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How to Take Great Action Photos

Top pro Jim Zuckerman tips and techniques on photographing action

by Jim Zuckerman

White horses of the Camargue
White horses of the Camargue
© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
When you anticipate action, keep your eye glued to the viewfinder. The moment you look at the subject(s) directly and the peak action occurs, youíll miss the shot. The fraction of a section that it takes to look through the camera again and shoot means that it will be too late to capture that special instant in time.

In addition, switch your drive mode from one shot to multi. When the action starts, keep firing until itís over.

The accompanying photos show two stallions that I shot during my photo workshop to shoot the white horses of the Camargue, France. I used 400 ISO to make sure my shutter speed would be fast enough to freeze even the flying manes and the kicking feet. In addition, I used Program mode because this automatically gave me the fastest shutter speed given the light conditions and the ISO. This way, I didnít have to think about the camera settings. I could direct all of my attention to the horses and wait for the peak action between them.

Sunrise: White horses, Provence, France
Sunrise: White horses, Provence, France
© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved

More information on Jim Zuckerman:

About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Jim Zuckerman
Photography Instructor: Jim ZuckermanFew people are able to spend most of their time pursuing their passion in life. I'm one of them, and I feel blessed to have had a love affair with photography since I began taking pictures.

In 1970, I decided to abort my intended career as a doctor in favor of photography and have never regretted it. Photography has enriched my life more than I can tell you. My career has taken me to over 60 countries, and I've seen and photographed wondrous things.

I specialize in wildlife and nature, international travel, and digital effects. In addition, I also shoot nudes, photo- and electron microscopy, children, and other subjects that stimulate my visual or emotional sensibilities.

For 25 years, I shot a medium format camera, specifically the Mamiya RZ 67, for its superior quality. When I would lecture, Iíd project the large, glass mounted transparencies, and it was really an incredible experience to see the brilliant color saturation and resolution of these slides. However, I went digital in 2004 because the technology finally equaled or surpassed medium format. I now shoot the Canon 1Ds Mark II digital camera with a variety of lenses.

I am the author of 12 books on photography. My work is sold in 30 countries around the world, and my images have appeared on scores of magazine and book covers, calendars, posters, national ads, trade ads, brochures, and corporate promotions.

For many years I've led photography tours to exotic places. These include Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Burma, Greece, The Czech Republic and Slovakia, Spain, Morocco, and Peru.

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