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Shooting And Assembling Action Sequence Photos

lots of valuable articles from Rick Iossi, FKA Inc.

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Shooting And Assembling Action Sequence Photos

Postby RickI » Wed May 11, 2005 4:50 am

Brui wrote:Hi Rick, quick question :

you have some photos with sequences, how you do this? i have a digital canon rebel.


Hello Bruno,

It does provide a different perspective on kiteboarding to be sure. If you checkout past events at:

You will find quite a few more.


1. You need a camera with a multiple shutter function setting. My camera, which is over three years
old at this point, has two settings, hi speed resulting in three images being taken at about 1 second
intervals and low with 4 to 6 frames being taken at about 1.5 second intervals. You need to select the
setting on your camera that suits the type and speed of the action sequence you are trying to capture. If the sequence is short and the moves rapid you might want to go for the faster image sequence as opposed say to a long jump for which the slower sequence might be better. The higher end cameras may allow you to take 15 or more images on a continuous basis. You also want adequate, fast memory for your camera. I have several 1 G Flash cards that seem to do the trick.

An early not real polished but interesting effort involving Martin Vari

2. You need to develop a sense for timing triggering the shot. Rider body language can give you clues as to when he is going to throw a trick and then you judge when to trigger the shutter from trial and error through experience.

Elliot Leboe goes to it.

3. You end up with several images, hopefully all of which are useable in terms of exposure and absence of subject blurring, etc.. You examine the sequence component images to decide which one you would like to use as the primary background. It might be the one that captured a splash or some other notable feature that might be difficult to cut and paste. Photoshop is the application that I am most familar with. There are others out there but that program seems to cover the bases very nicely.

A real early sequence of Kent. Still the action is interesting.

4. You then decide what image components you want to sequence. You can just do the primary rider or everything that moves in the shots short of the waves, e.g. riders, boats, waverunners and even birds. It comes down to the parent image quality and what you are trying to achieve. Oh, the amount of time you want to invest plays into things as well. Some particularly complex sequence shots can gobble 30 to 60 minutes of Photoshop time, each. If you have an entire event to process that is some time committment.

An early shot of Rob Hassle

5. I use the magic lasso tool to cut and paste sequence components into the primary background image. It is usually best to do this under magnification to limit the amount of waste that will have to be trimmed. You can try to include all the lines but you will find that it is very hard to adjust rider brightness and contrast along with that associated with the lines to an acceptable degree. Often the lines don't look that good and get chopped off just above the rider. There are other ways of doing the component image transfer including using the clone tool but I normally use the lasso.

One of my favorite wave shots of Andy Hurdman on a base photo stitched using QTVR.

6. You find references in the original image to guide your placement of the components into something close to the original spot. Sometimes background image size limits the ability to do this and artistic license may be needed to shift things around a bit. If I know I need to combine background images to capture all the action I may use the QTVR Authoring Suite to stitch the component 2 or 3 background images together.

You never know what you will capture staying alert and timing your shots can bring some surprises in sometimes. Hamish trying some moves sans footstraps and being lifted for his efforts.

7. I normally adjust brightness and contrast in the pasted sequence components and sometimes hue as well. Alternatively, I may flatten the image first and then do the fine tuning.

Francisco blasting along towards Mike. You need to be careful in cutting and pasting. As it happened I had a third image taken seconds after this one so I thought I could go a three shot sequence. The third sequence component turned out to be Andy Hurdman. Whoops!

8. If you have excess on the periphery of images that you have cut and pasted, one approach after you have flattened the image is to use the clone tool under magnification and replace the pasted border with the background you would like to use.

9. You can also play with the brightness, contrast and colors with the image after all the components of the sequence have been cleaned up. There are even more powerful effects that you can do in Photoshop to vary color, contrast, color replacement, etc..

10. You may wish to sharpen the image or blur it depending on the parent image quality and the effects you are trying to achieve. The finished image may be quite large in terms of dimensions and file size. You will want to experiment with resizing the images for desired resolution balanced against file size.

A six component sequence.

You really just need to have at it and practice. In time you will develop a skill with the pasting and tuning of componet images. There are far more powerful ways of manipulating things in Photoshop than I have described here. Many of my sequences are quite crude but they are still fun to put together. Good shooting and pasting!

Copyright FKA, Inc. 2005

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