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Exposure Digital Field Guide by Alan Hess

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Chapter 10. Sports and Action Photography

Sports and action photography is all about capturing a very short moment in time. That tiny sliver when the bat hits the ball, the receiver snatches the football out of the air, or the surfer rides the crest of a wave. The basics of sports and action photography also can be used when shooting kids playing in the yard or a subject whose motion you want to freeze. Picking the best settings to shoot sports, whether indoors or outdoors, day or night is covered here along with picking the right camera and lenses for the job and some useful accessories that will help you get the shots you want.

Sports and Action Photography

I captured the baseball as the outfielder caught it during a little league game using a 200mm lens with a 2X extender and a fast shutter speed. Taken at 1/1000 second, f/5.6, ISO 200.

Exposure Considerations

This chapter deals with fast-moving subjects, but the real exposure challenge is making sure you get enough light reaching the sensor. The biggest exposure worry is whether you can freeze the action without the resulting image being too dark (underexposed). Fast shutter speed combined with wide open apertures and (if needed) an increased ISO can help you get the best images possible when shooting sports and action. But what shutter speeds and apertures do you need, and when do you need to boost the ISO?

There are three different locations where sports and ...

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