When photographing sports it is often best to do so with a fast shutter speed. This ensures that the captured image is more or less crisp, meaning there isn’t any discernible blurring of the subjects that are in motion.
Although, motion blur does sometimes creep through. Take the below image as an example.
In this play, which occurred on Sept. 11 this year in a game between Western and McMaster, Mike Spence of Western delivered a hit on Kevin D’Hollander of McMaster that was so hard it rendered D’Hollander unconscious, gave him a concussion, and forced him to warm the bench for the five weeks that followed.
So how hard was this hit, exactly?
I can tell you the photo was taken at a shutter speed of 1/800 of a second, but what does that tell you? That it was fast, and we already know that.
In order to tangibly understand the speed Spence was moving, let us do a comparison. Most people know what the sound of a baseball being struck is like. It’s a loud CRACK, for those who don’t. The sound of the hit Spence gave that day was just as distinctive. So here is a photograph of a baseball being hit, photographed at the same shutter speed as the image of Spence above.
Anyone who has played fastball and stood at the plate can attest that being struck by a pitch will hurt, even if such an event has never befallen them. Thus, accepting that the motion blur seen in the baseball/bat is comparable to the blurring of the 179 lbs that is Mike Spence, we can conclude the speed of a baseball upon contact with a bat is indicative of the immense speed Spence was moving at when he hit D’Hollander on that day in September.
No wonder D’Hollander was out of action for over a month. Ouch.
Photographs by Corey Stanford