Saturday, August 14, 2010


My husband LOVES to play darts - and that's an understatement!  I have always wanted pictures of him playing, but they are difficult to get for many reasons.  

The biggest hurdle is convincing my man to let me take the shots!  He never used to like when I got the camera out. But after supporting me through this summer's photography adventures, he has begun to be quite open to the camera - as long as he's helping me get the shot and not actually IN the shot.

When one of the Digital Photography School's assignments was a picture with "motion blur" of a person or animal, it was the perfect opportunity to ask him for help!

Once he was convinced to let me try (and even excited about the idea!), there were the other issues....

1)  Carrying a camera and tripod into the local pub...  We waited until the right time of the evening when there weren't that many people there - and those that were are "regulars" and already know us.  Even so, it made several people nervous, so I did not even TRY to take anyone else's picture that night.  I thought it would be better for them to get used to the idea of me with a camera in a non-threatening way.

2)  Low Light!!  I took many shots (about 50 or so) and kept adjusting the ISO and shutter speed.

3)  The shutter speed itself.  I wanted a blur that showed the motion of throwing a dart, but I started with a shutter speed that was way too long.  This got me several shots of ghostly arms that looked like they weren't attached to bodies!  Each shot I sped up the shutter speed, then had to fix the ISO......  it took a little while. 

4)  Actually capturing the movement.  As the shutter speed was faster and faster, I had to really watch to capture the actual throw.  I missed it several times.  Most of the dart players I know are very still while they aim then the actual throw is like a snap.  Very fast!

5)  Camera angle (????)  Where to set up the camera, on a tripod, in a bar, where it won't bother the person throwing darts, be in the way where either the camera or I might be hit by the darts, out of traffic so I don't get run over or have random people walking through the shot.....  It took a while to get this one right!

Anyway, here are a few of the shots I got that night. 

The first angle I tried... 

Too much blur - not enough action...   Also the TV in the background is distracting

WAY too much blur!  Lots of action though...

So I tried a different angle.

A little better.  No movement though.  I couldn't decide whether to focus on the hubby or the dart board.  But since the hubby is moving and the board isn't, that seemed the answer.

Shutter speed still too slow.  There are the ghostly arms I was talking about

Too dark!!  Ack!

This is the one I ended up submitting.  It's not perfect by any means, but it is much closer.

The important things for me were - A)  Learned a bit about shutter speed and motion blur.  B)  Learned a LOT about shutter speed, low lighting and ISO, and C)  Got husband excited about being in a picture!!!!  BONUS!!  :)
Much Love, 



SouthernSass said...

I think its great that you are so fearless trying new things! What type of camera are you using? I don't have a DLSR yet, but I use a Nikon P90, which has a lot of settings that I'm trying to get used to. Have you thought about shooting in continuous mode? Not sure how much blur you would get, but its a thought.

I also thought of you when I came across these two new sites today: and

Have a great day! :)

GB said...

I liked the final result because it showed the motion and the target. Now if you'd managed the dart as well...

I used to play darts but I haven't done so for quite a few years. I've got the yearning again after seeing that.

Now I know where Topeka is too. I have to confess that I'd never heard of it. My US geography (I've only been to California and Michigan) is improving.

Tiffany said...

Thanks for the comments both of you!

S.Sass - I shoot with a Canon Rebel XT (outside the US, it is known as an EOS 350D.) I have shot in continuous mode before, but for this, it stopped the motion too much - and I was struggling with the lighting. It was a real challenge to shoot in the manual mode for a change. It's something I want to improve and understand more.

GB - We both love to play darts, but he more than I. We play on a weekly league and on teams.

Glad you figured out where Topeka is. It's not that big a place, but it is the state's capital, so it gets a little attention. :) I moved here about 2 years ago from the Dallas, TX area - now THAT's a big city!!