Anticipation

It often seems people think that great action photography is all about the gear and technique.

But it's not!

Action photography isn't any different than any other type of photography, and great action photography is limited by the same main factor. Knowledge and Vision!

You have to decide what the image is that you want to capture. Once you've decided that then you can "set up" to get that picture. You can chose the best location and the best angle for what you want to capture. But doing that requires knowledge of the subject. What are the habits and behaviors. If it's sports, what's the most likely next play? And you have to make choices/sacrifices. You're not going to get a great picture of a touchdown catch if your at the scrimmage line focused on the quarterback.

To get this picture I had to first find a place where the hummingbird frequented. Then I had to observe it's behavior when it was feeding there. After that I selected the vantage point for the lighting. Then I selected a specific flower at the edge of the clump of flowers that gave me a "clean" background. And then I waited. 

Yes, it can require a lot of patience if you want to get "the shot."
"Action Photography" can be pretty boring.

I could have taken dozens, maybe even hundreds, of pictures of the hummingbird. I took five. And this one was the best of them. Surprise, surprise...

Here's one of the other ones I took while I was waiting for "my image" to happen.

It's still a "good image", but it's night-and-day when compared to the first one.

 

If you're not using knowledge of the activity, and you're not deciding what picture you want to take, then it's all just luck.

And if it's all just luck then what gear you choose is almost irrelevant. It's "irrelevant" because you may very well have the wrong lens and all the wrong settings for the image that presents itself.


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