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Action Shot and Afocal Photography

Updated on November 22, 2013



ActionShot Photography is a technique not much dissimilar to panorama photography with the added element of people performing an action. It is similar to panorama because the image is composed in a wide angle format very closely paralleling a panorama shot with a person as the main subject of the shot.

Panorama is usually done by taking several interpolating images of a static scene and merging the borders with a photo editing software such as Photoshop. This is also called Joiner Photography. What is different with this technique is that the images shot on a panoramic format include a person, usually a sport's figure, while they are running, jogging, jumping, rollerskating swimming and so forth. Therefore termed action-shot photography.

The technique is used to show the dynamics of movement by representing a moving figure at various and consecutive positions set against a panoramic background. Unlike panoramic photography, the moving subject is photographed at various points but care has to be taken so that each consecutive movement does not interpolate with the previous. With the digital format , this technique has become even more simpler. Many digital cameras have what is known a a burst mode, here the camera takes a sequence of shots of the moving subject with the same settings that it selected for the first capture. This is the preferred method for actionshot photography during daylight.

The use of strobe lights aids in this purpose by briefly illuminating the subject while it moves from point to point, a slow shutter speed is also essential to record each movement in consecutive parts of the frame. If you have taken shots at night of fireworks, lighting strikes or photographed moving car headlights, then you have somewhat used this technique.

Many professional coaching staffs, product manufacturers, various research laboratories, commonly rely on this technique to test products, improve a technique and to better understand the physical and ergonomic principles of human motion. Hospitals also use this technique to understand the causes of injuries associated with movement and to relate and formulate treatments with the realm of sports medicine at the top of this list. The automotive industry has also been the beneficiary of the technique in its car impact tests.

However, this technique is not only used for research, many photographers now identify themselves with this style and use it to shoot many technically sound and pleasing images which can then be sold to sports publications as well as showcased in contemporary art galleries, inspirational posters and is heavily used by the sports product industry.


Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

Another technique which has its niche in the photography arena is afocal photography, not to be confused with astrophotography, although the equipment used is often similar if not identical along with its use.

This technique uses other image capturing devices such as telescopes, microscopes, and binoculars to which the camera with it lens is attached to these devices. Nature photography is one of the main proponents of this technique. Research scientist, biologists and naturalists are also heavily embedded with the genre, as is the military community, police agencies and last but not least the insurance industry.

Cameras have to be focused on infinity and the final images might have some vignetting due to the narrowing field of view when combining two image capturing devices. You may also find yourself focusing the secondary imaging device first, the having to focus the camera second. Practice will make this procedure go by seamlessly.

Birdwatchers have found this technique very useful, by simply attaching a digital camera to a spotting scope, they can record images that are quite sharp, clear and technically sound. This particular use gave birth to a new term called digiscoping. Other uses include architectural applications; to photograph parts, statues at the top of a tall building, and botanist; to photograph plants especies atop the tallest of canopies.

Most of the time to ensure a quality image a coupler has to be used to join the camera with the secondary device, but with the aid of tripods, a steady hand, simply placing the camera lens very close to the eye piece of the secondary device is enough to produce usable images. But the risk of stray light and camera shake are doubled in this way.

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • GrantGMcgowan profile image

      GrantGMcgowan 6 years ago

      I like the way photos are taken and your hub is interesting. They are clean and smoothly taken.

    • David Warren profile image

      David Warren 6 years ago from Nevada

      AWESOME information! Thank you! Voted up! Greatly appreciate your time here on hub pages!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Lynn S Murhy: I think I'm more dedicated than ever to writing because of your


    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 6 years ago

      OH wow!!! This is going on my to-do list as well. Yet another informative hub. Keep them coming Luis.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      Your hubs are so informative. Maybe if I read hem over and over again I will learn to take a decent photo. Up and useful!