Shutter Speed and Surfing

Have you ever been to an event and wondered how to capture the excitement, mood and energy that you are witnessing?


On a recently trip to Africa, we stopped at a wave-pool and watched these surfers having the time of their lives, surfing a standing-wave (wave that is not moving forwards) and pushing the limits.

This was the perfect opportunity to show this excitement and movement, in a still image.

How did I do this?

Shutter speed is the magic word here.

By using fast and then slow shutter speeds (explained in detail in my Essential Photography Skills Training Series) I managed to capture an unusual image that shows movement…. take a look at this video.

What do you think? Did you learn something new?

Please leave comments below.

Have a great day. Brent

A few more images from the shoot…

P.S. If you like this travel photography tip, then check out my Art of Travel Photography Course.

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17 Responses to “Shutter Speed and Surfing”

  1. Senth May 9 at 3:33 am #

    Thank you for sharing this video Brent and thank you for explaining step by step to understand. It’s a great tutorial.


  2. Sarah P February 7 at 5:43 pm #

    Great stuff Brent! Love the tutorial :)

  3. lynny January 28 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Brent
    Love the way you tell us what shutter speeds were used to achieve this look.  Had the opportunity to take a picture of my first waterfall, was at 1/2sec at F14 and I achieved the blurred soft look similar to yours above.

    • brentmail January 28 at 10:31 am #

      Glad you could apply what you have learned – well done. Brent

  4. TIGIST TSEHAY TEFERA November 27 at 5:53 pm #

    hello brend thank u for your vedios its good explanation and also a wonderful image u capture a beutiful  photos  i would like to travel in south africa with u i live in Ethiopia in Africa if u can Ethiopia is one of Beutiful country there have so many place u must see  may be in the next year u can add Ethiopia in your program thank u  

  5. Leo Thomas November 19 at 12:28 pm #

    Beautiful. Your explanation was clear and concise. Beginners to semi-professionals can gather the difference between slow and fast shutter speed also the gist of whats a shutter.  Not only is your professionalism glaring but you ability to TEACH Photography. Well done.

  6. Sean September 22 at 11:02 am #

    To my surfers eyes the 1250fps shot is full of visual cues of movement. Movement is implicit in a wave and the fact that gravity requires that the rider is moving relative to the water. Also the parallel lines of foam running up the face of the wave are obvious visual cues of fast moving water.
    In the 15fps image the features of the wave have been smoothed so much that it looks like a plastic model, a static object.
    I guess we all look at world, and images of it, in different ways.
    I am enjoying this video series.

    • Sean September 22 at 11:05 am #

      15fps and 1250fps should have read 1/15th sec and 1/1250th sec.

  7. Richard Doyle September 17 at 7:30 pm #

    I would love to go on this but my concern is how pricey it might be.
    I live in Vancouver BC, canada.
    Would this be for a week ?
    Maybe you could send some information to me.
    This would be quite the experience.
    Thank you Brent

    • brentmail September 17 at 8:39 pm #

      Hi Richard. African trip is now planned for May next year, going into winter in Africa, better time for spotting game. Shoot me an email and I'll add you to the list of people interested in the trip. Cheers, Brent

  8. Patrick September 14 at 4:23 am #

    Great video. Simple and effective. Playing with shutter speed can give great result, but it takes some experimenting to get it right.

  9. Helena August 28 at 1:07 pm #

    Brent – THANK YOU !!   Finally someone can help me learn the shutter speeds, which (for some reason) I'm having trouble with.   I would love to try to go to Africa – but do you have trips inside the USA also ???

  10. sue August 16 at 8:38 pm #

    Hi Brent, I look forward to getting your tutorials, they are very easy to follow and I learn heaps from them.

  11. Margaret August 13 at 8:54 am #

    Hi brent thank you for your videos these are such great examples and with explaination they help me to get a better idea with my photography

  12. terry August 11 at 12:24 am #

    thumbs up! good examples and explanations.

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