A&P How do you take pictures of fast moving objects?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by zennoodle, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. zennoodle

    zennoodle ...hmm must've misplaced my socks

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    I'm looking to take pics of sporting events, auto events, etc etc but I want to capture the subject in motion and not the background with a blur. Any help is appreciated. :)
     
  2. dmora

    dmora Guest

    Got this from the nikon board. Ignore the part about the non-existent image below.

     
  3. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    I think what you're saying is that you want the subject to be sharp but the background blurred. The post above that dmora posted is good but lengthly. Here's all you need to know to take these kind of pics.

    1. Use a telephoto lens. You can use a shorter lens but you have to be much closer to the subject.

    2. Pick your vantage point so that you are about 90 degrees from the subject's path of movement.

    3. Set your shutter speed to about 1/30 second or slower. Don't go below 1/4 second or you'll get nothing but blur. Adjust aperature to compensate for slow shutter speeds. Use slow film or low number ISO setting.

    4. Use a monopod or tripod. You can try handholding the camera but don't be surprised if your pics aren't very sharp.

    5. Pan your camera with the subject, keeping it framed in the same spot as best you can. Trip the shutter in the middle of your pan when the camera should be at it's steadiest.

    6. It helps if your background isn't "busy" looking. A clean background, like the walls of a racetrack, help the pic.

    7. Shoot 30-60 pics and you'll probably get 10 that come out well.
     
  4. Kinks

    Kinks Sup. OT Supporter

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    are you for real?

    [​IMG]

    This shot was taken at 1/320th standing on the pit wall - my EXIF data gives the distance to subject as 4.9 metres. As you can see the subject is not blurred (much) but there's still plenty of background blur even at that speed.

    And if you're using a long zoom lens you can forget about 1/30th of a second, motion blur will just turn into horrible camera shake. Ken Rockwell gets usable shots at 1/60th at 300mm and 1/250th at 400mm on his 80-400 VR. So if you're not using a VR lens, you'll be shooting 2 stops above that at least. As a *general* guide you don't want to go much below 1 over the focal length ie slower than 1/300th on a 300mm lens will "probably" give you camera shake - ie you'll have some decent shots and some rejects.
     
  5. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Not necessarily. I'll grant that 1/30 may be too slow for longer lenses and that 1/60 or 1/125 may be better, but that's why I said that a tripod or monopod is a must. Without it, camera shake will render the shot unusable. Check out the second pic on this page:

    www.cobracountry.com/bitten/home.html

    I took this shot at 1/30 sec with a 50mm lens. The first shot was taken at 1/15 sec with a 24mm lens. Both were taken without a tripod. If I had used my longer lenses, I would have had to use a tripod with a good pan head.

    The objectective in these kinds of shots is to give the impression of speed. Yes, you can blur the background a bit at 1/300 sec if your lens is long enough but as you can see in your pic, the background is still too sharp to give the impression of speed.
     
  6. sony

    sony Active Member

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    IMO, its easier to pan without a tripod or monopod. I usually swing my hips and track the car. I'll wait for the car to approach and track it from far left and take the picture when its right in front of me. I've gotten successful pans anywhere from 1/40s-1/320s anything faster than that usually stops motion and slower than that I start to get too many throw aways.

    The faster the car, the faster your shutter speed can be, pretty much, because the wheels are spinning so much faster.

    [​IMG]

    I shot this at 200mm f/4 1/100s

    [​IMG]

    300mm f/4 1/250s

    [​IMG]

    116mm f/11 1/125s

    Depending on the event, I'll always try to get keepers. I shoot some road racing for a club and its pretty important that I get pictures of certain people or they get all pussy hurt ( :wtc: ) so i'll always try to do 1/200s or so and make sure I pull off some shots then play around with 1/80-1/100. I haven't really tried to do a lot of work at slower shutter speeds. When you're doing slower pans, oddly enough its sometimes easier when the cars are moving slower. :dunno: I've done a couple 1/4s 1/8s that didn't turn out so bad but the car was being pushed. :o

    Here are some quick tips:
    1) Tv mode is probably your best bet. Set the shutter speed to what you want to pan with. Keep in mind lighting conditions though, sometimes different angles will have more or less light. :dunno:
    2) Don't use flash. :uh: I was a t a dark corner at JGTC and I decided to be a wise guy and pop some flash to fill in shadows (everyone around me was doing it). I completely froze the wheels:
    [​IMG]

    :uh: My reasoning was "damn these cars are moving fast, flash should fill the shadow areas and I'll still get the blur from the rest of the frame" :hsugh: Bad idea. :o
    3) Swing with your hips, not your legs, not your arms. On the second day the cars were drifting and I came out to pan them. I was pretty excited because panning cars going sideways looks damn cool, but I got thirsty so I walked all the way across the venue to get a drink for four dollars. I came back and I was stuck with this hole:

    [​IMG]

    I tried leaning in and panning with my arms, too shaky. I leaned back and panned with my hips and the fence would get in the way. Your hips will swing a lot more fluidly than your hands or arms can. Make sure you're not PUSHING the shutter button either. At first I would push the button down and the camera would slightly jerk in the vertical axis. Sqeeze, so that the camera doesn't jolt when you fire the shot off. Try swining back and forth at the hips (with your legs about shoulder width apart) and you can see how fluid it is. Wait for the car to approach and begin your servo focusin g(if your camera supports it, otherwise i would recommend prefocusing and then shooting when the camera gets in the spot you focused at) then when it gets in the area you want the shot take the picture.

    A lot of guys say burst :mb: but honestly, I've gotten my timing to a point where the first or second shot is always the best one of the bunch, so I never really burst more than three in a row. A lot of it is timing.

    Have fun and experiment with different shutterspeeds/apatures. Get out and practice. You don't have to have fast cars or exciting venues to take pictures of.

    Jcolman had a lot of good tips. Its easier to pan when the car is moving left-right of you (instead of coming towards or away). Watch your surroundings etc. :dunno: Also don't feel down when you come home and you have like 2-3 keepers for every 20 shots your first time out. The number goes up a bit, but I still get a ton of throw aways. :hs: Thats all I can think of. :o
     
  7. CRC

    CRC New Member

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    I've taken pics of basketball games, and all the handheld sharp pics at about 250-300mm were all at least 1/250s. Anything less just didn't seem to be fast enough
     
  8. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    I agree. But basketball and auto racing are two different animals. In auto racing the cars are going down a predictable path and you can prefocus your lens and track the car while panning the camera. The goal of shooting at a slow shutter speed is to blur the background while keeping the car sharp.
     

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