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Old Feb 28, 2007, 8:40 PM   #1
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OK

I promised I'd post a few images taken at a basketball game over the weekend.

I think the camera did just fine (KM Maxxum 5D). But, my skill needs some work. I haven't even been to a basketball game in over 30 years (or even watched one on TV). So, shooting sports is not really my "cup of tea". It was fun, though.

I'm not used to shooting in lighting this good indoors. So, that part was a treat... if they'd only not move so fast. lol But, the lighting was cycling on me. I took some team shots and every about other photo was different using manual exposure and white balance (which also impacted exposure). Ditto for shots during the game. You sports shooters must have a ball trying to get it right. lol

So, at least half were not exposed quite right and will need some work. Anyway, enough excuses.

I haven't done any noise reduction on these yet (no USM either). I'm still trying to decide on which ones to mess around with (I've got hundreds). Unfortunately, most of them are not very interesting, and the ball is nowhere near their hands (lots of shots with the ball in between a players hands and somewhere else. I'll definitely need to work on what to look for if I try this again anytime soon.

My biggest concern was getting a few shots of my niece's son (my younger sister's daughter's son, or my great nephew).

So, I'll start with a snapshot of my niece (my younger sister's daughter) I took sitting in the stands. I was sitting in the same spot for the games, and just pointed the camera at her face for this one. She was sitting in the row above me. lol

ISO 3200, wide open at f/2.8 with a Minolta 135mm f/2.8 at 1/400 second.



This young guy is my great nephew (niece's son). Shot with the 100mm f/2 at 1/500 second and f/2.2





This little guy was very interesting to watch (he was defintely a tough player). I missed the focus on this one (and shooting short kids with a 100mm f/2, you don't want to do that). I may try to sharpen it up a bit with some USM later. It's a tad underexposed, too (darn lighting was cycling).

100mm f/2 at ISO 1600, f/2.5




Ditto for this one (I probably need to make sure I'm targeting the guy in front and probably need to lean towards a slightly brighter exposure). I love the facial expressions I got on some of these though, despite some missed focus and chopped off feet, etc.. :-)




This little guy was really moving fast. I shot this one at with the 135mm at 1/250, f/3.2 at and ISO 3200. But, most of the ones using shutter speeds this slow at a bit too much motion blur. I got lucky with this one because he was heading straight for me so the motion blur wasn't as obvious (versus one this slow moving across the frame).




This one was underexposed a tad using the 135mm at ISO 1600 and f/3.2, 1/250 second, so I pushed it a tad.




This one was using a 100mm f/2 at f/2.2, ISO 1600, 1/500 second (focus hit the closer player versus the one with the great facial expression). My fault.



Another with the 100mm f/2 that I thought the facial expression was interesting with. 1/500 second at f/2.2 and ISO 1600



Another with the 100mm f/2, again at ISO 1600, f/2.2, 1/500 second. The little guy in front is my great nephew. Unfortunately, my focus was on the guy in back (and framing short kids this tight with a 100mm f/2 close to wide open results in pretty darn shallow DOF). . But, I like the facial expressions. These kids were having a blast.



100mm f/2, f/2.2, 1/500, ISO 1600



My great nephew again. Wide open with the 135mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, ISO 3200, 1/500 second



What do you mean we're losing? 135mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, 1/500 second, ISO 3200



Losing, huh? I'll do my best to fix it. I missed the rest of the face for this one. But, I liked look in his eyes. lol 135mm f/2.8 at f2.8, ISO 3200 and 1/400 second.




One of these guys was hustling anyway. 135mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, 1/400 second, ISO 3200



Did we make it? 135mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, 1/400 second, ISO 3200



My great nephew again. 135mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, ISO 3200, 1/400 second






Another with the 100mm f/2. Wide open at f/2, ISO 1600, 1/500 second




As you can tell, I really should have brought along my 50mm. That would have given me a bit more room for framing, as well as a bit more depth of field. I was really a bit close to most of the action for these two lenses (all were taken from a front seat in the stands). I'll bring it next time (or sit from further away). 100mm f/2 at f/2.2, 1/500 second, ISO 1600



And another with the 100mm f/2, at f/2.2, 1/500 second, ISO 1600



I took a few at a girl's game on the other side of the gym later. Here's one of them with the 135mm f/2.8 at ISO 3200, f/2.8, 1/400 second.


One more:

135mm f/2.8 at f/2.8, 1/320 second, ISO 1600 -- I pushed this one slightly in PP (which I also need to do with some of the others).



You guys must work hard to get all of those great shots I see posted here.

I guess I'm going to need some practice if I'm going to shoot the kids playing basketball (composition, getting some more interesting shots, and either getting the exposure/WB a bit better or plan on spending a lot of time post processing them). lol

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Old Feb 28, 2007, 10:38 PM   #2
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FOUL!!!!!!!!!





TRAVELING!!!!!



COME ON REF..WHAT ARE YOU BLIND?
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Old Mar 1, 2007, 7:01 AM   #3
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JimC wrote:
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OK

I promised I'd post a few images taken at a basketball game over the weekend.

I think the camera did just fine (KM Maxxum 5D). But, my skill needs some work.
Quote:
But, the lighting was cycling on me. I took some team shots and every about other photo was different using manual exposure and white balance (which also impacted exposure). Ditto for shots during the game. You sports shooters must have a ball trying to get it right. lol

So, at least half were not exposed quite right and will need some work. Anyway, enough excuses.
Quote:
Unfortunately, most of them are not very interesting, and the ball is nowhere near their hands (lots of shots with the ball in between a players hands and somewhere else. I'll definitely need to work on what to look for if I try this again anytime soon.

Jim - welcome to the fun, fun world of low light sports shooting - cycling lights, fast moving subjects, timing issues, focus problems - yep, you sure jumped in the deep end for the trip back into some sports shooting.

The point above which is critical for others that are new photographers as well as new sports shooters is: "Unfortunately most of them aren't very interesting". That's the tough pill to swallow - I know you're familiar with it, but many others getting started in DSLR sports work are so thrilled to have a shot that has good exposure and no motion blur. When I look through some of my galleries from when I started shooting Football I ask myself - why on earth did I keep 75% of these shots :G

Love the first shot of your niece - really very nice.

This one is also a great shot - nice facial expression and sharp.



These 3 were all nice as well for similar reasons. I think expressions really help with sports photos - let's face it, great action is rare at lower levels of competition. So, shots of dribbling or shooting all start to look the same after a while. So it's the facial expressions which add uniqueness to a good photo IMO.





Another with the 100mm f/2, again at ISO 1600, f/2.2, 1/500 second. The little guy in front is my great nephew. Unfortunately, my focus was on the guy in back (and framing short kids this tight with a 100mm f/2 close to wide open results in pretty darn shallow DOF). . But, I like the facial expressions. These kids were having a blast.



100mm f/2, f/2.2, 1/500, ISO 1600



I think with post processing (USM, colors) these images will really pop.



Well, I for one am hoping you stick with your new found hobby. We need all the sports shooters we can get around here. And you know, Jim, Baseball and softball season is gearing up
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Old Mar 1, 2007, 7:41 AM   #4
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Thanks for the comments John. My brother-in-law talked me into taking some shots at the game. It was fun.

I haven't spent any time PPing them yet (other than slightly brightening a few of them that were more underexposed than the rest and even those need a lot more work). Almost all will need some PP. I'll expose a bit brighter next time around. He hasn't seen any of them yet (I've got hundreds). I'll let him look through them and decide which ones he wants copies of before spending a lot of time working on them.

I've seen cycling lighting discussed enough that I should have expected it. But, I was really surprised at how much difference there was betwen a lot of the shots. Even taking photos of the same (stationary) subjects, in the same spot before the game, I'd get around 1 stop or so difference between them, with the WB different between them, too (so, I was worried about blowing the highlights if that happened during the game and was a bit too conservative with exposure).

I must have reset custom WB 4 times moving between lights to try and get it closer because of the cycling before the game started, too. Also, the lighting was so different on the other side of the gym for the girl's game, I just went Auto WB with it.

I'll bring the 50mm next time, too (I was really too close with these two lenses, and framing too tightly for comfort with moving subjects), or just find a better vantage point (the front seat in the stands was too close, and I was being lazy by sitting in the same spot for the shots versus moving around and finding a good vantage point).

I had a Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 with me, too. But, it's AF speed wouldn't cut it for these conditions. My 135mm f/2.8 surprised me, though. It's AF speed was much better than expected (the missed focus was mostly my fault using it). I rarely use it (it's too long for what I normally shoot). But, I thought I'd give it try here. I'll bring a 50mm along next time and work on finding more interesting shots, since framing not quite as tightly will give me a bit more margin for error.

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Old Mar 1, 2007, 7:48 AM   #5
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JimC wrote:
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I had a Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 with me, too. But, it's AF speed wouldn't cut it for these conditions.
Interesting that you mention this. It's something I've been thinking about since the announcement of Canon's mk III and ISO 6400. Considering the camera is aimed at sports shooters and photojournalists, AF is still critical. AF can be bad at 3200 on a 2.8 lens (with some being better than others). I'm wondering how usable a ISO 6400 will be for sports/phtojournalism if it still forces you to use a prime lens in order to get decent focusing speed. Yes there are other shooters like yourself that shoot low light non sports where quick af isn't AS critical. I just wonder if the ISO isn't running into the same situation as MP outresolving lenses.
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Old Mar 1, 2007, 8:11 AM   #6
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Well, this old Tamron is a good lens for many purposes. But, for subjects moving this fast, the focus speed just wouldn't keep up (even though it would be just fine for *much* lower light if the subjects weren't moving this fast). lol.

It's reliant on the focus motor built into the body with a KM DSLR, and the number of turns needed to achieve focus can have a huge impact on performance with this type of system because of focus motor speed limitations, even in light this good. My 135mm f/2.8 would run circles around it on this body.

With a Canon, you'd have the AF motor built into the lens (or even better USM type system), the sensitivty of the camera's AF sensors and algorithms telling the lens what to do probably impacts AF a lot more with a zoom.

From my perspective, this is really *great* light (if only those kids weren't moving so fast). . LOL Looking through the images, I think ISO 3200 at around f/2.5 and 1/500 would have been a better way to go in this gym lighting (most were underexposed the way I was shooting them). I'll probably go that route next time, exposing a bit brighter, making use of my 50mm (and/or a better vantage point with my 100mm f/2).

Edited: meant focus motor bult into the lens versus body on a Canon. :-)


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Old Mar 1, 2007, 12:22 PM   #7
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P.S.

This old Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 is pretty large and heavy compared to a light weight lens like a Minolta 135mm f/2.8. So, the reduction in weight for what it's got to move probably helps reduce the strain on the camera's focus motor, even in cases where the gearing is similar. That probably helps out AF speed.

I think a Minolta lens is probably better optimized to my 5D's AF algorithms versus an older model third party lens like this Tamron, too. The camera's AF algorithms seem to be much surer without needing micro movement type tweaking by the AF to insure accuracy (or they're happening fast enough that I don't notice it as much versus the AF with the old clunky Tamron). :-)

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Old Mar 1, 2007, 7:19 PM   #8
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Jim,

Glad to see you posting up the basketball photos. I have been shooting the Upward 5 yr. olds for the past several weeks and I have been using a 135mm f/2.0...and boy is it tight! The kids do have a great time and the photogs have quite the time themselves.

Looking forward to seeing more.

Chris
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Old Mar 2, 2007, 8:16 AM   #9
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Yes, I'll bet that 135mm f/2 is pretty darn tight with a very shallow DOF, especially wide open shooting kids from up close. My Minolta 135mm only opens up to f/2.8 (although Sony now has a Carl Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 AF lens available in Minolta Maxxum/Dynax/Alpha mount if you're willing to part with what they want for one). lol

It's tough using this kind of lens with moving subjects when you're filling the frame so much with shorter kids (i.e., it's probably closer to the DOF you'd have with a typical head and shoulders shot shooting a taller adult in many of them). lol

I have new found respect for you guys doing this often.

I'll probably stick to a 50mm and 100mm if I do this again anytime soon, and/or just shoot from a bit further away to give myself more margin for error due to the shallow DOF trying to use my 135mm from so close to most of the action.

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Old Mar 2, 2007, 8:44 AM   #10
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JimC wrote:
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I have new found respect for you guys doing this often.

It's always good to try something different. Having tried wildlife photography I have a great respect for those who do that style. At least I know exactly what time my game is going to start and I know within an hour and a half I can have several hundred photos. I've spent 5-6 hours in the woods and come back with a single shot. I also realize the wedding photog I hired 8 years ago to do my wedding was worth every penny he charged (even though I thought he was way overpriced - "how tough could it be" i thought - I now kow better :G)

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