertheless, the odds of getting ‘that’ image will be better if you understand your camera, lighting and animal behaviour.

Dr. Parvish Pandya is an associate professor of Zoology at Bhavan’s College, Andheri and the Head of Science, Natural History and Photography at Sanctuary Asia.

It is of utmost importance to remember that the survival of the organism you are photographing is more important than you getting its picture – by no means must you put the species of your interest in danger.

Be a visitor in nature’s wonderland and leave nothing behind, not even foot-prints.

For action photography, a photographer must know the basics of shutter speed, aperture settings, ISO settings and depth of field.

Shutter speed measures the time the camera shutter is open, expressed in fractions of one second: 1 sec., 1/2 sec., 1/4 sec., 1/8 sec… 1/250 sec., 1/ 500 sec., 1/1000 sec., or higher.

The slower the shutter speed, the more the light falls on the image sensor; the faster the shutter speed the less light reaches the sensor. In other words, if your subject is moving and you want to ‘stop’ motion, you must use a fast shutter speed. In this case, both the subject and its background will remain in focus.

On the other hand, if you want to blur motion (to depict the flutter of the wings of a bird or butterfly) then you must use a slow shutter speed. The classic image that defines such choices is that of flowing water, where the background will be rock-steady if you mount your camera on a tripod, while the water will be blurred suggesting motion. When you use very slow shutter speeds of ½ or ¼ of a sec, you can even get the impression of water having frozen in the frame. If you are not carrying your tripod, you can place your camera on a rock or on ground.

If your camera is steady (on a tripod or firm ground), you can use slow shutter speeds to photograph flocks of birds just taking off – giving a beautiful appearance of motion.

Action photography can also be experimented in non-SLR cameras by selecting “Sports” mode from the shooting menu. By doing this (the ISO setting should be on automatic), the camera selects higher shutter speeds and ISO. On the other hand, “Museum” mode permits without flash photography with slower shutter speeds, so mounting the camera on a tripod helps.

In automatic / programmable cameras, the “Shutter Priority AE” allows the photographer to select the desired shutter speed (fixed). In case a higher shutter speed is selected, there should be enough light and a higher ISO setting. Depending on the available light, the camera selects the optimum aperture for a proper exposure.

To view stunning images from Sanctuary’s photo-library, click here.

Author: Bittu Sahgal and Dr. Parvish Pandya

Source: Sanctuary Asia.



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