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Action Tip # 6

25th October 2010

Continuous Shooting

Most digital SLR and many point-and-shoots have a feature called continuous shooting that lets you capture several photos in a very short period of time. This is also referred to burst mode. So at the soccer game, by keeping the shutter depressed you can capture your star player as she runs towards the action, swivels her leg into launch position behind her, quickly drives her kicking shoe forward and finally strikes the ball.

On a recent outing, I caught one of our future diving stars practicing at the pool. With the camera set to take continuous photos, I quickly fired off nine shots as she made her big leap into the water.

Pressing the shutter was the easy part.

After reviewing the photos, I wanted to be able to show the young girl’s diving exploits to others. One method is to make a composite of the action. Here’s a miniature composite:

Making a larger composite makes it easier to see the detail of each frame. However, the time and expense may cause you search for an alternative if you’re planning to make many such composites.

Another way to show these is to convert the nine individual frames into a movie. One free and easy way to do this is to use Picasa 3*.

After starting Picasa, I added the nine photos to my library. Next I highlighted these nine frames and clicked on the Movie icon (towards the bottom of the screen).

For Transition Style, I chose Disolve.

For Slide Duration, I chose 1.0 second. You can choose a longer time which lets you study each frame more, but I prefer the shorter duration which makes the action seem to flow more naturally.

For Overlap, I chose 100%. For the diving action, this setting seems to provide the best effect.

Then I click on the Create Movie button. This converts the 9 individual frames into a short movie.

In just a few seconds, Picasa turns the images into a short movie with which you can enjoy the action with others. Click here to see the movie.

Yes, you can have a fun using the camera’s continuous shooting mode. But sharing the action with the world makes the fun last much longer.

* Picasa is available for the PC and Mac by free download from Google.

Tech Tip # 2

19th October 2010

Simple Time Lapse Photos

Not long ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find an interval timer feature in one of the cameras that I was using. With this feature, you can record the progress of an “event” with a series of photos taken at a set time between each capture. It’s commonly referred to as time lapse photography. An example of time lapse is the way that a flower seems to magically grow before your eyes as it blossoms.

Since I was curious about using this feature, I looked for an appropriate subject. It just so happens that we had recently returned from a trip out west and brought back a small collection of “Mexican jumping beans“.

Action Tip # 5

13th October 2010

Once again, patience counts

Sometimes the only way to catch the perfect photo is to take a lot of them until you achieve the desired result. To retain the feeling of motion, I used a slow shutter speed (1/60th of a second). My goal was to “freeze” the young girl’s face, yet convey movement. After taking about twenty photos, I finally snapped one that I liked by being persistent (and patient).

I took about twenty photos similar to this one using a relatively slow shutter speed. While it captures the motion of the young girl, overall the photo is too blurred.

Here I snapped while the young girl is at the top of her swing where her velocity is zero. By waiting for this exact moment, I’ve been able to stop most of the motion.

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Keeping it Personal

06th October 2010

The Creative versus the Personal

I’ve learned from my many years as a photographer that there are two distinct sides to my work. One side is the creative and the other side is the personal. I’ll explain.

Let’s take the family vacation as an example. The long cross-country drive has all of the family members packed into the station wagon on the road to that fabulous destination. The trip is going take me to some gorgeous landscapes. And when I arrive, my creative juices are screaming to photograph the vistas that I’ve been dreaming about for what seems like forever. But hold on! What’s also tugging at me is the family – remember this is a family vacation.

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Lighting Tip # 1

05th October 2010

It’s not too Late to Capture the Fall Colors


This article was a fun and easy assignment for me. From beginning to end it took barely two hours to shoot and write.

Confession: I spent an additional 30 minutes driving back to the office to fetch the camera’s memory card which I inadvertently left with my computer.

Why was this assignment so easy? Because the colors and lighting do all of the talking.

Here the sun is at my back. This emphasizes the texture of the leaves.

Here I’ve moved a few feet so that the light is now coming from in back of the leaves.


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Travel Tip # 2

02nd October 2010

For better or for worse, travel has been part of my life for many years. My best guess is that I’ve spent two months out of each of the last 30 years away from home. To help ease the pain and drudgery of travel, I’m always prepared to record my travels with a camera.

About 25% of my travel involves photo assignments. For this kind of travel my equipment list varies widely based on the specifics of the assignment. The other 75% of my travel has me tending to other aspects of our business. For this kind of travel I keep myself photographically ready for whatever interesting or unexpected I might encounter.


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