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Capturing a Moving Subject

When working on the move without crew and and a light meter, you have to think on your feet or miss the opportunity of shot.

The model on this day was Miss Ashli Rossetti, who came up with the idea of being in the air on a pedestrian crossing in the middle of Sydney's CBD. I was shooting with a Canon 5D MKIII and I'll go through the settings I decided on to capture the shot and how I came up with them.

I looked at the scenario and knew I would be approx. 20ft away from my subject when taking the picture. The Bright sun was basically overhead being 12.30pm with no cloud cover. My main priorities were speed and depth of field, so I could capture the model frozen in the air and catch her in focus.

I chose a speed of 1/1000, which I knew was quick enough to freeze her in the air, anything slower was leaving it to chance that the image may blur. In regards to focus, I knew if I went to an aperture setting too low at 20ft, say F2.8, I would have little or no leeway in grabbing focus on the model, while she was moving, so I decided F5.6 would give me approx. 6ft of depth of field. Any Higher on the F stop would have meant me shutting too much light out and would eventually have a potential of using too high of an ISO degrading the final picture.

I then set the 5D to AI Servo focus on one shot as I would be hand panning a moving target. The 5D has quite a good follow focus setting and because I use back button focusing, I can keep my thumb pressed down on the back button without taking pictures and this allows me to press the shutter release whilst the model would be in midair.

To obtain the correct ISO setting, I asked the model to face the same way as she would be facing in the shot on the crossing. I set the camera to spot metering and spot metered on the darkest area of the models face and looked through the view finder and changed the ISO setting until I was 1/3 of a stopover. This is a trick I learnt from Peter Coulson, which allows you to catch all tones in the face or skin area. This gave me an ISO setting of 400 and we were almost ready to go.

I then manually set the focus point in camera where the models face would fall in my frame. The 5DMKII allows you to change focus points in its 64-point focusing system very quickly and you can set it to change automatically when you change from portrait to landscape.

I then directed Ashli to wait for me to get to the middle of the crossing and allow me to frame the background, She could then walk to the middle of the crossing, jump and pose.

Admittedly it took three goes to get the jump and the background framed correctly, but this is all we had to worry about besides getting run over and anyway, I think this contributed to the final look on Ashli’s face

Ashli Rossetti Instagram @wanderingwolfchild

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