Lightning Strikes! (A way of taking good reference photos for action drawings)

Lightning strikes!
I took these pictures using a method that I worked out during the Nevada mentor program last summer. It's a method of taking reference photos for action drawings.
I'd meant to post about this last fall but sometimes blogging has to take the back burner when there's lots going on. So here we are, better late than never.
While I was drawing the sketches for my mentor assignment, I was having a devil of a time capturing the movement of Dorothy tossing the pail of water on the wicked witch of the west.
When I first had the trouble, I tried what I usually have tried. I set my camera up on a shelf with the self-timer on and posed for a reference photo.
But it wasn't working.
Dorothy looked stiff and overly posed when I drew her. No matter how hard I tried.
I was brainstorming with my (patient) husband one night about it and he suggested that instead of photographing, I try videoing myself tossing the pail. So I did.

And I as I watched myself throw the pail I also remembered that I could pluck a single frame of the video out and save it as a picture. So I scrolled through the video, frame by frame, and picked a frame that I thought best caught the action. I used Quicktime pro to do this (if you are interested, type in "creating a still image from a movie" in help. I believe you do need the pro edition of Quicktime to do this but I'm not sure, you may be able to do it in regular Quicktime).
Voila! I had a decent reference photo that wasn't as stiff. By using the reference photo plucked from the video, I was able to draw a Dorothy that captured the action better. Yay!
Now the witches face...
That one was totally posed.
I bet she'd make the same face if she were caught in a thunder storm.