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Action shots and wide apertures #photography

It was the Black Country Horse Drive on Sunday and I was there at the start to capture the action. Action shots need a fast shutter speed and to get close to the action you need a longer lens. I was using a 55 – 300 mm lens and zooming in a lot so camera movement was a potential problem as well as the speed of the horses.


Action Shots

It wasn’t just the horses that were moving, there were also the cars, an ambulance on blue lights and express trains! In these action shots, you have a lot going on which makes for a great picture. You can’t be too wide for a shot like this but there is no need to go very narrow either. I was on aperture priority but shutter speed priority can be useful for action shots too. The above shot was at f/6.3 giving me 1/640 of a second. My ISO was set at 200. Why set my ISO at 200 when it’s sunny? One reason was the light kept changing and I wanted to catch the action without too many changes in settings and the other reason is I wanted fast shutter speeds.


Zooming in

Zooming in with the aperture wide open amplifies camera shake and movement but the fast shutter speed captures the action. This was at 1/640 of a second at 105mm.


Depth of field

This horse is quite sharp and I took this shot at 195mm and f/5 which gave me a really fast 1/1250 of a second. The background is slightly blurred but that is unimportant.


Shallow depth of field

As the horses got closer my depth of field got squeezed and went shallower. In this picture, the number plate on the red car is unreadable and really blurred. The subject of the shot, the horse, is however quite sharp. Action shots invariably need shallow depth of field to get the fast shutter speeds even in bright sunlight. This shot was at 1/640 of a second.



Despite having a reach of 300mm, most of my shots were around 100mm so I managed to get quite sharp images. I’m quite surprised that the focal lengths of the shots I took aren’t greater. I can’t find a shot over 200mm. I took over 300 action shots and I can pick the best ones out to use.

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