If heading to the county fair or amusement park is on your list of activities to wrap up the summer, this tutorial on photographing the spinning tea cups ride will help you capture some memorable action shots of your family enjoying the fun.
How To Take “Spinning Tea Cup” Action Photos
I love Disney, and really love capturing the joy that my girls feel when we visit Disneyland. One of their favorite rides is the Spinning Tea Cups…they scream and laugh every time they ride it! Being a photographer through and through, I wanted to capture the joy that they feel on this ride. My favorite shots are the ones when I get the background in movement.
First, grab your DSLR and your shortest focal length lens. I usually take my Canon Rebel XT, so that I don’t have to lug around my Canon 5D Mark II. You can get these shots with any DSLR…the only thing you do need is a lens with a focal length at about 18mm to 24mm’s. I use my 18-55mm kit zoom lens that came with my Rebel, or when I do take my Mark II, I use my 24-70mm zoom lens.
Second, you will want to put your camera in M mode, or its manual setting.
Next, set your ISO to a low setting. I use 100 for the best results.
Once your ISO is set, you will want to set your shutter speed. Turn the shutter speed dial to 40, which is 1/40th of a second.
Then, you will want to focus your camera on your subject. Press your shutter button halfway, and check your exposure level mark. This will allow you to adjust your aperture to the correct exposure. Move your aperture dial so that the exposure level mark sits just right to the center mark. [This would be just to the left on a Nikon.]
Before the ride starts, check your exposure level mark once more. During the ride you will want to hold your camera to your chest to keep it as still as possible as the ride moves. Press your shutter down half way when your camera is in this position, and look to make sure that the exposure level mark is still in the right spot. Make any last second adjustments before the ride begins.
Once the ride starts, put your camera against your chest again, point at your subjects, and click away. You will end up taking more pictures than you will need, but it is better to overshoot on this exercise, than not shoot enough.
You can even take a self-portrait– this one is of me!
Make sure you check with the rules of the park you are attending regarding bringing your camera on the ride. [Safety tip: To protect your gear and those around you, be sure your camera strap is secured around your neck in case you lose your grip.]
Missy Wuertz, owner of Missy Marie Photography, is a natural light portrait and lifestyle photographer located in Hermosa Beach, California. She is crazy about creating and instigating interactions between family members… those interactions truly make the best photos. You can also follow her work on Facebook.