I have been working on action photography and movement to capture leaping with Spot the athletic cat and the Dash Kitten crew here in our garden. I am excited to share what I learned about taking my first steps towards non-blurry cats!
I hope you will share some of your Wordless and Wordy Wednesday posts on Instagram, Facebook and your fun Tweets too. Join co-hosts Bionic Basil and Barking from the Bayou to be this week’s wonderful Pet Parade people.
DSLR Lesson Learned
I am still a newbie at digital camera operation so wanted to share my latest eye-opening discovery. It’s all about starting to explore what my camera settings can do. I am not working in ‘Manual’ mode yet but discovering the range of ‘pre-set’ options on my camera dial.
These quick camera settings are useful for helping you capture a subject if you don’t have much time to fiddle with buttons.
What Spot loves to do when the cafe is busy with visitors is play ‘leaping with Spot the cat’ and he can jump really high. I really wanted to capture the dynamic dude in action but wasn’t having much success.
On a recent cafe visit to meet some of the new arrivals, I met the barista who was taking a turn being ‘Catler’ (cat butler). The ‘Catler’ supervises the visitors and oversees cat safety. We chatted about my struggles to catch fast moving pets. He pointed out the ‘sports’ mode on my settings dial and suggested I try that.
Cat Photography Settings Success
As you can see this is a much better action shot. The body shape is sharper and dynamic. You can see fur texture and a raised paw as he jumps.
How does this happen? When it’s explained, you will have an ‘Ah Ha’ moment like me. You can also try this with smartphone photography too. Adjust your settings to take pictures in fast bursts. That way you have a chance of capturing a great action moment. On my Canon camera, the setting is a stylised athlete.
“The key to really great sports photography is separating your subject from everything else around them, so you need a wide aperture to create a shallow depth of field. For this, you could start off in AV mode, which controls the depth of field” – Phil Hillyard
Phil Hillyard on the Canon camera website has written a helpful post that is not too technical and reassures photographers that we do not need fancy equipment or expensive lenses. It is an encouraging read for you if you want to take shots of rapid movement.
Remember for Action Photos
Focus on the cat (or figure) at the centre of the action.
In an ideal world, I would crop the picture to focus on the active subject without a busy background, and make it look tidier for you. But I am sharing my learning journey so you see the picture I took. My pictures have a way to go but I hope you are inspired to try different settings on your camera or smartphone too.
We are halfway through the week, so don’t let the Pet Parade pass you by! Have settings made a difference in your movie or camera work? Let me know in the comments!