Composition – Timing is all – part 2

As mentioned in the first article about “timing is all” you can split such shootings into two groups: the generally planned shootings and “shootings” = photos by pure accident.

Over here I’d like to show you some examples for planned shootings now and give you some more tips.

One kind of photography can be generally described as timing is all photography as such and that’s the animal photography.

Whatever preparations made before, in most cases timing is all is the magic word.

Let’s look at this example over here:


The shooting with the tits is one example for a sort of generally planned “timing is all” situation. This means, that the feeding tits were watched for a long period – it was planned to shoot them close to the little house. It was a generally planned shooting. But nevertheless the moments the tits showed up couldn’t be planned as such, whenever they did timing was really all. Inspite of all watching before and waiting and guessing when they might show up, the second they did was always unexpected and they acted in a tremendous speed.

Don’t ask how many trials were made to get both tits at the same time.

Especially in animal photography there is seldom the opportunity to repeat such shootings and if there is basically, you’ll often need several days at least.

Another well known example is this one:



Similar to a falling water droplet or water droplets are shootings with matches just lighted or fruits falling into water and suchlike.

Over here there is at least the general chance to repeat the shootings until you are successful.

Now these two photo examples haven’t been shot with flashes – I just used the daylight and two ordinary light sources/lamps and this naturally made it even more complicate to work. So if you have flashes, it can only be recommended to use them, when you want to start working on such photos for the first time.

As mentioned before most of the photos have to be deleted. Either you see just the background because your desired photo subject has passed by before you pressed the shutter release button or you’ve managed to show it, but the composition within the frame is nevertheless a failure and so on.

Some tips:

Every time the shutter release button is pressed the “life” of the camera body is one press less/shorter. Now in order to avoid too many photos being taken, it can only be recommended to watch the photo subjects and the situation closely for a period of time before taking the camera at all. Like e.g. the water droplet falling – you can learn to estimate the time it needs to pass by.

If you have never worked on such kinds of shootings before, it’ll be better to use a normal lens instead of a macro lens e.g. or a tele lens with a great focal length. The closer you are to your photo subject, however, the smaller the frame and the more difficult it’ll be to “catch/nail” the photo subject on its way. Take a normal lens and look through the viewfinder, take a telephoto lens and do the same – there are worlds in between.

To “gain more speed” in shooting and catch your photo subject you can naturally use e.g. flashes and suchlike, although in animal photography stay away from this !

You can also adjust another ISO to get shorter exposure times. But a higher ISO has e.g. the disadvantage of noise showing pretty soon.

Have a break from time to time and be aware of the right time to close the shooting. That’s when you get tired. You have to concentrate a lot in such shootings, especially when the photo subject acts in short time periods like falling water droplets. It’s better to close down such a shooting and start another one later on than to get tired and no good results, because of concentrating too long and then reacting too slowly more and more.

In the last part of “timing is all” I’ll present some examples for shootings based on pure accident and give you some comfort.

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