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-   -   HELP! Why do my action photos suck? (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=782737)

roughrivermike 08-16-2010 6:51 AM

HELP! Why do my action photos suck?
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I'm glad that cameras are digital, otherwise I would have wasted a million rolls of film over the past few years. I'm no photographer, but I am about to upgrade to a 7D and I don't want to make the same mistakes again with a $2,000 camera. Currently I use an Olympus Evolt 500 dslr. It shoots at 3.2 fps in burst mode. Most of the time I shoot in Auto or Sport mode.

First problem: they are almost always blurry. Second problem: I always miss the grab.
I look at all the great pics on this forum and I really want to start taking better pictures. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. Usually I am the boat driver, but my daughter and wife are even worse at getting the shots. Here are a few lame examples from the weekend.

garveyj 08-16-2010 7:36 AM

I don't know - I would not say they are lame. Timing is key and it will be much easier with the 7D. I am shooting in burst mode and capture about 8 FPS so it is much easier to capture the action shots. You may want to try playing with your F stop to change your focus points. Also the 7D has many areas that it can focus on to help make the pictures that much cleaner.

One other suggestion - have you tried doing a manual focus? Although it is harder to do it might help you out so that you can focus on the rider before they cut into the wake - that way the camera is not trying to focus on spray from the boat and then the rider and losing the focus it has.

dakid 08-16-2010 3:18 PM


wakedad33 08-16-2010 4:52 PM

Mike, It would help us to help you if you could include the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data. Almost all digital cameras save JPEG (.jpg) files with EXIF. Camera settings and scene information are recorded by the camera into the image file. Examples of stored information are shutter speed, date and time a photo was taken, focal length, exposure compensation, metering pattern and if a flash was used. I tried to extract it but coulden't.

This is an old artical by Garrett Cortese that I read when I first started shooting Wake, it helped a lot.

Keep shooting lots of shots and learn and understand all your camera settings.

Good luck


roughrivermike 08-17-2010 5:47 AM

Wow Randy, that link really helped. I cant wait till the weekend to try a bunch more. I'm on the road and don't have my camera with me. I'll let you know how it goes and maybe, just maybe someday I'll be able to contribute to one of the "photo's #85" thread. :D

Joe, thanks for the other link, but that guy just seamed like a pompus professor with an "I'm so much better than you" attitude. A couple of reasons that I want the 7d are 8fps and video. A friend took a sequence shot of my daughter doing a backflip off of a houseboat. It was really cool.

alans 08-17-2010 8:08 AM

You have got to learn the basics. I think one must understand basic SLR photography first, then it does not matter what camera is in your hands. One of my good friends loves taking pictures and is great at framing and composition, but he won't take the time to understand the exposure process and it really hurts his photos. When you understand the basics of exposure, you will never use a programmed "mode" in you camera again, because then you will understand exactly what you want the camera to do.

In your pictures above, the shutter speed is too slow, that is all. Focus is fine. Looks like you are using a very small aperture, guessing F11 or F16 as everything is in focus, from the prop wash to the tops of the trees on the horizon. Also, is a very sunny day and in order for your shutter speed to get that slow, shutter speed is 1/250.

So here is my guess for your settings.

ISO 100, 1/250, f/16

The pictures would have been perfect at;
ISO 100, 1/1000, f/8

alans 08-17-2010 8:44 AM

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Oh, your EXIF data is in the files and I was wrong about the aperture, but the shutter speed was kinda right but on a half stop scale.

bigdad 08-17-2010 11:03 AM

First off. Do not use Auto or Sport mode. You don't have control of the camera. Learn how to use Aperture and Shutter/Time value mode.

F stops, Shutter speed, ISO.... What does it all mean?

Buy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-.../dp/0817463003

Spend a lot of time at this forum and look at the shots here. Learn by looking at other photos. One of the biggest keys to photography is composition.


roughrivermike 08-17-2010 2:32 PM

I really appreciate everyones help. I actually own that book "understanding exposure", but I felt that it was fairly confusing. The information that I have got on this thread has been far more informative to me. Now I'll go back to the book and I bet it makes more sense.

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