There’s a photo contest at work. It’s kind of a fun thing to do, and there are a lot of semi-pro photographers in the office so there’s plenty of competetion. As with any photo contest there are categories that you can submit to. They are:
I knew there were images that I could enter in Action. I have over 1,000 photos of belly dancers spinning, shimmying, and swirling silk scarves. Additionally I have photos from the joust at the Renaissance Fair and old photos of Indianapolis’ professional soccer teams – the Blast and Blaze.
It was the other categories that required some thought. I have some nice landscape shots, although it hardly seems fair to enter photos of the Japanese Gardens in Portland, but I found a few to enter into the Kids and Pets categories. Funny thing though, they are all action shots. One is of some kids playing jump-rope in the park. The other is a greyhound who snatched a toy and was running off to play keep-away. Both images were caught at just the right moment.
John Irving once said that his mentor Kurt Vonnegut taught him by telling him in part – you do these things well-do more of them, you do those things less well-do less of them. It’s clear digging through my old photos looking for items to enter into other categories that I do action well.
There’s a concept in photography known as the Height of Action. That is the perfect moment to take the photo. It is the crystalized, story-telling moment that sums up the previous action and foreshadows what’s to come. It’s the moment that the pitch cracks off the baseball bat or the moment the ballerina spins en pointe. The height of action is the reason that motor drives were invented and multi-exposure modes exist on digital cameras.
I am excellent at capturing the height of action. It is what makes the belly dancers and the burlesque performers love me. It’s why my old editors would send me to cover the soccer team. It’s more than just stopping the action. It needs to include emotion. The photo has to tell a story. It has to show the drama that proceeded the picture and extend it beyond the frame. To take it into the future. That’s what makes an action photo compelling.
This is what I do well. This is what I need to do more of. I just need a way to incorporate it into my art photos.