The world is full of movement. How can you capture this in a single image with your camera? There are two ways; either record a blurred image to convey the impression of motion, or ‘freeze’ the image to capture a moment in time.

Successful action photography requires a mixture of understanding your camera, technique and practice. This tutorial will look at the following areas:
• Exposure time
• The impact of aperture and ISO
• Panning your camera
• Sports photography
• Image stabilization
• Experiment and discover

Exposure time
To understand how to take action photos, it is important to understand movement in terms of exposure times.

If your subject is absolutely still and your camera is on a solid tripod, the shutter speed you use is not that important. 1 second or 1/1000 second will give similar results – at least as far as the sharpness of the subject is concerned.

Now imagine there is a dog running across in front of the camera, typically at 16 km an hour. In 1 second it will cover almost 5 metres. If you use an exposure time of 1 second, the dog will appear as a very blurred image.

This can be quite effective, giving a strong impression of movement. An exposure time of 1 second might be a little extreme in this situation, but shutter speeds around 1/15 second are worth trying (the dog will move about 30cm). If, on the other hand, you want the dog to appear motionless, you could try a shutter speed of 1/1000 second. In this brief moment, the dog will cover less than 0.5cm.

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