Friday, October 29, 2010

Photography Tip: Reaction Time

People often wonder how an old geezer, like me can capture birds in flight, fish jumping out of water or a singer’s eye on a poorly lit stage. All the camera skills in the world won’t do you any good without this special ingredient. It’s called Reaction Time.

It takes practice and a little trick they don’t teach you in camera school.

Here’s my secret and I do it without a camera.

Every night before I go to sleep, I play Solitaire.

There are probably other games you could use to do this. I’m not really a gamer; this game works just fine for me. I just do this to improve and sharpen my reaction time.

When you first start playing a score of around 100 is probably average. Move yourself back from the monitor so you can have the whole screen in your field of view. Play as fast as you can. Make mistakes and correct them as fast as you can. Find out if you have a weakness, like always missing a possibility on the far right of the screen, my weak point.

Maybe you start paying attention to one side of the screen or another and start missing the moves at dead center; right in front of you.

Move back a bit further. Soon, you’ll notice your reaction time, peripheral vision, ability to correct mistakes quickly and your score improving.

This training will carry over to your camera shooting and you’ll start to notice you are catching action shots like never before.

Me, I don’t go to bed at night until I’ve won three games. Learning to correct your mistakes quickly and identify opportunities to take advantage of rapidly are the keys to getting a higher score. I swear by it.

If the politicians would play Solitaire for us on TV instead of having debates I could tell you who’d make the best President for your country. Just watch to see if they recognize mistakes, correct them quickly and take swift action when a great opportunity presents itself. Who has the best Reaction time?

BONUS: When you get caught playing Solitaire at work tell the boss you’re not goofing off. You’re just following a Photography Tip about Reaction Time you saw over on Mike’s Ryukyu Gallery!

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