XDrive Photography Learning – 19 -High-Speed Photography.

One of the frequent term used in photography is “High-Speed Photography”. What is this type of photography and what you achieve with high-speed photography? Let’s explore it in this session. As you know we discuss the photography techniques and topics here on XDrives Learning Photography section. If you are new please have a look here first.

Basically, high-speed photography is the scenario where you use higher than normal shutter speeds than your usual everyday photography. Whenever you are shooting something moving fast and look to freeze the motion then you need to adapt to high-speed photography.  As you might have already understood that main requirement would be to have a camera with controllable shutter speeds. Most cameras can have shutter speeds up to 1/4000 sec to 1/8000 sec, that means when you set a cameras shutter speed at 1/4000th of a second, you are opening and closing the shutter very very fast. Becuase you allowed only a fraction of a second for the sensor to “see” the scene you are shooting, most probably sensor is going to record things at a standstill even though they are moving. E.g shooting a splash of water, flying bird, zooming motorbike or a skiing activity etc.

Now you might ask, why not then I set my camera at 1/4000 sec and forget about it, after all, we need crisp frozen moment anyway? Well, 1/4000 sec is very short time duration, most probably you may not be able to use this shutter speed most of the times because at this fast exposure time chances are your shots are severely underexposed even if you keep your aperture wide open. Basically, just like any other photography technique, you need to understand light and adopt the optimal settings. So now let’s see some of the examples and the corresponding settings.

DSC00013

Shutter speed of 1/2000 sec, to make sure the surfing action is frozen. Chose f5 assuming that I will be able to focus sharply. I feel going bit higher aperture about f 9 or so maybe recommended as you might miss the right focus point. Always use autofocus with continuous focusing as the surfer will be moving as you click the shot. ISO was 100 as there was plenty of sunlight and exposure setting was not a challenge.

DSC04722

This was a challenging shot as I wanted to use the existing sunlight for this shoot. Basically, this is a backlit photography and did not use flash or any artificial light. I placed the cup in the way of sunlight. Shutter speed was 1/1600 sec which as not adequate as you can see water drops are not frozen in mid-air. Also, I used f4.5 which was also not a right setting I should have used about f11. This is important because I am doing the close focus and need to put the whole of the cup’s top part in the focal plane. ISO was at 400. Focusing here was manual and I did prefocus on the centre where the water drops would fall. Generally, these shots are done with multiple artificial light sources.

DSC03020

This is one of the shots I am happy with the outcome. That was a golden hour shot and you can see the soft light illuminated the net nicely and clearly. Shutter speed of 1/1600 froze the net in mid-air. The important thing here is I used manual focusing here. The reason is the motion is faster and cameras auto focus will not be able to catch the moving net. So prefocused on the man first and used an aperture of f10, so taking advantage of hyperfocal length here. But I had to use ISO 1600 and do the noise reduction on post-processing.

IMG_4351

This is my favourite shot and I must say lucky shot too. The bird flew very much close to my camera and there is no crop involved in this shot. Shutter speed of 1/1250 sec, f 11, ISO400. The focusing was on continuous auto. Shot at 150 mm.

IMG_7882

Mud fields run which is organized yearly in this part of the world. Naturally best chance to capture some splash. Shot at 1/2000 sec, at f 6.3 and ISO 400. Yes, again continuous autofocus is used. One has to take ultimate care of the camera not getting wet.

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Flying people, recorded at 1/2500 sec, ISO 100. Chose f2.2 since the subjects are in a thin focal plane.

IMG_4661

This is another interesting shot where bird taking a dive at its meal in the water and still head being submerged in the water! Shutter speed 1/1600 sec, ISO 800, f 13 and focal length of 214mm.

Burst mode is mandatory in all above shots as there is very little time to pull that trigger.

So here is the checklist for high-speed photography.

  • The first part is about the shutter speed, decide first and set your camera in shutter priority mode.
  • Set rapid fire/ burst mode to do continuous shots and ready to shoot about 5 to 10 shots per try. Also, make sure your SD card has sufficient space for multiple files.
  • Choose a right aperture, since things are moving very fast and little time, there is a good chance that you miss the focus. So set your aperture close to f 11 if light permits that way hyperfocal length would save you in case you missed the focus.
  • Set the focusing to be on auto continuous tracking in most situations. Use centre focus and don’t go for any fancy AI based focusing on the serious job.
  • Last but not the least, the ISO. Based on the light condition choose the ISO. Since you are already shooting at high shutter speeds and restricted apertures, there is a chance that you are underlit (except shooting in sunlight). So set your ISO to an acceptable level of your camera. I would accept a bit of noisy image over unfocused image. If your camera has auto ISO with limiting range then use it. I generally set ISO limit to be 800, that way camera would choose best possible ISO within 800. Check your camera manual for this feature.
  • Oh, I forgot the most important thing, take plenty of pictures, for beginners you are going to trash about 90% of the pictures and only 10% workable.
  • Have plenty of time, the action may be very fast but preparation has to be elaborated one.
  • Keep checking the images as you are shooting, you never know you might have missed one important setting and that could spoil your whole shooting opportunity.

Well, that’s about high-speed photography. High-speed photography is a very creative work and there is no rules and fixed settings. But remember a great picture need not be frozen and sharp either!

Exercise

  1. Post at least one or two pictures you have taken with your camera at high shutter speeds. Fresh pictures or existing images are fine. Apply all the things we learnt in the previous sessions.
  2. Let me know type of camera(mobile, DSLR, point and shoot)
  3. Try to put EXIF data (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) so that I can comment better.
  4. Add a tag ‘XDrivePhoto’.
  5. Add a pingback to this post. (Basically, copy the URL of this post, and paste to your post. (Anywhere)
  6. Title the post as “XDrive Photography Learning – 19 – High-Speed Photography.”
  7. Next post will be after the next week, that means you are gonna get two weeks to make your submission. Although you may make your submission any time later too.
  8. Please mention “Critique requested” in your post if you are contributing for the first time here so that I can give my comment on your pictures. 

Your ping-backs may not appear immediately as I have to enable them later. I will check your post, and I will comment on your post if you have requested me to do so. I will post selected contribution links to this post later so that others can also see and learn from them. (Please note there is no time limit for your contributions, you can post them anytime, I will respond to them as you contribute. You can also make more than one contribution to the same topic)

Although these lessons are geared towards newbies, expert photographers also welcomed heartily. I want to learn from you all! There are no teachers here everyone is learning.

Cheers and Happy clicking! All the previous Photography Learning sessions here.


Contribution(s)

https://loisajay1213.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/raj-x-drive-photography-19-high-speed/comment-page-1/#comment-16786

XDrive Photo Lesson 19 – High Speed Photography

https://ameditativejourney.wordpress.com/2018/01/21/xdrive-photography-learning-19-high-speed-photography/#comment-6667

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/xdrive-photography-learning-19-high-speed-photography/#comment-70874

https://ameditativejourney.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/xdrive-photography-19-high-speed-photography-revisited/#comment-6681

https://digitaldiary101.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/xdrive-photography-learning-19-high-speed-photography/comment-page-1/#comment-728

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43 Comments Add yours

  1. Nidhi says:

    Those are some really beautiful clicks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Nidhi.. for your appreciation! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Orange says:

    W-O-W!!!
    ಸೂಪರ್ pictures 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      T-H-A-N-K-S
      ಸೂಪರ್ Girl 😍

      Like

      1. Orange says:

        P-L-E-A-S-U-R-E
        ಸೂಪರ್ Man 😍😂
        Just to tell you, I type L-I-K-E T-H-I-S when I’m ಸೂಪರ್ excited 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raj says:

        Noted down … 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Leya says:

    Great shots all of them – my favorite is the man with the net. I really should practice this. Almost never succeed with this kind of shots.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks you Leya, but its not that difficult if you have time to sit and watch for the moment. 🙂

      Like

      1. Leya says:

        Well…maybe I am too hasty then.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raj says:

        We all have our priorities in this fast paced world. But my vacations are dedicated for photography.. 😀

        Like

      3. Leya says:

        Sounds great!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. shutterbug says:

    Such great pictures, Raj. Everytime I see your posts I say ‘ooh, I want to try that.’ I should have a few that fit for this category.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thats great and makes me feel good about this activity. Yes, we always get temped when we see ordinary people do post something interesting as opposed to some pro shots. It happens to me a lot. But trying is free.. Thank you .. want to see more from you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Arjun…Glad you liked it! 🙂

      Like

  5. K. Joseph says:

    Excellent discourse! I have to work up my courage to experiment some more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thanks Joseph for your appreciation..and yes, when you try even if the results are not professional grade..still that’s the achievement and gives lot of courage to move to next step. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. InspiresN says:

    Amazing pictures and wonderful tips and so much to learn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Nisha for your kind words… Glad you liked them. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy says:

    Awesome shots, Raj! The water drops are fantastic!
    Thank you for the tips and advice. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Amy for your likes and appreciation.. your support always appreciated! 🙂

      Like

  8. loisajay says:

    Wow, Raj! These are beautiful shots–especially the man with the net. My husband is a fisherman, so I hope it warms up here so I can get him to throw a net and try to capture what you did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      That’s great Lois, go on the fishing mission your hubby with the net and you with the camera! Work and pleasure together! 🙂
      Hope he will not curse me for giving you this idea though! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. loisajay says:

        I just posted. That is not my husband, though! He would have caught a fish….not so this guy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Helen C says:

    Wonderful photos, Raj. I particularly like that glass of water. You said: 1/1600, ISO 400 — is that possible? I shot one at 1/2000, ISO 800 and it was very underexposed. And that was a bright day by the window! Is it true that high speed photo usually is not as sharp (maybe because noise reduction)?
    So far, 350 photos (indoor) and I haven’t really figured it out yet (where is my 10% workable ones???) Outdoor on a sunny day seems easier. Will try more outdoor this weekend and more indoor next week… 😉
    Thanks for another great lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helen C says:

      Oops, I forgot that I had already deleted many photos. I also forgot that I had both raw and Jpg files, so 185 instead of 350 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Raj says:

        Well that’s what happens to me too.. I generally retain about 5 to 10%

        Like

    2. Raj says:

      Yes, Helen the settings were correct. But see your angle is very important. There is a direct sunlight falling over the cup, its a backlit kind of setting. The camera is facing the sun, the sun is at around 10 o clock position. You should be able to see the sunlight shades at the bottom right. There is not much noise reduction involved here as its ISO400 shot. I think the reason for not being sharp is attributed mainly to slower than required shutter speed and missed focus. f4.5 is too shallow which I realized later.
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Helen C says:

        Ah… the angle. I hope I didn’t sound like I didn’t believe you. I was surprised because , like I said, I had to increase ISO to 2000 to see the subject. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Raj says:

        Certainly not Helen. Always back light gives additional light when you use the correct angle. Also try using the prime lens.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Cristina says:

    Beautiful images and great tips ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Cristina for your appreciation… 🙂 Glad you liked it.

      Like

  11. Love these photos – a great read also!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      Thank you Jack for your appreciation! 🙂

      Like

  12. shutterbug says:

    Hi Raj. Sometimes I think I am overloading you with pictures:) But sometimes I can’t decide which ones to include or not. I have many that fell into this category 🙂 https://digitaldiary101.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/xdrive-photography-learning-19-high-speed-photography/ Hope you enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj says:

      No shutterbug, not at all. What you think needs a feedback that you should post, it’s just me, but everyone should give feedback. I have already replied in your post! Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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