Thursday, 17 September 2009


I recently shot a friend of mine who is a member of the GB triathlon squad. We headed out to Richmond Park on a cold August morning, and despite nearly freezing the death at first, the sun came through for an hour or so at about 7am.

There are a couple of techniques that you ned to nail for these kinds of shots.

The first is mixing ambient light and flash with a moving subject. Because your camera will only sync with the flash at 1/250th, you need to be careful not to get motion blur from the low (for action photography) shutter speed.

The second is panning. When you actually want to have motion blur, rto capture the sense of speed, you need to be sure to get just the right amount. Ideally you want the background blurred and the subject remaining reasonably sharp. When shooting close up with a wide angle lens, this can be particularly challenging. The solution is lots of practice and re-shooting again and again until you get it right.


  1. Great stuff Julian!
    Any tips for a traveller with a camera on his way to Bhutan next week?

  2. Great photos love the first one and the running one. a multimedia slideshow about shooting cycling was just posted at

    not quite so technical with the tips but about cycling none the less

  3. Because your camera will only sync with the flash at 1/250th

    Actually most cameras offer some kind of highspeed sync, on the cost of falsh-power though .

  4. That last shot looks VERY familliar! Nice work bud.

  5. Julian, nice shots and thanks for the tips. I really like the way you pass on your experience from time to time.

    Have you seen the new PocketWizard (min and Flex)units? They are specifically for Canon users at the moment. My friend has some and we tested them last week - fantastic. The PWs had a range of over fourty meters and allowed high speed synch to be used which allowed shooting into the sun and retain wide apertures. The possibility for use in the type of shots you showed here are really extended.


  6. Thanks for all the comments.

    Rob - have fun in Bhutan! Never been there but looks like a wonderful place.

    Oliver - good to see some tips from the Guardian too.

    mindblob - I was using pocket wizard Plus IIs to sync the flashes so was limited to 1/250. The new models can sync at higher speeds in manual and support high speed sync in TTL mode too. But I don't have them.

    Adam - some subconscious inspiration! See you next week.

    DaveT - yes I'd like to try the new PWs. The higher sync speed is very useful - the higher shutter freezes ambient action better and allows a wider aperture giving faster recycle time on the flash - nice. I may rent some to test.