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Old Apr 19, 2007, 9:40 PM   #1
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My hometown is hosting the 2007 College Basketball Invitational for Division II boys basketball players. Some photos from tonights games:






















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Old Apr 20, 2007, 3:28 AM   #2
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John I just made myself laugh (almost out loud) as I opened this without seeing who started the thread (only just woken up) and thought cool there is a new shooter creating lovely clean indoor sports shot and then realised it was you OOPS!!!!

Nice work and really like 1st, 3rd and the facial expressions in the 3rd from last.
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Old Apr 20, 2007, 6:15 AM   #3
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Thanks Mark.

The guy in shot #3 is only 5'5" - but he can move!
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Old Apr 23, 2007, 4:31 PM   #4
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To me these are amazing shots. Forgive me if this sort of question belongs in another forum, but how do you get indoor action shots that are both bright and clear? Is is correct equipment or skill, or both. ( I am new to slr; I shoot a nikon d80). Once again, great pictures.

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Old Apr 23, 2007, 4:41 PM   #5
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jcdotcalm wrote:
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To me these are amazing shots. Forgive me if this sort of question belongs in another forum, but how do you get indoor action shots that are both bright and clear? Is is correct equipment or skill, or both. ( I am new to slr; I shoot a nikon d80). Once again, great pictures.
thank you.

getting bright, clear images and sharp is a combination of factors.

1. Right equipment - it's essential. You've got a great camera body for high ISO performance. The key is to pair it with a good enough lens - for indoor action that usually means a prime lens. Nikon makes an 85mm 1.8 also I believe - and I think a stellar 1.4.

2. Correct exposure in-camera. this is a key component. I'm not infinitely familiar with Nikon metering, but in Canon the metering is geared towards protecting highlights. So, if I were shooting players in white jerseys, the camera would meter for about 1 full stop faster - so the pictures would be underexposed. In this instance the black jereseys could cause over-exposure. The key is to expose for FACES not uniforms. Which means you should use a manual exposure.

3. Sharpness will come with good technique (and the good equipment)

4. Proper noise reduction. Lets face it at ISO 1600 you're going to have noise. The key is to use the proper amount of noise reduction software - don't use too much.
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Old Apr 23, 2007, 5:13 PM   #6
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Thank you for the advice. For a beginner like me, it is very much appreciated.
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Old Apr 23, 2007, 6:57 PM   #7
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jcdotcalm wrote:
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Thank you for the advice. For a beginner like me, it is very much appreciated.
You're welcome. I had written up a nice tutorial that the moderators had made a sticky out of. But I see they've decided to delete that post - not only is it no longer a sticky but I can't find it at all any more. I'll check with them and see what might have happened to it. Lots of other useful info in it.
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Old Apr 24, 2007, 8:00 PM   #8
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John, if you don't mind, I'd like to know what some of the settings were for these shots. Also, I imagine that you used a fairly low f stop, and yet so much of the shot (the players that is) is in focus. Yesterday I bought a Nikon f 1.8 50 mm for this type of shot, but when I go to a low f stop the dof is so small that I have trouble getting a good result on a moving subject. Your shots are quite unbelievable.
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Old Apr 25, 2007, 7:01 AM   #9
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OK,

I checked with the moderators - there was a major system problem a week or so ago and a number of threads were lost - the basketball tips thread was one of them.

So, here's a brief run down of things:
  • Set to ISO 1600[/*]
  • Set to manual exposure - dial in 1/400 and start with f2.0[/*]
  • Set a custom WB - your camera's manual will tell you how. Just make sure you set it ON THE COURT not in the stands - just get there about 40 minutes before the game. But then take a burst of 5 shots - preferably of a player during warm-ups. Check each of the burst shots (it must be a burst) in the LCD and look for strong color shifts. About 10% of gyms will have lights that cycle in such a way that custom WB is useless. In these instances you need to shoot RAW and fix the WB on each shot. If there's no shift then leave the custom WB on.[/*]
  • Set to AI-Servo mode[/*]
  • Set to single focus point[/*]
  • Next step - during warm-ups, get the exposure down. The key is to expose for FACES not uniforms. This is also why you shoot with manual exposure and NOT in AV or TV mode - a camera will give you a stop or more difference in metering based on uniform colors. So, start with 1600 and 2.0 and 1/400 and take some test shots of your players. Check the histogram AND the images to see how the faces look. If underexposed, go to 1.8. If still underexposed (you're in a dungeon :G) then go to 1/320. If you were overexposed, then decrease the aperture from 2.0 until exposure is correct. It's highly unlikely you are going to get a full stop better - in other words I haven't seen a high school or below gym yet where you could get a proper exposure at 1600, 1/400 and f2.8.
[/*]
Technique:
  • As mentioned, use single focus point only - on non-pro canon DSLRs the center focus point is the most accurate so that's the one I use. I'm not sure if Nikon is the same way or not.[/*]
  • Focus needs contrast - I used to recommend using faces because of the shallow DOF. But often in a gym, faces don't have enough contrast - especially on fair skin and blonde hair - dark hair is better. But the numbers on the chest or the neck line are also good spots to target. Also, make sure you acquire your target and track them for a second before shooting - give your camera a chance to get focused. [/*]
  • Shoot portrait orientation - 95% of all the action is better framed vertically so shoot that way. [/*]
  • Remember a 50mm lens is only good for about 15 feet of coverage. Beyond that forget about quality focus of moving subjects. When you crop the images the sharpness just won't be there. Really you want the action to be within 10 feet. This means you need to be on the baseline. In Ohio it is not allowed to shoot from the baseline behind the key (i.e. directly behind the basket) so you might want to see if there are similar restrictions regarding where you can shoot from. Typically though I would recommend shooting from the baseline between the key and the arc - slide along that area accordingly - slide toward the key to get action on the OTHER side of the key out to the arc. Slide toward the arc on YOUR side to get better view of the basket.[/*]
  • Sit or kneel - whichever is more comfortable - but try to avoid standing.[/*]
  • Next location is along the sides - you'll need to be in the front row - here you can get transitions. If you slide down toward the arc on your defensive end you can get shots of their defense. Just remember - 15 feet is the limit But really 10 feet is where you want to be..[/*]
  • Also remember subjects moving directlyy toward you are the toughest for your camera to track - especially in low light. So, start off with easier profile shots where the subject isn't moving out of the focus plane so quickly.[/*]
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Old Apr 25, 2007, 8:22 AM   #10
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John, thanks for all of your help. I'll try to put all of that into practice.
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