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Old Apr 28, 2011, 11:17 PM   #1
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Default Spring Track Practice

I occasionally will wander up to a practice field to try my hand shooting sports. It's been over a year since I tried my hand - what a disaster! I managed to get a blurry body and a sharp building a quarter mile away, a couple of pony-tails without a body and once a yellow bag with only a knee sticking up. When it finally occurred to me to check the camera's settings and change them from the f11/1/250 sec settings (had been shooting flowers the day before) I was running out of time.

Some things that I was doing differently this time - I was using an AF lens, previously I had been using a manual focus lens. It added things to think about that I'll have to work on - its more natural for me to pre-focus and wait for the action so I panicked when the camera changed its focus point due to me losing the subject in the viewfinder.

After reading here about some of the suggestions for good sports shots, I moved much closer. I got a lot more detail, but my timing was way off so framing was very difficult - got lots of bodiless pony tails and bodies without legs (or legs without bodies). So practice means everything - even having top sports photography equipment won't get you good shots (and my set-up isn't really the best for this).

The last couple of shots weren't so bad - not great but considering how awful the other ones are, they came close to being acceptable (I could write several volumes about how NOT to photograph sports!). I did some different processing because I was shooting at noon (horrible light), I'd be interested in what others think of these.

After the jump:

As you can see, I was having real trouble with framing. It probably doesn't help that I know zero about this sport - other than you are supposed to go OVER the pole, not under it.
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 1:09 AM   #2
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I haven't tried shooting this type of sport yet (I'm trying to get a press pass for the X Games in Shanghai this weekend though !) but in fact I think you may have been too close (if these are uncropped).

The Pro I am now working with on a regular basis always seems to say - "shoot wide & crop" - which seems to make sense because you can then compose the shot you want (and certainly with the K5 and whichever lense you were using, you have both the DA*200 & 300 don't you ?) that isn't an issue IQ wise. AF-S on the bar may have got you some great shots. You are always going to have a low keeper rate for fast sports though so high burst mode would help considerably.

Don't see anything wrong with the processing at all - you can see the harsh shadows from the high sun but that's going to be unavoidable when you are limited by shooting location.
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 5:33 AM   #3
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Definitely no expert on sports photography, but the action looks very good, and it looks like you conquered the lighting problems well.
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 8:13 PM   #4
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I know something about the sport and that is a very good sequence. Nice, sharp shots. FYI: First timers almost aways go under not over the bar.
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 8:26 PM   #5
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Nice crisp shots with a somewhat defocussed background. If you had a f2.8 it would have throuwn the background into more of a blur, but then you'd have to contend with a shallower DoF.

I like the first 2 since you can see some facial expression. Not sure that #3 says anything to me (looks like a girl sitting on a mat holding a pole).
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 10:44 PM   #6
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The last one appealed to me because of the light/dark and the relaxed stature after the jump. But there isn't much going on unless taken with the one before. I did lighten the skin because it was so dark/contrasty and while I thought it worked reasonably well, wasn't sure how others would see it.

The pictures are mostly full frame (taken with the DA*300), next time I'll try a couple of rows further back. The K5 does have quite a bit of ability to crop, so I could probably be able to frame better.

The background on the first ones was horrible - I had the camera set to TAv using f11 and 1/250, definitely NOT the settings for shooting sports of any sort! The buildings that were the backdrop were almost in focus - definitely distracting. The DA*300 has nice bokeh if used correctly, and even those with too small an aperture weren't jittery. It was a fun exercise, I want to go back and try again.
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Old May 1, 2011, 11:43 PM   #7
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Well done and they say Pentax can't shoot sports.

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