Stopping Action

November 3, 2009

Photo Tips

One of the cool things about digital SLR cameras (and top of the line compact digital cameras) is that you can control the shutter speed to either stop or blur action.

When I photograph fast-moving animals, and even slow-moving ones, I often choose to freeze the action because I want a sharp shot.

A shutter speed of 1/500th of a second is usually fast enough to freeze most fast-moving animal action, but when the animals is moving extremely fast, as was this seagull in flight, I had to use a 1/2000th of a second shutter speed. I learned that through magnifying the previous images on my camera’s LCD monitor, and seeing that in the pictures taken at 1/500th of a second the bird was a bit blurred.


When photographing fast moving animals, I recommend setting your camera’s frame advance to the highest frame-per-second rate possible. Doing so will help ensure a nice photograph of the animal, in this case, one in which one of the seagull’s wings was not covering its face.

In addition, you want to set your auto focus mode to the focus-tracking mode, which is covered on another tip.

One more tip. When composing your pictures, try to leave a fair amount of space around the animal. That way, if it moves up, down, left or right, you’ll have a better chance of framing the entire animal, and not cutting off any of its body parts with the edge of your frame. This picture is cropped. In the original picture, the bird, which now fills the frame, comprised only about 50 percent of the image.

, , , ,

This post was written by:

- who has written 171 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon has published 36 books, including Exploring the Light and Digital Photography Secrets.

When asked about his photo specialty, Rick says, “My specialty is not specializing.”

You can follow Rick on twitter at and visit his website at

Contact the author

One Response to “Stopping Action”


  1. […] Sammon, R. (2009, November 03). Stopping Action. Retrieved November 09, 2015, from dpexperience: […]

Leave a Reply