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Photography Question 

Action Photography Indoors in Low Light

I take pics of indoor and outdoor motocross races. When shooting indoors, I set my camera to the shutter speed setting so I can take continual shots that are not blurry, but the lighting is so bad inside they come out dark. But any other setting makes the pics blurry. What do I need to set my camera on so I can get the pics not to blur but not be black?

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1/23/2005 2:27:27 PM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Hi Tracy,
What kind of camera do you have? Is it an SLR with interchangeable lenses? Your shutter speed might be too fast for the lighting. Are you using the lens that came with the camera? If so, it's probably f4-5.6 or something like that, unless it's a fixed 50mm lens. You might need to get a lens that has a lower "f" number than 4, such as f2.8. Pay attention to what your camera says to you when you're taking these pictures. If it's not just a point-and-shoot, SOMETHING should be flashing at you telling you that the aperture or shutter speed are going to underexpose the picture. You might try setting the camera to the aperture setting and make the number as small as you can, and if the shutter speed is not fast enough for the pictures to be sharp and not blurry, you may need to change equipment.

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1/23/2005 9:00:45 PM

Scott Pedersen   Use faster film. At the least for indoor use 400 and consider 800. Get as close to the action as you can also.

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1/26/2005 4:23:38 AM

Michel Jean J. Paller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/8/2005
  Tracy -
Have you tried panning? This will give the feeling of motion and provide greater flexibility in the film speeds and camera settings you use. If you are going to pan the shot (move your camera with the moving or passing subject while also pressing the shutter) you'll need to use a slower film (100 or 200 speed), close your lens down to give yourself a wider depth of field (5.6 or higher)and speed up your shutter a bit (125th of a second or greater). The reason for the slower film is to avoid graininess - especially if you are shooting with indoor available light.
Are you shooting with a long lens? If so I would recommend using as short a lens as possible which will let more light into the camera and give you more of a base to work with in post. You can always crop/edit later. A good wide angle lens is great for panning, too. Your best option when panning is not to be too close to your subject. The further away the easier (though less dramatic) it is to capture your subject.
The numbers I recommend here are only starting figures. You'll have to adjust according to how much you want to blur your background and of course how much light is available. Low light is a bear no matter what you do but panning will give you more options. Panning takes practice but it is lots of fun, too.
Michel J. Paller

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1/26/2005 11:40:12 PM

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