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Old Apr 25, 2007, 11:26 AM   #11
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jcdotcalm wrote:
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John, thanks for all of your help. I'll try to put all of that into practice.
No problem. By the way, don't feel to bad - indoor sports is probably one of the toughest types of photography there is. It aint as easy as people think. It takes a lot of practice. And even with a good amount of practice you have to keep your expectations in check. I probably have a 35-40% keeper rate for my indoor sports shots.
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 10:42 AM   #12
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I was kindly directed byJimc of this forum toward this thread.

To even better value John's comments, here are some pics I took last night with an average 8 megs P&S Stylus S800 and on board flash. The only good thing I did was usingmy custom 5 meters high tripod toshow a different angle.

All the rest - even the location of the tripod - is totally wrong according to what John's wrote. If only I had read his comments a day before and not a day later. Next time... John you can be sure your comments are carefully read and saved in my folder ! Too bad my camera cannot cope with 1600, way too much noise even at low speed. I am heading toward a Nikon 80 or Canon 400D with a 50 mm f2.8, for my next trip to the US.

So, new comers, just consider the following examples as mistakes you should avoid... Then go back to John's picture. Ouch, that hurts ! Man, some people are really good at what they do ! The best is that they are willing to share !





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Old Aug 6, 2007, 11:07 AM   #13
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philgib,

Don't feel too bad. Indoor sports shooting aint easy. The only people that think it is are the ones that have never tried. And, unlike other types of photography, digicams still aren't up to the task yet.

As to the angle of your shots. Absolutely NOTHING wrong with trying different angles. That's what makes photography interesting. However, my advice to most shooters in any genre is to master the basics first - THEN try something different. It's the whole 'learn to walk before you run' thing. By learning the basics, you get an understanding of the technical challenges involved and how to react to them. You learn what apertures, shutter speeds, ISOs are necessary for a given sport in a given specific location. When you understand those THEN it's easier to try something creative.

In this specific instance, the idea to shoot from above is a decent one. The challenge is the backboard. When pros do it, it is with a camera mounted ABOVE THE BACKBOARD - so it's looking down over the backboard and not through it. It gives a nice, different perspective on players FACES. The key there is - faces. In human sports where the human is visible, 90% of the time you want faces in sports photos. In maybe 8% of the cases the action is so cool it doesn't matter that a face is missing. The other 2% are simply creative shots that have nothing to do with action but are rather artistic in nature. So, even if you had reasonable shutter speeds for your shots here they wouldn't work so well because the backboard obscures too much.

But hey don't get discouraged - we all start somewhere and have to learn. If you're interested in sports shooting but can't afford the DSLR outfit yet I would encourage you to shoot outdoor sports which won't be as hampered by not having a DSLR. In either case, I encourage you to keep shooting and keep seeking feedback and help from other sports shooters.

Thanks for posting and look forward to seeing more from you in the future!
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 2:46 PM   #14
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I will !

Thank you so much for your time John.


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Old Aug 6, 2007, 2:57 PM   #15
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John, Great shots, as usual... but what do you think about using a flash for indoor sports? I can't really afford a fast AF prime right now, but I do own a pretty nice flash... is that doable? Do you have any recommendations?
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 3:07 PM   #16
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Most sports venues won't allow flash. It interferes with the athletes ability to see the game without going blind for a moment. It is distracting. Imagine a gymnast doing a dismount on the beam and someone uses flash to capture the moment the gymnast can no longer see her spot to land. Not good.

Unless you can get wired in with areana's that have strobes it is best to not use flash for indoor sports.
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 3:15 PM   #17
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inneyeseakay wrote:
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but what do you think about using a flash for indoor sports? I
Well, there are 2 parts to my answer. The first part is: Is a flash allowed for the given sport / venue? For instance where I live (Northeast Ohio), HS basketball and wrestling allow flash but gymnastics and volleyball do not. For swimming I've been at events that allow flash and events that do not. So the first part is finding out whether flash is even allowed.

Assuming it is allowed, the first recommendation would be to use an external flash that has an external battery pack if you can - these recharge much faster and will give you the battery life you'll want.

Whether you can do that or not, the second piece of advice is to either use a remote triggered flash (assuming you're going to set up in one place and have some place you can mount the flash to) or a flash bracket. I don't have a wireless flash myself, but the benefit there is you can mount it high so flash is shooting down which reduces long shadows and you keep it away from the lens so red eye disappears. The bracket is the second choice. It will help with but not completely eliminate red-eye (or monster eye as it usually shows up as glowing white/green in sports shots).

If you do use it, you'll have to determine how well the flash recharges - you may have to limit yourself to single shot mode rather than multi-shot if your flash can't keep up.

If you can't remote the flash or don't have a bracket, you may end up spending a lot of time in PP getting rid of monster eye. In either case, if the exposure with flash is close to the exposure w/o flash you'll get some motion blur ghosting - if your camera allows for it, set the flash to second curtain synch - at least then the ghosting will be trailing the motion and will look better.

In the end, I've seen a couple serious shooters that do really good flash work. I've seen a couple that can get a hand-full of good images from a game but maybe only 1 that can get a gallery worth of good shots with a flash in a sport like basketball.

Of course, all the big paper sports media around me (I shoot freelance for a lowly community paper) shoot HS basketball with a 70-200 2.8 and flash. They do so because they only need a handful of shots for the paper and the flexibility of that setup combined with the fact the images are for paper and not color print means they don't need a volume of color-print quality shots. If I were shooting just for the paper and not for sales I would do the same. Selecting 8 shots w/o monster eye or correcting it in a couple of shots wouldn't be an issue if all I needed were 8 shots. Hope that made some sense :G
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