My Photo Lesson: The Art of Jumping

I’ve had two digital photography classes so far. I am no longer terrified of the technical. In fact, I am really looking forward to mastering the technical aspect of photography, then I can focus more on the creative side.

But it’s not easy.

You’d think with a Nikon D3000 DSLR (nice) camera, you could point, shoot, and voila – perfect pictures every press of the shutter. That is just not the case.

Sometimes it’s HARDER to get the pictures you want, especially regarding the intricate focus levels that have to be detected through a very small view finder. In the beginning, I was very eager to try all modes and learn. Then, I learned enough to dislike auto, but not knowledgable enough to go full manual. It put a bind on some of my practices. They would just frustrate me. Then, the 365 project came along. I had to get out my camera EVERY day and shoot something. It really helped get me over the hump. I can shoot auto if I need to. I can switch to manual when I feel confident enough.

Because….. maybe I don’t know everything, but putting the camera down until I do is not going to help in any way, shape or form. It’s day 23 of the 365 project.

One thing I have always wanted to try was jumping photographs. What held me back? It requires technical knowledge to capture.

With two digital photography classes under my belt and a homework assignment looming to photograph stopped motion……well, I just had to try. And guess what? You get to go on this learning journey with me.

I have two eager three willing subjects. Just so you know, a four and six-year old are much more inclined to jump for you (and happily), then say a sixteen-year old I pull off her Facebook page (rolls eyes).

So here they are……

Yes, they are cute as all get out. I can hardly stand it. Look at those smiles. But on a technical side. I forgot to meter the light. I had to edit to get it to be viewable. I also forgot my metering lesson in the Fort Worth store. This is what picking up your camera every day is all about. Using it (especially transitioning from auto to manual). It takes time and it takes mistakes.

I know what my settings need to be for jumping.

Somehow, I miss the mark. It’s not stopped motion. We do this over and over again with same results (see definition of insanity). I can’t get the shutter speed to stick and it results in blurred appendages (but cute happy jumping faces).

I’m real close to giving up and just chalking it up to not knowing enough about the technicalities. You can only get them to jump so many times in a row before they are….tired, cold, or checking their text messages.

So one goes inside (guess who?) and the other two play on the swing. I play with my settings. The light in the backyard is more shaded. The sun is going down. I could have my settings set for more light than I have. I change them.

I feel like I got a pretty stopped motion as Bridget is turning Molly on the swing. She is running.

I ask Bridget (who is MOST willing) to jump for me again.

Then Molly.

This is when I fall completely in love with jumping photos (technically correct or not). You just can’t get faces to light up like that in any other way. What it feels like to jump. To be free. To fly. How can you compare it? Have you jumped lately? Do you remember what it’s like?

I took a leap into photography possibilities.

I know I’m not perfect. I know there are some more settings I can try. I know the focus is off and I need to work more with those. I can definitely try again with better light outside. I think I may have some more jumping volunteers. All in all, it was great practice and great fun.

So let me ask you? What are you waiting for?

Just jump!

21 thoughts on “My Photo Lesson: The Art of Jumping

  1. OMG I am laughing! The joy in your post is contagious and all those jumping shots are hilarious, even the dog got in on the action.
    I’m scared of everything technical so you’ve basically become my hero.


  2. your girls are so pretty! and the dog in the end! haha!! LOVE IT! Is taking a class worth it? I always sorta thought the skill was natural…but after reading all these other blogs with photographers…its SO technical! I hate my little camera. I’m upgrading first chance I get. My issue is it blurrs for any tiny movement. reminds me of the old 35mm. do you remember the 110 film?!! crazy huh! I worked in a photolab as a teenager and young 20-something…still developed 110 film up until about 5 years ago!


  3. great learning experience! You did great! And the best part is when you saw something in a photo you didn’t like, you knew it’s cause (or figured it out) and were able to correct it! I learn so much more from the ‘bad’ photo’s than the good ones.
    Your doing great 🙂

    I love jumping photos.
    consider this, if your shutter is a bit slow when you take a jumping picture.. and you are using a tripod say, and the camera is still (the people are moving/jumping) the people will be blurry.
    If you can move the camera WITH the jump, and keep your spot meter on one persons face.. aim for the eye or nose and move up and down with the jumper.. you’ll get a panning affect. The world blurry and in motion and your subject clear!
    This is a bit challenging and takes alot of practice. I recommend a trampoline, to okeep the jumpers jumping, and to keep their jumps somewhat steady and even.
    It’s a hard one, but the reward of getting the picture on the mark is AWESOME! as you descovered.

    Can I give you another tip?
    take the shots from lying on the ground. and if you can, clear the background to be an open feild.. so there is no distraction in the background but the jumper, and they are clearly in the air… also good on a trampoline.


  4. Jump? Who me? If I jump that high, my, I’ll fall flat on my bum. My knees will not allow that, but that is old age going against me.

    Your photographs are fantastic, and your kids are beautiful.

    Thanks for following me on BF, I do appreciate it. Hope your week starts off well, and enjoy your day.

    Ps, I looooved your post on the longhorns and the horses. That horse with the blue eyes is stunning. Just wish I could have been there.

    Take care.


  5. Oh wow, what a lovely bit of reportage! So glad you are enjoying your Nikon…we have 2 Nikons, one each, as we would fight otherwise. Your gorgeous photos reminded me of a special photo shoot I had with my eldest Granddaughter Emilia back in 2005, and I managed to find the shot and thought you might like to see it? I used the sport mode on my D70, aww I miss that camera..

    Manual mode is cool, the results are amazing but trying using the P setting, it is like auto but with manual tendencies 😉


  6. Sandy Larnard

    Love all the pics…you are doing wonderful. I look forward to all of your wonderful shots and all the wonderful shots of your wonderful family. Love ya girlie!!!


  7. Maddy

    How funny!! I did a jumping shot of my husband’s family at the beach over the summer. A good thing to do is get low to the ground. Seems silly, but it looks like they’re jumping much higher! Also, fast shutter speed and high aperture to get everyone in focus.


  8. This blog post was very invigorating! …sitting here at the computer in my pyjamas… drinking coffee…

    You’re doing a great job. I’ve been wanting to focus on ‘movement,’ too (pun intended), lately. I remember seeing something about it in the promotional dvd, and I’ve even tried the ‘sports’ setting–but I still get a lot of blur. Don’t know if I can get my crew to jump for me; but I know some neighbours who’d love to. Thanks for the inspiration!


  9. Hahaha! You did it! Do the dogs some more! Those girls are going to start running the other way, yelling “No more jumping, Mom?” I hope you remembered to make a note of your settings. Well, of course you did! Silly me!!


  10. Man, GOOD JOB on sticking with it and figuring it out! You finally got it and they look great!

    I remember watching my friend’s little boy when he first learned to jump, which didn’t really register to me as something you would have to “learn”. He would make the jumping movement with his body, but his feet would barely (or not even) leave the ground… it was the sweetest thing I ever saw.


  11. I should have read this before I posted today. I have a jumping picture too – but he is definitely blurring. I just couldn’t resist the joy on his face. I am going to have to take a class too. You are making me want to understand more then simply reading the manual for the camera can explain to me!


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