xdrive photography learning – 19 – high speed photography

Raj (XDrive ) writes that high speed photography allows the photographer to freeze motion as it permits “only a fraction of a second for the sensor to ‘see’ the scene” and the sensor “is going to record things at standstill even though they are moving.”

I set out yesterday with my camera set on autofocus with continuous focusing and the ISO at 800.  After coming home and doing a bit of deleting, I still have heaps of images…412.   Regrettably, most of them will be tossed into the trash because I assumed that setting my camera on manual and using the highest f-stop that the shutter speed would automatically record at 1/4000 to 1/8000 seconds.

Why did I chose manual…well, before leaving home I initally set my camera on shutter speed priory mode and saw that the camera seemed to prefer lower f-stops.  So, my first  mistake came with the assumption that there is a correlation between high f-stops and shutter speeds.  I also failed to set the camera on center focus and was not able to correct this decision as I left my glasses at home…sigh. Also, I did not pay attention to the shutter speed throughout the walk…and as you can see in the image below there are no frozen water drops…just a bit of blur, bubbles, and tiny pellets as well as a rock (lower right) in focus.

Nikon D750   f/22   1/250s   85mm  ISO 800

The rain and snow last night left a bit of ice under a layer of snow…so will have to delay my return to the creek, when it is a bit warmer, to create motion frozen water drops with more attentive intention.

Yet, not all was lost…

Nikon D750   f/22   1/640s   85mm   ISO 800
Nikon D750   f/16   1/1000s  85mm   ISO 800
Nikon D750   f/16   1/500s   85mm   ISO 800
Nikon D750   f/22   1/500s   80mm   ISO 800

Thank you Raj…I appreciate these lessons and your feedback.


  1. The prayer flags are beautiful! This was a much harder lesson that I had thought. Lots of homework for me! The boy running to make that catch….I so want to be there with him! Good job, Brenda.

    1. Thank you Loisajay. What is amazing is the vast difference between yesterday’s baseball practice and today’s snow sledding. Crazy weather.

      1. And we are just the opposite–temps in the 20s all week and today we are in the 60s. Everyone was at the park to soak in this beautiful weather today. Go figure.

  2. Thanks Brenda for taking part in session on “High-speed action” 😊
    Regarding the shutter speed and the f stops, yes there is a correlation. Both of them along with ISO have to work together to produce a properly exposed shot. For this kind of shots, you need higher shutter speeds probably faster than 1/600 sec or so. You can try any mode such as shutter priority where you set your shutter speed as required, or even you can set in aperture priority and set the aperture to be at say f6 but here you have to watch the shutter speed given by the camera for each shot. I generally shoot in aperture priority mode even if I am doing the high-speed shooting.
    On special occasions where I have more time and a controlled subject(like someone is posing) I do choose manual and take my own time to shoot.

    Pic 1: The short shutter speed is not able to capture the water drops.

    Pic 2: Yes, you were able to freeze the motion at 1/640sec because of the not so fast action.

    Pic 3: This is a great shot of flying colours. The wide open aperture could have created nice background blurs and put the flag into focus for viewers. But with lower aperture settings you have to worry about which flag to put in focus. 😊

    Pic 4: Nice action capture, I like the way you were able to get all three players in action. See here f16 helped! But the player in the foreground needed some breathing space on the left.

    Pic 5: Both players throwing a ball? Got confused as I saw the pic, then I saw the net! Yes, now the story becomes “Net Practice”. Little things complement the story. 😊
    This feedback is part of XDrive’s Photography Learning sessions. Thanks for being here.

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