Tuesday, December 8, 2015


When photographers, especially professional photographers, talk about action photography we usually refer to the glamorous field of motor sports.  So, forty years ago, living in the region with professional and amateur motor sports happening nearly every weekend, that was my first photographic passion. Just in Northern California I did formula race cars and International Grand Prix motorcycles at Laguna Seca and Sears Point. I also had the opportunity to photograph real legends in International Motocross at Halls Ranch. I had one of the best drag strips in the country in my own backyard—Fremont Drag strip as well as the San Jose Mile and Half-mile dirt track, which was on the AMA Professional (Motorcycle) circuit.  

Now, living in Idaho, there isn’t much of this kind of action to photograph.  However, there is action all around us and as photographic artists it’s our job to find it and share it. The Idaho State Faire is one of my favorite events here in Boise and it’s filled with marvelous photographic opportunities. In this blog I’ll share some images creating action of things that aren’t going anywhere!

One of my favorite sections of our state fair is the antique farm machinery. Many of these are steam powered and still functioning! 

 f11.0 @ 1/30 sec., ISO 400
In the image above I cropped in camera to show more close in detail. I usually don’t show an entire “wheel” (especially when it’s large) anyway, as it’s redundant and compositions are more interesting with a partial wheel. The key in this image was to make the wheel’s spokes transparent, so you can see the machinery behind the wheel.  It turned out that 1/30th sec. was ideal and since I was hand-holding the camera that was good.

f5.0 @ 1/30 sec., ISO 1600
This machine’s wheel is much smaller, so I moved in close and cropped out the sides of the wheel for an unusual vertical composition.  For this one I had to bump my ISO to 1600 (don’t be afraid to use higher ISOs!) to get to a and holdable 1/30th second.

f5.0 @ 1/100 sec., ISO 3200
Hand holding and doing nighttime action photography can be challenging.  I didn’t want to freeze the people whirling around on this ride, but I wanted to stop the big red wheel to show its colorful details. It turned out that ISO 3200 gave me enough shutter speed to do just that.  

So, Action is where you find it—you just have to look around and be creative.

If you have questions or comments don’t forget to leave me a message….’Til next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman, Certified
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com

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