Cheerful Blur

Cheerful Blur, Trinity University - San Antonio, Texas

Cheerful Blur, Trinity University – San Antonio, Texas

In between the plays of the Trinity football game, I turned my considerable 600mm equivalent telephoto to the cheerleaders. A fascinating and energetic bunch. A small boy, perhaps 3-years-old, who stood near me quizzically asked, “Why are they so happy?”.

His simple question got me thinking. I don’t know any current or former cheerleaders, but they strike me as a different bunch. Are they genetically predisposed to being cheerful? Or is it a learned behavior? Are they naturally happy or is it just a performance?

I purposely wanted to create a cheerful blur, which turned out to be more challenging than expected. I shot a lot of frames and selected this one as my favorite. I experimented with shutter speeds of 1/40 to 1/80 of a second. The right shutter speed depends on the speed of the action, which is not constant. Too slow of a shutter and everything is a mess. Too fast and you don’t get enough motion. My objective? A lot of hand and pom-pom blur while keeping the faces sharp.


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