It’s all in the tim­ing

Ac­tion in any scene calls on the usual speed skills of re­ac­tion, an­tic­i­pa­tion and choice of ex­act mo­ment

NPhoto - - Niko Pedia -

W hen­ever there’s move­ment and ac­tion, there’s al­ways one mo­ment that will be, for each pho­tog­ra­pher, the most spe­cial. And of course what that mo­ment con­tains and looks like will de­pend on your taste. It will also de­pend on what you’re able to cap­ture, not just in terms of how fast and re­ac­tive you are, but in terms of whether you get the sort of worth­while mo­ment that hap­pens just once (as in our main im­age, right), or one that’s sim­i­lar to mul­ti­ple oth­ers. In any case, given that the main idea of this cre­ative path is that you have an ac­tiv­ity hap­pen­ing within a scene that you’ve al­ready found and framed, you could think of it as a lit­tle like a cin­ema­graph – where you have a static scene con­tain­ing a small area of live ac­tion, usu­ally gen­er­ated as an an­i­mated GIF. In other words, it’s con­tained ac­tion, so it calls for a slightly dif­fer­ent way of pay­ing at­ten­tion to what’s go­ing on in the viewfinder, fo­cus­ing on a detail.

In the case of these Kh­mer dancers (right), the sit­u­a­tion it­self was def­i­nitely worth shoot­ing with­out any ex­pec­ta­tion of some spe­cial ac­tion. The troupe was per­form­ing in one of the largest old stone tem­ples in Angkor, Cam­bo­dia, called Preah Khan, in the so-called Hall of the Dancers, which is said to have been built for such per­for­mances in the 13th cen­tury. Be­hind-the-scenes ac­tion at any the­atri­cal per­for­mance is good value for the cam­era, and I was tak­ing full ad­van­tage. It all looked colour­ful and at­mo­spheric; so far, so good. Then in the third frame of the run-up im­ages (shown smaller, top-right) the be­gin­nings of a spat be­tween two young per­form­ers ap­peared. That primed my at­ten­tion for the mo­ment to come.

When­ever there’s move­ment and ac­tion, there’s al­ways one mo­ment that will be, for each pho­tog­ra­pher, the most spe­cial

A mo­ment of young diva drama turned a rea­son­ably in­ter­est­ing be­hind-thescenes shot into some­thing much more amus­ing.

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