Our favourite action photos

Ever wondered what makes some action shots stand out more than others?

Photographer Miles Willis has looked at some of his favourite images in the Canon Gallery and told us why these ones caught his eye:

Powder on Secret Spot, Mr Petter Berg

Shooting just before sunset, during the 'golden hour', not only provides Petter Berg with gorgeous light but the low-angled sun directed into the back of this shot illuminates the snow spray to dramatic effect.

Usually in action photography you want your subject sharp and fully visible but seeing just enough of the snowboarder partially obscured by the snow really adds to this image.

Petter has combined split-second timing and maybe a bit of luck in getting his subject in the perfect spot.

And to complete this great composition, it also has a stunning backdrop and perfect exposure.

Up and over, Kieran Galvin

This picture by Kieran is straight out the professional handbook; shot tight to fill the frame, perfectly sharp, with a blurred background.

All of these focus the attention on this incredibly well-captured split-second moment of the rider flying off the bike.

Seeing the rider’s eyes sets this image off perfectly.

Cow Race - The Fall, Annemarie van den Berg

This brilliant shot by Annemarie of the Sumatran sport of Pacu Jawi, or “Mud Cow Racing” is a great example of split-second timing combined with that ‘special moment’.

Berg has done a great job of keeping this sharp and everything in frame as the rider has come free from his position, even capturing his facial expression moments before he crashes into the mud.

Often action photography is about expecting the unexpected and being able to capture the out-of-the-ordinary.

Kingfisher tussle, John Farrell

This stunningly beautiful and technically perfect image from John is a superb example of wildlife photography at its best.

Capturing behaviour rather than simply the birds in flight or perched adds a new dimension to the photograph. The kingfishers' heads are perfectly sharp with just a hint of movement in the tips of their wings, suggesting a very high shutter speed with pin perfect focussing.

Shooting with a very long lens has allowed John to completely blur the background producing a lovely smooth distraction-free backdrop.

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