Hi Guys! Some weeks ago, I was trying to photograph some girls jumping off a rock (they’re surfers) when a massive wave came and splashed on me. I got water all over my camera, so I ran back quickly to dry it up. I wiped the camera all over to make sure that the salt water doesn’t get into the electronics because then it’s going to be dead.  This is why it’s always important to bring a towel with you when you’re going down to the beach and photographing near the water.  Anyway,  I wanted to show you some photos I took of the surfers.

Highlights from this video:

0:02 – Drying my camera from the massive wave splash
0:42 – Photographing surfers
0:46 – Shutter Speed
1:46 – Capture actions facing towards you
1:54 – High Speed Drive
2:39 – Long Focal Length Lens
2:55 – Photo Tips
3:20 – Change Autofocus

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Shutter Speed

Because there is action and movement, I’m going to focus on the shutter speed of this camera.

I’ve set it to time value (Tv) or shutter speed priority. Basically, what that means is that, I can adjust the shutter speed in this camera and it takes care of the aperture and the ISO.


I’ve actually got the ISO on automatic ISO and the camera is locked in at a fast shutter speed.  I’m shooting at 1/1250 sec shutter speed, which is a really fast shutter speed.

What the camera is telling me is that, when I shoot at 1/1250 sec, the aperture is F5.6; this quite wide open. It gives me a very shallow depth of field, which I want when photographing these surfers.

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Capture Action – See their Faces

Another thing to think about when you’re photographing sports or action, especially if it’s people in the photograph or wild life, is to make sure that the people are facing towards you or that they are doing the action towards you.

In that way, you get the expressions on their faces, while at the same time, getting their action and movements from the surfers as they are moving and surfing these waves.


High Speed Drive

Make sure that you are shooting at a high speed drive. This means capturing a lot of frames in a second.

I think my camera was at about 6 frames/second, so when I photographed, I got to shoot a lot of frames in one second.  This allows me to capture the action as they surf and then I could choose the best performance photo from the series and I can delete the rest and only share the best ones online or with the surfers or the people I’m photographing afterwards.

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Long Focal Length Lens

A couple of other things when you’re photographing action like this is, you want to zoom right in with your camera. You might  also want to use a long focal length lens (like a 400mm lens).

Here I’m shooting with a 24/105mm lens to get the surfers closer to me as I can. I’m zoomed in at 105mm.

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Change the Autofocus to AI SERVO (moving subjects)

If the subject is moving towards you quite rapidly, the one other thing that you can do is change the autofocus from ONE SHOT autofocus to AI SERVO Autofocus.

ONE SHOT AUTOFOCUS means that, as you press the shutter release button, the camera will autofocus on your subject and then from then on-wards as you press the shutter release down, it will fire the camera but it will keep the original auto-focus point. This is no good if your subject is moving towards you, because they will be out of focus (the original focus point will be behind them).

You can change this to AI SERVO AUTOFOCUS, which is the tracking autofocus. So as they’re coming towards you and you press the shutter release button, it will simply autofocus on where they are as you fire the camera. Much better for handling moving subjects.


Photo Tips

So those are the tips you need to remember when you’re photographing moving surfers.

  1. A long focal length lens, zoom right in
  2. Fast shutter speed
  3. Let the camera take care of everything else
  4. Change the Autofocus to AI Servo
Check out this comprehensive article…

The Ultimate Guide to Shutter Speed in Photography

Photographing the night sky - you'll need a very sturdy tripod

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have questions, do leave them down in the comments section down below and I’ll respond to you soon.

Have a great day!

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