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Old May 3, 2007, 11:18 PM   #1
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The 2007 soccer season is over for us, ending on a bittersweet note as we took the 5-time defending state champions through two overtime periods before losing in a penalty kick shootout.

I wanted to post a couple of pics of the last game and make a couple of comments about the tremendous improvement we have seen in the quality of shots of our soccer matches. I see three significant reasons our shots this year are significantly better than in any previous year. Two of the three can be directly attributed to the forum community.

1) Better camera for low-light shots. Although our night shots were noisy compared to a low-light DSLR, they were light years ahead of what we've had in the past, where night shots usually lacked significant detail to recognize a face. I selected the Fuji s6000fd primarily on the strength of recommendations in the "What Camera Should I Buy?" forum.

2) Advice from members in the Sports & Action Photos Forum, particularly that of JohnG. His "Tips for Shooting Soccer" were invaluable. As many of you know, a very talented student manager actually shoots for me during the matches since I'd always get blur while yelling at the referee; she then turns the camera over to me for PP. I have drilled her so thoroughly on John's dictum of "faces, ball, and opponent" that she actually apologized to me for this shot.
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Old May 3, 2007, 11:25 PM   #2
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During our first match in the tournament, she was sharing a photographers' box with a couple of professionals and they were complimenting her shots. She repeated the "faces, ball, opponent" mantra to them, and their response was "Boy, your coach doesn't want much, does he?"

3) The final factor that really jumped up the quality was the addition of a Sony HGD-1758 1.7X teleconverter. The s6000fd outperforms the other superzooms in low-light, but its zoom is significantly shorter. The teleconverter solves this problem and does not significantly degrade its low-light performance. Without the teleconverter a shot such as this game-saving slide tackle in the mouth of the goal would never have been possible.
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Old May 3, 2007, 11:34 PM   #3
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So, thanks to all in the forum for your help in improving the quality of the shots we got for our kids this soccer season.

I provide the shots stricty as a source of pride for the kids. At the end of each season, I provide each player with a CD of all the shots for the year. This year, I also established a photo-sharing site on flickr so the kids could follow the shots for the year. Generally, I would notice that within two or three hours of me posting a match's shots, the kids would find them. Usage stats show it was a popular idea.

Final shot for the year may have been one of the best. Marcella caught the ball bouncing between two players. The focus of our player leads the viewer's eyes to the ball as it comes up between. I thought it was a really nice shot.

Now that the coach's hat is hung up, maybe I can actually get the camera away from my manager and shoot some sports myself, lol.
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Old May 4, 2007, 6:53 AM   #4
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Glad we were able to help you out here on Steve's. This place is really a good forum to learn on because people actually take time to help each other out. Particularly regarding sports shooting. I've found from other forums that the sports shooting pros aren't necessarily a helpful lot. We're fortunate enough to have some experienced enthusiasts here (some of which making money off their hobby) who honestly want to help each other out. Not everyone likes that - some people just want to be told how great their shots are. But for folks who actually want to get better this is a good place to learn.

And more importantly, glad you were able to achieve your photography goals (no pun intended) with your new camera and that the team and parents are happy. That's the goal of it all.

Sorry the season didn't quite end the way you would have liked but I'm betting it was a heckuva game!

Enjoy your summer!
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