Here a shot I took yesterday of my friend Maureen windsurfing in the Columbia River Gorge.
Canon 5D camera Canon 400 f5.6 L Lens: So the windsurfer was big enough in the frame & to pull in the background. ISO 200: To ensure a fast enough shutter-speed to freeze the action. Shooting Mode of 'aperture priority': I wanted to specify the widest aperture the lens supported and let the camera select the correct shutter-speed. Aperture f5.6: The widest aperture this lens supports--to give me a 'blurry background'. This lens (400 f5.6) is sharp 'wide-open', many lenses are not sharp 'wide-open.' Exposure compensation (EC) set to 0: The camera metered it 'just right' shutter-speed 1/1250th of a second: Selected by the camera. I did set ISO to 200, to ensure I got a fast shutter-speed (ISO 100 would have given me a shutter-speed of 1/600th of a second--at 1/600 I might have gotten some 'motion blur' or blur from 'camera movement'.) Picture style of 'standard': This gives me a nice 'punchy' image without a whole lot of post-processing. White balance set to 5900 degrees Kelvin when the RAW file was processed to JPEG: The 'sunny' white balance I used when shooting looked a little 'cold' to me back at my computer, so I set white balance via 'color temperature' when I processed the file (white balance 'color temp' is a 'slider' in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP.)) Being able to 'tweak' white-balance in post-processing is a nice benefit to shooting in RAW.
- Focus mode set to AI Servo: So I could 'track' my subject and release the shutter when I wanted to take a photo.
Tripod with ball-head: To keep the camera stable when shooting. The ball-head allows me to freely move the camera, while still having the camera stabilized by the tripod.
- Location the photo was taken: Arlington, Oregon, USA (Columbia River Gorge)
I really love this shot. The elements that make this photo good, in my opinion, are:
- The beautiful scene
- The very nice colors. The contrast between the green water and the tan hills.
- The subject in focus, with the slightly blurry background (making the sailor 'pop' a little.)
- The hills in the background 'filling the frame'
- An uncluttered background (remember to 'watch the background' -- it matters.)
- The subject is in the bottom third of the photo (following the 'rule of thirds')
- No other windsurfers in the frame to clutter the photo
The use of the long 400mm focal length lens was key to:
- Make the subject (the sailor) large enough in the frame (so she isn't a 'speck')
- Pull in the hills in the background (with a 100mm focal length you would get lots of sky.)