Shutter Speed for Freezing Action

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Fish Out of Water Photo by Louis Cahill

Things happen fast in fly fishing.

Line whistles through the air, fish leap out of the water, guides swoop in with the net. It’s fun to capture these moments of action with the camera but often we fail and end up with a shot that is blurred beyond recognition. The solution is shutter speed. Today’s DSLR cameras are capable of amazingly fast shutter speed. A shutter speed on 1/8000 of a second will take crisp shots from a speeding flats boat. When you know you need that kind of speed there are a few things to keep in mind. You may find yourself needing an ISO setting as high as 800 in bright sun to get the shutter speed you need. In most cases your flash will be of no use. Most cameras will not sync with a flash at speeds above 1/250. Lastly, there is no replacement for a quality lens with a fast aperture. An aperture of 1.8-2.8 is a big help when trying to stop the clock.


Louis Cahill

Gink & Gasoline
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11 thoughts on “Shutter Speed for Freezing Action

  1. I’ve only recently begun moving away from the “auto ISO” setting on my DSLR, and it’s been a revelation. It works both ways when photographing water. Creating those ‘artsy’ blur effects require a low ISO and ND filters, but the results can be very cool.

  2. Making the leap to good glass took my photos ahead dramatically. I have learned to love 2.8. Low light photography as well as high shutter speeds on bright days is a real treat.

    • I was fishing with a buddy one day who asked how much my Thomas and Thomas rod cost. When I told him he showed me his Bass Pro rig and said “This $65 rod hasn’t gotten between me and a fish yet!” I asked, “Then what was it that got between you and the last five?” good glass is a beautiful thing.

  3. Is there a Gink and Gasoline Anonymous (GGA) meeting anywhere? Seriously, stop writing because I can’t stop reading this blog! I’ve had to start stashing my laptop in the toilet tank just so my fiance won’t catch me on here.
    Shit, here she comes…

    • Wildcat,

      That has to go down as one of the best compliments we have gotten since we started Gink & Gasoline. No there is no GGA, but that would make a great Gink & Gasoline T-Shirt, ha ha. Louis and I are really proud of what we are posting and it’s all being driven by our wonderful community of followers.


  4. Awww shucks. I’m blushing! haha

    You guys are dedicated and it shows. Both the articles and photos are 100% on every post. Keep it coming!

  5. Pingback: The Myth of Manual | Fly Fishing | Gink and Gasoline | How to Fly Fish | Trout Fishing | Fly Tying | Fly Fishing Blog

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