Monday, October 31, 2011

Sequence It!

The lip is a little sticky this morning. I'm only going to do this jump once," crackles over the radio. "Are you ready?"
Text And Photography By Tom Bol Published in Shooting
Sequence It!


There are some key techniques and equipment considerations that will make sequence shots easier to do. First, use a fast flash card. Today's flash cards write much quicker than the turtle pace of the past. I use SanDisk Extreme cards that are fast and can keep pace with my D3.

Another variable that affects the number of frames you can record is the camera buffer. The buffer stores images while the card writes data. If your camera buffer is full and the card is still writing, then the camera stops shooting. One trick you can do to increase the amount of images your buffer can hold is to shoot in JPEG, which are much smaller than RAW or TIFF files, and most cameras can shoot many more JPEGs than RAW before maxing out the buffer.

I recommend you set your camera to manual exposure. The trick to making your life easy when combining the images in Photoshop is having consistent exposures for the entire sequence. If your camera is in an automatic mode, it may record slightly different exposures as your subject moves through the frame. When you combine these frames later, your subject will change appearance through the sequence.

I also use manual focus and prefocus on the scene. I don't want my camera to miss focus on the subject for a few frames in the middle of the sequence. This would result in blurry shots in my sequence."

Use a tripod. Using a tripod is similar to using manual exposure. Every frame will be identical, making it much easier to combine shots later. You can shoot sequence shots handheld, but it makes it more difficult to line up the shots later in the computer. I also find using a tripod eliminates camera motion caused by the photographer. I get so excited watching a skier fly overhead, I push the shutter like I ring a doorbell—really hard!

Finally, compose your shot so you get the entire sequence. Know where your subject is going to travel through the frame. Most sequence shots are done with wide-angle lenses to capture more of the scene. This allows more room for your subject to travel through, and more frames for you to capture.

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