Adventures in Photography Class – Ep. 3: Stop/Blurred Action

Happy hump day, everyone! I hope this cold sunny day is treating you well. I’ve got a new lesson to share from my photography class, and let’s just say it was certainly one of those hardest to achieve. Let’s take a look at the stop and blurred action technique:

Stop Action

Our fourth daily photo assignment was to get examples of stop and blurred action shots. This teaches the importance of shutter speed in capturing movement in a photo. The picture above is a stop action shot of Felicita blowing bubbles (way to go, Captain Obvious). Stop action refers to capturing a subject in motion so that it is frozen and in focus. In this case, Felicita was blowing bubbles and because of the fast shutter speed (I think I was at about 1/1250 of a second) I was able to freeze the movement of the bubbles as they were coming out of the wand (earlier I mentioned that this assignment was hard. The reason is simple: wind and bubbles do not go together…at all). This technique is particularly important when it comes to sports photography because it allows for your subjects to be frozen to show their actions like a track star running across the finish line or a basketball player going for that flawless lay-up.

This is, of course, juxtaposed to a blurred action shot in which the shutter speed is slower and the movement of your subject is blurred yet still defined enough to know what it is. In the example below, the bubbles Felicita are blowing are blurred yet still noticeable:

Blurred Action

My shutter speed for this shot was closer to about 1/60 of a second, fast enough for me to hold the camera and not really have to worry about camera shake, but still slow enough to not be able to freeze the flow of the bubbles.

What I love about stop and blurred action shots is that anything can be used for a subject. One girl in my class filmed a gross yet insanely awesome trick with her roommate. Her roomie put a bunch of glitter in her mouth, and when she opened her mouth, the glitter fell out like a waterfall. In the stop action, you could see the glitter-fall perfectly in focus while in the blurred action, it was just a blurry golden mess. It was disgustingly epic. And of course, I’ve gotten my own pretty sweet blurred action shot:

Angie Blurred

I had originally contracted Angie to help me with this assignment, but I redid it since these pictures turned out underexposed.  Still this blurred action shot of Angie on her long board is flippin’ awesome! See how she’s blurred and the rest of the picture is sharp? I will admit, I’m pretty proud of this one (at least in regards to mastering the technique). I have another I took that I like, but I’ll post it later.

Well, class is starting, so I should probably go pay attention. Have a great day!


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