Adjust your shutter speed to capture all the action of your summer activities


[Dave Ness is an award-winning photographic artist specializing in landscape and impressionistic images. You can enjoy Dave’s Photographic Art at DaveNessPhotography.com or connect with Dave on Facebook /ViewByNess. Learn more Capture Tips and leave comments at PicTipsBlog.com]

Summer brings more opportunities for action photos. Whether it’s a stadium event or your friends and family enjoying summer activities, you’ll want to capture the action in a way that tells the story. Most dedicated cameras have selectable shutter speeds and you can convey motion and action with the right settings. A fast shutter speed—such as 1/500 of a second or shorter—will stop the action in what we call “Freeze Frame.” A paraglider appears sharp and crisp with a 1/400 second shutter speed. This speed also means you can hand hold your camera, eliminating the need for a tripod.

If you slow your shutter speed in the range of 1/125 of a second, fast moving items will be slightly blurry, which can convey motion. The slightly blurry rugby ball tells the story with more impact. If you have a steady stance, you can hand hold the camera. Separate your feet to shoulder width and at 90 degrees from each other and brace your bent elbow on your chest as you take the picture. Take a picture and adjust your shutter speed to fit the speed of your subject to yield the desired amount of blur.

Using a tripod, you can slow the shutter even more and pan with the moving object for a more artistic capture. The shutter speed for the sailboat on San Diego Harbor was 1⁄4 of a second. This technique requires some practice and a bit of trial and error but can be very rewarding as a photographer.

The great thing about digital photography is that you can capture several images at different shutter speeds, review them immediately and then decide which is the best setting for your story.