Our Trouble With Action Shots

I very rarely take good, clear pictures of George in action. Not that I don’t want to. I do, in fact, take hundreds of photos of him running, playing, chasing and generally bouncing about. It’s just that most of them come out blurred, out of focus and pretty much unusable.

Like this…


…or like this!


It’s a bit of a shame, really. In an ideal world, that second picture would have been a cracker. I blame the failure of these two shots and countless others on my ancient camera – which is too slow for George’s speed – and my limited photographic skills.

Since I’m not a quitter, I’ve decided to do something about it. Ideally, I should buy a new camera. Or take a photography course. Or both. A new camera is in the cards, sometimes in the near future. The photography course isn’t, due to time constraints.

Realistically, until we purchase the new piece of technology we need, what I’ve got to do is take the camera with me when we go out with the dog. I learnt this today, during George’s lunchtime walk, when my persistence was rewarded with a couple of good shots. Good enough to put on the blog, that is.

Today we were lucky to have the whole field for ourselves, so I got out the tennis ball and tempted George with a game. He was up for it. So I passed the ball to my husband and grabbed the camera. I must have taken about 30 photos whilst the boys played. Many of them were no good. But a couple of them I liked. Here’s one (I’m saving the others for another time):


It’s not a picture to do justice to George’s beautiful movement, but it’s a start. At least it’s not blurred. Maybe there is hope for some more ‘action posts’ in the future.



Filed under Photo diary

22 responses to “Our Trouble With Action Shots

  1. Been there, you probably would be shocked to know how many running shots I’ve taken, and how many actually turn out. Chances increase when you do upgrade a camera more capable of fast shooting, but you can have the best camera in the world and you still need to know how to work it and get out it’s full potential. I’m still learning.

    What camera do you have by chance? And what have you looked into upgrading to?? I enjoy this topic and am more than happy to help if I am able.
    Sometimes I save shots like that first one… just because it is very much “Luna” and shows her speed. Maybe one day I will take the time to make a collage of all the “half luna” shots I have. I also have a favorite blurry one of her as a puppy running through the bluebells, saved it because it said “luna” to me.
    Good luck and keep shooting. If you ever have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. I am not a pro (IMO) but I love to share what i know.

    • Thank you so much for the offer, Anna, I’ll definitely have some questions to ask at the right time. At the moment I’m using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7. It’s not a bad camera, but it’s about 6-7 years old and it’s started to show. It’s still OK for family photos and static shots in general, but struggles to take good pictures of anything in motion, even when it’s set on Sports mode. I’m not quite sure what to upgrade to, to be honest, we’re at the ‘look at everything’ stage at the moment. We’ve got catalogues and brochures all over the house, but we’re a bit lost in the technical lingo. So, yeah, if you could recommend us a good camera as a guideline, I’d appreciate it.
      I’d love to see half-shots of luna…She looks adorable no matter what πŸ™‚

  2. To really capture George’s natural grace and speed you should upload some Youtube videos of him.

    • You’ve been patiently chipping away at this for a while now. And it’s working. A video camera is very high on the list, it really is, although it might take a few more weeks (hopefully not months). As soon as I get it, I’ll take George for a run, film him and upload the video on YouTube, the blog, etc. Deal?

  3. Didi, that first picture totally cracked me up. George reminded me of a kangaroo. (And I love the word ‘cracker’ — that’s something we don’t hear much on this side of the pond.) Good luck with the camera search and keep shooting in the meantime. I think your pictures do a wonderful job of conveying the essence of your whatever message you are delivering. However, I can appreciate how difficult it is to capture beautiful movements of a fast dog. Sometimes in the back yard, Grace will run in these amazing figure-eight loops, almost falling on her side because she’s going so fast as she leans around the curve. I would love to capture a video of her doing that but doubt I could do it justice. George does look flexible, too!

    • Thank you for the nice words, Robin. πŸ™‚
      Yes, I, too, think kangaroo when I see photos like that. And I’ve got quite a few, I seem to have a talent for catching George on the wrong foot πŸ˜‰
      Gracie is very graceful, she’s definitely worthy of her name. I’d love to see a video of her tacking the agility course (or just running about, having fun).

  4. Kas

    πŸ™‚ George is just toooooo fast!! I know exactly how you feel — I was yearning forever to upgrade the camera for the same reason … I LOVE taking action shots of the pups and they are just way too fast to capture with a simple point-and-shoot. I love being able to capture their energy and speed with the new camera – that in itself has made the upgrade worth it! Love the picture of George in the field – whippets are just so beautifully graceful and agile!

    • Of all people, I knew you’d be able to sympathise, since you’ve got a fast gang of your own. I’ve always admired your photos, so (if you don’t mind me asking) could you tell me what camera you’re using? We haven’t made up our mind about what to choose, so any advice would be much appreciated πŸ™‚

      • Kas

        We got a Nikon D3100. I really, really like it. I just took a bunch of shots at a Grand Prix Horse Show over the weekend and I am really pleased with how they came out, given that I just have the kit lens and it was low-lighting.

      • Thanks for that, Kas. I’ve written it down and will check it out. x

  5. Lol, tell me about it! I can take 100 photos and end up with about 3 or 4 I’m happy with sometimes. It’s easy to get in focus photos of grass and tails when you’re trying to photograph a Greyhound running. It’s even difficult to video them. But it’s fun. I’m looking forward to seeing your other photos of George:)

    • Yeah, I guess you’ve got the same speed problem with Beryl. Why can’t they run slower?? Joking, their speed is part of their charm…My husband is very proud he’s got ‘one of those fast, racing dogs’.
      I thought a video camera would solve all my ‘shooting’ problems, and now you’re telling me even that can be difficult. Oh, no…

  6. I suppose we’re all in the same boat!

    I, too, have trouble taking action shots of Oscar. They’re either too blurry or without focal points. He’s pretty fast for an overweight dog. LOL!


  8. That is a nice shot. There’s nothing like a hound in motion! I know how you feel about the photos. I used to have a compact point and shoot camera, and got sick of the dogs being a mile away by the time my camera fired, or catching only blurry streaks of dogs on the move. The “monster” camera that I bought really has made a world of difference. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m looking forward to seeing more of George, and his handsome self, on the move!

    • That’s the kind of camera I’ve got, and it’s not compatible with whippets. What kind of camera is your ‘monster’ camera? I’m collecting information about what might be the best option for us…

  9. Action shots are most definitely not my forte! Sometimes I find myself giving up too easily, so I applaud your effort for trying to go the extra distance. As Kas rightly observed, George can be quite a challenging subject to work with because of his super speed! And here I am struggling to capture Miss Maple’s bunny hops, while George is sprinting through the field before you have a chance to release the shutter button on the camera (LOL).

    • Your photos are beautiful…If that’s not due to your skills, it must be thanks to Maple’s beauty πŸ˜‰
      Bunny hops or high-speed sprinting, it looks like we’re both pet-challenged πŸ™‚

  10. I know this may sound strange, but I really like the second pic Didi. Even though it is out of focus, I can still see George’s devilish grin and major personality come through. There is a technic that is a hold over from the film days called “Dragging The Shutter”. This is when you purposely use a slow shutter speed to shoot a fast moving object. I enjoy using this method myself and actually, one of my favorite shots of Sia and Corran together was done using this method. I never posted it because I thought most people wouldn’t get it , but now that I have seen your George in his glorious
    fuzzy action, I will create a future post with the above mentioned photo.

    • First of all, welcome back, Lionel, I’ve missed you. I can imagine how busy life’s been for you, I’m often in the same situation…This summer my blog’s all over the place for the same reason: too busy with other things to get to the computer or spend enough time on it to produce something good. Oh, well, the autumn should calm life down a bit.
      I’m glad you like that photo. It’s a great compliment coming from you, and I’m over the moon to hear that I’ve accidentally made use of a proper photography technique. I’ve got loads of fuzzy pictures like that one, thanks to my slow camera. I’m looking forward to your post, though, just to see what an ‘intentional’ fuzzy looks like, taken by a professional. Plus, I’d love to see your pups in action πŸ™‚

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