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May 30, 2005


Justin Scott

Photographing surfer is hard, unless you have a good lens and a fast shutter. At least that has been my experience. With only a 3x optical zoom I achieved these. Nothing too special eh?


I do like to imagine what I could do with a "real" camera. Those were taken with Nikon 4300. Working on finding a way to get a D70 or D100 :-)

I used to have the priveledge to use a D1, I could catch racing jet boats in perfect focus. Maybe my 21st b-day will bring me back to that level of equipment!


Hi there Scott, thanks for your comments. I checked out your shots- I like the first 4-5, though you need the sun to be in favor of the type of shot you are going to take (same problem I had with this batch too).

The others there are some that are "tilted" (dodged) - you need the ground to stay level, unless you are looking specifically for a particular effect when doing that. Visually it is confusing/disturbing, and my teacher made me work on this right away.

Just my opinion.

What kind of camera are you using?


Well I'm glad to see some of your homework efforts. What camera are you using? And how is it set up for shooting?

This is probably stuff you'll learn eventually from the classes but I'll mention them now ;-)

re #1. Don't use a light meter. OK I don't mean that literally. For this kind of photography any light metering that the camera is going to do is wasted. Most of the time it's going to to slow and as you see it prevents shooting because it can't make up it's mind. As you know I'm the old fasioned type of photographer what I do is that instead of metering each shot you meter the environment. Just meter once for the type of overall light, or if you have some special effect in mind, and set the exposure to manual for the duration of the shoot. This also leaves to worry about more important things, like focus and framing.

re #2. Definitely! Photography of faces midday is just about impossible. If you are a late sleeper, aren't we all, just wait around for late day photos. Go take pictures of something else instead, like the pier, boardwalk, sand castles, etc. Remember it's not just about the home work, but the pleasure of photography.

re #3. Get ready for a really good tan. Just go to the beach a lot! And take many, many, pictures. If you only use 1% of them that's a good return. And what you don't need today you might need next week.

re #5. Oh my! Just 8 shots. I've "thrown out" multiple complete rolls (yes 35m old fashioned film). This is sport photography you never *auto* anything. You need to plan what you are going to take pictures of. And set you FOV to match the distances you are expecting. Set the camera to manual. And when a shot fits you take it, and 2 or 3 others in quick succession. You then go back and pick the ones you want. And don't tell me the camera doesn't have a fast enough shutter, etc. You can do sport photos with a slow camara. You just need to deal with blur, and even use it. Photography is not about precision, but structure. Next time you are out I suggest you take some of these types of pictures at 1/15.

re #6. Only two choices if your subject is moving... You move with your subject... Or you follow your subject. Both can be used to great effect to contrast the background from the foreground. One of the oldest effect is to use the blurring of the background to impart a specific movement on the subject (or even the other way around). But here's another chore for you: Buy one a few of those disposable waterproof cameras, and you already have swim trunks right ;-) And just go hang out in the water as close as you can get without being a pest. You'll get much better shots just by getting closer to the surfers, and it will give the shots the true feeling of being there.

As for the above pictures. You migh find it strange, but the one I think is best is:

It has the best division of the frame and the backdrop of the shadowed pier both hightlights and follows the surfer and the breaker he is on. It has the best feel for action. It's dynamic. Which is what you want to see from a sport picture.

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