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Shutter Speeds For Skateboarding?
Lens: smc A 135mm f/2.8 Camera: K-5 Photo Location: Skatepark, Denver, Co. ISO: 200 Shutter Speed: 1/500s Aperture: F4 
Posted By: rbefly, 04-30-2014, 10:12 AM

Hello All,
I spent a couple of hours photographing the local skateboarders at their park this weekend, and it was a good learning experience for me. By varying my shutter speeds it became obvious that a certain range worked better for absolute 'freezing' of any subject motion blur. But which speeds?
The obvious answer is 'the faster the better!' but I'm not so sure. Above 1/2000s doesn't appear (from this small sample, anyway) to offer much gain.
In order of shutter speeds, I've posted;
(1) 1/400s, f/8.0- Slight blurring of right arm, overall could be 'frozen' better.
(2) 1/800s, f/4.0- Better freeze, hard to spot any blur.
(3) 1/2000s, f/4.0- As frozen and sharp as I'd like. Maybe your eyes are better! I don't believe it would be improved at 1/4000s.
All photos hand-held, K-5 w/grip, ISO 200.
Note; The EXIF lists this lens as 85mm (I own an M-series in that length). It's not, I forgot to change the input for M/F. It's the smc A 135mm f/2.8. Also, it shows the aperture, so it can't be an M-series.
C + C welcome!

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04-30-2014, 05:32 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I suggest you also try longer shutter opening (I don't do this but as a wild guess maybe 1/30 as a start) and pan the shot. A blurred background may suggest the motion better. But you want it very blurred so it does not look like a shot where background is simply out of focus. After getting the right shutter speed (w/ SR off) you may want to try w/ and w/o SR to see if the steady camera motion can work w/ SR on.
04-30-2014, 06:17 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Cool shots, Ron - and I love the scientific approach!

05-01-2014, 06:11 AM   #4
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Original Poster
Faster or Slower?

Thanks to dms and Jer!
@dms, I'll give the slower speeds a try next time, thanks for the suggestion! I've used (and posted) pan-blur and slower shutter speeds here previously, but they were mainly 'straight-line' movement, ie, cars moving, people walking, etc. In other words, predictable movement. These skateboard kids pop up everywhere, out of deep bowls where you can't really track them beforehand. It's mainly pre-focus on a spot and wait for 2 seconds of high-fps blasting. But, it's worth a try!
@Jer, thanks, buddy! It's fun to look at the results, 200 clicks and maybe 6 keepers, on my first try at this sport. It's much harder than it looks, especially with a M/F lens. I just noticed that the sharpness (least motion blur) really popped at about 1/1000s and seemed to level off at 1/2000s, so I posted them in order.
Thanks again!

06-15-2014, 07:58 AM   #5
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did you turn off the shake reduction? if not, especially with the wrong focal length, your results might be misleading you

(note: the question is mostly rhetorical

$ exiftool 218815d1398877857-streets-shutter-speeds-skateboarding-imgp6132.jpg | grep -i shake
Shake Reduction : On (7)


have fun

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