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Old Feb 8, 2007, 11:29 PM   #1
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Hi,

I went tonight and shot my first sports/action shots. It sure is hard to get face shots in volleyball :-). I took JohnG's 'basketball tips' with me. I'm shooting with a Nikon D70s 85mm 1.8. I bought the camera last October and the lens came last week so I'm not used to the prime. My settings were: ISO 1600 (max for my cam), 400 ss, f 1.8 - 2.5 (trying to figure which looked best), spot metering, AF-C (continuous servo af).

I seemed to get a yellow cast when I shot approx 5 pics continuously. Would it be b/c the lights were the type that cycle? I didn't do any editing to the photos except cropping. Please C&C and share any pointers, I really want to 'get' this :?.

Thanks

Angela

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.
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Old Feb 9, 2007, 2:25 AM   #2
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Those photos are great especially for your first time. Indoor vball is the one of the hardest to shoot.

The color cast issue can be solved somewhat in photoshop. But I am not an expert at that. Normally I just try different thing in PS until it looks right. For instance if a pic looks too green or blue...I just decrease that color cast in PS
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Old Feb 9, 2007, 3:46 AM   #3
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As Rob says for the first attempt these are really good, you have framed well and captured some good action.

Yes it is likely that the lighting was cycling in temp giving the cast, I've had the same issue in some gyms where one shot is fine the next is out and then again the next one is fine.

Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing more from you.

I sometimes wish I was in the US as over here it is only if an international game was being played that you would get a crowd like that!
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Old Feb 9, 2007, 7:18 AM   #4
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Angela - I'll echo the others. You did very well for never having shot sports before.

I would say a good amount of these shots are overexposed - the faces are way too bright (shots 1,6,7,8).

Now a couple questions for you:

What WB setting did you use when you took the sequence of shots (when you indicated you got different results with each shot)? If you were on a custom WB then yes the problem is cycling lights. If you weren't on custom WB then that is the cause of your problem.

What setting were you on for the shots posted below?

Also, if you were in manual mode you should realize it doesn't matter that you were using spot metering as you weren't letting the camera meter. But if you were in another mode like AV or TV then it DOES matter. But in that case I would suggest switching to manual mode.

One of the next steps in your workflow though is going to have to be learning to use post processing software. If you don't already have something like Photoshop Elements then get it. You need to be able to apply USM. You need the ability to adjust levels and to make color adjustments. I honestly think it's worth spending the money to get Elements or Paint Shop Pro vs. the free software out there as these products have much better methods for making adjustments. The benefit to Photoshop Elements is a LOT of people are using photoshop products and there are a lot of books and tips on the net for these packages. And that's a big plus.

From a composition standpoint, faces are always important. So while your timing was excellent on a shot like #3 - in the end, thee shot doesn't work for me because it's from the back. It looks like you're shooting from too far along the side line - move closer to the net so you at least get a profile of the players rather than the back of their head (i.e. you should be able to shoot strait down the net).







Again, excellent job on your first time out. Keep up the good work!
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Old Feb 9, 2007, 10:28 AM   #5
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John, not wishing to steal this thread but think it will help anyone interested in volleyball. I have justbought the 85mm f1.8 (I know I said the 120-300mm f2.8 was going to be first but I have been asked to shoot a Uni volleyball comp tomorrow so had to get it) and will me using it for the first time tomorrow in anger. I don't think you have done an 'idiots guide' to volleyball, but have you got any suggestions to make them good. I'm hoping to cover the costs of the lens in sales from the event as I believe I'm the only photographer been asked to come along (no pressure).

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Can you please answer

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Best place/places to stand

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Focus mode (AI Servo or One Shot).... if it is one shot as I expect, can you explain the reason why you use this?

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Anything else helpful beyond the normal (I will be shooting in manual and not using flash).
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Old Feb 9, 2007, 12:39 PM   #6
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Mark,

I like to shoot a lot from right around the net behind the net judge with the 85. I'll also slide down the side to get through/over-the-net shots of the opposite side for blocks or spikes. Unfortunately the 85 is too short to shoot from behind the court for through/over the net. Surprisingly 135mm seems to be precisely the right focal length for that type of shot. You might also bring the 70-200 and if it's bright enough shoot from the stands to get over the net (might need 3200 but that angle gets you better face shots of blocks and kills since you are at a better angle than trying to shoot with the 85 over/through the net from the side.

I still use AI-Servo. One shot could probably work for profile work but because I like to angle so I'm getting more faces, I don't want to trust one-shot with the shallow dof. Now, all season I would use center focus point and focus on the faces and that was hit or miss. When I shot gymnastics recently in the same gym I tried a different technique - using all focus points and focusing on where the leo and thigh met (since that's a higher contrast area). I shot from a stading position. That worked much better than my basketball/volleyball shots. I'm not sure I would try it with basketball as there are still a lot more objects moving between me and my subject. But I might be inclined to try the same thing with volleyball.

In fact, I'll make a request (since I have no volleyball to shoot) - try both methods for a game each and see which gives you better keepers although I wouldn't suggest through-the-net shots with all points). One-shot could also work for a lot of shots but I just didn't try using it I'm so used to using Servo.
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Old Feb 9, 2007, 1:21 PM   #7
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Thanks for the encouragement guys. It was really fun and I think I'm going to like it.

JohnG, I would also like to know your answers to Mark's questions. As for the questions you asked me: I shot in manual mode with the wb set for direct sunlight. That setting looked best whan I took my test shots. A couple more questions:

- If I were to set a custom wb, could I meter off of a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of white paper? Would this take care of the color casts from the cycling lights?

- What is the difference between AF-C (continuous servo AF) and AF-S (single servo AF)? Is one better than the other? I used AF-C this first time.

- My photos seem soft compared to the photos you posted that were taken with your 85mm. Is it b/c I need more practice with the prime, my camera performance or something else?

Also, I do have photoshop 6 and I just purchased PS Elements. I need to reformat my hd so I haven't loaded Elements yet. I didn't do any postprocessing b/c I wanted to make sure I got accurate tips from the photos I posted. I think my next software purchase will be noise software.

Thanks for the time all of you have taken to look at my pics and post your tips/tricks/techniques.
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Old Feb 9, 2007, 1:39 PM   #8
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You can use a white piece of paper to set a custom WB. Try it and take a 5 shot sequence. You'll see if there is a color change or not. If there is then Ii suggest either shooting RAW or in auto-WB so it can adjust.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Softness is a combination of factors:

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"1. technique - focus technique is very difficult in low light shots.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"2. distance - the Canon 85mm at least is designed to for focusing within 15 feet - it's focus scale I believe ends at 10' or so. In practical use, 15-20' is about the max I had luck with. But, when I shot gymnastics and changed my technique a bit (read my response to Mark) I was able to get more reach out of the lens. I think the point of my focus (high contrast area of leo on skin) had as much to do with it as anything.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"3. Post processing. USM will do amazing things to your photos. It won't correct for a mis-focused shot but it will make a sharp photo really pop out. I'm a firm believer this is 1/2 the battle - 99% of shots are improved by PP - many of them dramatically so - at least sports shots. I get about 1% of my shots that I feel are right on the money outof camera. But the other 99% are always improved with PP. In your case, USM will help as will adjusting your levels/curves to bring in your highlights / darks.
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Old Feb 9, 2007, 4:53 PM   #9
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Thanks John, I will give the options a try tomorrow and let you know how I get on.

The gym I'm going to be in is not the best so the 70-200 f2.8 would not give great results (I've played with it in there before), also it is away being fixed as a friend decided to drop it for me so there seems to be a sharpness issue at 200mm (the rest is OK), that's why last weeks hockey was with the Canon 100-400mm L IS. Think I could be without it for a couple of weeks but not a big problem as I'm not planning to do too much hockey and travelling quite a bit with work.

As for getting to"shoot from the stands" that's not something weget in the UK, spectator sports are nothing like they are in the US, even though these are national university teams playing there won't be a huge amount of people coming to watch. It's ashame really that only major sports such asfootball and rugby get a goodcrowd (again not forUni/club level).

Looking forward to giving it a try tomorrow and willpost the results as soon asI get a chance which might not be until Monday as I'm going to be workingaway this week so will travel onSunday afternoon.
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Old Feb 10, 2007, 1:34 PM   #10
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I think these are a terrific first effort; keep up the good work. You've got some really nice compositions there; it looks like you've got a good eye for sports photography.
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