There are some things you can fake in photography. Underexpose a slide by an f/stop, and you still have a good shot. Poorly compose with negative film, and you can crop a nice print.

Not so with fast action. You either successfully freeze the action or you fail with a muddy shot. However, today's fast lenses, fast shutter speeds and fast films can make freezing action as easy as one, two, three. To wit: 1. Use a fast lens -- one with a wide maximum aperture. An f/1.2 lens is faster than an f/1.4, which is faster than an f/2, and so forth. The faster a lens, the more light it can transmit to the film. In action photography, the more light that passes through the lens, the faster the shutter speed you can use to get a proper exposure and freeze action. 2. If your lens aperture is set at its widest possible opening and the light available still calls for a shutter speed of 1/25 or even 1-60, you may be able to "semi-freeze" the action by "panning."

Use your camera like a movie camera. Center the subject and pan, or move, the camera along with the subject as you press the shutter release, keeping the subject centered. The results will be blurred background and -- with a little practice -- a sharply focused subject. 3. "Fast films" are those with high ASA (light sensitivity) ratings. The higher the ASA, the less light is required to expose the film properly and the faster a shutter speed you can choose for the shot, giving you more chance to freeze the action. sThere used to be little difference in sensitivity between the slowest and the fastest films available. Today, there's a three f/stop difference between say, Kodak's Vericolor II Type L negative film and Kodacolor 400 negative film.

Today, there are 400 ASA films available in black-and-white negative, color negative and positive (slide) films. And GAF makes a 500 ASA color slide film and Kodak makes a 1,250 ASA black-and-white negative film. Just imagine the fast action you could stop with that.