What a day


Are you tired of seeing the same old static play boating photos? You know, the ones where your friend is throwing a huge cartwheel, but your photo makes him look like he is doing an old school ender? Would you like to capture the action that you feel when you are in your boat? Then consider trying this technique to capture your next playboating images.


The key to capturing great motion shots is to slow down your shutter speed. Try shooting play boating at a 30th of a second or slower, instead of the usual 1000th of a second. If you blaze away with your motor drive as the boater rips off a massive aerial blunt, you are guaranteed to get one or more great shots, but the motion is lost. With a slow shutter speed, you get one chance per trick, and anticipating what the boater is going to do can make all the difference. Knowing when the boater will be facing toward or away from you and anticipating where the paddle blade will be are essential. Having a talented subject is also helpful, as a good boater is better able to keep his or her head at the center axis point. This will provide you with more opportunities to capture a great motion shot with just the paddler’s head or face crisply in focus.


Generally, you don’t need to bring along a tripod for these shots, but it is a good idea to wait on drinking the Red Bull until after you are done with the slow shutter speeds. Remember, this type of shooting is always a bit of an experiment, and you won’t be certain of how the photo looks until you get your film back, but that is half the fun of this technique.


For the accompanying photo of Tao Berman, Tao and I had discussed what moves he would be doing before I ever picked up the camera. I also informed him that I would be using a slow shutter speed so that he knew to hold his moves longer. Communication was key in allowing me to anticipate what he was going to do on the water. Although it is often easier to capture great motion shots of a pro boater like Tao, with a little practice you should be able to create terrific images of your friends throwing down at your favorite local playspots.

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