Tag Archives: advice

Low light action photography Part 1

Even at a shutter speed of 1/800 sec, Indonesian badminton player Taufik Hidayat's racquet registers as a blur. Badminton, the fastest racquet sport, is one of the toughest to shoot because no flash is allowed and the gyms are usually not very bright. I used a Canon 40D, a 85mm 1.2 L lens, ISO 1600 at the U.S. Open 2 years ago.

Now that DSLRs are in the hands of more and more 1st-time camera owners, I’ve noticed this question come up a lot.

I’ve tried to photograph my son’s basketball games, but all my pictures are blurry. How do I get better pictures with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel?

Continue reading Low light action photography Part 1

Arts & Crafts Beers 2010-Part1


One of my first "customers" were a lot of fun. I didn't even need to coax this out them.

I brought almost everything out like last year for this year’s fundraiser at the Riverside Art Museum.

It’s a chore to be sure, but since it’s for a good cause, art education, I always glad.

Everyone who comes by for a quick portrait leaves happy.

So it’s worth it.

See the pictures and tell me what you think. Continue reading Arts & Crafts Beers 2010-Part1

Using available light & one flash for a portrait

Earlier this year, I met a very talented budding actress by the name of Victoria Walcott who needed some headshots.

Available light–Portraiture in available light requires an awareness of locations and times. Generally speaking available light portraits have to be very static because light levels tend to be  so low. With today’s DSLR’s low light ability, a fast lens and some practice can give pleasing results. ISO 200 1/40 sec @ f 2.8 100 mm macro 2. 8 lens. See the catchlight in Victoria’s eyes  where the main light is a large window on the left.

I tend to pack a lot of gear when I work. I may not use them all, but I sure like to have them at my disposal even if it means they are in my trunk.

Force of habit from working at the newspaper. I never knew what assignment I would draw, so I had all kinds of stuff in my trunk.

For this particular shoot, I kept it simple.

Needless to say, picking a good location can save you the hassle of bringing in lots of lighting equipment.

This is what I had to work with:

  • A large window facing north
  • My grey muslin backdrop
  • 1 lightstand with reflector secured by a clamp.
  • 1 shoot-through umbrella with Canon 580EX Speedlite triggered by off-camera sync cord

If you plan to shoot with available light, consider what lens you have, the shutter speed you can hand hold and if your camera’s noise level at high ISO is acceptable.

Consider having your subject sit or lay down. It might help them relax especially if it’s your first time working with them.

Once you’re sure you have something you like, don’t stop there. That’s when should push on and try something different or even outrageous.

Why? Continue reading Using available light & one flash for a portrait

First Communion Photos

Available light portraiture–Keeping things simple is sometimes the best way to go especially when you don’t have a lot of fancy gear. This portrait inside the St. Catherines of Alexandria Church, Riverside, CA was done using window light on the left and a reflector on the right. Canon 80-200 zoom. ISO 400 1/125 @ f2.8

As the beneficiary of those “toys,” you get to shoot the annual extinguishing of birthday candles and other recurring events.

Those are the easy ones.

If you blow those, there’s always next year.

But not so for those milestones which happen only once in a lifetime.

Blowing that might mean a fast auction for your “toys” on ebay.

More likely, your next lens of piece of equipment will undergo a prolonged approval process by your “boss” who holds the purse strings.

Since we camera buffs have to stick together, I have some suggestions which should keep you in business. Continue reading First Communion Photos