Friday, September 10, 2010

How to Take Action Shots with a Point and Shoot Camera

On the lifeguard stand

On our last trip to the beach, I only brought along my point and shoot camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5K. This is great for capturing snapshots such as this, but you really need a DSLR to capture great action shots. Or do you?

I've brought my DSLR to the beach many times and have captured the kids frolicking in the waves over the years. But there is a constant worry of getting salt and sand into the camera.  A couple years ago, Adam accidentally got sand in my camera bag and my walk-around zoom lens bore the brunt of it.  For years it was quite "crunchy" while zooming until just recently.  I finally dared to bring the DSLR to the beach again earlier this year and loved the results.  I did have a little freak-out after taking this shot where salt water hit the camera.  Well worth capturing the flying Medusa hair though.

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In 2008, I captured a similar shot of Dova jumping.

Dova jumps on the beach

Many people have asked how I manage to time shots like these.  The answer is always the same.  You set the focus and exposure automatically by pressing the shutter button halfway down and holding it (or set the exposure manually and hold the button halfway down).  Then you press the shutter button all the way down right at the moment you want to capture the shot.  Not a half-second or second before.  Right at that instant.  "But you can't do that with a point and shoot" is always the response.  Not true.  Point and shoot cameras all have means to hold the focus and exposure settings by holding the shutter button halfway down.  After holding the shutter button halfway down, there is no delay when you press it all the way down.  Here's proof:

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This was my first attempt at capturing Dova jumping off the life guard stand. Thankfully, she is an excellent jumper. The stand was nearly 7 feet off the ground and I wouldn't be caught dead trying to jump off of it. She continued to jump off the stand and the camera did not fail me.  It helps that there was plenty of light so the auto exposure set the shutter speed pretty fast.  Also, when you capture a jump at the highest point, there is the least amount of movement from the subject.  Here are some more shots:

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The girl really knows how to fly. She'll make an excellent gymnast someday, not afraid of dismounts at all.  Although I wish I had my DSLR that day, these shots will definitely be headed for the best of 2010.

5 comments :

Boston Mamas said...

Wow, these are amazing action shots! LOVE!

Asianmommy said...

Thanks for the tip--I'm going to try this.

Sistergirl said...

Just Hoppin by, You did good on the action shots because when I use that setting on my cameera it comes out blurry.

linda said...

Dova is a terffific jumper and you are a fanteestic action photographer!!

Rachel said...

Those are amazing! I can't believe she'll jump from that high off the ground - impressive!!!

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